NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – MARCH 04: Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus participates in a discussion during CPAC 2016 March 4, 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American Conservative Union hosted its annual Conservative Political Action Conference to discuss conservative issues. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
In a stunningly tone-deaf development, the Republican party has decided to use its party’s platform to weigh in on the transgender bathroom issue.
Or as someone on Twitter put it, the GOP is now in favor of universal bathroom checks.
The draft platform now includes language language “supporting and encouraging” use of bathrooms based on your gender at birth. NBC reports that the language is in the committee-draft — the platform has not been finished, so it’s still possible the Republicans could remove the language, but would they?
You may recall that this issue became hot this year when North Carolina passed legislation requiring people in state facilities to only use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate. The intent, and effect, is to ban transgender people from using the correct bathroom.
The North Carolina legislation, called HB2, also repeals all LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) civil rights legislation in the state, and bans municipalities from passing any such legislation in the future.
HB2 transgender bathroom backlash
The backlash against HB2 has been massive and unprecedented, especially from corporate America. The law has already cost the city of Charlotte $80 million in lost business, and the state has lost a large number of conferences, conventions and concerts. Among the companies that have spoken out against the law: American Airlines, Apple, Cisco, eBay, General Electric, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, NIKE and Salesforce. More from the Independent:
High-profile music acts – Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen – have cancelled concerts in North Carolina. Cirque du Soleil also pulled an appearance in the state. Corporations such as Deutsche Bank and PayPal have put expansion plans on hold.
North Carolina is particularly worried about a threat from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), is threatening to pull tournament games from North Caroline in 2017 and 2018,
So with all of that, what could possibly inspire Republicans to put the trans bathroom ban in their party’s platform? The GOP is enough trouble already with the nomination of Donald Trump as their presidential nominee. Now they’re wading into gay-bashing and trans-bashing?
Several companies had already pulled their support for the GOP convention out of concern of being associated with Trump’s extremism, so the convention overlords decided to become even more extreme? Even Donald Trump, as wacky has he is, refused to fully endorse the trans bathroom ban — though after initially opposing it, Trump then reversed himself and said the matter should be up to individual states.
Trans bathroom language undercuts Trump’s claim to be pro-LGBT
Interestingly, Trump has been running as a pro-LGBT candidate, and has repeatedly claimed that he’s more pro-LGBT than even Hillary Clinton. He’s not — in addition to his wishy-washiness on trans bathroom bans, Trump doesn’t support marriage equality. Nonetheless, it’s interesting that while Trump is trying to woo the gays, the party faithful are bashing them at the same time.
And the Republicans have another problem now — now that the platform contains language bashing transgender people, removing that language would make a statement, a pro-trans statement. So the Republicans are now damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
The irony of all of this is that party platforms generally serve one purpose: To embarrass the party when the platform becomes too extreme. Other than that, the platforms tend to have little impact on enacting actual legislation and policy. And true to form, the Republicans have used the platform to embarrass themselves yet again.