What will happen to LGBTQ rights in your state now?
“Welp, I’m back to being three-quarters of a person,” Aaron Tiller, a gay, 27-year-old art director from New York City tells us. “Being considered a person was nice while it lasted. Welcome to the Land of the Free.”
Tiller’s statement seems to mirror the sentiment of millions of our country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, all of whom are justifiably worried about which of Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s aggressively anti-LGBTQ promises will come true.
Will they make good on their pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which protects transgender people from discrimination in accessing health care? Will they appoint conservative judges to the US Supreme Court who’d repeal marriage equality and other fundamental civil rights? Will Pence puppy love for "conversion therapy" lead to even more suicides amongst LGBTQ youth than its does now?
Well, if the Trump/Pence war machine gets its way, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding “yes,” (probably accompanied by a Nazi salute.)
However, there is a saving grace: while many of these anti-LGBTQ changes would likely occur on a federal level, many the issues that our country’s gay and transgender citizens face would be left up to states to work out.
After all, LGBTQ legislation, like weed, has historically been one of those state vs. federal things. The federal side of that battle won over on June 27, 2015, when Marriage Equality was passed, but prior to that date, states have been in charge of making up their minds about gay and transgender issues individually.
And with the new Republican super-majority in the White House, Senate, Congress and (inevitably) the Supreme Court, states will have a lot to make up their minds about as LGBTQ issues are left in their control once more. Our nation’s queer forecast? Cloudy, with a high chance of heavily conservative agendas being pushed through with little opposition.
It’s not hard to see exactly where eliminating gay-rights sits on Tangerine Mussolini’s agenda. Even before its inauguration, Trump’s administration is already being accused of having the most anti-LGBTQ platform in recent memory by Rea Carey, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, something we’re guessing has a lot to do with his promise to kill Obama’s executive order banning LGBTQ-discrimination by federal contractors.
However, while Trump’s own anti-gay sentiments are nothing short of malicious, LGBTQ rights groups and their advocates should perhaps be more worried about his right hand man, human dial-tone Mike Pence.
Put simply, Pence has a fucking terrible track record when it comes to LGBTQ rights.
Pence is a guy with more religion than empathy. He’s said that gay couples signaled a “societal collapse,” opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, backed gay conversion therapy (which makes LGBTQ youth almost nine times more likely to commit suicide), and opposed a law that would prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace.
It’s a dark voting record that sounds like it’s straight out of Medieval times, but that’s exactly where LGBTQ legislation is heading — back to the dark ages where discrimination is condoned.
Even with today’s robust anti-discrimination laws in place, trying to prove discrimination by employers or housing managers is already incredibly difficult, as it's often not expressed vocally — no one has to say they’re firing someone because they’re gay. But you can be sure that with the Trump/Pence hydra in power, bigots will be able to discriminate against the LGBTQ population based on, drum roll please ... religion.
… Yes, because the separation of church and state is totally not written into the First Amendment of the United States constitution or anything.
Religious freedom — aka sanctioned discrimination — was something that Republicans have promised to back. At conventions in 2015 and 2016, Republican candidates have vowed to support legislation that protects religious freedom for “individuals, churches, adoption agencies, universities” and most worrisome, “hospitals.”
… Hospitals? Refusing medical care to LGBTQ people sounds as fucked up as it does farfetched. But if you’re having trouble wrapping your head around it, wait until you read about a Michigan couple, who had a pediatrician refuse service to their 6-day-old infant daughter. If it wasn’t bad enough that doctors can refuse service to gay patients, they can also refuse to see their kids.
Pretty sure that 6-day-old wasn’t out of the closet yet. Pretty sure.
The backing of religious freedom is also something people like Denver’s Masterpiece Cakeshop owner, Jack Phillips benefit from. Remember him? He was the guy who famously violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing service to same-sex couples based on claims of religious freedom.
And with legalized anti-LGBTQ legislation such as this likely to be passed by the Republican-controlled government, what will happen to our nation’s brand-new right to same-sex marriage?
While Trump has been vocal about opposing same-sex marriage, and would appoint Supreme Court justices to eventually revisit and overturn Marriage Equality on a federal level, he’s also confusingly said that same-sex marriage is an issue that should be left up to the individual states and that gay marriage is “irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.”
In the most basic terms, this is what’s most likely to happen if the Trump klan removes federal gay marriage provisions:
If you're blue, you could keep marriage, but the state court will have to rule religious freedom unconstitutional (never happening), so you have to put up with the feds not stepping in.
If you're red, you could lose marriage and you can for sure forget about not being discriminated against.
However, it’s important to recognize that the end of federally recognized same-sex marriage would do much more damage than simply preventing gay couples from marrying. It would also end federal benefits to same-sex married couples, which include being eligible for federal health care (Obamacare will probably be gone anyway, to be replaced with something “terrific”) and being able to put your spouse on a company health insurance plan. Same-sex married couples would also have to pay federal inheritance tax on any money willed to a spouse when they die.
If this chills you to the bone, know that there is at least some solace in the system of checks and balances our country has in place.
Neither the President or Congress can repeal what the Supreme Court has deemed a "fundamental right," which, according to multiple experts, should leave current marriages safe.
Yet while Trump can’t unilaterally dissolve marriage equality with the swipe of a pen, he does have the power to appoint Supreme Court justices that would do so happily.
So far, anti-LGBTQ conservatives are said to be very pleased with his potential nominees, but even if he fills the Supreme Court with gay-bashing God-freaks, it would still take a long time for the court to repeal marriage equality, if they even decide to. And regardless of who fills Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, the five Supreme Court justices who ushered in marriage equality into action will remain. Most of them are older than dust and are capable of kicking the bucket just as suddenly as Scalia, but advocates are hopeful that, by the time they do need to be replaced, society will have adjusted to the idea that gay people are just people, and let it be.
However, while none of this is particularly great news, there is one thing Trump does want to do for our nation’s LGBTQ population …
… Protect them from … Muslims? (Not from Christians though!)
Specifically, he said that he would protect them from radical Islamic terrorism. In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando this summer, he said, “As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”
Let us get this straight.
He and his little dog Pence are going to take away anti-discrimination legislation, making it hard for our country’s gay citizens to access jobs, housing and basic services like fucking cake.
They’re going to dissolve gay marriage, some way, some how.
And in doing so, they’re going to take away the right to insurance and adoption and hospital visitation.
… But he’s going to make damn sure that no one yells “ISIS” while killing them? (Remember how the Orlando nightclub shooter wasn’t even an Islamic extremist; he just yelled “ISIS” during the attack? As Dave Chappelle said in his opening monologue on last week’s SNL, “Sometimes I yell ‘Wu-Tang!’ before I have sex with a girl. Doesn’t mean I’m in Wu-Tang.’)
Wow. Thanks, Trump.
Protect our nation’s citizens from Muslims by removing them from the country Hitler-style, but not from their own fellow countrymen.
Long toupee short? We’re in for a wild ride, but as pretty much anyone with a neuron has said over the last week, “I’m not going to give up, and neither should you.”
In the meantime, while we wait for this sick theater to start, here are some pro-LGBTQ organizations you can support with your time or donations.
- Mazzoni Center
- The True Colors Fund
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Human Rights Campaign