Although the boasting from Tony Perkins and other right-wing members of the Republican party’s platform committee overshadowed more moderate voices within the GOP, one woman at the center of it all is speaking out, about her futile efforts to win recognition for LGBTQ Republicans.
Rachel Hoff, the first openly gay member of the platform committee, told C-SPAN this week her emotions were evident as she argued for the party to “include me and those like me” in its decision-making, and to soften the party’s hard-line position on “traditional marriage.” But her impassioned plea fell on deaf ears, and her attempt to amend the platform to become more accepting of same-sex marriage was rejected.
It was only in conversations with other delegates that Hoff said she finally realized how “out-of-step” the platform committee is with not just the party but with the nation.
The platform that was ultimately adopted defined marriage as between one man and one woman, rejected directives by the Obama administration to include transgender people as a protected class under federal sex discrimination laws, and most concerning to Hoff, that parents should be allowed to force their LGBTQ children into “ex-gay” conversion therapy.
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“It’s terrible,” Hoff said. “It’s hurtful. That is one thing that makes LGBT kids kill themselves, and the fact that we would have any reference to it is dangerous.” But her pleas went nowhere. The committee even rejected an attempt to include language condemning foreign terrorist attacks against the LGBT community, which Donald Trump himself mentioned in his speech accepting the party’s nomination.
But Hoff said she is not sold on Trump.
“His rhetoric has been better than other Republicans, which I’ll admit is a low bar,” she told C-SPAN. But she finds no evidence to convince her that “he would exercise any real leadership on this issue.”
“There’s a perception that we’re really far behind the left, but you will remember that Barack Obama did not support marriage equality until 2008,” said Hoff. “Plenty of Republicans, national Republican leaders, came out for marriage equality before Hillary Clinton. And so I would encourage some memory of recent history in terms of the rhetoric that’s directed toward the Republican Party on this issue.”
“Outside of the platform committee, our party is ready to move on,” Hoff said. “It will only be more clear four years from now how much the platform is out of step with the country, obviously, and the Republican Party,” she said.
Watch the entire interview with Rachel Hoff here, via C-SPAN.