CLEVELAND, Ohio – Republicans tasked with drafting a policy document that guides and defines the GOP has completed its work, effectively moving the party further to the right on issues of guns, immigration, and traditional marriage.
While the campaign of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump largely stayed out of the process, the committee adopted some of his policy positions and ignored others. Delegates and aides to Donald Trump said Trump was comfortable with delegates taking the lead on policy guidelines, especially as the campaign was working to contain opposition to his candidacy at his own nominating convention.
After the committee completed its work Tuesday, aides to Trump said they are pleased with the product. It now must be approved by the all delegates on the floor of the Republican National Convention Monday.
Marriage and Family
LGBT issues were the most contentious part of the platform committee as a handful of advocates proposed amendments that would include specific protections and inclusions of gay and transgender people. All such efforts failed in the conservative committee that said it didn't want to play "identity politics."
But for the first time the committee was forced to vote on a resolution that would remove traditional marriage language and replace it with support of same-sex marriage. It would have removed all language pertaining to traditional marriage and replace it with “respect for all families.”
The proposal, offered by Rachel Hoff, a delegate of D.C. who pronounced herself the first openly gay member of the committee.
In other proposals, proponents attempted to include language condemning violence on LGBT community by ISIS.
The committee reaffirmed language under the Title IX section regarding bathroom and locker room use for transgender people that aligns with the sex on their birth certificates.
The committee also passed an amendment by Tony Perkins, head of the conservative Family Research Council, that said parents can prescribe "therapy" for their minor children. It's intention is to give a nod to conversion therapy for gay children.
Few major changes were made on the issue of abortion but language was strengthened to condemn all types of abortion. What’s notable is that Trump had told NBC News previously that he would push for the Republican platform committee to add exceptions to abortion opposition, such as rape, incest and the health of the mother. But the Trump campaign made no such effort and the platform includes no exceptions.
Immigration and Guns
The committee strengthened its language around gun rights. Kansas delegate Kris Kobach, a secretary of state, got an amendment passed opposing any law that would restrict magazine capacity.
The committee also supported language that called for the building of a physical wall along the southern border, a campaign position that is central to Trump’s candidacy. Forcing Mexico to pay for the wall is not included, however.
And the members passed a measure that supports the maximum prosecution of a deported “illegal alien” that returns to the U.S.
Trade, Foreign Policy and Israel
The committee moved closer to Trump on Trade, removing language that pushed for the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and adding language invoking some of Trump's language, saying "We need better negotiated trade agreements that put America first."
Another area of debate emerged between national security hawks and the more libertarian-minded isolationists during a debate over foreign policy. While isolationists tried to pass measures that would have condemned ongoing U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East and opposed efforts to condemn the shrinking military budget, the hawks won in every instance.
The committee also came out in opposition to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. The platform now describes Israel as "undivided," a position was taken out in the 2012 platform, and one that goes even further than the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.
What Didn’t Pass
Other issues that saw spirited debate include medical marijuana. A proponent spoke passionately about its ability to help patients in pain, but most committee members weren't swayed
The committee rejected an effort to remove language that opposes women from fighting in combat positions in the military. Delegates supportive said the language is there because it keeps women and troops in combat “safe.”
Also defeated was a proposal to support getting rid of the TSA.