Tuesday, November 01, 2016
The one issue I’m unwilling to compromise on is protecting LGBT rights generally, and marriage equality specifically. That may be obvious, since that means protecting my own human rights and status as an equal citizen; those are not things I’d ever be willing to bargain away—ever.
Some people are suggesting that Donald isn’t bad on LGBT rights issues. In fact, the one good thing I can say about him is that he hasn’t demonised LGBT people or tried to exploit fear and loathing of us for political gain (like he has so many others…). But his lack of open pandering to the anti-gay base of the Republican Party is NOT the same as supporting LGBT rights. In fact, he’d be an utter disaster for LGBT people and our families.
I recently saw someone ask, “how would gay people be under attack” if Donald was elected president? The same person wondered when Donald had ever said he opposed marriage equality, when they understood that he just wanted it to be a matter for the states. For me, the answer to both was clear and obvious.
First, the problem with the "leave it to the states" thing is that many states would instantly and forcibly divorce already married same-gender couples against their will. We've already seen how that would happen.
When marriage equality first became law in California, thousands of couples married before Proposition 8 passed and outlawed them again. Once Prop 8 passed, the backers announced that they planned to ask the court to invalidate all the LEGAL marriages that happened before Prop 8 passed—effectively forcibly divorcing those couples and taking away all the rights and protections of marriage offered by the state of California (the anti-gay backers of Prop 8 had claimed in the campaign that they wouldn’t do that, of course, but when they won, the set about doing it, anyway—of course).
Were Don and the Republicans to succeed in their goal of making marriage equality a state matter, this same thing would be repeated in states all across the country. Moreover, they would outlaw Federal benefits for many (or possibly all) married same-gender couples—such as Social Security benefits, joint tax returns, spousal survivor's benefits (especially for inheritance taxes), and immigration (prior to marriage equality becoming legal, a gay person could not sponsor their legal spouse of the same gender for immigration, even through their heterosexual siblings could sponsor their opposite gender legal spouse).
At the very least, Don and the Republicans would change laws to deny Federal benefits or recognition to any same-gender couple whose marriage was legal in the state where it was performed, but illegal in the state where they're living (for example, if the couple moved from Illinois to, say, Alabama). They may also outlaw all Federal benefits to legally married same-gender couples. This would once again create two kinds of citizenship: Real, full citizens, and second-class, partial citizens, and all LGBT Americans would be shoved into the partial citizen category.
The Supreme Court is important to all of that. Don has already said he'd appoint—and the Republican Party has demanded—Supreme Court justices just like Scalia, who was fervently, stridently, and sometimes even rabidly, anti-gay. If Don got the chance to make good on his threat, he'd pack the Court with extreme conservatives who would vote to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the ruling that made marriage equality the law in all 50 states. That would be necessary to make it up to states because Congress alone can't make a law to get around a Supreme Court ruling.
But overturning Obergefell wouldn't be the ONLY case Don's Supreme Court would overturn: They’d also overturn other rulings, such as protecting LGBT people’s right to privacy (Lawrence v. Texas), and prohibiting states from enacting laws to discriminate against LGBT people (Romer v. Evans), making it constitutional to permit anti-gay discrimination in any state. On top of all that, the newly far-right extremist Court would also uphold stripping away all Federal recognition for legally married same-gender couples.
It’s also worth noting that no one EVER says (out loud, anyway…) that states should be allowed to deny marriage to people of different races, mixed religions, Democrat and Republican—the list is endless. They only EVER say "leave it up to the states" when they're talking about same-gender couples. That strongly suggests that the real issue is animus toward LGBT people, and that should never be enshrined in law.
Marriage equality is a settled issue. The Republican Party's politicians need to get over it and stop peddling fear and loathing, and Don should stop pandering to the worst elements of his party’s base. I’m not holding my breath for either, so I voted only for Democrats this year. The stakes are FAR too high for me to do otherwise.
So, given the Republican Party’s staunchly anti-LGBT positions, the many prominent party leaders who are viciously anti-gay, and Don’s own promise to appoint only radical, extremist rightwingers to the US Supreme Court, you’re damn right I’m a “single-issue” voter!
Like most people, however, there is one caveat: In normal elections, which this is not, if the choice was among candidates who are all anti-gay or, at least, not pro-gay, then other issues come into play. But that’s seldom the case (and in New Zealand, LGBT issues are nearly all settled, so other issues do come into play).
So, if there’s a candidate who is anti-LGBT or pledges to support and enable those who are, I will always vote against them. But when the choice is among candidates who are all pro-LGBT (or, at least, not anti-LGBT…), then I look at other issues.
And that’s why I’m a mostly single-issue voter—AND why I voted for Hillary Clinton, Tammy Duckworth, and Jan Schakowsky, all Democrats. This year, there was absolutely no way I’d ever have voted for anyone but the Democratic candidates, and I’m proud of having done so.
The stakes are far too high: Voting for Democrats is the logical thing to do.
This post is a revised and expanded version of my response to the questioner I mentioned in the post.
Writing on LGBTQ Nation, Jeff Taylor fleshes out some of Don's shameless pandering to LGBT people, and why it is mere pandering: "Clinton campaigns with LGBT crowd while Trump panders with upside down pride flag".