The 2016 Presidential election is a pivotal election for LGBT rights. Barack Obama’s support of LGBT rights has been historical. As President he signed the Country’s first three Pro-Equality Congressional Bills and signed several executive orders ensuring equality to millions of LGBT people.
The United States Supreme Court did rule in favor of marriage equality on June 26, 2015 but the fight for full equality is far from over. There are still no Federal Civil Rights protections for LGBT Americans and 31 states refuse to pass state laws to protect LGBT Americans (ACLU briefing).
Marriage Equality is a first step, but many people face real obstacles to getting married; from County Clerk Kim Davis and Chief Justice Roy Moore, to facing being evicted or fired for their marriage (HRC.org).
To enact a Congressional Bill providing Civil Rights protections to all LGBT Americans, it is necessary to elect a Congress that will pass the bill through both houses and a President who will sign it into law. LGBT rights have been historically very partisan.
Hillary Clinton is one of the strongest and most outspoken elected officials and candidates in support of LGBT people in America and around the world. She has stated that, “We should ban discrimination against LGBT Americans and their families so they can live, learn, marry, and work just like everybody else (Hillary).”
As President Hillary promises to recognize LGBT Equality as a primary policy issue. She will Fight for full federal equality, protect the rights of transgender Americans, and prevent discrimination against LGBT kids and families. She will work to pass the Equality Act, continue President Obama’s LGBT Executive orders, and insure that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are clearly defined terms and illegal reasons to discriminate against American people (Hillary, 2016).
For LGBT youth; Hillary will work to end the disproportionate homelessness that many LGBT youth live, and dangerous conversion therapy practices. In addition, Mrs. Clinton will pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (Hillary, 2016). For military service members, Hillary Clinton will uphold equal rights in service, fight for the rights of Transgender Americans to serve openly, and to upgrade the records of LGBT Veterans discharge for their sexual orientation (Hillary, 2016).
Mrs. Clinton will provide Medicare coverage for people living with HIV and AIDS and capping out-of-pocket expenses (Hillary, 2016). For transgender people; she wants to facilitate necessary paperwork and document changes required when transitioning, collect more demographic information about transgender discrimination, and work with law enforcement to document and end anti-transgender hate crimes (Hillary, 2016).
Mrs. Clinton is committed to combating LGBT discrimination around the globe. She has stood before the United Nations and said “Gay rights are human rights.” In addition, she led the first effort for a U.N. Resolution on LGBT Human Rights, launched the Global Equality Fund, ended discriminatory State Department Regulations (Hillary, 2016).
As New York State Senator she championed anti-hate crimes legislation, fought for federal non-discrimination protections, and bans on gay adoption. She has a strong coalition and support with Human Rights Campaign (HRC) (Hillary, 2016).
Jeb Bush has consistently opposed LGBT Equality. As Governor of Florida Mr. Bush opposed marriage equality and supported a ban be amended to the state constitution, appointed anti-LGBT staff, and contributed to anti-LGBT agendas (Bush, 2016). He is quoted says LGBT legal protections are “special rights” and LGBT people should stay in-the-closet at in the workplace (Bush, 2016).
In a 1994 interview with the Miami Herald Mr. Bush reduced LGBT rights and relationships to sodomy, and not equal to race or religion. He has labeled legal equality as a distraction. In 2013 he opposed California overturning its ban on marriage equality. As recent as 2015 he has stated several times that Gay marriage should not be legal (Bush, 2016).
Donald Trump does not see LGBT rights as a primary issue. He has made some comments about supporting LGBT workplace protections but is strongly opposed to marriage equality meaning, he supports anti-hate crimes legislation, and has made comments supporting open service in the military (Trump). He is opposed to overturning the marriage equality ruling but not a strong advocate or ally in advancing equality.
As Mayor of Burlington, Bernie Sanders signed a city ordinance banning discrimination in housing and supported the city’s firs Pride parade in 1983 (Sanders, 2016). As a U.S. Congressman voted against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) in 1993 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 (Sanders, 2016).
In response to the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality Mr. Sanders said; “victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights (Sanders, 2016).”
Mr. Sanders is a Co-sponsor of the Equality Act and has a lifetime perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) (Sanders, 2016). In addition to the Equality Act; Mr. Sanders supports the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” and comprehensive LGBT inclusive medical care. He wants to continue to support the State Department position; Special Envoy for LGBT Rights (Sanders, 2016).