Despite efforts from Republican LGBT advocates to remove opposition to same-sex marriage from the 2016 Republican Party platform, the draft document contains language repudiating the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality nationwide.
Although the draft document isn’t yet publicly available, reporters covering the platform meetings on Monday in Cleveland revealed details as they were being hammered out. According to The New York Times, the platform rejects the Obergefell decision and calls for “judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to states.”
“Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society,” the platform reportedly says.
Additionally, at a time when use of public restrooms by transgender people has become a national issue, the proposed platform denies the ban on sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 applies to transgender people, according to The New York Times.
Interpreting the law to allow transgender students to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity seeks “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people,” the draft platform reportedly says.
“Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power,” the draft platform reportedly says. “They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities is at once illegal, ominous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suits against it.”
The draft platform contains the anti-LGBT planks despite a campaign led by the American Unity Fund, a pro-LGBT group founded by GOP philanthropist Paul Singer, to remove anti-LGBT language seen in years past in the Republican platforms.
In place of opposition to same-sex marriage and support for a constitutional amendment barring gay nuptials, the American Unity Fund through its Platform Reform campaign sought to recognize “diverse and sincerely held views on civil marriage” as well as growth in GOP support for same-sex marriage.
According to reporters covering the platform committee hearing, proposals emerged to remove the language against same-sex marriage in the platform, but those efforts were rejected. It wasn’t immediately clear if those failed proposals were the plank the American Unity Fund was seeking on same-sex marriage. The Republican National Committee didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to confirm the proposed language.
A spokesperson for the American Unity Fund declined to comment on the reported anti-LGBT language in the draft Republican platform, saying the process for creating it is still ongoing.
The platform committee also adopted an amendment from Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, endorsing widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for LGBT people.
“We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children,” the amendment said, according to Time Magazine.
According to Time Magazine, Perkins had to meet with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus to introduce the proposal because the deadline for new amendments had passed.
Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, was in attendance during the platform committee hearing as a credentialed guest and told the Washington Blade on Monday morning he couldn’t confirm any language.
“There are a number of amendments right now that are being considered in a whole host of committees,” Angelo said. “The situation is still very fluid at this point and there’s potential for the platform as it exists now to be amended fairly significantly by the time it goes up for a vote to full platform committee late tomorrow afternoon.”
Among the anti-LGBT amendments, Angelo said, was confirmation of the party’s opposition to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, anti-trans language against transgender using the restroom consistent with their gender identity pushed by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the Perkins amendment endorsing “ex-gay” therapy.
But Angelo said there also are pro-LGBT amendments. One amendment was the one proposed by the American Unity Fund on same-sex marriage, and another enumerated gay people are the targets of radical Islamic terrorism as well as religious minority groups, women and “freedom-loving Americans,” Angelo said.
Yet another, Angelo said, seeks a balance between religious freedom and LGBT rights. That proposal, Angelo said, endorses the Utah compromise, which enacted state LGBT non-discrimination protections while allowing clerks to opt out of issuing marriage licenses if they object to same-sex nuptials.
Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, condemned the platform and said presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump should seek to remove the anti-LGBT language.
“It is clear that an extreme and far-right minority has a stranglehold over the platform process, and is pushing the Republican Party away from the majority of Americans who support protecting LGBT individuals and their families from discrimination,” McTighe said. “Donald Trump has said that he is a friend to the LGBT community; he needs to demonstrate that commitment by fighting to have the discriminatory planks stripped from the platform.”
The platform committee was set to give its final approval to the draft late Tuesday afternoon. The next step in the process is ratification by delegates at the Republican National Convention next week in Cleveland.