How Donald Trump is teaching Republicans a way to embrace gay rights

From The Washington Post:

In the course of his campaign so far, Donald Trump has had harsh words for Mexicans and Muslims, the people of Iowa, African-Americans, refugees, the parents of a dead Army captain, women, a disabled reporter, and the Pope. He has fashioned his political incorrectness into a personal virtue, portraying himself as straight-talker incapable of pretense. Supporters praise this “brute honesty,” while critics accuse Trump of amplifying and taking advantage of intolerant tendencies within the GOP base.

Throughout all of this, though, Trump has refrained from launching barbs at one particular group: gay Americans.

It would be a stretch to call Trump a gay-friendly candidate — he still opposes same-sex marriage — but he supports other LGBT rights, and has publicly declared himself a “real friend” to the community. In April, he broke with his GOP rivals by coming out against North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law. (He later backed off.) And last month in Cleveland, Trump brought in Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, who became the first openly gay speaker to affirm his sexual orientation onstage at a Republican National Convention.

“I am proud to be gay,” Thiel said that night, to cheers. “I am proud to be a Republican.”

Thiel, a staunch libertarian, went on to admonish the GOP for wasting time debating “who gets to use which bathroom.” These “fake culture wars,” he said, “only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.”

Many have commented on Trump’s reluctance to engage with the concerns of social conservatives. He’d rather talk about immigrants or terrorism than Planned Parenthood or gay marriage, in part because he has a record of permissive …

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