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Learn More about the GOP 2012 Platform

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

The GOP 2012 platform – drafted last week and slated for approval today – represents the most conservative platform the party has put forth in quite some time on a number of issues, particularly LGBT equality. Despite public opinion polling and legislative victories that demonstrate the growing momentum for equality, the GOP platform looks more like a snapshot back into time and represents the agenda of a few anti-LGBT extremists (like Tony Perkins, who touts his authorship of the marriage plank) as opposed to the party, and American, mainstream.

On Friday, Politico reported on snippets of the platform accidently posted to the RNC website – and promptly taken down.

GOP Platform on Marriage Equality, DOMA, and LGBT Families

  • GOP platform defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
  • Calls for a defense of DOMA and support for a federal marriage amendment.
  • Says that children raised in same-sex households are not receiving the best upbringing possible.

The GOP 2012 platform presents conflicting messages when it comes to marriage and families: on the one hand, the platform cites the American family as a foundation of society. On the other, it rejects relationship recognition and recommits the party to a vigorous defense of both DOMA and a federal marriage amendment.

From the introduction of the “Renewing American Values” platform section:

It [the American family] is the foundation of our society and the first level of self-government. Its daily lessons - cooperation, patience, mutual respect, responsibility, self-reliance – are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic. Government can never replace the family. That is why we insist that public policy, from taxation to education, from healthcare to welfare, be formulated with attention to the needs and strengths of the family.

The “Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage” plank goes on to say of marriage equality:

…the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage.

That same plank implies very subtly implies that children raised by same-sex couples are at a disadvantage compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents:

It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals.

President Obama and the Democratic Platform on Marriage Equality, DOMA and LGBT Families

President Obama voiced his support for full marriage equality for LGBT couples in May 2012, and had previously directed the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA.

The Democratic platform, due to be officially endorsed in Charlotte next week, also is the first of its kind to endorse full marriage equality:

We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

 GOP Platform on Judicial Activism and Marriage Equality

  • Party’s national platform picks up extremist narrative that “activist judges” are pushing marriage equality.
  • Re-iterates GOP’s commitment to defending DOMA.

The GOP platform sounds the alarm on alleged judicial activists and reiterates the party’s commitment to appointing “constitutionalist” judges who will, among other things, uphold DOMA:

Judicial activism…undermines American law. The sole solution, apart from impeachment, is the appointment of constitutionalist jurists, who will interpret the law as it was originally intended rather than make it….With a Republican Administration, the Department [of Justice] will stop suing States for exercising those powers reserved to the States, will stop abusing its preclearance authority to block photo-ID voting laws, and will fulfill its responsibility to defend all federal laws in court, including the Defense of Marriage Act.

In a draft of the platform leaked – but not among the sections accidentally posted to the RNC website on 8/24 – the party goes one step further in directly connecting what it sees as “judicial activism” to marriage equality:

An activist judiciary usurps the powers reserved to other branches of government and endangers the foundations of our country. We oppose the Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle – in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts – makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath….We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens in the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other states to do so.

GOP Platform on Open Military Service and Equality for Same-Sex Military Families

  • In a swipe at “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, platform says the military won’t be a platform for “social experimentation.”
  • Blocks full equality for same-sex military families by signaling a commitment to ensure DOMA is carried out in the military.

The GOP’s first national platform since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” goes to great lengths to show its displeasure with open service, while also signaling it will take advantage of every route possible to ensure openly gay and lesbian servicemembers are denied full equality:

We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.

The platform goes on to cite military suicides as one of the reasons why military chaplains should not have to recognize gay and lesbian servicemembers:

With military suicides running at the rate of one a day, with post-service medical conditions, including addiction and mental illness, and with the financial stress and homelessness that is often related to these factors, there is an urgent need for the kind of counseling that faith-based institutions can best provide. We support rights of conscience and religious freedom for military chaplains and people of faith. A Republican Commander in Chief will protect religious independence of military chaplains….We will enforce and defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Armed Forces as well as in the civilian world.

GOP Platform on LGBT Rights Abroad

While the Obama administration has called LGBT rights human rights, and has taken steps to ensure the dignity and humane treatment of LGBT people abroad, the GOP platform instead cites this historic step forward as a shortcoming that it intends to reverse:

The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, legalized abortion and the homosexual rights agenda.

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