With Republican Donald Trump as the president-elect of the United States, LGBT activists in the country are gearing up for tough battles in years ahead. Throughout his campaign, Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, made some worrisome claims on LGBT issues.
Trump's stance on the LGBT rights poses a risk to some of the legislative progress made during the Obama years, such as the Marriage Equality Act and anti-discrimination laws. With Trump taking office in January and Republicans retaining control of Congress, what happens to LGBT rights is a matter of concern. Here are some ways in which the Trump presidency could affect the LGBT community.
1. Marriage Equality
In August, Politifact concluded that Trump is against same-sex marriage. This was based on statements, interviews and actions by the business mogul since 2000. In an interview with Fox News in January 2016, Trump said he would “strongly consider” appointing judges to overturn the Marriage Equality Act. During an interview with Bill O’Reilly in 2011, he said: “I just don’t feel good about it.” Trump added, “I don’t feel right about it. I’m against it, and I take a lot of heat because I come from New York. You know, for New York it’s like, how can you be against gay marriage? But I’m opposed to gay marriage.”
Meanwhile, Pence, also has a history of supporting anti-LGBT measures.
2. Transgender Rights
Trump's take on transgender rights issues has been conflicting. He initially supported the Obama administration in working toward allowing transgender students to use restrooms that match their gender identity. But later changed his stance by supporting a North Carolina law that restricted restroom access for transgender people. Trump said in June he’s “going with the state,” when it comes to trans bathroom rights, a statement contrary to his comments in April.
“North Carolina did something that was very strong and they’re paying a big price. There’s a lot of problems,” Trump told a town hall on NBC News. “You leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom 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 punishment that they’re taking.”
3. Bullying and Sexual Discrimination
Trump and Pence don't always agree when it comes to LGBT rights. The president-elect pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, which protects discrimination on religious grounds and prohibits the government from taking action against anyone who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” The statement was reportedly made on his now-deleted campaign website page.
However, Pence publicly opposed the Obama administration's repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," a ban on gay and lesbian service members. “There’s no question to mainstream homosexuality within active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion,” Pence wrote on his website. He added that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a 'discrete and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities."
Trump's vow to deport millions of undocumented immigrants could hurt LGBT people. If gay marriage is overturned by the Supreme Court, LGBT people would not be able to avoid deportation by marrying their loves ones. That means mothers, fathers and spouses could be divided from their families.
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said the fight for the rights of LGBT people will continue.
“This is a crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement. The election of a man who stands opposed to our most fundamental values has left us all stunned. There will be time to analyze the results of this election, but we cannot afford to dwell. We must meet these challenges head on," Griffin said in a statement. “Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have intentionally sowed fear and division for cynical political purposes. They now face a decision about whether they will also govern that way. We hope, for the sake of our nation and our diverse community – which includes women, people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of all faiths and traditions – they will choose a different path."
“To every LGBTQ person across this nation feeling stunned and disheartened, and questioning if they have a place in our country today, I say this: You do. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise. Be bold, be strong, and continue to stand up for the principles that have always made America great," Griffin added.