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The GOP's first openly gay platform member talks LGBT equality


Why don't you just go #TrumpYourself

Rachel Hoff has to wait four more years for another shot.

As the GOP's first openly gay platform member, she pushed for and failed to get pro-LGBT language inserted into the party's platform ahead of the Republican National Convention.

She talked to Circa about her fight and why leaving the party isn't on her mind.

How do you reconcile being both gay and an active member of the GOP?

Being gay is a very important part of who I am, but it's also only one part of who I am. I work on a lot of national security issues, and in terms of my voting behavior it's pretty singularly focused on national security issues. (She's a defense analyst for the American Action Forum in Washington, D.C.)

I will say that as a whole, the Republican Party has been a very welcoming place for me as a lesbian Republican. I've been out for a long time, including professionally and in my political circles. Everybody has always treated me with kindness and respect.

What did you hope to achieve on the platform committee?

I didn't go in looking for the platform committee to strike traditional marriage and come out in favor of the Supreme Court decision. I thought that might be a stretch too far.

What I wanted us to do was create a more inclusive message that could promote unity within the party, particularly to young Americans, who by a 60 percent majority support marriage equality.

Have you seen any signs of progress within the party at the RNC?

The signs of progress come, I think, when you look at how many people voted for the amendment to strike traditional marriage and have this more inclusive approach. We actually got 23 votes on that. It certainly far short of what we need to pass it, but it's nearly a quarter of the committee.  

A similar amendment in 2012 only got five votes. So, there's definitely progress. There's progress on the platform committee, but what's even more clear is there's progress within the Republican party.

What's next in your push for inclusivity?

The reality is a number of Americans, and certainly a number of LGBT Americans, are never going to read the party platform. It's symbolic in terms of outlining the core principles our party stands for.

So short of another chance to reform the platform in 2020, I think there's a lot that can be done in local Republican parties, state Republican parties, separately from the national level.

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