Posts Tagged As: Republicans

Tech Companies Team Up Against LGBT Discrimination Measure

Jim Burroway

August 18th, 2016

In May, House Republican Leadership broke their own House rules in order to preserve a provision in the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill which overturns President Obama’s executive order requiring federal contractors to maintain anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. The Senate has also passed a similar version of the defense bill, and those differences now need to be reconciled with the House version. This week, a consortium of tech and telecom companies — with members including Comcast, Apple, Microsoft, and Google, — have issued a statement urging Congress to remove the provision that would allow LGBT discrimination among federal contractors:

“The technology industry is the nation’s most innovative sector precisely because it values and embraces a talented and diverse workforce,” said TechNet president Linda Moore. “Unfortunately, Section 1094 undermines these values by placing prejudice and fear above inclusion and diversity, which is bad for our employees and bad for business.”

“To ensure that our nation’s economy remains robust and innovative, we must support the best and brightest people.

While Section 1094 might intend to promote religious freedom and liberty, in reality it sanctions discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which has no place in our country.”

…”LGBT Tech supports TechNet in the request to remove any language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Chris Wood, executive director of the LGBT Tech Partnership. “While freedom of religious expression is a bedrock of our values in the Untied States, too often, especially recently, it has been used as a cover for sanctioning discrimination. As we witnessed in Indiana, and other state, these efforts are often supported by anti-LGBT groups and result from significant antiLGBT animus. As written, section 1094 of H.R. 4909 opens the door to discrimination, reinforcing a divide with fear and prejudice instead of inclusion and diversity.”

The letter from TechNet was sent to members of the House-Senate conference committee which will hammer out the final bill.

Anti-Gay Tea Party Congressman Loses Primary Race

Jim Burroway

August 3rd, 2016

Tim HuelskampIn a surprising development, Tea Party darling Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) lost his primary bid for re-election to congress. Huelskamp was so tea-baggy that the representative from Kansas’s vast first district representing 63 farming counties voted against the Farm Bill because food stamps! He also voted against the Export-Import Bank, which played a huge role in promoting farm exports. His disruptive antics got so bad that he got kicked off the Agricultural Committee — making it the first time Kansas went unrepresented on the farm committee for more than a century.

And by the way, he’s extremely anti-gay, although that likely had zero effect in this campaign.

Anyway, the surprise wasn’t that Huelskamp lost. Pols showed that the primary race was very close to political novice Roger Marshall. Which was surprising when those polls first came out. But Huelskamp was, after all, an incumbent backed by the Koch brothers, so it seems that most people thought he could still pull this one out. So the surprise now isn’t just that he lost, but that he was so soundly thrashed:

Huelskamp, first elected to Congress in 2010, lost to Roger Marshall by a large 13-point margin in a year that has seen just three House incumbents toppled. Marshall will likely win the general election in November to represent the 1st Congressional District, as the district is heavily Republican and there is no Democratic challenger.

Marshall was the candidate of the establishment, and it’s unclear if his win portends anything larger for Republican House members who many fear will be damaged by the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. So far during the primary season, worries that angry voters would boot out incumbents have not materialized.

The race became increasingly close in the final weeks leading up to the primary, as well-funded conservative and business groups poured in $1.5 million to shape the outcome.

Marshall, an OB/GYN, was supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’s superPAC. Perhaps more critically, Marshall was also supported by the Kansas Farm Bureau. Huelskamp received support from Club for Growth, Heritage Action, and the Koch brother’s superPACs.

The Freedom Caucus, which is what Congressional tea partiers call themselves, are blaming GOP leaders for Huelskamp’s loss:

Republicans need to be unified behind conservative principles to stop the Obama/Clinton agenda,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “The House Republican leadership’s opposition to Tim Huelskamp significantly damaged the ability of House Republicans to do that.”

House Republican leaders don’t control outside spending and had nothing to do with the nearly $2 million in anti-Huelskamp ads that poured into his district from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Ricketts family’s Ending Spending political group.

But that’s not the crux of the caucus’ anger. Huelskamp approached Ryan seeking a public assurance that he could reclaim his seat on the House Agriculture Committee next year, a critical position for his farm-heavy district. Boehner (R-Ohio) backed an effort to remove Huelskamp from the panel three years ago as punishment for repeatedly defying leadership in big votes, something Ryan promised he would never do.

