- January 19, 2016
Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing
President Obama’s final State of the Union address reminded us of how far we’ve come and all the gains our community has made.
Here are four ways the incredible progress under President Obama could be rolled back:
1.) Marriage Equality
Six GOP presidential candidates--- Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee —have signed a pledge in support of the discriminatory First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). With the pledge-- created by the American Principles Project, the Heritage Action for America (the action arm of the Heritage Foundation), and FRC Action (the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council)--presidential candidates vow to pass FADA in their first 100 days in office. Donald Trump and Rand Paul have also voiced support for FADA.
FADA would enable Kim Davis-like discrimination against the LGBT community. It would allow non-profit organizations and businesses contracting with the federal government to circumvent critical federal protections designed to protect same-sex couples and their families from harmful discrimination. Following the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex married couples are entitled to all federal spousal benefits regardless of where they live. Under FADA, however, individual businesses could run roughshod over the civil rights of these couples and deny them the spousal benefits they have earned and deserve.
2.) Critical protections for more than 20 percent of the American workforce
President Obama issued an historic executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors from discrimination. Employment discrimination continues to be a critical problem facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The executive order protects millions – more than 20 percent of the American workforce—and could be rolled back under a GOP Presidency.
3.) White House support for the Equality Act
President Obama and Vice President Biden have voiced their support for the Equality Act, federal legislation aimed to establish explicit, permanent protections against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. All of the Democratic presidential candidates have pledged support for the Equality Act, while none of the Republican candidates have indicated support for the Equality Act, and several have publicly opposed basic employment protections.
We need a President who will fight for its passage and sign it into law. No Republican running for president has yet expressed support for the Equality Act.
4.) Opposition to Dangerous “Conversion Therapy” Bills
In October 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a report calling for an end to dangerous so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. Many of the GOP presidential candidates have not only gone on record in support of this widely debunked and dangerous practice, but some have gone as far as to fundraise with supporters of it.