Metro Weekly

DNC blasts Republican Party’s failure to evolve on LGBT-rights

Debbie Wasserman Schultz.jpg

A year after the Republican Party sought to cure its electoral woes with a series of policy recommendations, the Democratic National Committee said in a report released Tuesday that the GOP has failed in its attempt at rebranding.

Titled “Same Old Party,” the DNC report states that despite the many recommendations made by the Republican National Committee a year ago, what the GOP has done is simply change tactics rather than alter what has alienated voters.

“In a moment of rare self-awareness, Republican leaders admitted that the party was alienating huge swaths of voters. Party operatives wrote about the need to reach out to communities of color, be more inclusive of gay Americans, and attract more women to the party,” states the DNC report. “But a year later, all the Republican Party has gotten is a year older."¨What the GOP has offered over the past year to solve their problems is simply a change in tactics.”

In particular, the report states that while while the RNC’s recommendations called for increased outreach to the LGBT community, the Republican Party has done little to alter its rhetoric or policies on LGBT issues.

“As marriage equality bills are passed in statehouses across the country the GOP remains firmly opposed to allowing every American to marry the person they love,” the report states. “Republicans opposed the Employee Non-Discrimination Act saying it has ‘no basis or need.’ And they have gone so far as to try to codify their discriminatory views and legalize hate through ‘turn the gays away’ laws that would allow businesses to refuse services to LGBT Americans.”

Moreover, the DNC report states that the GOP increasingly alienates younger voters by standing opposed to such issues as LGBT equality.

Although the RNC report made no mention of marriage equality nor did it specifically argue for the adoption of a national position on LGBT rights, it did recommend campaigning within the gay community and “communities where Republicans do not normally go to listen and make our case.”

“Republicans have long been on the wrong side of LGBT issues,” DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told reporters Tuesday during an unveiling of the report. “The autopsy report suggested that Republicans campaign among the LGBT community and demonstrate that ‘we care about them too.’ But we’ve seen little if any attempt to demonstrate this caring since the recommendation was made. The Republican rhetoric and policy toward LGBT voters has been dismissive at best, and truly offensive.”

The DNC report comes the same day RNC Chairman Reince Priebus predicted a “tsunami” of Republican victories in 2014 during an event marking the one-year anniversary of the release of the RNC’s “Growth and Opportunity Project” report. Although Priebus and the RNC have touted increased outreach to women and the Latino community in the year since the autopsy report’s release, LGBT issues have largely gone unmentioned.

Despite numerous examples in the DNC report of anti-LGBT statements made by Republicans, individually, however, change has been afoot within the GOP. Three Senate Republicans — Rob Portman (Ohio), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — have come out in support of marriage equality since March 2013 and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) passed the Senate with the support of 10 Republicans — the most Senate Republican votes ever cast for a piece of gay-rights legislation. There are currently three gay Republican candidates running for the House of Representatives vying to become the first openly gay Republican ever elected to Congress.

According to a poll released by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, 61 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 support same-sex marriage, opposed to just 27 percent of Republicans 50-years-old and older.

[Photo: Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Credit: U.S. House of Representatives.]

DNC ‘Same Old Party’ Report

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.