The loss of his committee seat was likely Huelskamp’s undoing: Marshall attacked him relentlessly for being ineffective and putting “rigid” conservative values over the needs of his constituents.

The Freedom Caucus got heavily involved in the back and forth with leadership, imploring Ryan to go public with an alleged commitment to reinstall Huelskamp on the panel. But the speaker declined.

This tmeans it’s probably a good time to break out the popcorn. Or a pleasant merlot:

Huelskamp reintroduced the Federal Marriage Amendment in Congress in 2013 immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”. The FMA would ban same-sex marriage nationwide. Huelskamp reintroduced the proposed amendment in February 2015 at the start of the 114th Congress. As a state Senator, he authored the Kansas 2005 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in that state.

Orlando-Area Republicans Back LGBT Protections

Jim Burroway

July 29th, 2016

A group of twenty LGBT Orlando-area Republicans signed on to a resolution pledging to support legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was done in conjunction with a commemoration of the Pulse gay night club massacre in which 49 victims lost their lives. According to the Orlando Sentinel:

The resolution supports the creation laws and ordinances that promote fairness by banning anti-gay and gender based discrimination and reads “Now, Therefore, we the undersign do hereby Resolve that all Americans should be treated with equality, dignity and respect, and support efforts of Florida Businesses and individuals to pass legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification”.

“These are what I like to think are the new generation of Republicans.” said (Orlando Mayor Teresa) Jacobs “What we grieved over a few weeks ago wasn’t a loss of gay people or Hispanic people, it was a loss of human beings. Human beings regardless of where they come from or who they love, had dreams and aspirations just like you and I.”

The Sentinel published a complete list of signatories. It included U.S. Congressman John Mica, and state Reps. Mike Miller and Rene Plasencia. Also signing the resolution were seven Orlando-area mayors, one city council president, two Orlando city commissioners, four county commissioners, two school board members, and the Orange County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Lew Oliver.

The inclusion of gender identity in the resolution seems particularly significant, given the hostility towards discrimination protections for transgender people that Republicans have recently shown elsewhere.

It’s hard to gauge how much support exists elsewhere in the state for any kind of LGBT non-discrimination. According to one report, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) met with Miami state Rep. David Richardson (D-Miami/Miami Beach), the state’s only openly gay lawmaker, and signaled that he might be willing to support some kind of unspecified non-discrimination bill. The Governor’s office would only confirm that a meeting took place. Meanwhile U.S. Sen. Mark Rubio (R-FL), who is re-booting his senatorial re-election campaign after his failed run for the GOP presidential nomination, is clearly banking on Florida’s politics being as anti-gay as ever. He is slated to headline an anti-gay event in Orlando in two weeks.

Trump: “I Will Protect Our LG, BTQ Citizens From Hateful Foreign Ideology”

Jim Burroway

July 22nd, 2016

This video is the full speech, for those who care to watch the whole thing. I’ve cued it up to this point:

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, forty-nine wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorists targeted LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.

And I have to say as a Republican, it’s so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.

Trump’s congratulating the audience for congratulating his speech perfectly illustrates the problem here. We’re only useful when we can be used in the service of a different kind of phobia, especially since Trump is silent on whether he would protect “LGBTQ citizens” from violence and oppression of hateful domestic ideology of the kind enshrined in his own party’s platform. Scott Shackford, a libertarian who is, for example, no fan of non-discrimination policies, nevertheless looks at Trump’s speech alongside the party’s platform and is underwhelmed:

This has been characterized as a sign of advancement for the Republican Party in some fashion, but is it really something new for the Republican Party to say they don’t want gay Americans to be murdered? Certainly the left would love to characterize the party that way, but for those of us who see ourselves independent of party ties, is this an actual shift in the party or something that was simply expected?

…Taken holistically, the message from the GOP seems to be “Hey, at least we don’t want to kill you! Radical Islam and Muslim-dominated countries want to kill you, but we don’t.” Well … thanks?

PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel: “I’m Proud To Be Gay, I’m Proud To Be a Republican, I’m Proud To Be An American”

Jim Burroway

July 22nd, 2016

Here’s a clip from his speech last night. I would note that the reaction from the convention hall didn’t really kick in until he said he was proud to be a Republican and proud to be an American. That’s all well and good, but I think it’s safe to say that if he had just ended with “I’m proud to be gay,” the hall wouldn’t have been nearly as noisy.

