This past month the Republican party held its national convention. While the purpose of the convention is to unite the party it seems as if it has left the party divided more so than it ever has been. The main purpose of the gathering is to nominate a presidential candidate, however several other articles of business are hashed out by the party throughout the week. Perhaps the most important of which is the ratification of the national party platform.
This year the party platform covered many of the usual issues pushed by the Republican Party: “fair and simple” taxation, protectionist trade policy, second amendment preservation, etc. However it also covered some new things; some good and some bad. One of the refreshing things to be found in the Republican party platform was the section on requiring transparency with regards to the operations of the Federal Reserve. In fact if you only read this section it would almost seem as if the party has taken the hint from Ron Paul Republicans. However alas, the party that claims to be for individual liberty and small government also decided to include in its platform some of the most anti-LGBT language.:
“Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman…
The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: Every child deserves a married mom and dad. The reality remains that millions of American families do not have the advantages that come with that structure. We honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the burdens of parenting alone and embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect. But respect is not enough. Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society.”
A move sure to alienate gay Republicans and their growing supporter base
Now for homosexual conservatives this is a big red flag. Especially for Republicans in states like New Hampshire, Maine, and Colorado where the state Republican parties are largely in favor of marriage equality for the LGBT community. Here in New Hampshire there are even openly gay candidates for state offices. Clarence Gardner, an openly gay Republican candidate for state representative for Manchester’s 12th ward, had this to say:
“The foundation of civil society is contracts that can be depended on. The cornerstone of the family, with regard to children, is having a parent in the home. Historically, that was the mother, with the father out making a living, but there is nothing that says male/female parenting is needed… The role of a government in encouraging the welfare of children is promoting — and not destroying — an environment in which a child knows who its parents are, and having at least one at home to raise it. If the parents are married in the eyes of their church, that’s fine, but not the business of the government.”
The GOP fight against the LGBT movement is a losing battle
I had the chance to sit down with Glen Aldrich (R-Meredith), a sitting state representative, to discuss the language in the national platform.
“Government shouldn’t be in the business of defining or regulating anything, much less marriage.”, said Rep. Aldrich. “I do not understand why my party wants to make personal relationships a national issue.” Republicans often cite religious objections to same-sex marriage. However, when polled, most Christians are in favor of same-sex marriage. According to PewForum.org roughly two-thirds of American protestants and 58% of Catholics support such policy. Unfortunately the Republican party lags behind with only one-third in support of marriage equality. It would seem that the party appeals to the minority of protestants as opposed to the majority, and seeing as this is one of the party’s key demographics, this policy is likely costing their candidates more votes than it earns them.
If the Republicans expect to be the party that espouses the ideals of individual liberty, a significant change is going to be necessary. Republicans need to abandon their hardline, protestant rhetoric in favor of a more secular approach. At present, the platform is more exclusionary than it is inclusionary. In order to unite people under common principles the Republicans will need to be the party that includes people rather than alienates them. What better way than to start by including the LGBT vote?