It’s countdown time to the presidential election and although some LGBT rights are now the laws of the land, there are other battles going on related to civil rights and non-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
There are two important questions in particular, on both sides of the argument.
What sort of access should transgender people have to public bathrooms? Are the advances for LGBT rights infringing on the religious freedom of some Americans?
Hillary Clinton is a firm supporter of LGBT rights and she has endorsed the Equality Act which is a proposed federal law that would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Donald Trump says he would be a better president for gays, yet major LGBT-rights groups strongly oppose him. There are many reasons for this. He has hesitated at endorsing same-sex marriage.
He has an evangelical advisory board that includes major opponents who disprove advances in LGBT rights.
Running mate Mike Pence, who is Indiana’s governor, signed a law last year that critics said would allow businesses to deny service to gay people for religious reasons.
No matter who wins the presidency there is only so much they can do to influence the LGBT rights policies. For example, if Clinton wins and there is a Republic controlled house it is unlikely that her Equality Act will get anywhere.
It’s highly unlikely that the same sex marriage law would be affected but some conservatives hope that a Supreme Court that has been reconfigured by trump might reverse the 2015 ruling that permitted same sex marriage in all 50 states.
There are some areas that could be majorly affected because it would depend on how active the new president would be in pushing LGBT rights forwards. For example, Clinton would probably push through the work of Obama to get transgender rights approved.
This might mean that schools and colleges would come under pressure to allow students to use a bathroom according to their gender identity and not according to the sex they were given on their birth certificate.
Many transgendered students have said they have faced issues such as discomfort and harassment when forced to use a bathroom they do not feel comfortable with.
Trump has told the conservatives that he will seek to protect Christians from having to violate their religious beliefs. This could mean for example that a professional working in the wedding industry could openly refuse to work on a same sex marriage and would not be punished for discrimination. They would even be able to publically announce they will not work with same sex couples.
Many states have democratic candidates that have declared they will oppose laws that restrict the rights of the LGBT community and they will push for LGBT civil rights if they are elected.
Some of the Republican candidates are on the other side of this and have vowed to endorse laws that Christians feel go against their religion such as transgender issues and same sex marriage.
It can only be hoped that our LGBT rights are looked after and pushed forwards but a lot of that will depend on the presidential win and the governors elected in each individual state.
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