Republicans and the conservative coalition are known as many things. Republicans are known as the party of Lincoln,which focuses on economic issues, and the current majority in the House and Senate.  However, we are not known as the party of tolerance, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ issues.

Republicans, it’s 2017.  We are the party of desegregation under President Eisenhower, the party of the 19th Amendment, and the party of Lincoln.  So why are we, a party that has always been supportive of equality for all people, born and unborn, leave this group of people on the outskirts of our support?  Why abandon a marginalized group who, in some countries, face laws trying to ban their existence?

I can understand the religious aspect of being anti-LGBTQ. But isn’t the Bible’s message also about tolerance and love? Should we not treat people as people, regardless of sexual orientation?  Why are pundits like Matt Walsh targeting gay male makeup artists on Twitter, attributing their sexuality to their father not being involved in their lives (which isn’t even true)?  Can’t we just accept people as they are?

Why was marriage equality even a debate?  Why propose legislation like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of Indiana that permits religious individuals and small businesses to cite religious beliefs as a legal mechanism of defense in court in response to government lawsuits and private charges of discrimination. We should do better, especially when we ARE better than this. We are one group of people and should support each other!

Conservatives, the proponents of life both born and unborn, must apply the same principles to ALL life.  Unfortunately, mistreatment of LGBTQ communities in America violates those principles.  Suicide is the leading cause of death in LGBTQ youth. 30% of gay and lesbian youth attempt suicide by the age of 15, a statistic that we should aim to change through tolerance and love. Conversion therapy, an attempt to change the sexuality of an LGBTQ individual through unsanctioned practices, has been discredited and discouraged through various mental health professionals and groups for decades. These practices are known to increase the rate of attempted suicides, depression, drug use, and STD’s from unsafe sexual practices in LGBTQ youth. And yet our Vice President is a proponent of these inhumane and baseless practices.

It wasn’t that long ago that I, a black Republican, could have been denied services just based on my skin color. It’s time to protect the rights of all–black or white, gay or straight–and really prove that we believe “All Lives Matter.” Because they do.