I had a good time poking fun at the plagiarism and grandstanding of the Republican Convention, as did many of my left-leaning friends. My amusement quickly turned sober, however. The fact remains that the 2016 GOP platform directly targets LGBTQ families and LGBTQ youth.
The platform asserts bluntly, “We do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”
This view of marriage is tied directly to child raising: “Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.”
While they “honor the courageous efforts” of single parents who “should be treated with dignity and respect,” the Republicans continue, “But respect is not enough. 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.”
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Their platform would also promote legislation to “bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.” This would, of course, allow people to discriminate against same-sex couples and their families.
Then they claim: “Children raised in a two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, more likely to do well in school, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage.” Even if that’s true (a point I leave aside for now), it doesn’t lead to what the Platform calls the “inescapable conclusion” that “Every child deserves a married mom and dad.” Two-parent households can just as easily have two moms or two dads.
I do agree with the platform’s statement, “Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation” and even “Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities.” I balk, however, when it says we should “ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family.” Yes, truly private entities may have that right. But when private adoption agencies receive public funds and contract with the state, as many do, to place children who are in the state’s care, it’s a whole different ball game, and they should abide by non-discrimination laws.
The platform is also vehemently anti-choice. It would defund Planned Parenthood and similar organizations, which provide vital health care to LGBTQ youth, among other services.
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It would also “[replace] ‘family planning’ programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.” Study after study has shown that abstinence-only programs do not lead to a reduction in sexual activity and may mean youth are less likely to use birth control or condoms. This harms LGBTQ and straight, cisgender children alike.
Not only that, but the platform touts “the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.” This phrasing is actually a thinly veiled modification of an amendment that called for support of “conversion therapy,” or the curing of children who are LGBTQ, but which was seen as too extreme for the final platform, the Human Rights Campaign reported on its blog.
On another topic, the platform says that Title IX, which bans gender-based discrimination in education, is being used “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.” Among other things, the Obama administration has used Title IX to support transgender students’ right to use the bathroom of their identity. Republicans in contrast want to restrict Title IX to stopping gender-based discrimination against (presumably cisgender) women and girls.
And not LGBTQ-specific, but worrisome after Orlando and other recent shootings, is the passage, “We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle … We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.” That rifle they mention? It’s the AR-15, which the NRA called “America's Most Popular Rifle” in a January 2016 blog post. A version of the weapon was used in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The rifle used at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando was a similar type of assault rifle, although a different brand.
There is much more in the platform related to education, immigration, health care, voting rights, protecting the environment and other areas that impact our families (and many others). Read the whole thing at GOP.com.
The bottom line is clear: A Republican presidency would be a very dangerous thing to LGBTQ families and youth, especially if coupled with a Senate that remains Republican. Hillary Clinton may not be perfect – I realize opinions on her vary widely – but she is far, far better than the alternative.
One final observation. The platform states that the “daily lessons” of the American family, “cooperation, patience, mutual respect, responsibility, self-reliance — are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic.” I couldn’t agree more — but also can’t help noticing that they left out one of the most important family lessons of all — love.
May love win in November.
Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.