By RAYMOND BUCKLEY
One year ago, the Republican National Committee released a report — commonly known as the GOP “Autopsy Report” — that suggested that Republicans should show the LGBT community “that we care about them, too.” The report also said, “We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.”
Their recommendations weren’t shocking, since Republicans had long seen large deficits in support among LGBT Americans. But one year later, nothing has changed. The simple fact is: the GOP has been on the wrong side of issues relating to LGBT equality for decades.
Republican rhetoric toward LGBT voters has been dismissive at best and truly offensive at worst.
For example, a candidate for a Michigan seat on the Republican National Committee said of gay Americans, Republicans “as a party should be purging this perversion and send them to a party with a much bigger tent.”
The Republican governor of Pennsylvania made an outlandish comparison between a same-sex marriage and the relationship between a brother and sister.
And in recent days, a prominent Republican accused the LGBT community of “bullying” Americans into opposing discriminatory measures.
But it’s not just their rhetoric, it’s their agenda. As marriage equality has become law in many states across the country, including in my home state of New Hampshire, the GOP remains firmly opposed to allowing every American to marry the person they love. In fact, in Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin even went so far as to order the Oklahoma National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for all couples just to prevent any benefits from being processed for same-sex couples – an action that directly defied a Pentagon directive.
Additionally, Republicans blocked legislation that would protect LGBT Americans from workplace discrimination, saying it has “no basis or no need.” In fact, New Hampshire’s newest Senate candidate, Scott Brown, opposed the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which protects LGBT Americans from being fired just for being who they are.
It’s been a year since the Republican Party pledged to be more inclusive, but all it has done is highlight that the GOP continues to stand at odds with the values and priorities of LGBT Americans.
As Democrats, we will not stop fighting for equality for all Americans. We will fight any measure that would discriminate against people just because of who they are or who they love, and we will stand up and fight back against rhetoric that promotes discrimination and further divides Americans.
Raymond Buckley is vice chair of the DNC and chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.