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Peter Thiel does not make the GOP pro-gay

Greg Nash
Donald Trump’s recent coronation failed to deliver the star-power he once promised. Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, however, was presented as a noteworthy name — not because of his policy or personal beliefs, but largely because Thiel is openly gay, a personal trait which makes him an aberration from the Republican party of recently memory.  
Thiel, an impassioned Trump supporter, was invited to speak on Thursday at the convention, a day whose theme was ironically titled “Make America One Again.” Apparently, by bringing a gay orator, the Republicans believe themselves to have ushered their party into the modern age of social policy. Let’s be very clear – they did no such thing. Peter Thiel is a deviation from Republican norms, not a standard bearer for the future.
{mosads}”Every American has a unique identity,” Thiel proclaimed, adding “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American.” The Quicken Loans Arena erupted in a surprising collective conservative cheer.
Don’t be fooled by the cheering – the GOP’s beliefs and policies on homosexuality, and transgenderism, for that matter, have not changed. It is, in fact, quite the opposite.
The GOP’s 2016 party platform is phenomenally anti-LGBTQ – as it officially opposes gay marriage, bathroom choice for transgender individuals, and gay adoption. The platform goes a step further, even embracing an endorsement of gay conversion therapy. Sure, Thiel’s pro-gay proclamation may have made “history,” as some have put it, but it’s also a pro-gay drop in a deeply bigoted Republican ocean.
No, I’m not stereotyping those who believe in traditional marriage as bigots. I’m factually labelling those bigots, who, based on their own personal convictions, continue to attempt to, through legislation, repudiate gay people of their most basic rights at no threat to their own.
I am categorically through with being told that Republicans are the true advocates of “personal freedom,” as their policies continue to force their way into the bedrooms, bathrooms, and family-planning of this nation’s LGBTQ citizens.
“It’s my religious conviction” is the pitiful excuse I continue to hear as a rationale for Republicans’ collective beliefs on LGBTQ issues.
Sure, Leviticus 18 proclaims that “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination,” while Leviticus 20 clarifies that if you have done so, you “shall surely be put to death.”

Republican politicians have, throughout my life, vaguely pointed to these passages as a seemingly-valid justification for their own personal beliefs and following policies. These politicians have latched onto at least the first part of these two passages with vigor — all the while ignoring the rest of the Old and New Testament’s proclamations.

“Slaves,” as Ephesians 6:5 states, must “obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ. I don’t see Republican politicians clinging to this passage, or any others for that matter, like they do Leviticus: 18 and 20.
I don’t care what’s in your mind. You can hate Democrats, liberals, gays, lesbians, Jews, blacks, and Muslims. You have every right, as an American, to think freely and therefore, at times, bigotedly. Nobody is asking you give up this right. You can be a neo-Nazi and triple bracket my name throughout social media for all I care.
The GOP, however, by selectively citing their self deemed-important bible verses as legitimate sources for policy, shifts from free-thought to ideological imposition. Your religious beliefs, no matter how inconsistent with your own book they may be, are no source for policy. If you want a country where policy is based on religious text, I recommend you move to Iran or live under ISIS’ caliphate.

By forcing its collective religious conviction on the nation through policy, the GOP continues to stray dangerously from its self-proclaimed title as the “party of personal freedom.”

Mike Pence, who has repeatedly referred to HIV treatment as “needy,” is still the Republican vice presidential nominee. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have both supported a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Let us not forget the pro-conversion therapy, anti-gay adoption, anti-gay marriage clauses in the official party platform.

Peter Thiel’s speech doesn’t absolve the past sins of the Republican party. It also most certainly shouldn’t let the GOP off the hook for its contemporary religious-based, wholly intolerant policy prescriptions.

Charles Diringer Dunst is a rising Junior at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where he is studying World Politics. He can be followed on Twitter at @CDDUNST.

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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