The year 2023 ended with announcements from two prominent Catholic Republicans that they are no longer opponents of the LGBT agenda. Presidential candidate Chris Christie, citing Pope Francis’ decision to allow priests to bless same-sex couples, said this was enough for him to rethink gay marriage.
In 2013, when Christie was governor of New Jersey, he denounced a Supreme Court decision (the Defense of Marriage Act) that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. At the time, he said this was a “bad decision.” Now he’s fine with it, trotting out the pope for cover.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was also known as a reliable partner in the culture war. But last week he vetoed a bill that would have banned prescribing hormones, chemical castration and sex-reassignment surgery for minors.* He also said it was okay for boys who misidentify as girls to compete against girls in athletics.
Why is genital mutilation of children now considered proper? Why is the assault on female sports considered proper? DeWine says these matters are not the government’s business. Really? Since when has the welfare of minors not been the business of government? We have laws on the books barring parents from abusing their children. We also have laws, of more recent vintage, discriminating on the basis of sex. Allowing boys to compete against girls in sports eviscerates the rights of girls.
It looks like Christie and DeWine are following the lead of another Catholic Republican, Paul Ryan. The former Speaker of the House, who now sits on the board of Fox News’ parent company, admitted last year that “I’m not a culture war guy.” We don’t need convincing.
The 2024 Republican Platform will be decided this summer. The head of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, who is a Mormon, announced in 2021 that the “GOP is proud to have doubled down our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years” and will continue to do so. After considerable blowback, she modified her stand saying that her outreach was simply about mobilizing voters. She pledged to stand up for “religious liberty, family values and Republicans of faith.”
It is a sure bet that the Platform will be hotly debated at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. What it says about the LGBT agenda will reveal whether the Christie-DeWine-Ryan wing will encourage the Nervous Nellies like McDaniels to sell out “Republicans of faith.”
*DeWine subsequently signed an executive order to prevent gender transition surgeries on anyone under the age of 18 in any Ohio hospital or healthcare facility.