After all, out of all of the 2,470 delegates at the convention, pro-LGBT proponents couldn’t find just twenty-eight of them to back revisiting the most the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history. Thiel may be proud of them, but his fellow Republicans just see him as useful.

So It’s Come To This: Ted Cruz Is the GOP’s Conscience

Jim Burroway

July 21st, 2016

I guess it takes a narcissist to take on a narcissist. As William Saletan wrote back in January, the Republican Party is a failed state, and Trump is its warlord.

Log Cabin Republicans: “Losers! Morons! Sad!”

Jim Burroway

July 19th, 2016

LCR-Platform-Ad-USA-TodayThe Log Cabin Republicans have plagarized Donald Trump’s tweets (that’s a joke, people!) for a full-page ad in the Cleveland edition of USA Today in response to yesterday’s adoption by the Republican National Convention of the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history. They explain in a press-release:

“Response from allies to our reaction in the wake of the drafting of this vitriolic anti-LGBT platform has been nothing short of staggering,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo stated. “The email sent to our members last week propelled Log Cabin Republicans to the top trend on Facebook for more than two days, and now holds the record as the highest-grossing single fundraising appeal this organization has ever sent. But this was fundraising with a purpose—I’m pleased to share that every last cent donated to Log Cabin Republicans via last week’s email has been spent on this project. This unprecedented support is representative of the GOP I know, and this is the GOP our members want to see.”

The provocative advertisement reads, “LOSERS! MORONS! SAD! No, these aren’t tweets from Donald Trump. This is what common-sense conservatives are saying about the most anti-LGBT platform the Republican Party has ever had. GOP Platform Committee: Out of touch, out of line, and out of step with 61% of young Republicans who favor same-sex marriage.”

“It’s my hope this advertisement will be a wake-up call to the intransigent and ancient voices on the GOP Platform Committee that marriage equality is the law of the land, gay families are a part of the fabric of America, and LGBT Republicans have an important role to play in growing the Party,” Angelo concluded.

Anti-LGBT Language Will Stay In the GOP Platform

Jim Burroway

July 18th, 2016

This development, of course, isn’t surprising. Last week, after the Republican platform committee approved the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history, delegates were gearing up for a potential floor fight over the the anti-LGBT planks. All that was needed to force a floor debate over the platform was just 28 signatures from the 2,470 delegates — just a little over one percent. But they couldn’t get even that tiny bit of support in time to force a debate today:

Rachel Hoff, the platform committee’s first openly gay member, chalked up the failure of their “minority report” to scare tactics from her fellow GOP delegates.

“The pressure and intimidation for delegates to drop their support for the minority report worked, but this effort did demonstrate strong support for a more inclusive platform,” said Hoff, who represents Washington, DC. “A simpler document that stated our core principles would have been better, and there will be even more people who believe that on the committee in 2020.”

The Republican platform, which will be rubber-stamped by the full convention later today, includes calls for laws and government regulations recognizing only opposite-sex marriages; and endorsement of a constitutional amendment or the appointment of supreme Court judges which would result in allowing states to ban same-sex marriage; support for the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” and other legislation designed to allow discrimination against LGBT people; support for lawsuits challenging the Obama administrations transgender non-discrimination policies; and a provision inserted at the last minute by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins designed to allow parents to send their children to ex-gay therapy.

But hey, the GOP platform isn’t anti-LGBT at all. Don’t believe me? Just ask Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who told CNN that it’s not anti-LGBT because “there were gay people on the platform committee themselves, and we respect that and we’re an inclusive party. We’re a big tent.”

In fact, there was just one gay person on the platform committee, Rachel Hoff, who led the fight against the anti-LGBT planks.

Earlier This Week, The GOP Platform Committee Declared Porn a Public Health Crisis

Jim Burroway

July 15th, 2016

I scoffed the time, but now I have to apologize. It looks like the crisis is way worse than I thought:

15-trump-pence-logo.w529.h529

Twitter, naturally, is having a field day:

 

It’s Trump-Pence

Jim Burroway

July 15th, 2016

You, of course, remember Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for his bumbling, bungling handling of Indiana’s ill-fated right-to-discriminate law. Pence has positioned himself as political poison among LGBT voters and many women, while Trump’s name is poison to African Americans and Latino voters. Which I guess makes this the ultimate Republican diversity ticket.

David Barton Claimed His Anti-Gay Remarks Were “Taken Out of Context and Mischaracterized.” Here’s the Context.

