Election 2024

Conservatives are worried the GOP platform won’t oppose marriage equality & trans rights this year

Former President Donald Trump during the debate on June 27, 2024, at CNN's studios in Atlanta.
Former President Donald Trump during the debate on June 27, 2024, at CNN's studios in Atlanta. Photo: Jack Gruber/USA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Republican Party will hold its national convention later this month and is expected to adopt a new national party platform outlining the party’s vision for the country. Many conservative activists are now worried that the re-election campaign of former President Donald Trump will try to remove controversial positions from the document, like its opposition to LGBTQ+ rights — including marriage equality — and reproductive choice.

“The talk of changing the Republican party’s pro-life platform is deeply concerning for pro-life Americans across the country,” said Tim Chapman, incoming president of the conservative organization Advancing American Freedom. He told ABC News he worries that a call for an abortion ban won’t appear in the 2024 GOP platform.

The current national Republican Party platform, as it appears on the party’s website, is 60 pages long and contains numerous passages highlighting the party’s opposition to rights for historically oppressed groups. The Trump campaign is rumored to be pushing for a “paring down” of the document to “ensure our policy commitments to the American people are… easily digestible.”

A memo to convention delegates signed by two of the Trump campaign’s lead advisors calls the platform “textbook-long” and “an unnecessarily verbose treatise” that provides “fuel for our opponent’s fire of misinformation and misrepresentation to voters.”

Suzanne Bowdey, who writes for the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Family Research Council’s site, called this “a sad attempt to skirt the abortion issue and untether the party from longtime values.” Trump has said that abortion should be left to the states to decide and that “you don’t need a federal ban” on abortion, which puts him at odds with many Christian conservatives in the party.

Bowdey says that the “paring down” could also include the platform’s opposition to “extremism like same-sex marriage and transgenderism.” The current Republican platform states the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage in a long section that accuses the Supreme Court of “rob[bing] 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Another section states the party’s opposition to anti-discrimination measures that include LGBTQ+ people, calling such measures threats to religious liberty. The platform calls for several laws, including one that would “bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” a way of saying that anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination should be legal.

In a separate section, the document says that “every child deserves a married mom and dad” and suggests that children not raised in such households are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, do poorly in school, and “engage in crime.” Research on children raised by same-sex couples says otherwise.

The section on education calls for discrimination against LGBTQ+ students to be legalized at the federal level. The administration of former President Barack Obama issued guidance that said that federal law protects LGBTQ+ students from discrimination. The GOP platform says this was an attempt “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.”

“Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power,” the platform states. “They are determined to reshape our schools – and our entire society – to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues.”

As for abortion, the platform calls for a constitutional amendment banning it.

The platform was adopted in 2016 and the Republican Party voted to keep it in 2020. This year, there will be meetings held in the week leading up to the Republican National Convention to hammer out a new platform, and NPR reports that those meetings will not be open to the public.

While the Trump campaign is looking to downplay the party’s opposition to women’s and LGBTQ+ rights to avoid controversy, other prominent Republicans are pushing back.

“I think it’s a mistake for Republicans to avoid such an important critical issue. And I know it’s controversial,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this weekend on Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ podcast. “But I think it is so central to who we are as Americans to understand the value of every human life.”

“It will be difficult to get federal legislative limits” on abortion, Pompeo said. “I would encourage Congress to work on that.”

A majority of Republican voters oppose marriage equality in 2024, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

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