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While negotiations over the Democratic platform were riddled with controversy over how far the party would go in its support of progressive climate and economic issues, the Republican platform, by contrast, takes a sharp rightward tack, particularly on social issues such as LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights.
Members of the RNC platform committee spent hours debating the draft document in Cleveland on Monday and Tuesday that will be considered by the full body later this week ahead of the GOP convention.
And while some reporting has focused on minor infighting, what emerged is a platform widely seen as discriminatory and hateful.
The 112 delegates voted overwhelmingly against a measure put forth by Washington D.C. delegate Rachel Hoff, the first openly gay member of the RNC platform committee, that would have acknowledged “a diversity of opinion within our party” in regards to same-sex marriage.
An amendment that sought to modify language that called for children to be raised by a married mother and father to alternately read “stable, loving home” was also rejected.
Instead, GOP committee members opted to include language, put forth by Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council, supporting so-called “conversion” or “reparative therapy,” which purports to “cure” homosexual inclinations through analysis and, frequently, prayer.
The approved platform language says parents should be allowed “to determine the proper treatment or therapy” for their children. Such a practice, the Southern Poverty Law Center said, has not only “proven to be fraudulent,” but “it can cause grave harm, up to and including suicidality. And it tears families apart.”
The latest draft also calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v Hodges decision, which ended all state bans on same-sex marriage. According to the Guardian, that “represented a notable shift from past years,” such as the 2012 platform, which more overtly “called for a constitutional amendment to legally define marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman.'”
The subcommittee also approved a provision opposing the Obama administration’s recent guidance document advising schools how to avoid discrimination against transgender students, describing the advisory as “illegal and dangerous” as well as “alien to America’s history and traditions.”
Also caught in the Republican cross-hairs are women, particularly those who wish to exercise their right to an abortion.
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According to reporting by Politico, attendees said that the subcommittee has advanced language “condemning Planned Parenthood and calling for Supreme Court justices who will reverse decisions in favor of abortion rights.” The platform calls for Supreme Court vacancies to be filled with “committed judicial conservatives, like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, so that the Court can begin to reverse the long line of liberal decisions — from Roe to Obergefell to the Obamacare cases.”
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Billy Valentine, director of government affairs at the Susan B. Anthony List, said the platform “very well may be the strongest pro-life platform yet.”
As for foreign policy, the draft document also reportedly contained some “wins” for the presumptive nominee, including an amendment that affirms Donald Trump’s controversial plan to build an enormous “wall” along the United States’ southern border.
According to CNN, quoting Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the latest draft states: “That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protect if all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
This was an adaptation of earlier language, which read: “That is why we have in the past demanded, at our vulnerable borders, construction of a physical barrier and, at all ports of entry, maximum vigilance.”
The platform also adopted some of Trump’s rhetoric on trade, calling for “better negotiated trade agreements that put America first.”
“Republicans understand that you can succeed in a negotiation only if you are willing to walk away from it,” the draft reads, according to CNN. “A Republican president will insist on parity in trade and will stand willing to implement countervailing duties if other countries don’t cooperate.”
Unsurprisingly, given Trump’s stance on environmental issues, the committee unanimously voted to include language that declares coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource”—which, as Grist points out, “just happens to reflect the same talking points favored by the lobby group, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).”
The platform also moves the party further right in regards to its stance on Israel, removing language that called for a two-state solution and changing the draft to now read: “We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier, and specifically recognize that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (‘BDS’) is anti-Semitic in nature and seeks to destroy Israel.”
The draft also encourages “state legislators to offer The Bible as a literature curriculum and elective” in high schools at the same time that the committee widely backed a new provision that declares Internet pornography a “public health crisis.”
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