Don’t let all the evidence fool you, Republicans are totally, 100 percent ready to embrace the LGBTQ community… Or so says the first openly gay member to be part of the Republican National Convention’s platform committee, Rachel Hoff.
“Outside of the platform committee, our party is ready to move on,” Hoff told ThinkProgress.
Hoff was unsuccessful in convincing her fellow committee members to accept the hard-fought, constitutional rights of the LGBTQ community, or to agree to treat them even vaguely like equal citizens.
“We are your daughters. We are your sons, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues, the couple who sits next to you in church,” she said to the committee. “Freedom means freedom for everyone, including gays and lesbians…And all I ask today is you include me and those like me.”
Their response? Voting down every single pro-LGBTQ amendment and instead put forward a platform that was so bigoted even the Log Cabin Republicans objected. It includes language demeaning same-sex marriage and parenting and gives an approving nod to so-called “gay conversion therapy.”
“A huge number of people have come up and thanked me for being their voice in the room,” Hoff said. “It’s especially touching when it’s fellow LGBT Republicans.”
Another “voice in the room” was tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who became the first openly gay speaker at the Republican National Convention in 16 years and the first ever to speak about his sexual orientation, saying he was “proud to be gay.”
Donald Trump claimed he would protect the LGBTQ community during his RNC harangue, er, speech. Though in the not-so-distant past, the self-proclaimed billionaire has also spoken in favor of “religious freedom” laws, state laws prohibiting transgender people from using public restrooms and locker rooms matching their gender and against same-sex marriage. And let’s not forget his VP pick, Mike Pence, is one of the most virulently anti-LGBTQ politicians of our time.
Then there are the barrage of anti-LGBT bills that have been introduced by Republicans in recent weeks, months and years.
Yes, there are some token members of the LGBT community who call themselves Republicans, but tokens do not equal change.
“I think we’ve got to catch up, not just on marriage but on a full spectrum of issues effecting the LGBT community,” Hoff said. “There’s a perception that we’re really far behind the left, but you will remember that Barack Obama did not support marriage equality until 2008.”
She continued: “Plenty of Republicans, national Republican leaders, came out for marriage equality before Hillary Clinton. And so I would encourage some memory of recent history in terms of the rhetoric that’s directed toward the Republican Party on this issue.”
While it is true that the Democrats have not always been as pro-LGBTQ as they could have been over the years, in a match-up between the two it is clear to see that the Republicans have not only fallen behind when you consult history but are still leaving us in the lurch.
For comparison, here is what this year’s Democratic Party platform states:
Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people — like every other American — have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done. LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, a restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home. That is unacceptable and must change. Democrats will fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans and push back against state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve school climates, and we will protect transgender individuals from violence. We will promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world.