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Here are the architects of the Republican National Committee's platform and its anti-LGBTQ+ hate

RNC Ed Martin president Phyllis Schlafly Eagles conservative political organization based in St Louis speaks during a news conference outside the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill
Al Drago/Getty Images

These are the virulent anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans behind the GOP platform.

The Republican National Committee crafted a platform that’s vague about marriage equality but virulently anti-transgender. But close observers of party politics say the greatest indication of what a second Donald Trump presidency was revealed by the radical anti-LGBTQ+ individuals handpicked for the platform committee.

The Trump-controlled RNC named Ed Martin as the party’s deputy policy director. Martin, late homophobe Phyllis Schlafly’s selected successor to lead the conservative Eagle Forum, in 2016 said he was “prepared to fight” to keep opposition to marriage equality in the official party platform. That came two years after he defended Missouri’s ban on same-sex marriage in court.

“If the platform committee is fighting over marriage, we’re coming out of the convention without any momentum at all,” he told Politico.

Still, when Trump’s campaign released its platform for this year, media outlets like The Washington Posttook note that it “softens” the position on marriage. Indeed, it makes no mention of marriage equality at all.

But many of the drafters of the platform have remained ardent opponents of marriage equality for years. Tennessee U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn introduced legislation to overturn marriage equality. In 2012, she cochaired the RNC platform committee when it included a call for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. She also chaired the committee this year.

So does former Kansas U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who fought marriage equality in Congress for years. He wrote an op-ed for the conservative Townhall website in 2015 defending legislation protecting “traditional marriage” from the “assault” of same-sex unions. A year before, he participated in a documentary that likened LGBTQ+ rights to Nazi oppression and linked homosexuality to communism, and declined to apologize for his involvement when asked by The Topeka Capital-Journal.

David Barton is a religious leader who claims HIV and AIDS are God’s punishment for homosexuality. Per Right Wing Watch, Barton said on his WallBuilders Live podcast in 2012: “Studies keep proving that and that’s why AIDS has been something they haven’t discovered a cure for or a vaccine for, because it’s the fastest self-mutating virus known to mankind. Every time they just about get a vaccine discovered for it, it transmutes into something new and they have to start over again. And that goes to what God says, hey, you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.”

He also said homosexuality was responsible for the Holocaust and that God would hold responsible any political candidate who did not oppose gay rights. And while many of those statements are more than a decade old, Barton’s ProFamily Legislative Network was still advocating for legislation banning same-sex marriage as of this year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Like many anti-LGBTQ+ advocates, he has turned his attention in recent years toward destroying the rights and privacy of transgender Americans. And those provisions notably made it through the platform vetting process fine.

The short platform released by the Trump campaign supports keeping “men out of women’s sports,” attacks transgender athletes, and calls for prohibiting any federal funding for schools pushing ‘critical race theory, radical gender ideology and other inappropriate racial, sexual or political content on our children.” That doesn’t seem to soften any rhetoric, and indeed hardens an anti-trans position adopted more vocally by conservative activists.

Lori Hinz, a North Dakota member of the RNC’s platform committee, reposted a Family Research Council meme with anti-LGBTQ+ positions as recently as 2022. “Thank you Family Research Council,” she wrote, apparently endorsing positions including that “Marriage is a union of one man and one woman” and that “God created us male and female.” Hinz said at the TPUSA Faith Leadership Conference in May that as a member of the platform committee, she would put “everything through the lens of the Bible.”

Meanwhile, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also sat on the committee. He notably criticized Trump in 2019 for supporting the decriminalization of homosexuality internationally, though he quieted down after being elected chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom during Trump’s first term. He has compared LGBTQ+ advocates to “terrorists” aimed at destabilizing the government.

The organization opposed the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” under President Barack Obama. “I don't know how they can live with that knowing that the blood of those young Marines will be on their hands,” Perkins told CBN in 2010.

So what does all that matter if the positions never made it into the party platform? Those who watched Trump put together a White House after his surprise win in 2016 know many party regulars became administration staffers. And many Trump staffers went on to become active in anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, including many who helped form the Project 2025 (anti-trans) agenda Trump now claims has nothing to do with him.

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