Jim Burroway

July 14th, 2016

I’ve decided that no one in the English-speaking world has more fun telling tall tales than fourth- and fifth-generation West Texans. My partner hails from Fort Stockton. His brother loves telling tall tails. And when he does, there’s his mother revealing another fine talent that it seems Texans of all stripes posses: the pithy putdown. Think Ann Richards. After another tall tale, Chris’s mom always chimes in. “Ricky! You’d climb a tree to tell a lie!” In other words: Even when telling the truth is much, much easier, Ricky would rather exert the added physical effort to avoid doing so.

Which, of course, brings us to David Barton, another Texan from Aledo, just west of Ft. Worth. A fake historian who got his Bachelor’s degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University, Barton has climbed an entire rainforest of trees in his adult lifetime. Barton also happens to be a member of the Republican National Convention’s platform committee which just approved what the Log Cabin Republicans call the “most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s history.” On Monday, when the platform committee was about halfway through its work, The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak confronted Barton over just a couple of his anti-gay statements:

And David Barton, a committee member from Texas, believes that God is preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, and claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 partners apiece in their lifetimes.

Barton told The Daily Beast that these statements did not represent his views, and this was “an example of something taken out of context and mischaracterized. I’m an advocate for faith-based conservative values, which include love, grace, and truth, focusing on traditional family values.”

One might wonder what kind of context could possible render those arguments reasonable. Barton, of course, doesn’t explain. But he’s right: context is always important. Which is why Right Wing Watch re-posted the full context of those remarks:

In the case of his claim that gay people die “decades earlier” and have hundreds of sexual partners, Barton said that on his radio program back in 2010, when he was somewhat facetiously making the case that the government should regulate gay people’s sex lives.

Barton argued that since the government seeks to regulate all sorts of things that are unhealthy, it should also regulate consensual sex between members of the same gender because it is not only dangerous for those who practice it but bad for society as well:

Homosexual/bi-sexual individuals are seven times more likely to contemplate or commit suicide. Oooh, that doesn’t sound very healthy.

Homosexuals die decades earlier than heterosexuals. That doesn’t sound healthy.

Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to five hundred or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime.

Those statistics are not only stale — invented in the late 1980s — but they were invented out of whole cloth by Paul Cameron, using methods that got him barred or censured by every relevant professional professional organization in North America. Birds of a feather and all that.

As for Barton’s claim that God was preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for AIDS, let’s go to the videos. Here’s Barton at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado, in March 2015:

…anything the Bible says is right, there is scientific basis for it now. It’s fun to be able to show that. So, these guys, homosexuals — I’ll say guys, I’m from Texas, that’s guys and girls. Everybody’s “guys” in Texas . So these guys, homosexuals, lesbians, they want AIDS stopped. You saw the prevalence: sixty times higher than the general population, et cetera. And what they’re looking for is a vaccine. So the federal government in the last several years as spent tens of billions of dollars looking for a vaccine for AIDS — HIV/AIDS. And I don’t think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. And I say that based on a particular Bible verse. If you look at what Romans 1:27 says. This is what the Scripture says. It says, “Men, leaving natural relations with the woman, lusted toward each other and did that which is wrong receiving in their bodies the penalty due them.” And notice this: homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalty due them. The Bible says that if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that will penalize you. So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you’re keeping your body from penalizing you. I don’t think they’ll ever find a vaccine for AIDS.

And that was not just a one-off thing. A month later, Barton gave the same talk at Faith Baptist Church in Knightdale, North Carolina:

The population where AIDS is increasing is the homosexual population, and that’s why these guys are looking for a vaccine. They’ve spent about 26 billion dollars of federal money to find a vaccine and so far they have not found a vaccine. There’s been no vaccine that they have found for AIDS. Now in my opinion I don’t think they ever will find a vaccine for AIDS. Well that’s pretty callous isn’t it? No. Actually, I’m just using what the Bible says here. Romans 1:27, this is what the Scripture says: “Men, leaving natural relations with the woman, lusted toward each other and did that which is wrong receiving in their bodies the penalties (sic) due them.” Notice the last phrase: homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalties due them. If you can find a vaccine for AIDS, then you’re not receiving in your body the penalty.

