Friday, January 13, 2017

What LGBT Americans Need to Brace for Under Trump

Some in the news media have tried to depict Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Fuhrer, as the most gay-friendly Republican president-elect in history. Nothing could be more untrue.  First, the comparison sets an extremely low bar.  Remeber Ronald Reagan who did nothing to assist long time friend Rock Hudson as he was dying of AIDS?  The there was "Chimperator" George W. Bush who used anti-gay animus to rally the Christofascists to return him to the White House in 2004.  More importantly, the ridiculous statement ignores two things: (i) Trump's pick of the hysterically anti-gay Mike Pence as his running mate, and (ii) Trump's pact with the Christofascists last June which he is fulfilling by nomination for the most part extreme homophobes to his cabinet.  "Friends" who voted for Trump/Pence conveniently ignore these points and feign shock that members of the LGBT community are fearful for the future.  A piece in Keen News Source lays out what LGBT Americans may face during Der Fuhrer's first 100 days.  Here are highlights:
No matter what Trump might do as president to signal his unique level of comfort with LGBT people compared to his Republican conservative base, the departure of President Obama, indisputably the most pro-gay president in history, will stand in stark contrast to what many LGBT people fear will become an inevitable string of disappointing inactions (at best) and hostile attacks (at worst).
And the hopes for a better tomorrow for LGBT people –hopes that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made abundantly clear she supported – are replaced now with the uneasy feeling that anti-LGBT legislation will breeze through a Republican-dominated Congress and be signed as part of some “deal” President Trump might feel compelled to make to demonstrate his solidarity with his rabid right base and a certain admired foreign leader.
So, what exactly should the LGBT community be braced to see? Here’s a look at the most likely events in Trump’s first 100 days:
The Executive Branch:Contractor discrimination: President Obama signed an executive order in July 2014 that prohibits contractors doing business with the federal government from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It also added gender identity to a previously existing Executive Order 13087 that prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation. Trump could rescind both executive orders . . . .
Hospital Memorandum: President Obama issued a memorandum April 15, 2010, calling for an end to discrimination against LGBT people by hospital visitation policies that limit visitors to immediate family members. The directive applies to hospitals receiving federal funds through Medicare and Medicaid. Many same-sex couples now have the benefit of marriage to protect those visitation rights, but not all same-sex couples with close, long-term relationships do.
Education discrimination: In May 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice issued a “Dear Colleague” letter advising schools that discrimination against transgender students violates a federal law against sex discrimination. The Trump administration could issue a new letter with its own interpretation of the reach of Title IX. And Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was a leading supporter of a 2004 ballot campaign against marriage equality in Michigan, and her family has given millions to anti-LGBT causes and groups.
Health discrimination: In May last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued regulations stating that the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination in health coverage and care includes a prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity. The Trump HHS could issue its own interpretation of the ACA’s sex discrimination. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of HHS, Tom Price, has a long history of hostility toward the LGBT community. Plus Trump has already made clear that he would like to repeal the ACA.
The Republican-led Congress:Nullifying executive orders: Even if President Trump chooses not to rescind any of President Obama’s executive orders or memoranda, Congress could pass legislation to nullify any or all of them, and one Trump ally, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, predicted last month that Trump would rescind 70 percent of President Obama’s executive orders. So a Trump veto on such action by Congress seems unlikely.
First Amendment Defense Act: This bill was introduced to Congress shortly before the Supreme Court’s ruling that said state bans on marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional. The FADA is part of the effort to circumvent laws that prohibit discrimination against same-sex couples. It would allow a person or business discriminating against LGBT people to defend themselves by claiming the discrimination is an exercise of the person or business’s religious beliefs.
Johnson Amendment repeal: The Johnson Amendment is a law that ensures taxpayer money is not used to subsidize partisan political activity. Trump has said he wants the Johnson Amendment repealed because it prevents clergy from speaking about politics from the pulpit. A bill to repeal the Johnson Amendment was introduced January 3.
In the courts:The Supreme Court nominee: The most long-standing influence Trump could have on the LGBT community is through his choice or choices to fill U.S. Supreme Court seats. He released lists of potential nominees last year, and they all look decidedly conservative and some have a history of hostility toward equal rights for LGBT people. He will almost certainly announce his first choice within the first 100 days, to fill the seat vacated by the death of right-wing Justice Antonin Scalia last February. Replacing one right-wing justice with another right-wing justice may not tip the court’s balance, but it will re-establishes a necessary four-vote bloc needed to accept conservative appeals for review. And a second Trump opportunity to nominate a justice will almost certainly bend the arc of the moral universe at the high court away from justice for the LGBT community.
The North Carolina challenge: Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law HB2. . . . If confirmed by the Senate, it seems likely Sessions, with the support of Trump, will withdraw the U.S.’s lawsuit against the North Carolina law. It also seems likely the Trump DOJ will weigh in on the side of North Carolina should the Supreme Court eventually review the constitutionality of HB2 as other lawsuits against it continue. And similar bills are now proceeding through the Texas and Virginia legislatures.
The Title IX showdown: In the spring, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case, Gloucester v. Grimm, to decide whether Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination in schools should be read to include a prohibition on gender identity discrimination. Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice supported the transgender student’s claim . . . . Under the Trump administration, a DOJ led by Sessions will almost certainly take sides with the Gloucester school district.

The Trump/Pence regime will likely be a continuing nightmare for LGBT Americans.  As for my "friends" who voted for this, they should not be surprised that I no longer trust them and will never feel the same level of friendship or affection for them.  True friends do not vote for those who seek to ruin your life and open the door to discrimination against.  The "I did not know" excuse gets nowhere with me.  15 minutes on the Internet would have revealed all of this.  I will not forgive such "friends" for the abject laziness.  

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