The Republican Party just ceded much political clout to extreme right-wing forces, and formalized new goals to oppress LGBT citizens via its official party platform. Even before the vote, evangelical Christian Dominionists from anti-LGBT hate groups were bragging how their Family Research Council wrote key planks of the platform which was adopted on August 28 at the national convention in Tampa, Florida.
Using both new and revised language, the party says it will permanently restrict the lives of all LGBT Americans in ten major areas, including: marriage, taxes, human rights, employment, civilian worker compensation, military/veteran compensation, religious freedom, scouting, adoption, and immigration.
Wherever it can take control of legislatures, courts, or agencies, the Republican Party just vowed, in its new platform, that it will:
1. Restrict marriage to opposite-gender couples, and outlaw it for same-gender couples (page 10).
2. Waive inheritance taxes for opposite-gender couples, but keep taxing same-gender couples (2).
3. Grant human rights only as defined in the Christian Bible, and never to any LGBT people (9).
4. Continue civilian federal employee family benefits, but exclude LGBT people (10).
5. Continue cutting military/veteran pay up to 40% for any soldier with a same-gender spouse (43).
6. Use religious freedom for other people as an excuse to deny civil rights to LGBT people (12).
7. Continue Boy Scout discrimination against LGBT scouts, volunteers, and employees (12).
8. Prevent discrimination by adoption agencies, but allow it against LGBT couples (12).
9. Allow immigration for opposite-gender spouses, but never for same-gender spouses (10).
With the new platform, the party at first glance appears to maintain its core ideals: less government, more individual freedom, personal responsibility, and family. But a close reading reveals that those values wouldn’t apply to LGBT citizens.
The seriousness of the new national Republican platform is mirrored in the individual state platforms, many of which are even more oppressive. For example, in one or more states, the GOP now says it will:
1. Re-criminalize sexual relations between LGBT people (Oklahoma).
2. Teach that contraceptives are “unsafe” (Minnesota).
3. Teach that HIV is “incurable and fatal” (Oklahoma).
4. Reinstate the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (Minnesota).
5. Ban all LGBT people from any military service (Texas).
6. Outlaw portraying LGBT people “in a positive light” (Oklahoma).
7. Outlaw mentioning the mere existence of LGBT people in public schools (Wyoming).
8. Outlaw any recognition of transgender people (South Carolina).
The bulk of this second-class citizenship arises from three main sources: the un-constitutional Defense-of-Marriage Act (DOMA), undemocratic employment discrimination, and unscientific Dominionist religious superstition.
Firstly, the DOMA statute invalidates all legally married same-gender couples in the eyes of the federal government, lets states ignore each other’s marriage laws, taxes same-gender couples at much higher rates, reduces military pay for same-gender couples, denies employee benefits to same-gender spouses, and splits up same-gender families by deportation or immigration denial. In 2012 alone, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives wasted millions of taxpayer dollars paying outside lawyers to defend DOMA in federal courtrooms across the land. But the GOP is losing badly in both the trial courts and the appeals courts, with seven cases now awaiting decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court, and 28 cases elsewhere. (http://www.marriageequality.org/current-status-map).
Secondly, the Republican Party’s multi-year block of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) ensures that LGBT people have no federal protection against workplace discrimination in hiring, training, assignment, evaluation, compensation, promotion, retirement, or dismissal. Over 96% of Fortune 500 firms already offer this protection because it’s a proven best practice in the business world, but Republicans continue blocking its passage.
Thirdly, Dominionists believe that their deity requires them to take over all societies, and to subordinate all citizens to their version of Christianity. The only human rights they recognize are those written into their religious books, so they feel comfortable denying rights to all LGBT people, under the excuse that they’re just promoting their own right to worship. Dominionists are found almost exclusively among evangelical Republicans, especially Tea Party advocates. Some well-known Dominionists are: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, recently discredited textbook history revisionist David Barton, and anti-feminist/anti-Equal-Rights-Amendment activist Phyllis Schlafly. Barton and Schlafly are members of the 2012 Republican Platform Committee.
Party apologists often excuse the most hateful language as simply not serious, but 207 GOP officials labored for months over their new, 62-page platform, so it can’t be dismissed as merely some informal proposal. Finally, with supreme insincerity, they inserted five words — “respect and dignity for all” — to try to deny all the inhumane unfairness in the rest of their text. But after officially promising to revise the U.S. Constitution to permanently disenfranchise an entire swath of the American population, the Republican Party really can’t claim it offers respect or dignity to anyone.
So, how do gay conservatives reconcile all this insanity?
Mitt Romney campaign chair John Sununu refused to discuss the Republican Party platform in an interview on August 29 with Sirius XM radio host Michelangelo Signorile. Sununu admitted he hadn’t even read the party platform, and then appeared surprised to learn that the party has joined Romney’s effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage. Sununu refused to discuss the issue while he is being recorded for broadcast, calling it too “complicated.”
Despite the profound hatred illustrated in the new platform, the Log Cabin Republicans are still considering endorsing the Party and its candidates, proving once again that LCRs are, above all else, mainly Republican apologists, and only incidentally gay.
GOProud is the other small organization of Americans that supports — again, above all else — conservative values and politicians, and LGBT issues only a little. GOProud is the only gay group in the nation to have endorsed Mitt Romney for president.
So, after three long years for GOProud, and 35 longer years for Log Cabin Republicans, both groups still behave as battered spouses: sticking around, always hoping for a better tomorrow, even when there’s no major hope anywhere on the horizon of the latest Republican platform.
In 30 states today, marriage equality is a prominent issue (via ballot, legislation, and/or litigation), and overall, LGBT human rights efforts are funded almost entirely by Democrats and independents. Nevertheless, state and national Republican Party leaders remain committed to using unconstitutional, undemocratic, and un-scientific fallacies to return to the regressive conditions of 50 years ago: no marriage rights, no employment rights, and no human rights for LGBT people; re-criminalization of sex between consenting adults; and the outlawing of the mere mention of LGBT people in public schools.
The sentiment belongs to Nobel winning writer Sinclair Lewis, and the author is unknown, but the point is clear: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”