Now, you know why they haven’t found a vaccine for AIDS so far? [It] is AIDS is the fastest known transmuting virus in the history of mankind. It is. Every time they get right on the verge — “Oh we finally have a discovery!” — AIDS is like dominos on the board. They just reshuffle and it comes out, “Oh my gosh, we’ve to to start from ground zero again.” They get real close to a vaccine and then it reshuffles — and every time they get close it just reshuffles. It’s a transmuting virus. They can’t identify it. Every time they get close, it becomes something new and they have to start again.

Now, that was my position that I don’t think you will find a cure for it based on Romans 1:27. But I acknowledge that I make mistakes. And so when this article came out: “for the first time ever, an HIV vaccine shows success in trial.” You go, well I must have misinterpreted because, you know, this… And then about six weeks later, this article came out and says “NIH halts trial of HIV vaccine after it fails to work.” They made a big splash, “Oh we finally have one that works!” And then they went back and tested it and said, “That doesn’t work! It’s just like all the others.” So, to this point, there is still no cure for that behavior which is the result of their body’s penalizing them for what they do in homosexuality. That’s just what the Bible says.

So, so many trees. Barton had actually trotted out those vaccine headlines a month earlier in Colorado, and Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton tracked them down:

The problem with Barton’s presentation is that the second headline didn’t come out “six weeks later.” Rather it came out four years later in 2013 and was about an entirely different attempt to create a vaccine.

The Yahoo News article Barton referred to (the second headline) is only available via Internet Archives and is dated April 26, 2013. The Yahoo article linked to the NIH announcement that the HVTN 505 clinical trial had been halted. The HVTN 505 trial results had nothing to do with the earlier success of RV 144. The RV 144 trial was reported in 2009, the same year that the HVTN 505 started. The NIH has more on the HVTN 505 trial on the NIH website.

Barton got the time frame wrong and made it appear that the two headlines were related to each other.

When the second video came out, Throckmorton added:

Barton’s use of the headlines is extremely deceptive. In fact, progress continues to be made which builds upon the modestly successful vaccine already available. In fact, R144 vaccine does offer protection from HIV infection. An extension of the success of R144 is being conducted in South Africa now.

Family “Research” Council Gearing Up for GOP Floor Fight Over Anti-LGBT Platform Provisions

Jim Burroway

July 13th, 2016

Moments ago, FRC Action, the political action wing of the Family “Research” Council, sent out the following email blast to try to head of a floor fight at the Republican Convention next week:

LGBT Activists Attempt to Hijack GOP Platform

When the gavel fell in Cleveland yesterday evening, delegates at the Republican platform committee had succeeded in crafting one of the most conservative GOP platforms in modern times. Not all were celebrating the clearly enunciated conservative principles that underscored the party’s pro-military, pro-life, pro-natural marriage, pro-religious freedom stands. In the concluding moments of the platform gathering, a small group of delegates were engaged in an outright deceptive effort to derail the platform and potentially the convention. After repeated efforts to redefine marriage for the Republican party and interject special LGBT provisions in the platform, an effort was launched to create a Minority Report promoting items for an LGBT agenda, under the guise of creating a preamble for the platform from the 1860 Republican platform.

As soon as the proceedings concluded, the initiators of this effort announced to CNN that 37 delegates had signed on to a call for a Minority Report that would circumvent the process and put the platform onto the floor of next week’s convention and potentially derailing the GOP gathering. David Barton was one of the delegates that was misled into signing the resolution. He wrote a letter to delegates last night explaining what took place and urging others who may have been lied to, to remove their names from the resolution.

The use of such deception is not surprising, given the tactics of LGBT activists. Social media, fueled by anti-Christian organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been abuzz that I added language to the GOP platform that has embraced “reparative therapy” for homosexuals. Nothing provides a clearer example of both their dishonesty and their self-absorption. Here is the exact language that I added to the platform under the subsection of “Protecting Individual Conscience in Health Care:”

“We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. We support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children and urge enactment of legislation that would require parental consent to transport their daughters across state lines for abortion.”

The subcommittee adopted the language without any opposition — even from a LGBT activist who was on the subcommittee and leading the effort for Paul Singer, the wealthy Republican donor.

Despite the deceptive and desperate attempts by those who want to undermine the Republican Party’s longstanding support for the traditional family values which have made America the envy of the world, the GOP’s stand for these values is stronger than ever.

