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Political Platforms: 2016, a Stunning Tale of Two Parties | LGBTPost

Political Platforms: 2016, a Stunning Tale of Two Parties

I get a lot of political email and have a done quite a bit of bipartisan lobbying and advocating for LGBT issues on a national scale. This week I received an email from the American Unity fund advocating for Platform Reform at the Republican National Convention this summer in Cleveland, Ohio which included a call seeking out people who supported civil marriage equality to be delegates to their convention.

Their email suggested adding the following language to the 2016 RNC Convention Platform:

We believe that marriage matters both as a religious institution and as a fundamental, personal freedom. Because marriage — rooted in love and lifelong commitment — is one of the foundations of civil society, as marriage thrives, so our nation thrives.

We believe that the health of marriage nationwide directly affects the social and economic well being of individuals and families, and that undermining families leads to more government costs and more government control over the lives of its citizens. Therefore, we believe in encouraging the strength and stability of all families.

We recognize that there are diverse and sincerely held views on civil marriage within the Party, and that support for allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry has grown substantially in our own Party. Given this journey that so many Americans, including Republicans, are on, we encourage and welcome a thoughtful conversation among Republicans about the meaning and importance of marriage, and commit our Party to respect for all families and fairness and freedom for all Americans.

Not particularly strong, but positive in scope.

The American Unity Fund and its PAC was founded by the billionaire hedge fund manager, Paul Singer who has raised and bundled many millions for Republican candidates and PACS ostensibly to support pro LGBT rights legislation and candidates and elected officials who support LGBT rights. Admirable and noble, praiseworthy of Paul Singer!

But wait, there’s more!

In October 2015, Paul Singer endorsed Marco Rubio for President! What? The same Marco Rubio who voted against the LGBT inclusive Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), the seemingly non controversial legislation that passed 78-22.

Rubio dared to use the phrase "hate speech" when describing how, one day, those who objected to marriage equality would be seen as propagating hate speech.

Rubio is one of the original cosponsors of the First Amendment Defense Act, which would create a license for every individual, business and government employee in America to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation.

Do we have some mixed messaging from Mr. Singer?

Meanwhile, on Friday, January 23, 2016, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz submitted her nominations for the 2016 Convention Standing Committees to the DNC’s Executive Committee for ratification. (The Chair gets to nominate 25 people each to the Credentials, Platform and Rules committees over and above those members who are appointed from each State or territory as part of their respective credentialed delegations.)

It is noteworthy that 10 of the 75 total or over 13 percent were out LGBT people, but what was extraordinary, especially in comparison to the void in the Republican Party, was that six of the 25, a stunning 24 percent, were LGBT people were appointed to the all important Platform Committee! Yes, it is a transgender inclusive group as it includes National Center for Transgender Equality founder Mara Keisling. Mary Kay Henry, SSG Eric Alva (Ret), Donna Payne-Hardy, Jessie Ulibarri, State Senator and Randi Weingarten complete the initial LGBT members of the Platform Committee.

I thank that it will be a safe assumption that the DNC will have a strong and inclusive set of planks for full LGBT equality in their 2016 convention platform. There will continue to be a very clear difference as to where each political party stands for you and for me!

As I remind and encourage LGBT people to get involved in the process and be delegates, being appointed to a Standing Committee is another way to be a part of the official Convention delegation if you are not elected as a Delegate or an Alternate. In my State of New Jersey, we have five each committee picks, in California there are 17 each, Colorado, three, Rhode Island, one each, and so forth. States with more Democratic voters have more representatives. Every State and territory has at least one appointment to each Committee.

Yes, her nominations were ratified unanimously!

See you in Philly July 25-July 28, 2016!

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