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What’s the next President to do for LGBT equality? Featured 

What’s the next President to do for LGBT equality?

by Adam Lombardi

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The fight for LGBT equality has come farther than ever before but there’s still a long way to go and the stakes couldn’t get any higher. The next President will either set the tempo for establishing full equality for the entire nation or rollback gains made under President Obama. It’s crunch time.

President Obama has already left a legacy advocating for LGBT equality that tackles some of the biggest issues with record advancements on this front. These gains are so significant; any attempt to roll back developments will set the movement back a decade.

From the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to ending the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to signing historic hate crimes legislation via the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act making attacks based on sexual orientation and gender identity a Federal hate crime, President Obama has left some big shoes to fill.

In addition to legislation passed, President Obama has signed substantial administrative actions in support of equality that go farther than any President before. In March 2011, President Obama held the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention against LGBT students. To reduce the high rates of bullying and suicide of LGBT youth, President Obama joined six Federal agencies together to establish the first-ever Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Steering Committee that will help explore ways to provide guidance on combating bullying to individuals and organizations. This was just the beginning.

President Obama held the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention against LGBT students.”

Through administrative action, Obama has ensured hospital visitation rights for LGBT Patients and their loved ones (which requires all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds – just about every hospital in America – to allow visitation rights for LGBT patients as well as ensuring that medical decision-making rights of LGBT patients are respected). In addition, under his signature Affordable Care Act, insurers can no longer turn someone away just because he or she is LGBT but that’s not all.

Other signature advancements toward LGBT equality made under President Obama include:

• Released the Nation’s first comprehensive plan forresponding to the domestic HIV epidemic.

• Designed HealthCare.gov to help all consumers easily locate health insurers that cover domestic partners.

• Expanded Federal benefits for same-sex partners of Federal employees to the extent possible under current law, including by allowing same-sex domestic partners to apply for long-term care insurance.

• Issued a final rule to ensure that the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s core housing programs are open to all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

• Under Obama’s direction, the Justice Department also issued the first-ever guidance stating that Federal prosecutors should enforce criminal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act in cases involving same-sex relationships.

WILL THE NEXT PRESIDENT CONTINUE TO SUPPORT LGBT MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS? LET’S TAKE A LOOK AND SEE WHERE THE CANDIDATES PRESENTLY STAND.

HILLARY CLINTON DEMOCRAT 

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Clinton supports marriage equality. In April 2016, Clinton demonstrated her support. “On the day of the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments about same-sex marriage bans in a handful of states in April, Clinton changed her “H” logo to rainbow-colored and tweeted a message of support: “Every loving couple & family deserves to be recognized & treated equally under the law across our nation. #LoveMustWin #LoveCantWait,” writes the Huffington Post.

LGBT Discrimination: Clinton supports LGBT anti-discrimination laws. In July of 2015 Clinton came out in favor of the Equality Act – legislation that would provide broad civil rights protections to LGBT people by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to all areas of the Civil Rights Act. Again in July, Clinton tweeted “The Equality Act will mean full federal equality for LGBT Americans & stronger anti-discrimination protections for everyone.”

 

BERNIE SANDERS DEMOCRAT

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Sanders supports marriage equality. On June 26, 2015, Sanders issued the following statement on his Senate website to commemorate Obergefell v. Hodges: “Today the Supreme Court fulfilled the words engraved upon its building: ‘Equal justice under law.’ This decision is a victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights. For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people.”

LGBT Discrimination: Sanders supports LGBT anti-discrimination laws. He co-sponsored the Equality Act to ban discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. “Sanders also supports requiring law enforcement across the nation to adopt policies ensuring fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color,” writes NewNowNext.

 

DONALD TRUMP REPUBLICAN

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Donald Trump opposes nationwide marriage equality. His position is clear, “I’m not in favor of gay marriage. They should not be able to marry.” According to GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) “Trump has taken to disparaging the families of gay and lesbian couples as a tactic to get attention for his candidacy.”

LGBT Discrimination: Donald Trump has been somewhat mixed on laws protecting against LGBT discrimination. “Trump has advocated for banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. He criticized a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court found, earlier this year, that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry,” according to the Advocate.

 

TED CRUZ REPUBLICAN

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Donald Trump opposes nationwide marriage equality. His position is clear, “I’m not in favor of gay marriage. They should not be able to marry.” According to GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) “Trump has taken to disparaging the families of gay and lesbian couples as a tactic to get attention for his candidacy.”

LGBT Discrimination: Donald Trump has been somewhat mixed on laws protecting against LGBT discrimination. “Trump has advocated for banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. He criticized a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court found, earlier this year, that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry,” according to the Advocate.

 

JOHN KASICH REPUBLICAN 

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Early on the campaign trail Kasich accepted marriage equality. Speaking at a GOP debate, moderator Megyn Kelly asked Kasich about what he would do if his child were homosexual. His response? “Our court has ruled and I said we’ll accept it,” said Kasich. “And guess what? I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who is gay.” And in February while at a campaign stop in Michigan, Kasich vowed that if he were to become president, he would not fight the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

LGBT Discrimination: As the Governor of Ohio, Kasich has not adopted a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which could have been used as pretenses for discrimination against LGBT individuals by allowing businesses and medical providers to refuse service to gay couples, according to HRC. NBC reports “Kasich said he believed Ohio did not need a religious freedom law, like Indiana,” said Mike Brickner, the senior policy director at ACLU Ohio. “But he also said that he didn’t feel like statewide nondiscrimination laws were needed either. He want[s] to keep the status quo.”

 

MARCO RUBIO REPUBLICAN

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Rubio does not support marriage equality. Rubio disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality even suggesting his Supreme Court would roll back marriage equality, writes the Huffington Post. “I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.” Rubio does not believe the Supreme Court’s ruling that state bans on same-sex marriage discriminate against gays and lesbians.

LGBT Discrimination: Rubio does not support anti-lgbt discrimination legislation. In an interview with David Broady on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rubio said he would reverse Obama’s LGBT executive orders that stop religious business owners from discriminating against gays. Rubio also said any transgender rights laws regarding bathroom usage must be repealed.

 

BEN CARSON REPUBLICAN

LO_v4i2_PG13Marriage Equality: Ben Carson does not support marriage equality. According to GLAAD, while speaking on Fox News neurosurgeon Ben Carson equated gays with bestiality and the North American Man/Boy Love Association: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.”

LGBT Discrimination: During the February Republican debate, Carson said that giving the LGBT community equal rights would actually give them extra rights.

 

What’s next? There are more questions that still need to be answered. For instance what will candidates do to stop anti-LGBT bullying? Do they support trans-inclusive healthcare? Do they believe in conversion therapy for minors? And do they support the right of LGBT Americans to adopt? The reality is that this is just the beginning.

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