How’s this for tokenism? R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans told BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner that the RNC subcommittee charged with drafting the Republican Party platform approved some language this morning that might, possibly, sort of, kind of give a nod to LGBT people, in an entirely non-LGBT-specific way of course. The approved text reads:
“We embrace the principle that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.”
And this is supposed to be a gesture towards the LGBT community? Color me skeptical. If Cooper’s report is accurate, the proposed language is so generic that I don’t know if I can honestly characterize it as “progress.” Can it really be “progress” if the party’s presumptive presidential and vice presidential nominees both support the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” and oppose the right of same-sex couples to marry, as Geidner notes? Is it really a step forward if the proposed language fails to repudiate the Republican Party’s decades-long record of opposition to every major LGBT rights issue, from employment and hate crimes protections to adoption rights, immigration equality, marriage equality, anti-bullying laws, and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” It doesn’t even mention the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, LGBT, sexual orientation, or gender identity, but we’re supposed to believe that this is progress?
In fairness, Cooper did tell Geidner that an effort is being made to coax the party to go further:
Rick Cochran of Vermont, Cooper added, has proposed including sexual orientation in the full nondiscrimination list advocated for by the party.
But I’m not holding my breath on that — after all, the RNC’s platform committee is still too scared of the party’s virulently anti-gay base to even mention the LGBT community by name.
What do you think? Let TWO know below.
UPDATE: Log Cabin’s counterpart on the left, the National Stonewall Democrats, have responded with a blistering press release from Executive Director Jerame Davis. It provides a handy list of the anti-LGBT excerpts from past Republican Party platforms, along with the following remarks from Davis:
“The idea that this generic bit of meaningless rhetoric is movement by the GOP toward a more inclusive and pro-equality footing is preposterous. For decades, the Republican platform has included anti-LGBT language that, at various times, has opposed adoption rights, marriage equality, and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“What’s even more ridiculous is the idea that this language is something new. The Republican Party platform has included similar language since at least 1996. This is just a rewording of a generic principle that few Republicans would construe to include LGBT equality. While the GOP gives lip service to the principle of dignity and respect for all, the reality of that ideal clearly escapes them.
“The real message to read in this is that the GOP’s cognitive dissonance continues unabated and the apologists at Log Cabin Republicans are still selling snake oil and calling it progress.”