With the United States’ 2016 presidential election taking place in November, the five remaining candidates are pushing hard to gain support and establish their policies and viewpoints.
LGBT rights may have been mostly overlooked in favour of immigration and foreign policy (both of which are important) but here, we’ll highlight the candidates’ views and how they may affect LGBT women.
By far the most controversial candidate in the field, Donald Trump has consistently opposed same-sex marriage. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, the candidate also said that he would appoint Supreme Court judges who would work to overturn the ruling.
On discrimination, Trump has previously advocated for laws that protect against discrimination based on someone’s sexuality but he has also supported things like the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) which would prevent legal action being taken upon a person if they acted based upon their religion (e.g a religious store owner would face no repercussions for refusing to serve a gay couple). Trump also supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Ted Cruz has been described by some as the most anti-LGBT candidate vying for the presidency as while his stance on same-sex adoption and anti-bullying are unclear, his stance on other LGBT rights has been described by some as ‘harmful’. In addition to working to prevent same-sex couples in Texas from getting married, Cruz has previously stated that he wouldn’t want the federal government to recognise marriage equality and he has opposed protections against discrimination for LGBT people.
Moreover, if elected, Cruz would push to to enact FADA within his first 100 days in office, he believes that being LGBT is a choice, and has also said that it’s “lunacy” to allow children to use bathrooms that reflect their gender identity. He also believes that Planned Parenthood sells body parts and would defund the organisation.
Ben Carson has also been outspoken about his opposition to LGBT rights, having said that he does not believe that marriage equality is a civil right. Carson has also stated that discrimination claims are often just “political correctness”, he believes Congress should fire judges in support of same-sex marriage, he thinks that being LGBT is a choice (because of prison) and has compared same-sex marriage to bestiality.
Carson doesn’t support adoption by LGBT couples, as he would like to know how it affects the sexual orientation of the adopted child, first. It’s slso unclear where he stands on conversion therapy. Carson is opposed to Planned Parenthood.
During his political career, John Kasich has said that he doesn’t’ support the LGBT “lifestyle”. Kasich opposes same-sex marriage, as well as domestic and partner benefits for LGBT couples and he also voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Additionally, Kasich has prevented LGBT couples from obtaining birth certificates for their children and voted against allowing funding for LGBT couples in the District of Columbia to adopt. However, he did require Ohio schools to develop anti-bullying policies. Kasich also supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Marco Rubio is another Republican presidential candidate who has been outspoken against same-sex marriage, but he also opposes protections on sexual orientation regarding civil rights laws. The politician also supports FADA, has voted to end the Employment Non-Dismcirnation Act (ENDA) and he has helped to raise money for a backer of conversion therapy.
Moreover, Rubio doesn’t support LGBT couples’ right to adopt children as he doesn’t’ think they should “be part of a social experiment.” Rubio also supports defunding Planned Parenthood.
Although Hillary Clinton has stated that if elected president she would “fight for full federal equality for LGBT Americans”, she has a mixed track record when it comes to LGBT rights. Controversially, Clinton didn’t support same-sex marriage until 2013 and she also supported DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (which forbade LGBT people from serving openly in the armed forces). Moreover, her foreign policies particularly regarding drone warfare and intervention, have been called out as they harm LGBT women in other countries.
Clinton has previously supported federal non-discrimination legislation to protect LGBT employees and Clinton supports ending conversion therapy, securing affordable treatment for those living with HIV and Aids and ending discrimination against trans people. Clinton has also been a staunch supporter of women’s rights, and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign.
Like Clinton, it took Bernie Sanders a a while to come around to the idea of same-sex marriage, having not expressed his support for it until 2009. However, Sanders did vote against DOMA and DADT and co-sponsored the Uniting Families Act which would have allowed partners of any legal citizen of the United States to obtain lawful permanent residency.
Additionally, Sanders has voted in favour of ENDA, has co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 and he has also consistently supported women’s rights issues such as the fight for equal pay and access to abortions. Sanders would also expand funding for Planned Parenthood.