COLUMN: The LGBTQ+ community deserves more than what the Republican Party would give them.

The 2016 Republican Party platform limits the nation, especially for the LGBTQ+ community.

Campbell Biemiller is a first-year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about political/environmental controversies and entertainment for The Maneater.

The Republican National Committee's Executive Committee voted June 10, 2020 to implement the same platform the party used in 2016. The party’s platform has already been criticized numerous times for its anti-LGBTQ+ claims, and by reusing the same platform, they deny the LGBTQ+ community the rights they deserve.

The platform outlines the American family as “the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman.” This suggests that a heterosexual relationship is the only true expression of a loving, prosperous family. To say the modern American family is solely composed of one man, one woman and their children is ignorant and excludes modern-day families which have evolved to include all genders, identities and sexes.

Under former President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states in Obergefell v. Hodges. The case made it so the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee both marriage licensing and recognition for same-sex couples, a landmark moment for the LGBTQ+ community.

Reusing an anti-LGBTQ+ platform is counterproductive to the progress we’ve seen. Trump has been known to be against LGBTQ+ rights through limiting their access to healthcare and nominating anti-LGBTQ+ officials, such as former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

Jeff Sessions believes it should be legal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ members in the workplace and that employers should be able to fire such individuals because of their sexuality. Sessions’ reasoning for this discrimination stems from his personal religious practices. During his time in office, he voted to not expand hate-crimes law, meaning anti-LGBTQ+ attacks would not be covered by the law. He also wanted to make same-sex marriage illegal.

Ben Carson claimed marriage equality is inconsistent with his religious practices and therefore must be inconsistent with the American population’s personal ideals as well.

“Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else,” Carson said in an interview with CBS News about incorporating transgender people into the military service.

If he believes his personal affiliations are suitable for the entire nation, he is oblivious to America’s diversity. Carson degrades multiple cultures and religions through his ideals. CNN asked Carson if he believes being gay is a choice, to which he responded, “Absolutely.”.

The hatred exhibited by Carson and his constituents doesn’t just apply to members of the LGBTQ+ community, it shows a lack of care for American citizens as a whole. People in positions of power have a responsibility to care for their people, which the current government executes poorly.

In the history of President Trump’s term, he has done numerous things to damage the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and will continue to do so if reelected. Within the first few months of his term, he removed the LGBTQ+ rights page on the White House website. Because of this action, Trump has made the impression he seeks to hurt the community and limit their access to resources. It suggests he wants to hide LGBTQ+ members from the world, as if they’re a disappointment to the country.

Then, he rescinded the Obama-era guidelines on transgender individuals’ access to public restrooms within the education system, severely limiting their rights. This is a dehumanizing mechanism to tell transgender people that who they are is fake and invalid to the rest of the country. The list goes on.

Throughout the platform, the party makes it clear they are against the redefinition of marriage and would like to give the power to do so back to the states. The platform reads: “Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman ... we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states”.

The importance of this statement reveals the administration’s lack of care for opposing opinions. If something isn’t to their liking, it is immediately wrong. LGBTQ+ people are considered “wrong” because they don't fit the administration's personal prejudices of what should represent the entire country. An effective leader should listen to all people before deciding what is best for the country.

In the eyes of the Republican party, “if God-given, natural, inalienable rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rights, God-given, natural, inalienable rights always prevail.” This means the human rights given to the LGBTQ+ community are worthless if God does not agree, but Christianity is not the only American religion. Founded on religious intolerance in England, America set out to provide a better life for its people. Today’s government officials starkly contrast this idea by using their religious affiliations to deny human rights. To say God does not agree is not representative of the whole country and excludes many people’s beliefs.

This is an extremely archaic way of thinking and a direct violation of the First Amendment. The American people are entitled to define their own beliefs and religious affiliations. America has had a separate church and state since 1802 due to the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Republican political figures openly ignore the Constitution that they should protect by using their personal religious beliefs to justify the decisions for the entire country.

MU has 11 different organizations relating to LGBTQ+ resources, which can be found on the LGBTQ+ Resource Center’s website. 3.8% of the adult population in Missouri identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, which roughly equals 234,000 people. There are thousands of students at MU in the LGBTQ+ community. If President Trump is elected for a second term, many members of MU’s community will be impacted by limited LGBTQ+ rights.

Supporting members of this platform wish to uphold the outdated notion that the world is better off under unified religion and limited love. With the election just over a month away, please consider these factors when casting a vote.

It’s not fair for innocent human beings to have to suffer in a world they did nothing wrong to. No one should have their rights stolen due to the government’s failure to protect the Constitution and ignorance of the diversity in America’s society.

The Black AIDS Institute works toward making life better for Black people dealing with the HIV disease and provides them with resources to alleviate their struggles. They are a community of people who have dealt with AIDS and the discrimination of being Black with AIDS. We at The Maneater encourage you to donate to this cause. Donations can be made at: https://blackaids.org/donate/

Edited by Sofi Zeman | szeman@themaneater.com

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