Washington – Whichever GOP candidate emerges as the winner of tonight’s Iowa caucuses, they spell danger for LGBT equality. In the final days of the race for Iowa, each of the GOP frontrunners -- Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio -- have launched fresh attacks on LGBT people in a last-ditch effort to score conservative cred and push them over the top.
Yesterday, the thrice-married Donald Trump threatened marriage rights for LGBT couples, pledging to appoint justices who would reverse last June’s Supreme Court decision.
Meanwhile, at a Sunday Cruz campaign rally, LGBT couples’ marriages were disparaged as “evil”-- a characterization that neither the Rubio or Trump campaigns refuted when given the opportunity on CNN.
Rubio -- who has previously committed to appointing justices to overturn Obergefell -- rounds out the trio with his recent declaration in Waverly, Iowa in defense of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, saying “I don’t agree it opened up discrimination” when describing Pence’s “right to discriminate” bill that was rejected by Hoosiers. Rubio went on to say businesses should be able to refuse service to LGBT people for religious reasons. Last weekend in Cedar Rapids, he also doubled downon a promise to repeal President Obama’s Executive Order protecting LGBT workers.
“The branding on the outside might be slightly different, but these candidates are all campaigning on a promise to block and reverse gains toward LGBT equality,” said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “Cruz, Trump, Rubio and others have put on a desperate display attacking LGBT people in the race to the finish line. But they’ll soon wake up to the reality that they have put themselves against the overwhelming majority of Americans -- and Iowa voters -- who support full LGBT equality.”
Polling done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for HRC shows that a 55 percent majority of voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry. This majority includes Independents, married women and white millennials. All of these groups voted Republican in the last congressional election. Meanwhile, Public Religion Research Institute has reported that a 57 percent majority of Iowans support marriage equality.
The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Hillary Clinton and has begun organizing members and supporters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina ahead of the upcoming caucus and primary elections.
All together, eight candidates -- Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee -- have shown support for the discriminatory First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) -- or similar legislation -- to open up broad loopholes and put LGBT Americans at risk for Kim Davis-like discrimination in their daily lives.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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