Trump presidency’s effect on LGBT community

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:53
  • Written by HRC

The Human Rights Campaign has fielded multiple questions from its constituency regarding potential Trump presidency actions which will affect the LGBT community.

National Legal Affairs Director Sarah Warbelow and other HRC staff members compiled this Q/A list based on the questions directed to HRC:

Will marriage equality be overturned?

It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely. It’s a binding decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress and Donald Trump cannot unilaterally undo marriage equality. Currently, all five justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality are still on the bench, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s hard to imagine how we lose marriage equality.

Will my parental rights be challenged?
Most adoption law is set at the state level. The U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling makes clear that legally married same-sex couples should be treated the same as every other married couple. We think that listing both parents on a birth certificate should be sufficient to establish parentage. However, if you are a non-biological parent you may want to take the extra step of also adopting your child - simply to make sure you have every legal tie available.

What if my same-sex spouse was born in another country?
The only concern is if your spouse has not come to the country with necessary documentation, isn’t now documented, or hasn’t applied for a green card. You should as quickly as possible ensure your spouse has a green card or legal documentation in place. If that is in place, there is no reason to believe your spouse would be deported.

Will protections for transgender people be undone?
One of the big things that the Obama Administration has done through the Departments of Justice and Education is issue guidance protecting transgender people and students. That guidance is at very grave risk; there is a good chance it will be withdrawn. However, that doesn’t mean underlying law protecting people from discrimination is going away. For example, school districts have a moral and legal responsibility to provide every student a safe learning environment. There likely won’t be the same level of enforcement from federal government under a Trump Administration, but people are still protected.

Can Don’t Ask Don’t Tell be reinstated?
As a technical matter, the new president could say that LGBTQ people can no longer serve in the military. That would be exceedingly unlikely. Openly LGB service in the military has been phenomenally successful. Military leader¬ship feels good about it, and LGBTQ service members have skills and expertise our military needs. That being said, transgender military service has just begun, and it is a little more at risk. But once the military implements something, it takes a lot to change course. If you’re in the military, if you’re openly LGB, you’ll have a lot of support. If you’re transgender in the military, this is a time to decide what’s best for you in regards to coming out, and we encourage you to speak with transgender military advocacy organizations for guidance while making your decision.

Will the healthcare I receive be affected?
There is nothing stopping hospitals and doctors’ offices from doing their best by their LGBTQ patients. Our concern is that a Trump Administration and the incoming Congress may push for huge carve outs allowing religious hospitals and healthcare facilities to discriminate against LGBTQ people by not recognizing same-sex marriages, for example, or not treating transgender people equally and with the dignity they deserve. We will be watching this like a hawk, and pushing back at any effort seeking to allow discrimination.

Will restaurants and places I do business be able to turn me away?
Unfortunately, both federal law and many states laws lack provisions preventing discrimination against LGBTQ people in places of public accommodation, including businesses and restaurants. If you have such protections under your state or local laws, that is certainly not going to change in the short run. Federal agencies and the courts will continue to accept employment discrimination com¬plaints, but we do have concerns that the new administration will very likely not enforce these as vigorously as the Obama Administration has.

The White House's LGBT rights page has disappeared

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Friday, 20 January 2017 14:01
  • Written by Jason Scott

And so the transition of power begins... First up is the WhiteHouse.gov site where several pages are now changing or altogether disappearing — including a page on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

It’s just been over an hour since Trump took office and whitehouse.gov/lgbt has now been replaced by a Trump “transitionsplash” page.


She’s with ‘Her’

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Thursday, 14 July 2016 12:05
  • Written by Annette Gross

“You have bronchitis.”

This is what my doctor told me a few weeks ago. I responded, jokingly, by telling him to “blame the Clintons.” Why? I had just spent the past few weeks working at the Hillary campaign office in Indianapolis – to bring the message to Hoosiers that Hillary is the best choice for President of the United States.

I am a Democrat-by-birth. I grew up in a union household, and my parents only voted for Democrats. Born in the Bronx, I was not used to living in a state that was predominantly Republican. So I felt I had to work twice as hard to make sure that Hillary becomes our next president. I began by spending nine hours in front of Arlington High School on Election Day, obtaining 200 signatures to get Hillary on the state ballot. Now I was ready for the next step.

At the beginning of April, the Hillary campaign opened a field office in Indianapolis. On Opening Night, my husband and I headed over there to join the other Hillary supporters and officially become volunteers. I knew some of the staff but had never met Marcella Jewell, who was in charge of the office. I connected with Marcella immediately – we were on the same page! I began volunteering by making phone calls and entering data. I tried to be at the office as much as I could.

