This election year, everything we've fought for is on the line. We have seen so much progress for the LGBTQ community under the leadership of President Barack Obama, and it all could be reversed by a Donald Trump-Mike Pence presidency.
Trump has attacked, belittled and maligned anyone and everyone he considers different. And he remains dangerously out of step with the fair-minded majority of Americans who believe that LGBTQ people should be treated equally under the law.
Make no mistake, we need an LGBTQ advocate in the White House, and despite what Trump has claimed, his record shows that he is no friend to the LGBTQ community.
Here are five ways that Trump has threatened to roll back LGBTQ equality:
1. Trump Vowed to Rescind 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 U.S. 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 Endorsed 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 LGBTQ 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 service member.
This is not the first time that Donald Trump has vowed to support sham religious refusal bills designed to enable discrimination against LGBTQ 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 Endorsed North Carolina’s HB2; Would Let Anti-LGBTQ Governors Write Discrimination Into State Law
During a campaign appearance in Raleigh in July, Colin Campbell of The News and Observer asked Trump again about his opinion of the hateful HB2 law. Trump said, “I’m going with the state. The state, they know what’s going on, they see what’s happening and generally speaking I’m with the state on things like this. I’ve spoken with your governor, I’ve spoken with a lot of people and I’m going with the state.”
While Trump has noted how unnecessary and damaging HB2, has been to the state of North Carolina -- he has also assured conservatives he would do nothing to address it as president. Trump told Sean Hannity on FOX News that ‘he would leave it up to states’ and do nothing to intervene as president. Trump doubled down in May.
The Charlotte Observer reported, “Although Kimmel pressed him five times, Trump refused to explain his personal stance on North Carolina’s law that requires people in government buildings to use bathrooms matching their birth certificates. ‘What I support is let the states decide, and I think the states will do hopefully the right thing,’ Trump said.”
Essentially, he’s suggesting that if a state wants to go through with a law that puts LGBTQ people at risk for discrimination and harassment, he will stand by and hope for the best -- in a year where over 200 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced. As far as Trump is concerned, however, states should be free to violate federal laws -- such as Title IX -- and deny LGBTQ people equal treatment under the law.
4. Trump Pledged to Repeal President Obama’s Executive Orders
Trump says he looks forward to repealing President Obama’s executive orders, meaning the executive order protecting LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ employees just because of who they are.
This is what Trump had to say about executive orders:
“One of the beautiful things about executive orders…is, if I get elected, many of those executive orders that [Obama] signed, the first day they’re going to be unsigned.”
The loss of these protections is not just a hypothetical danger. Just recently the House Armed Services Committee added an amendment to the defense authorization bill 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.
Separate from the issue of executive orders, Trump said in an interview with the Washington Post that would rescind important guidance from the Obama administration that is intended to ensure transgender students have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.
5. Spews Hatred Towards LGBTQ People -- including Women, Immigrants, Muslims, and People Living with Disabilities
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump attacked, belittled and maligned anyone and everyone he considers different. The LGBTQ community is as diverse as our nation, and includes women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, people living with disabilities, asylum seekers and others Trump has attacked for political gain.
Consider his attacks on immigrants, whom he has called “in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.” About 30 percent of LGBTQ immigrants -- some 267,000 people -- are undocumented adults, according to a 2013 study from the UCLA’s Williams Institute. Donald Trump would forcibly remove these people and deport them, breaking up LGBTQ families and doing massive damage to our economy in the process.
Trump has also called women "pigs" and other offensive terms; when FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly called Trump on it, he dismissively joked that he was “referring to Rosie O'Donnell.”
Equally troubling, Donald Trump attacked U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, claiming he had an “absolute conflict” in a case solely because of his “Mexican heritage” and his membership in a Latino lawyers association. Trump not only refused to apologize over his racist remarks about Curiel, who was born and attended law school in Indiana, he reportedly doubled down and urged campaign surrogates to continue attacking the judge for his heritage.
Unfortunately, we've seen the same attacks lobbed against LGBTQ judges. When Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional, anti-LGBTQ activists in California sought to have his decision vacated. As Philip Klein, a columnist for the conservative Washington Examiner, wrote, similar attacks from Donald Trump should be viewed as an attack on all minority communities. “As an American Jew, I'm certainly familiar with the age old dual-loyalty smear… Trump could just as easily be arguing that a Jewish judge is against him because he refuses to be beholden to Jewish donors. Or an American Asian judge is against him because he wants to get tough on China. Or an Irish Catholic judge is against him because of his attacks on Pope Francis. Effectively, anybody who isn't a white Protestant of European ancestry can be a target of Trump's ethnic and racial attacks.”
Donald Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel are not only an attack on the estimated 1.4 million Latinx LGBTQ adults but a dangerous signal to all minority communities -- including LGBTQ people -- that they might be next.
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