What Does Trump’s Presidency Mean for LGBT Rights?

While the now President-elect Donald Trump has said he is a friend to the LGBT community, his statements and his running mate Mike Pence suggest otherwise. Given that the once unthinkable Trump presidency is now a looming reality, what does the future of LGBT rights look like?

Say goodbye to federal LGBT protections

During his campaign, Trump was criticized for providing plenty of sound bites, but few fleshed out policy ideas.

While Trump has claimed to support the LGBT community, he also stated that he would repeal many — if not all — of President Obama’s executive orders. One such order is a protection for LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Donald Trump hasn’t specifically addressed whether his administration would interpret the Civil Rights Act as being LGBT inclusive, but there are reasons to think he would not do so.

When it comes to trans rights protections, Trump opposes North Carolina’s odious bathroom bill known as HB2, but essentially he believes it’s a state rights issue. With this in mind, it seems unlikely that Trump would actively fight any court challenge to the Civil Rights Act’s LGBT protections.

Marriage equality in danger

Trump has previously said that evangelical voters could trust him to uphold the sanctity of so-called “traditional” marriage. When asked, then, how he would go about this task, Trump explained that he would elect a Supreme Court justice who would fight against marriage equality, thereby reversing the 2015 ruling and returning the marriage equality question to a matter of state jurisdiction.

While this is certainly a danger, it’s also a convoluted approach — especially given that there is another option open to Trump that is both quicker and more certain.

Trump has also vowed that he would sign a bill protecting religious freedom of conscience. The move could potentially expand the federal Restoration of Religious Freedom Act to mirror legislation found in states like Indiana that has amounted to a license to discriminate against any and all minorities – particularly LGBT people.

This proposed legislation could be even more injurious than overturning the critical marriage equality court case Obergefell  v. Hodges because it would undercut states that have same-gender marriage laws, too.

And we know that Congress would pass such a law. Republican lawmakers have repeatedly floated similar legislation over the past two years — most notably legislation termed the First Amendment Defense Act, which Trump supports.

Perhaps even more concerning than Trump’s agenda is that of his administration — chief among them, his vice president.

Mike Pence could boost conversion therapy and help Trump repeal ObamaCare.

Former Indiana governor Mike Pence has a long history of supporting anti-LGBT rights laws, as well as other anti-minority positions.

He infamously supported Indiana’s expansion of religious freedom legislation to create a license to discriminate against LGBT people. Pence is also known to oppose all trans-inclusive policies and has actively railed against LGBT-inclusive workplace protections.

Most notoriously, Pence supports conversion therapy or the attempt to “cure” people of their LGBT identity.

As Teen Vogue notes:

On the campaign website for his 2000 run for Congress, Pence writes, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Pence has also shown a worrying propensity to overlook the significant dangers of HIV. In his quest to eradicate Planned Parenthood from Indiana by way of defunding the vital reproductive health clinics, Pence shut down Indiana’s main — and in fact only — large-scale HIV testing facility. A surge in HIV cases soon followed.

Given that Pence has been tipped to be in charge of “domestic policy,” as Trump termed it, it seems unlikely he will stop his war against Planned Parenthood anytime soon. With that comes not only a massive constitutional attack on women, but also on broader HIV detection and health care.

And speaking of health care, if Pence helps Trump to follow through on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, LGBT Americans would almost certainly be among the hardest hit.

Is everything hopeless? No!

While it is undeniable that the Trump presidency represents a significant blow to the progress of LGBT rights, there are signs of hope.

For one thing, the U.S. Constitution endures. Under that living and breathing document, LGBT people have been affirmed.

While the protection is not yet determined to be absolute, organizations like the ACLU and Lambda Legal have vowed to see Trump and his agents in court if they move to attack minority rights.

The Constitution is designed to outlast all presidents, and the Obama administration has worked hard to tease out constitutional rights as they apply to LGBT identity – an enduring legacy.

Furthermore, there is reason to be hopeful that on a state by state level, progress can still be made. For example, while a comprehensive LGBT rights bill coming out of Congress now looks even more unlikely, individual states still have the power — and perhaps will now feel the pressure — to pass such legislation.

Meanwhile, groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBTQ Task Force will continue to fight the political battles that are sure to come.

While current events may appear bleak right now, the majority of America backs LGBT rights. That hasn’t changed.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

88 comments

Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome Sabout a year ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Karen H.
Karen H2 years ago

What do they teach the kiddies in Pence's church? Do they sing: "Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Except you, and you, and you, and you, and of course the parents of those kids over there, too."

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Joanne p.
Joanne p2 years ago

ty

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Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm2 years ago

I say we give Pence conversion therapy…….ot be a real nice and decent human being instead of a judgemetal asshole

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Neil L.
Neil L2 years ago

Ohh, and THIS petition as well... although it's pretty sad that such a petition should even be needed, in 2016:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/632/268/813/say-no-to-the-first-amendment-defense-act/

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