He still wants to roll back protections against discrimination and he’s still set to appoint justices that would overturn Obergefell v. Hodges.
Donald Trump may be more socially progressive than a few of his primary challengers and a number of constituents, and certainly more than his running mate, but he is no champion of LGBTQA+ rights. On a personal level, Donald Trump may not really care if gay marriage is legal. During his interview with 60 Minutes last night, he said he was “fine” with legalized gay marriage being the law of the land. And many people have been sharing a photo of Trump holding a rainbow flag at a rally this year as further evidence of his support. But in politics, a personal viewpoint only matters when it’s paired with actions that support it. The issue of legalized gay marriage is only one aspect of the fight for LGBTQA+ rights in this country, and I wouldn’t be so sure of its safety anyway.
Right now Trump’s statements are just collections of useless, untethered words, floating aimlessly and adding credence to a false narrative.
The bottom line is this: Trump is still set to appoint supreme court justices who oppose the gay marriage ruling (Obergefell v. Hodges,) and he is still planning to roll back protections through executive orders and repeals. And his vice president, who many say will be very powerful, is the most regressive slice of Wonderbread since Mike Huckabee was moderately relevant.
Trump promised he would sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA,) a bill that would legalize discrimination of LGBTQA+ folks under the umbrella of religious freedom. The bill, like so many before it, including Mike Pence’s disastrous Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is government-protected hate conveniently tied to the romantic notion of freedom of faith. But when a belief system aids in discrimination, that belief system forfeits any sort of protection of said freedoms.
Americans are not allowed to discriminate because their religion says it’s OK to. But Trump and Pence think they should be.
Trump also stated he would rescind President Obama’s executive order which expanded protection against discrimination for federal employees, based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He is likely to also rescind Obama’s directive for public schools to let trans students use their bathroom of choice, and he very well may reinstate the ban of transgender people serving in the military, which was lifted in June. And if he repeals Obamacare, or even a few major tenets within the bill, the portion that protects transgender people from healthcare discrimination would likely go as well.
So while the notion of Trump being more socially progressive than most of the GOP is true, it really doesn’t mean anything. Especially when the official republican platform opposes gay marriage outright. Trump can say the matter of gay marriage is settled, but it’s only settled if the court’s makeup stays intact—and it’s not going to. There’s nothing wrong with attempting to spin the Trump presidency in a positive light, and there’s no denying that, from a social standpoint, a Trump presidency should be far less regressive than a Cruz or Rubio presidency would have been, but let’s not kid ourselves here.
Judging by his proposed actions, there is no reason to think Donald Trump will be a friend to LGBTQA+ folks.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.