Nothing gay-friendly about the GOP
There is nothing positive for LGBTs in today's Republican Party. The platform is the most homophobic in history. The presidential nominee vacillates on virtually every issue affecting LGBTs. And the vice presidential nominee has targeted LGBT folks and people living with HIV/AIDS for decades.
It's another presidential election, and for the GOP, it's open season on queers, despite last month's mass shooting in Orlando and Republicans' faux sympathy.
While the party platforms are not binding on the candidates, they serve to drum up support from their party's base. This year's GOP platform is a disaster for LGBTs, as the process was taken over by anti-gay conservatives who included every anti-gay fixation they could think of – from supporting conversion therapy to espousing a traditionalist view of child rearing to declaring pornography a public health crisis.
We are alarmed that Republican nominee Donald Trump selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. We don't need another reason to oppose Trump, but choosing Pence clearly demonstrates that Trump does not care about LGBTs, despite his comments to the contrary. "You tell me who's better for the gay community and who's better for women than Donald Trump," Trump said shortly after the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 49 mostly gay Latino men dead. Well, with a platform endorsing conversion therapy and opposing same-sex marriage (which is, by the way, the law of the land now), Trump's party is definitely not better for LGBTs. "Post-Orlando Trump said he was only one to protect LGBTs," tweeted California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom the other day. "GOP platform just released says conversion therapy OK."
When Pence was in Congress, he opposed federal HIV/AIDS funding – perhaps the one issue that has had broad bipartisan support ever since President George W. Bush established the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief aimed at curbing the epidemic worldwide – saying that such funds should go to organizations that work to "pray away the gay." As governor of Indiana, Pence was in the spotlight last year when he signed a religious freedom bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gays. Following sustained criticism from many corporations, civil rights groups, and others, Pence signed a revised version of the bill that clarifies businesses can't use the legislation as a justification to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But the law wasn't repealed, and it remains to be seen how it will be enforced.
From their interview on CBS' 60 Minutes last Sunday, it's clear that Pence will have difficulty trumping Trump – who kept cutting Pence off and interrupting him. When Pence was asked if he could "walk down the hall" to the Oval Office and tell Trump he was wrong on something and should apologize, Trump quickly noted that he doesn't apologize. Apparently that's the secret to his "success." We'll never know because Trump refuses to release his tax returns.
Trump's discriminatory immigration policies would be terrible for LGBTs escaping dangerous conditions in their home countries or striving for better opportunities in the U.S. And it's bad for immigrants who are already in this country and are looking for a path to citizenship, only to be marginalized and portrayed as criminals.
The mainstream media keeps reporting that Trump is the most pro-LGBT Republican nominee. This is a false narrative, and shows that after all the gains the community has made, straight journalists don't get it. The problem is that this false impression is perpetrated in major news outlets, causing the public to think that Trump is indeed gay-friendly and wouldn't be so bad as president and so are puzzled when gays are opposed to him.
Trump is a master at seizing the news cycle and offers just enough wiggle room so he can back out of any comment. That doesn't bode well for a Trump administration, in which one day he may be for non-discrimination (as he was initially when weighing in on North Carolina's anti-trans bathroom law), then the next day be against it (as he was a short time later when he said such laws are up to the states). Heck, sometimes Trump contradicts himself in the same speech.
Next week, in stark contrast, people will see that the Democratic Party's platform is the most LGBT-friendly in history and presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton stands solidly with our community. Her problem is that, like Trump, not a lot of people like her. But running for president should be more than a popularity contest. And when weighing LGBT issues in balance with a host of others, there really is only one choice.