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Four Ways Donald Trump Would Roll Back LGBT Equality as President

by Brandon Lorenz May 03, 2016

With his win in Indiana tonight, Donald Trump steps even closer to becoming the presumptive nominee of the Republican party in November. And with that, it’s important for pro-equality voters in November. Despite his malleable rhetoric -- which shifts depending on who he is standing in front of at any given moment -- he has made clear that he will be no friend to the LGBT community in the White House.

Donald Trump is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to LGBT equality. Here are four ways Donald Trump has already pledged to roll back LGBT equality if he succeeds in his quest to become president.

1) Trump Has Promised to Roll Back Nationwide Marriage Equality

Donald Trump has long opposed nationwide marriage equality, calling himself a “traditional” guy, even waffling on whether he supports civil unions. Heading into the South Carolina Primary, Trump tripled down on his opposition to nationwide marriage equality.

In late January, Trump told Fox News Sunday he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse nationwide marriage equality and when asked to clarify by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos a week later, Trump again doubled down.

Trump also told CBN’s David Brody that evangelical voters can “trust me” to oppose marriage equality, saying:

“I think they can trust me. They can trust me on traditional marriage. I was very much in favor of having the court rule that it goes to states and let the states decide. And that was a shocking decision for you and for me and for a lot of other people. But I was very much in favor of letting the states decide....”

2) Trump to Sign a Law Sanctioning Kim Davis-Style Discrimination

Donald Trump supports the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” (FADA), a bill to enable Kim Davis-style discrimination against LGBT people nationwide. FADA would undermine the rule of law and promote taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples. In a letter to the far-right organization the American Principles Project, Trump wrote in December, “If Congress considers the First Amendment Defense Act a priority, then I will do all I can to make sure it comes to my desk for signatures and enactment.”

FADA would allow organizations and businesses contracting with the federal government to circumvent critical federal protections designed to protect same-sex couples and their families from harmful discrimination.  It would also enable federal employees to refuse to fully perform their duties if they believe they conflict with their objection to same-sex marriage.  For example, an employee at the Department of Veterans Affairs could refuse to process a claim for survivor benefits for the same-sex spouse of a servicemember.

This is not the first time that Donald Trump has vowed to support sham religious refusal bills designed to enable discrimination against LGBT people. In a March debate, Trump said he agreed with Cruz’s answer on religious liberty and agreed that when it comes to opposing nationwide marriage equality and the right of same-sex couples to adopt,“I would certainly have rather left it to the states.”

And last fall at the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition, Trump said he would make the passage of legislation creating such broad loopholes to discriminate a priority. According to Breitbart, referencing Christians and religious liberty Trump  told the audience, he would support such laws because “...We’re not being protected.” Breitbart reported, “He said his first priority if elected President of the United States would be to ‘preserve and protect our religious liberty.’ ‘We’ll be fighting as part [of a] common core, and we’re going to protect totally the First Amendment.’ ”

3) Trump Opposes HB2 in Theory; but Would Let it Continue in Practice. #NotLeadership.

In one spectacular display of Trump’s brazen efforts to ‘have it both ways,’ he made nearly simultaneous statements speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Almost immediately after Trump appeared on NBC and pledged his opposition to HB2, noting how unnecessary and damaging it has been to the state of North Carolina -- he went on FOX later the very same day to assure conservatives he would do nothing to address it as president.

In an interview with the Today Show in April, Donald Trump opposed North Carolina’s HB 2 -- saying:

“North Carolina, what they're going through, with all of the business that's leaving and all of the strife — and that's on both sides — you leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble. And the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic, I mean, the economic punishment that they're taking. So I would say that's probably the best way.

Later that day, Trump told Sean Hannity on FOX News that 'he would leave it up to states' and do nothing to intervene as president. Essentially, he’s suggesting that if a state wants to go through with a law that harms the state, he would allow it, an attempt to have it both ways.

One federal court has already ruled that a school district policy similar to HB 2 is not constitutional. Just this week, Secretary of Education John, B. King called for the repeal of HB 2 saying that gender identity should be protected from discrimination. As far as Trump is concerned, however, states should be free to violate federal laws -- such as Title IX -- and deny basic rights to their people.

4) Trump Would Repeal President Obama’s Executive Orders

Trump says he looks forward  to repealing President Obama’s executive orders, meaning the executive order protecting LGBT employees working for federal contractors is at risk. That means under a Trump White House, a company doing business with the government and receiving taxpayer dollars could say “you’re fired” to LGBT employees just because of who they are. And if there’s any doubt as to urgency with which Trump would approach this, the Washington Post reports, “If he's elected president, Trump said that within an hour of taking the oath of office -- but possibly within two minutes -- he would undo many of Obama's executive orders.”

The loss of these protections is not just a hypothetical danger. Just last week the House Armed Services Committee added an amendment to the defense authorization that would undermine President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for federal contractors -- an executive order that covers 20 percent of the workforce. And Trump has made clear he’s not going to fight these types of efforts.

In sum: Trump has vowed time and again to oppose LGBT equality and roll back our progress. His policy positions are extreme and dangerous -- and he has attempted to obfuscate his views because he knows they are out of step with the vast majority of voters who’ll go to the polls in November.

In fact, support for LGBT equality has hit a record high in the last year. Nearly 80 percent of Americans support federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and a 55 percent majority say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate opposed to marriage equality.  No matter how you look at it, Trump remains dangerously out of step with the majority of fair-minded Americans who believe that LGBT people should be treated equally under the law.

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 

Brandon Lorenz
Brandon Lorenz


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