Donald Trump seriously thinks he can woo LGBT voters with empty rhetoric about “protecting” us from terrorist attacks. But who’s going to protect us from his religious extremist friends, and his party’s anti-LGBT platform?
Last week,in his acceptance speech at the RNC, Donald Trump said, “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.” Believe him? Believe this: LGBT lives only matter to Trump if they’re victims of a terrorist attack.
Here’s how meaningless that is. First, the president’s job concerns the protection of all Americans. Second, our chances of being killed in a terrorist attack is about 1 in 20 million. So, there’s not much chance we’ll need that kind of protection. Meanwhile, who’s going to protect us from the violence and oppression of a hateful homegrown ideology? Not Donald Trump.
Since he announced his candidacy, Trump has been working hard to make friends with the same evangelical right that opposes LGBT equality, and wants to legalize discrimination against LGBT Americans. Trump’s “Evangelical Advisory Board” is loaded with anti-LGBT extremists.
- Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has stated that LGBT people “target children”, and said of homosexuality, “This is not funny. It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say that this is gay.” In 2014, Bachmann accused the “gay community” of advocating “deviancy,” tyranny,” and child rape.
- James Dobson, Founder of Focus on the Family, has claimed that homosexuality is “preventable” and “treatable.” In 1998, Dobson launched the “Love Won Out” ex-gay ministry. In 2015, he wrote that the “homosexual activist movement” is bent on “overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia,” and that same sex-marriage would bring about the fall of Western civilization.
- Pentecostal Bishop Harry Jackson, led the unsuccessful fight against marriage equality in Washington, DC, and is a long-time ally of the Family Research Council (which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center). He has called same-sex marriage part of a “satanic plot” to destroy “our seed,” and claimed that gay people must “recruit” because they cannot reproduce.
- Robert Jeffress, a Texas-based mega-church pastor, has claimed that “70 percent of the gay population” has AIDS; that gay people live a “miserable lifestyle”; and that homosexuality is linked to pedophilia.
- Trump’s “Christian Policy Liaison,” televangelist Frank Amedia, has said that he is ready to be thrown into a fiery furnace to protest LGBT equality.
Trump himself has been a consistent opponent of marriage equality, as a “traditional guy,” choosing to support domestic partnerships. He later reversed himself and said that he also opposed civil unions. Recently, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump called the Supreme Court’s Obergefell marriage ruling “shocking,” and told evangelicals to “trust me” on the issue. On “Fox News Sunday,” Trump said he would consider appointing judges who would overturn the Obergefell ruling, and return the issue to the states.
Then there’s Trump’s choice for vice president. It’s hard to think of a worse candidate than Indiana governor Mike Pence (unless it’s North Carolina’s Pat McCrory). Pence certainly doesn’t prove Trump is anything like a “friend” to LGBT Americans.
- Pence signed Indiana’s now-infamous “religious freedom” law, which allowed businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBT people, on the basis of strongly-held religious beliefs, with lobbyists from anti-LGBT groups like the Indiana Family Institute looking on.
- A longstanding opponent of marriage equality, during his time in Congress Pence declared marriage as “ordained by God.” Of the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing marriage equality in all 50 states, Pence said he was disappointed that the Court “failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy,” but that he believed “in the rule of law.”
- In 2009, Pence opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate crime legislation to include violence against the LGBT community.
- Pence opposed President Obama’s decision to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which banned gay and lesbian people from serving in the military. Pence warned that the military would become “a backdrop for social experimentation,” and said, “We ought to put their interests and the interests of our national security first.”
- Pence spoke out against President Obama’s directive that schools allow transgender students to use restrooms that correspond to their gender identity, or lose federal funding.
- In 2000, Pence suggested that money earmarked for a program to help those with HIV/AIDS should be redirected to organizations that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
- Jerry Falwell Jr., son of Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, and president of Liberty University, which is known for its anti-gay policies, and its affiliation with the Liberty Foundation — the anti-gay legal group that defended Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’s defiance of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
- Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee promised during his presidential campaign to defy the Supreme Courts marriage equality ruling, claiming that it criminalized Christianity. Huckabee also took up Kim Davis’ cause, and called for a boycott of Doritos, because the company released rainbow-colored chips benefiting an LGBT suicide prevention group.
- Ben Carson made headlines for claiming that prison rape proves being gay is a choice. He also called for the impeachment of judges who back same-sex marriage.
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), his momentary pandering during the convention notwithstanding, repeatedly accused LGBT people of waging a “jihad” against people of faith. Both Cruz and Huckabee attended a conference organized by anti-gay extremist Kevin Swanson, who has repeatedly declared that the Bible demands the death penalty for gay people.
- Newt Gingrich signed the National Organization for Marriage’s candidate pledge to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage when he ran for president in 2011, and said he would reinstate “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In 2008, Gingrich warned that “there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, is prepared to use harassment.”
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), as a state legislator, tried to get a referendum on the ballot to overturn the state supreme court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality, and said she would support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
The same Republican convention that nominated Trump and Pence produced the most anti-LGBT Republican platform ever. The Republican platform:
- Holds that children are best served by a “traditional two-parent household;
- Opposes transgender people using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity;
- States that President Obama’s polity supporting transgender students access to facilities of their choice is “illegal, ominous and ignores privacy issues”;
- Calls for overturning the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality by appointed justices “who respect traditional family values,” and defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman; and
- Supports “ex-gay” conversion therapy “by saying that parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference.”
By contrast, the Democrats’ platform is the most progressive on LGBT issues in the party’s history. The Democrats’ platform includes this plank titled “Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights”:
Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people — like other Americans — have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done. LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, restaurants can refuse to serve transgender people, and same – sex couples are at risk of being evicted from their homes. That is unacceptable and must change . Democrats will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people. We will also fight for comprehensive federal non – discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans, to guarantee equal rights in areas such as housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, jury service, education, and federal funding. We will oppose all state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals, including legislation that restricts the right to access public spaces. We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve school climates. We will support LGBT elders, ensure access to necessary health care, and protect LGBT people from violence — including ending the crisis of violence against transgender Americans. We will also promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world.
Sure, the GOP made history when Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel addressed the convention as an openly gay man. Former Arizona Senator Jim Kolbe addressed the convention in 2000, but didn’t talk about say issues. Still, as California Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom said at the Democratic convention, Thiel’s speech doesn’t begin to make up for all of the above.
There is no comparison between the parties, the platforms, or the candidates. Trump can say what he wants. The overwhelming majority of LGBT Americans won’t be fooled.