CLEVELAND ― Two separate attempts to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the Republican Party platform ― a statement of its core ideas and principles ― were voted down by GOP delegates on Tuesday.
An amendment introduced in the GOP Platform Committee that would have recognized “LGBT individuals, Christians, Jews, and women in particular” as victims of radical Islamic terrorism struggled to garner enough votes after several delegates complained it was unnecessarily specific.
Rachel Hoff, an openly gay delegate from the District of Columbia who delivered an impassioned speech urging her colleagues to soften their stance on gay marriage, again attempted to persuade her colleagues to practice tolerance.
“Can you at the very least stand up for our right not to be killed?” Hoff implored, noting her fellow members had already voted down an amendment on Monday that would have given the party a more neutral stance on gay marriage.
Another delegate chimed in agreeably, noting “the party is supposed to be a big tent. Let’s open that tent. Name them and be proud to name them.”
Opponents of the amendment were not swayed. They successfully voted to change the original description to note the party opposes assault on “all human beings.” After lengthy debate and a show of hands, however, the entire measure went down.
But Hoff wasn’t done. A few minutes later, she introduced an amendment to a section discussing the global war on terror she said was meant to “test” her colleagues’ willingness to stand with “members of her community.” The measure would have added the words “on LGBT people” to a sentence about an “attack in Orlando,” a reference to the horrific shooting last month of a gay nightclub there.
Platform committee delegates again stomped on her effort at inclusion.
“The Republican Party is about protecting all Americans. Not any one group because of our religion, race, sexual orientation or anything else,” said a delegate from California.
“We believe that all Americans are entitled to be protected against murder. We don’t have to say any particular American qualifies for that protection. We have rejected the idea of identity politics. Obviously there’s an agenda here to drag us into identity politics,” said another delegate from Indiana.
In refusing to recognize LGBT Americans in their platform full stop, platform committee delegates find themselves at odds with their own presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. Last month, the real estate mogul attempted to undermine Hillary Clinton’s support among the LGBT community by accusing her of wanting to allow people into the United States “who reject our values” on issues like women’s rights and gay rights.
“Ask yourself,” he said in New Hampshire, “who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community: Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country — they enslave women and murder gays. I don’t want them in our country.”
Guy Cecil, chief strategist for Priorities USA, a super PAC aligned with Clinton’s campaign, accused Republicans of “using every opportunity at their platform committee meeting to demean, disavow & disrespect LGBTQ Americans. Despicable.”