At their convention this week, Republicans are set to approve a particularly anti-LGBT platform. It calls for overturning marriage equality, banning same-sex parenting, restricting transgender people’s access to bathrooms, and ensuring parents can force harmful conversion therapy on their LGBT kids. Party leaders, however, deny that it’s anti-LGBT at all.
On CNN Monday morning, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), co-chair of the Republicans’ platform committee, explained that their priority with those planks was to “make American great” and to “stand for the human rights of all people, not just one segment, one class, one race, one preference, but for all people in the United States.” Besides, she said, there were gay people on the committee, insisting, “We’re an inclusive party; we’re a big tent.”
“The main thing is: We think all human beings, no matter who you are, deserve respect, deserve equal treatment, and should be respected in all that we do, and be respected.”
Technically, there was a gay person on the committee. Out of the 112 members, Rachel Hoff was the first openly gay Republican to ever serve on the platform committee.
Fallin’s remarks follow an interview Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gave to the AP this weekend, in which he defended the plank of the platform overturning marriage equality, calling it “one of the bedrock issues of our party.” But he insisted the party was welcoming because openly gay PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel will be speaking at the convention.
“We’re still a party that believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, but it doesn’t mean that we’re going to kick people out,” Priebus said. “I can’t win this race if I tell people that they’re not welcome in our party.”
Priebus also denied that the party was endorsing the harmful and ineffective practice ex-gay therapy, as drafted. “It’s not in the platform,” he said simply.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had called for the addition of the “conversion therapy” plank. The hate group leader succeeded, but the language of the plank is technically a bit vague: “The right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children.” Given several states have moved to ban allowing ex-gay therapy for minors, it’s unclear what else the plank could actually refer to.
Last week, the Log Cabin Republicans criticized the proposed platform as the “most anti-LGBT… in the Party’s 162-year history.”