As the second night of the Republican National Convention got underway Aug. 25, the voiceover on a video showing the U.S. Constitution said, "Without equality there is no opportunity." The video also showed historic photos of women marching for the right to vote and Blacks marching for civil rights. There were no historic pictures of gay men and lesbians picketing in front of the White House in the 1960s.
There was a thinly veiled criticism of equal rights for LGBTQ people. It came in the speech of Cissie Graham Lynch, the granddaughter of the late Rev. Billy Graham and daughter of evangelical minister Franklin Graham. Lynch told viewers that the Obama-Biden administration had "tried to force adoption agencies to violate their deeply held beliefs." That was an apparent reference to an ongoing controversy over whether local and state governments with laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity can withhold funding for adoption agencies that violate those laws.
Lynch also said, "Democrats pressured schools to allow boys to participate in girls' sports and use girls' locker rooms." That was a reference to litigation over whether schools that receive federal funding can discriminate based on gender identity. It is a conflict that has grown more fierce since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that discrimination based on "sex" includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Lynch implied that President Donald Trump has been and would be "a fierce advocate" for those who want their religious beliefs to trump such laws.
"He supported religious beliefs in court," said Lynch. "He ensured that religious ministries would not be forced to violate their beliefs. He withdrew the policies that placed our little girls at risk."
"Some Democratic leaders tried to ban church services" during the coronavirus pandemic, said Lynch, "while marijuana shops and abortion clinics were declared essential."
Lynch also claimed the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris "leaves no room for people of faith."
"Whether you're a baker or florist or football coach, they will force the choice between being obedient to God or to Caesar," said Lynch. "The radical left's god is government power."
Prior to the convention, Politico.com ran an article saying that the Republican Party was torn over whether to bring up the transgender issue.
"A cohort of establishment Republicans, social libertarians and new GOP converts oppose the strategy," said Politico, including Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both employed as advisors to the president. "They point to a raft of evidencefrom the volatile bathroom debate in North Carolina that lost the GOP the governor's race in 2016 to a bitter Republican primary in Pennsylvania's 2018 gubernatorial racethat pushing anti-LGBTQ issues is slowly destroying the Republican Party, one high-profile race at a time," said Politico.
President Trump, in one of several events staged at the White House Aug. 25, sounded a more conciliatory tone.
"We believe that each person is made by God for a purpose," said Trump. He made the comments while presenting a full pardon to a former inmate who had served his time and then started a program to help other inmates restart their lives once they are released.
"I will continue to give all Americans, including former inmates, a chance to build a new life and achieve their own American dream."
GetOutspoken.com, a website of the Log Cabin Republicans, posted news Aug. 25 that the Trump campaign has created "Trump Pride" to focus outreach to LGBT people and their allies. It said the Trump campaign appointed openly gay former ambassador Richard Grenell as a senior advisor to head up that outreach.
The group also noted that a video of Grenell discussing President Trump's support for LGBT people and attacking Biden's past anti-gay votes and positions has received "nearly 6 million views."
The campaign's new Trump Pride website lists Grenell as one of four co-chairs of its advisory board. The other co-chairs include D.C. Republican activist and national Log Cabin vice-chair Jill Homan; California activist and Log Cabin Managing Director Charles T. Moran; and Manhattan millionaire Bill White, who has done fundraising for Trump. Other advisory board members include Matthew Craffey of West Hollywood, Jamie Ensley of Georgia Equality, and former State Senator Dan Innis of New Hampshire.
Grenell is slated to speak before the convention the night of Aug. 26.
Meanwhile, outside the convention, The Washington Post carried a story Tuesday profiling a 21-year-old gay Republican student at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma.
"I see more intolerance from the LGBTQ community for being a Republican than I feel from the Republican community for being gay," said Isaac Jacobson, vice chair of the university's Republican student group.
"How you vote and your political ideology," he said, "should never be determined by the color of your skin, your gender, your sexuality."
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