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LGBT Republicans Try to Find Their Place in Cleveland

Language in GOP platform raises concern

LGBT Republicans will try to navigate the convention despite a platform that is largely hostile to them. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
LGBT Republicans will try to navigate the convention despite a platform that is largely hostile to them. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite concerns about divisive language in the Republican platform, LGBT Republicans still plan to make their voices heard at the convention in Cleveland.  

Gregory Angelo, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, has said that the current Republican platform is “the most anti-LGBT platform ” the party has had.  

“I’m going to the convention with the express purpose of showing that the GOP I know is not the same type of GOP expressed in the platform,” Angelo said.  

The platform has stricken some of its language supporting so-called “gay conversion therapy” as well as calling for the overturning of the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.  

“Those things are not the priority of the GOP electorate,” and also weren’t the priorities of the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, he said.  

Angelo said this before Trump picked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. Pence has been criticized for signing measures that social conservatives said promoted religious freedom but many in the LGBT community said would allow for businesses to discriminate against them.  

But upon Pence’s announcement, Angelo tweeted that he was far less dangerous to the LGBT community as vice president than he was and could continue to be as governor of Indiana.

Trump has frequently said he would be better for the LGBT community than his likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.  

Rachel Hoff, director of defense analysis at the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank, is reported to be the first openly gay person selected as a member of the platform committee. However, language she crafted to be more inclusive was ultimately voted down.  

“I did not anticipate it would pass and it did not,” she said. Hoff said she has been asked if she would submit a minority report amending the language on marriage.   

But instead, Hoff said she would be supporting a separate minority report that would strike the whole platform in favor of a one-page statement of principles that doesn’t mention marriage but is also strong on equality and religious liberty.  

Despite the language in the platform, there will still be LGBT-friendly activities in Cleveland that the Log Cabin Republicans and others are planning.  

Much like Trump’s attempts to spice up the convention with star power, a convention watch party held by the Log Cabin Republicans with the Cuyahoga County GOP on Tuesday will feature former contestants from American Idol and The Voice at an event at Grays Armory, a historic venue in Cleveland.  

Doug Magill, communications director for the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, said the Log Cabin Republicans have done a great job bringing in new people to the party.  

“They helped us set up a booth at the Gay Games,” he said in reference to the sporting event held in Cleveland and Akron two years ago.  

On Wednesday, the group will team up with the American Unity Fund, another pro-LGBT rights conservative group, for a brunch featuring former Olympic champion and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as transgender last year, and Margaret Hoover, gay rights activist and great-granddaughter of former President Herbert Hoover.  

The event will also feature Ohio-based LGBT groups like the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. A spokesman for the center said it would just be a supporter of the event.  

Angelo said he is optimistic about attendance given the fact that the Log Cabin Republicans are a credentialed group.  

“As long as someone is supportive of an inclusive and welcoming Republican Party, they are welcome to attend our events,” he said.  

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