Here is a bit more information that I am pretty confident you will not read in media reports. Those attempting to change the party’s stand on marriage and morality repeatedly claimed that they represented the next generation, and that the party could not hold these views and survive. What was interesting is that with the exception of maybe one delegate making those claims, they were my age or older. But in contrast, those who passionately and successfully advanced natural marriage and traditional values in the platform were mostly conservative millennials. Once again, I challenge you not to believe what the media and the Left claim about the next generation. Keep training them up to stand firm in the truth.

Stay tuned. I’ll have more from Cleveland as the FRC Action Team continues to represent you and the values that make America — America.

You can read some background about how the “therapy for their minor children” clause made it into the final draft of the platform here. Dallas Morning News has more background:

And taking a page from the Texas Republican Party’s platform, Louisiana delegate Tony Perkins proposed language endorsing so-called “conversion” or “reparative therapy.”

The practice, which has been widely criticized by doctors and therapists, seeks to “cure” homosexuals through analysis and, oftentimes, prayer. The new platform language, which the committee approved, does not actually explicitly mention the practice, but says parents should be allowed “to determine the proper treatment or therapy” for  their children.

After the meeting, Perkins said the language would extend to any “physical, emotional” therapy.

According to Time’s Zeke Miller, the clause was slipped in even though Perkins had missed a deadline to pre-file the amendment:

GOP Endorses “Most Anti-LGBT Platform in the Party’s 162-Year History”

Jim Burroway

July 13th, 2016

As Time reported:

On Tuesday morning, the first openly gay member of the Republican Party’s platform committee said she was offering amendments to see “just how far this committee is willing to go to avoid a single positive reference to the LGBT community.”

According to reports, the platform committee went about as far as they could. The committee voted twice yesterday — exactly one month to the day after the Orlando massacre at the Pulse gay night club — to erase the gays from the worst mass shooting on American soil in a century. For example, under “War on Terrorism,” the platform now reads:

PlatformScreenShot

War on Terrorism

We are a nation at war! Islamic extremists have declared war on our Nation and the civilized world. The terrorist’s attack on the LGBT community in Orlando on June 12th ads to the long list of hundreds of attacks of war against the United States…

The strike-out “on the LGBT commiunity” was a proposed amendment to the platform which was rejected by the platform committee. That move builds on a predominantly-Republican theme of refusing to say our name. In another statement on “radical Islamic terrorism,” the platform committee rejected a mention of “LGBT individuals, Christians, Jews and women” as being “a target of violence and oppression.”

The New York Times political reporter Jeremy Peters reports: “Jim Bopp, a delegate from Indiana, said the Republican Party had always rejected ‘identity politics.’ Arguing against the measure, he said, ‘Obviously, there’s an agenda here’.” Peters continues:

But nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed. The platform calls for overturning the Supreme Court marriage decision with a constitutional amendment and makes references to appointing judges “who respect traditional family values.”

“Has a dead horse been beaten enough yet?” asked Annie Dickerson, a committee member from New York, who chastised her colleagues for writing language offensive to gays into the platform “again and again and again.”

Additional provisions included those that promoted state laws to limit which restrooms transgender people could use, nodded to “conversion therapy” for gays by saying that parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference and stated that “natural marriage” between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged.

The Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins, who is a Louisiana delegate to the platform committee, was in a celebratory mood going into yesterday’s final meeting ahead of the convention. In a email blast to supporters:

The marriage plank was strengthened with language explaining why children deserve a mom and dad. Religious liberty text was added protecting businesses and military service members. …

We are also pleased that the party is now on record standing with the 23 states that are suing President Obama over his bathroom & locker room edict. These amendments were overwhelmingly adopted. There were a handful of LGBT activists and sympathizers who opposed language highlighting the privacy and safety concerns related to the president’s locker room decrees as well as the party’s clearly stated view that natural marriage is the cornerstone of society. Some in the media attempted to seize on this as evidence of a divided party. Far from it. My prediction is that Republicans will leave Cleveland with a solid platform and will unite around the party’s nominee for the purpose of saving America for the next generation and beyond.

Log Cabin Republicans were outraged:

There’s no way to sugar-coat this: I’m mad as hell — and I know you are, too.

Moments ago, the Republican Party passed the most anti-LGBT Platform in the Party’s 162-year history.

Opposition to marriage equality, nonsense about bathrooms, an endorsement of the debunked psychological practice of “pray the gay away” — it’s all in there.