The first exciting event that occurred was when President Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak at the Hillary campaign office. The campaign arranged for me to be on the list to have my photo taken with President Clinton. It was such an exciting moment to stand next to Bill, with his arm around me, having our photo taken!

But that wasn’t the end. That Friday, Chelsea came to the office to speak on behalf of her mother. A beautiful, poised young lady, she spoke without script and answered questions following her talk. I was able to get a photo with her too – another exciting moment.

On Sunday, May 1st, Hillary was scheduled to speak at a rally in Indianapolis. As one of the volunteers, I helped guide people with disabilities to sit in the limited seating area. This would be the third time I would hear Hillary speak – I heard her twice in 2008. After being introduced by Congressman Andre Carson, Hillary gave a wonderful speech, touching on employment, civil rights, U.S. and world security, and the environment.

When she was finished, she walked around the barrier, shaking hands of her admirers. I was able to get to the front so I could not only shake her hand, but get a selfie photo taken of us. As I shook her hand, I told her that I had organized the anti-RFRA and Women’s Rights rallies in Indiana – she said to keep up the good work!

I just received my Hillary Card today. I am more than ready to begin the next phase of volunteering for Hillary! A field office is planned to open again, and I want to be on the front lines. I am convinced that she is the best person to lead our country – she is ready to start the job on Day One.


A look at our options

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Saturday, 05 November 2016 10:20
  • Written by Rick Sutton

clintonAmerica chooses a president, U.S. Senators, and everyone takes a break from nasty TV ads Nov. 8.
The LGBTQ community has a lot at stake in next week’s election.

The platforms of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are slugging it out for 270 Electoral College votes. Their platforms on our community’s top issues reveal much:

From the Democratic Party platform, which Clinton enthusiastically endorses:
“Democrats will fight for the continued development of sex discrimination law to cover LGBT people. We will also fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination 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.”

From the Republican Party platform, which Trump has pledged to carry out if elected: “We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch”— full of “silly extravagances”— that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. “
The Republican nominee has further promised to support a Constitutional Amendment which would reverse the Windsor and Obergefell decisions, as well as the appointment of Supreme Court justices who would reverse the landmark rulings.

Also on the ballot, although far behind in every reliable poll, is Libertarian Gary Johnson. From the Libertarian platform:
“Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.” And regard¬ing full LGBTQ_civil rights, if obliquely:
“Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.”

trumpAs a sidelight, voters can learn much from a presidential candidate’s choice for vice president.

Trump chose Indiana’s governor — known best for his defiant refusal to back away from a controversial “religious freedom” law in 2015, which was showcased worldwide.
Clinton chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a moderate harmonica-playing former governor. Vanilla, said some. But non-controversial, low-keyed, a former mayor and a “doer” in Washington.

Johnson chose former Massachuetts Gov. William Weld, a Republican-turned-Libertarian, whose policy brilliance was sorely needed on the campaign trail.

The Word by Sheila

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Thursday, 28 January 2016 14:02
  • Written by Sheila Suess Kennedy

I went into my files and reviewed several of my very earliest Word columns. That review left me with two contradictory impressions: how dramatically things have changed – and how little.

Here, for example, was a column from the year 2000. Just 16 years ago:

– – – – –

My youngest son recently attended the wedding of two co-workers. It was a lovely affair – formal, at an expensive Chicago hotel, conducted with meticulous attention to detail. One of those details was a program book, listing the numerous bridesmaids and groomsmen and each one’s relationship to the happy couple.

The program book had another entry, however, that merits recognition.  On the back page was a message from the bride and groom, reciting how enthusiastic they were to enter into wedded life together, how sure they were that matrimony was the right choice for them.  In fact, they said, there was only one hesitation, one fact that gave rise to a certain reluctance to marry: the fact that others were legally prevented from doing likewise.

It seemed unfair that the status of matrimony was available to them, a man and a woman, and not available to others merely because they were of the same gender. The message concluded with a request that those present, who had shared the happy day with this particular couple, work toward a time when everyone can enter into the institution of marriage and have their union recognized by society and the state.

I couldn’t help thinking about the implications of this simple, powerful statement.

Will a paragraph in support of gay marriage on a pamphlet distributed to friends and families change the world?  No, of course not. But the simple, revolutionary act of a black student sitting down at a counter and ordering lunch was ineffectual individually, too.  It was only when hundreds, then thousands of blacks were challenging the status quo that laws and attitudes began to change.

What would happen to the pervasive bigotry against gays and lesbians if hundreds, then thousands, of heterosexuals added similar paragraphs to their wedding programs?  What if every church and synagogue that believes in human dignity added such language to their bulletins? What if businesses catering to families advertised for business by interpreting “family” in an inclusive and affirming way?

Read more: The Word by Sheila