Update from Cleveland: The GOP Platform Fight Continues

Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: Erik Drost via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I have been actively working at the GOP Committee on the Platform for the past three days now. It has been an interesting experience, and it continues to be so as we finish the last plank of the platform. I wanted to give you all some background and a rundown of what’s been going on here in Cleveland:

What’s the point of the platform?

The GOP platform is a statement of principles that is meant to articulate the Republican vision for the country on matters of public policy. It is broken down into six planks — each of which¬†get their own subcommittee with platform delegates — dealing with the economy, government reform, the Constitution, family and education, national security, and energy. The platform is updated every four years to keep the document relevant and representative of the party as the party grows and changes.

What’s happened so far?

Right now, we have gone through five of the six planks (government reform, economy, family and education, energy, and national security) and are currently going through the Constitution plank. Most of the disagreements have been minor; however, there is an organized, albeit small, group of LGBT activists here to sabotage the GOP platform by removing religious liberty language and inserting radical LGBT viewpoints. All of the efforts by the LGBT faction have been thwarted so far, but we are still in the heat of the fight, especially with the Constitutional section, as it deals the most heavily with religious freedom protections and the illegitimacy of the Obergefell decision that redefined marriage nationally.

What’s happening with religious freedom?

As I stated earlier, all of the attempts so far to weaken the platform on religious freedom and open it up to the divisive and leftist language of the LGBT movement have failed. Essentially, what the LGBT activists are doing is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. They are looking for any type of language that opens up the party’s platform to LGBT policies and standpoints so that they can get headlines across the country that read, “IN SHOCKING MOVE, GOP EMBRACES LGBT POLICIES” etc. It has not worked so far, but the fight is not over yet.

I will write another update as we find out more. If you have questions about this meeting, you can submit them in the comments section, and I will do my best to address them.

Terry Schilling is the executive director of American Principles Project.