As America’s two major parties hold their conventions this month, their platforms take opposite approaches to LGBT voters, with Democrats bringing the community closer into the fold and Republicans excising it.
The proposed 2016 Democratic Party Platform addresses LGBT rights in their own section for the first time. But the goals are more general than in the past.
While the 2008 platform stated positions on specific laws, and 2012’s enumerated the Obama administration’s policies in support of the LGBT community, the current platform reads more like a progressive pivot.
Aiming to recognize intersectional LGBT identities, the 2016 platform names the issues of LGBT homelessness, bullying and discrimination. But it makes no mention of legislation like the Equality Act, which would prohibit LGBT discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.
Delegates are expected to adopt the platform at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week. For more information, visit http://www.demconvention.com.
Here’s a look at how the platforms from 2008 and 2012 compare to the present:
2008: “We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us.”
2012: “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.”
2016: “Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people — like every other American — have the right to marry the person they love.”
2008: “We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits and protections. We will enact a comprehensive bipartisan employment nondiscrimination act.”
2012: “We know that putting America back to work is Job One, and we are committed to ensuring that Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Nondiscrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
2016: “A restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home. That is unacceptable and must change. Democrats will fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans and push back against state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals … We will promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world.”
2008: “We support a comprehensive national strategic plan to combat HIV/AIDS and a Ryan White Care Act designed and funded to meet today’s epidemic, that … focuses on the communities such as African-Americans and Latino-Americans who are disproportionately impacted … We support providing Medicaid coverage to more low-income HIV-positive Americans.”
2012: “President Obama established the first-ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for responding to the domestic epidemic, which calls for reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, optimizing health outcomes and reducing HIV-related health disparities. This is an evidence-based plan that is guided by science and seeks to direct resources to the communities at greatest risk, including gay men, black and Latino Americans, substance users and others at high risk of infection.”
2016: “Democrats believe an AIDS-free generation is within our grasp … We will implement the National HIV and AIDS Strategy, increase research funding for the National Institutes of Health, cap pharmaceutical expenses for people living with HIV and AIDS, address HIV criminalization laws and expand access for HIV prevention medications, particularly for the populations most at risk of infection.”
Republican Party Platform
The 2016 Republican Party Platform almost entirely ignores LGBT people. The only mention of the community comes in a discussion of Title IX, a statute that prohibits discrimination in education based on gender. The platform notes that Obama is “imposing a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and other categories.”
Without mentioning same-sex couples or gay and lesbian Americans, the platform “condemn[s]” the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Windsor for “wrongly remov[ing] the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law,” and Obergefell v. Hodges for “robb[ing] 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
The Republican platform is available at www.gop.com.