“Everybody take a deep breath and calm down — if not relax.”
No, Donald Trump did not say that, exactly, last night on the CBS program 60 Minutes. But he did essentially say that he won’t be looking to turn back the clock on marriage equality. He said he is fine with same-sex marriage as the law of the land. “It’s law,” he told 60 Minutes. “It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.”
The question of religious freedom allowing people to deny services to members of the LGBT communities is another matter, of course — and may be the reason why many are not relaxing this Monday morning. I think the LGBT communities will have a battle on their hands now as they refuse “to concede any legitimate role for religious exemptions in discrimination law, even in the operation of, say, church-affiliated colleges,” as Walter Olson of the New York Post puts it in a piece with the headline No, Trump won’t roll back gay rights.
That stance could result in what Olson calls an overreaching version of such a proposal. In other words, score 1 for the LGBT community in retaining marriage equality, and score 1 for the religious right, who now have a presidential/vice-presidential team who will take their concerns more seriously.
How about transgender rights? Specifically, the right of trans students to use school washrooms that match their gender identity. It was a contentious issue in the United States before the election, with the Obama government putting pressure on states to enshrine those rights. Again, I point to Olson in the New York Post: “The federal government will pull back from its ill-advised attempt to prescribe nationwide rules for school bathrooms and changing areas. Debates will continue at the state and local level, where public opinion will prove more amenable to workable compromise than one would guess from the loudest voices on both sides. Trump himself said in April he opposes the controversial North Carolina law on the issue that some social conservatives have championed.”
Says ABC News: Trump “said transgender people should use whatever bathroom they feel comfortable using during his campaign.”
So, little is likely to change for both sides on the trans washroom issue. Call it a draw again.
But the election of Trump and Pence is not a victory or even a draw for members of LGBT communities in countries that deny equal rights to LGBT people, like Russia, parts of Africa and the Middle East and more. As Lester Feder of Buzzfeed points out: It could have a devastating impact on the “global human rights framework.”
Whereas the Obama administration pushed for LGBT rights abroad, the new incoming crew is unlikely to do that. And this will be a huge loss for LGBT people around the world, who have looked to the U.S. to push their nations’ leaders on the issue.
If you’re still keeping score, that puts far-right bigotry ahead globally. And that is something to worry about.
Photo credit: Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli struck this pose in 2013 in support of transgender rights during Tel Aviv Pride in Israel. She reportedly posted this photo across her various social media channels with the caption, “Gay, lesbians, bisexual, transgender ALL EQUAL TLV #gayweek.” (Photo: Facebook)