This isn’t my GOP, and I know it’s not yours either. Heck, it’s not even Donald Trump’s! When given a chance to follow the lead of our presumptive presidential nominee and reach out to the LGBT community in the wake of the awful terrorist massacre in Orlando on the gay nightclub Pulse, the Platform Committee said NO.

Peters said the platform that emerged from yesterday’s meeting “amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party’s hard-line platform in 2012.” With the public moving steadily toward support for marriage equality and non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, moderate Republicans say they have enough signatures to demand a vote on their proposals to take to fight over the party’s anti-LGBT planks to all 2,475 delegates on the Convention floor, which should make for some compelling must-see TV.

The GOP Will Mark The One-Month Anniversary of the Pulse Night Club Massacre with a Hearing to Legalize More Anti-LGBT Discrimination

Jim Burroway

July 12th, 2016

I kid you not:

Tuesday’s congressional hearing on a federal “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination is “disturbing,” a White House spokesperson said Monday.

Jeff Tiller, a White House spokesperson, made the remarks in response to an email request from the Washington Blade to comment on the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform’s controversial hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act.

“We strongly oppose attempts to roll back non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans,” Tiller said. “It’s disturbing that congressional Republicans plan to hold a hearing tomorrow on discriminatory, anti-LGBT legislation. President Obama remains firmly committed to promoting and defending the equal rights of all Americans, including the rights of LGBT Americans.”

A coalition of 70 groups has called on Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to cancel the hearing, which is set to take place on the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., claiming the lives of 49 people and wounding 53 others.

The so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” will allow businesses and individuals to circumvent federal protections against anti-LGBT discrimination and allow businesses to withhold marriage benefits from same-sex couples for religious reasons. The bill was introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) House and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in the Senate.

Witnesses set to testify for the bill include Kelvin Cochran, a former Atlanta fire chief who was fired for distributing a book he wrote, titled Who Told You That You Were Naked?,  to his subordinates (including, presumably, LGBT subordinates in the department) which purportedly presented “the Biblical view” of homosexuality, adultery and other sexual topics. Other witnesses include a representative from the anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom and a political science professor from the Witherspoon Institute.

Those set to testify against the bill include former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA); Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit which overturned state bans on same-sex marriage nationwide, and a law professor from the Columbia University’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law.

Reports: Draft Republican Platform To Include Support for Ex-Gay Therapy

Jim Burroway

July 11th, 2016

According to Zeke Miller, political reporter for Time magazine, a Republican Platform Subcommittee on Healthcare, Education, and Crime, has approved a plank offered by the Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins:

An amendment offered by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins offered support for the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” for children who identify as LGBT.

“We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children,” the amendment said. Perkins originally drafted a more explicit embrace of the practice, but amended the text after consultations with top RNC officials. Perkins’ amendment, which passed the subcommittee, also calls for legislation to require parental consent for minor women to cross state lines for the purposes of obtaining an abortion.

Perkins is an official GOP delegate from Louisiana.

The subcommittee also recommended platform amendments calling internet porn “a public health crisis,” and it reportedly strengthened language opposing marriage equality. Miller doesn’t say what the new language consists of. He also reports that a separate Subcommittee on Restoring Constitutional Government has approved its own language opposing same-sex marriage. Miller also reported on the debate over the so-called “bathroom bills”:

The subcommittee also considered several “bathroom” amendments following the ongoing controversy in North Carolina which requires transgender individuals to use bathrooms as their birth gender, rather than how they identify. “I think this takes us to a dark place,” (New York delegate Annie) Dickerson said. “It shrinks our tent. We should be about addition not subtraction,” she added. West Virginia National Committeewoman Melody Potter disagreed, speaking in favor of amendments to echo the North Carolina law, which has sparked a backlash in the state, “nobody wants to discriminate against anybody, but I think it’s an issue of safety.” The measure ultimately passed.

Dickerson is a longtime fundraiser for Paul E. Singer’s conservative think tank that has been pushing for more support for LGBT equality in the Republican Party.

Dallas Morning News reporter Lauren McGaughy adds that “the same subcommittee approved platform language that opposes prekindergarten, supports the teaching of the Bible as a literature elective in all public schools and calls for a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution” to “give parents the right to direct their children’s education, a tacit critique of the English language and math standards known as Common Core.”

The full Platform Committee is set to begin taking up subcommittee recomendations later this afternoon, with the final draft expected to be completed tomorrow afternoon.

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