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July 22nd, 2016

No, They Are Not Courting Gay Voters…

The Washington Post asks…

What’s up with all the gay rights shout-outs at the Republican convention?

We have more questions than answers about why gay rights is a recurring theme on stage in Cleveland this week. Is this a way to try to counter GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s unpopularity among minority groups? Are Republicans trying to expand their base after the Orlando shooting, which targeted the LGBT community? Is this another signal that cultural views about gay rights are shifting in conservative circles? Does this even resonate with an LGBT community that has spent the past year batting down Republican-led policies like a game of whack-a-mole?

What you need to understand about this, about Trump’s claim to be a protector of LGBT lives against Islamic violence and Newt Gingrich’s amen, and the sudden burst of convention talk about LGBT people, is they are not talking to LGBT people. This is not the republican party reaching out, finally, even in a small insignificant rhetorical way, to LGBT people. They said everything they wanted to say to us in the platform.

There’s nothing new about this. They are talking to heterosexuals, who might feel ashamed about voting republican, given the party’s hostility to LGBT people. Perhaps they have LGBT family members, or friends, or co-workers, who they love and respect. Perhaps they just don’t feel comfortable walking with bigots. What all this talk about LGBT people now is for is giving those people an excuse to vote for a man and a party that wants to take away every hard won civil right LGBT people have gained since Lawrence v. Texas. A party that, by its own enthusiastically endorsed platform would put us back into 1950s America of anti-gay witch hunts in government and the military, police raids on gay bars, censorship of gay books and newspapers, arrested for sodomy, or even just for dancing with a same-sex partner in public. On the stage last night, Trump gave them a way to vote for all of this, and still see themselves as decent people.

That’s what this is about. Trump and the republicans are giving them a way to hold onto their self respect, while putting a knife in the back of their LGBT neighbors. He’s giving them a way to look in a mirror and still see themselves as loving the LGBT people in their lives, not someone who sold them out in exchange for a strongman’s promises.

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