Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Peter Thiel's Presence Highlights Republican Tension over LGBT Voters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Peter Thiel's Presence Highlights Republican Tension over LGBT Voters

Article excerpt

When Peter Thiel takes the stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, he is expected to declare that he is proud to be gay - marking a historical first for the party's convention.

The Silicon Valley billionaire supports gay marriage, putting him at odds with the party's official platform, and he'll use his prime- time slot (shortly before Donald Trump is slated to officially accept the party's nomination) to admonish the GOP for its refusal to support LGBT rights, a source familiar with the planned statements told CNN.

The tension between Mr. Thiel's expected comments and the official Republican platform is indicative of the fine balance the GOP seeks to strike during the convention between projecting inclusivity and keeping a firm commitment to conservative social values.

"The platform is the most anti-LGBT platform the party has put out in its 162-year history. But last night's convention was the single most pro-LGBT convention in the party's 162-year history," Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, the largest gay GOP group, tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview on Thursday.

Mr. Angelo says that the numerous positive mentions the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community received Wednesday night - including those from Newt Gingrich and Ted Cruz - are " indicative of the direction the party's heading."

Others, however, are more hesitant to read too much into the inclusivity on display at the convention.

Rachel Hoff was the first openly gay Republican to serve on the platform committee earlier this month, but that didn't result in a more LGBT-friendly platform. Every amendment she proposed for more inclusive language about the LGBT community was shot down, she told Time. In fact, the resulting platform was heralded as a step backward by many gay rights activists. …

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