CLEVELAND – Republican delegates officially voted on Monday to adopt the party’s 2016 platform, a policy blueprint that manages to take ultra-conservative positions on same-sex marriage, religion, pornography, and even national parks.
The document, which was adopted at the GOP convention by a voice vote, was the product of vigorous debate among the platform committee last week and marks a stark shift for a party that has already seemed to veer toward extremism.
On Monday during his weekly conference call with media, WRFA asked Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning), who represents Chautauqua County, his thoughts on the proposed platform. Reed said that he had not had a chance to read the platform but added that he’s in favor of many of the points that support job creation and national security.
“I believe the philosophy of the Republican Party is reflected in the platform and that philosophy is something that I believe in,” Reed said. “It’s the philosophy of a limited government, getting our national debt under control, getting people back to work and empowering individuals rather than growing government – which is the philosophy of the other side. So I’m comfortable where the party is at and where the party is going.”
Even before being finalized, the platform received criticism from both the left and even moderate Republicans, who pointed out that it openly opposes marriage for gay and transgender people and it states that a tradition marriage between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged – despite there not being any supporting evidence or data.
When asked if he supports the provisions that express disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights, Reed said that he is against discrimination of any kind.
“I do believe that marriage is between an man and a woman, but I do respect where we are now with the Supreme Court ruling and that is the law of the land. I respect that,” Reed said. “I have stood against discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as you saw with the Maloney amendment. So as we go forward I’ll continue to be a voice for opposing discrimination and to make sure that we follow the rules and the law of the land.”
In addition to a more socially conservative position on many issues, the 2016 GOP Platform also calls on the U.S. government to transfer all federally controlled lands to states, supports the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and it refers to coal as a “clean” energy source.
While a functionally meaningless messaging document, the platform is a signal of where Republicans stand ― and how they’ve shifted in the last four years.