LGBTQ Equality

From Resistance Manual
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a collaborative knowledge base; feel free to propose edits/additions that you believe are important for others to know. Contributions will be reviewed and approved based on quality and accuracy.

Recent Updates
Recent Updates
[edit]

  • 2/22/2017: The Department of Education and Department of Justice filed a letter with the Supreme Court withdrawing an Obama-era guideline for non-discrimination policies for transgender students. This guidance interpreted Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to mean that schools "must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity." Withdrawing this guidance means that school districts and state boards of education can now prohibit transgender students from accessing restrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams that match their gender identity. [1], [2]
  • 02/21/2017: Rep Scott Taylor (R-Virginia) plans on introducing legislation to ban discrimination against LGBT renters and home buyers. He admits it is not Republican orthodoxy but says that the protection is needed and the Republican Party should recognize these issues.[3]
  • 02/20/2017: Sources revealed that the Trump administration will rescind the Obama-era guidance to schools prohibiting discrimination against transgender students and ensuring them access to bathrooms matching their gender identity.[4]


Supreme Court Cases[edit]

  • Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.: February 6, 2017—Court extends briefing schedule in transgender case to March 23, 2017. The Supreme Court announced a new briefing schedule for Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the case of a transgender student who identifies as a boy and wants to be able to use the boys’ bathroom at his Virginia high school. The revised schedule extends the time for each side to file its main merits brief by at least a month. Under the original schedule prescribed by the court’s rules, the main merits brief for the Gloucester County School Board, which has asked the justices to reverse a lower-court ruling ordering the board to allow the student to use the boys’ bathroom, would have been due on December 12, with the brief for G.G., as the student is known in the Supreme Court litigation, coming 30 days later, on January 11. But the school board’s brief will now be due on January 3, with G.G.’s brief following on February 23.[5][6]

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist
[edit]

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Actions Taken by the Federal Government
[edit]

Legislative Actions[edit]

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice

No federal legislation supporting equity and justice has been identified at this stage.

Harmful Legislation

No harmful federal legislation has been identified at this stage.

See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.

Executive / Administrative Actions[edit]

  • 2/22/2017: The Department of Education and Department of Justice filed a letter with the Supreme Court withdrawing an Obama-era guideline for non-discrimination policies for transgender students, letting school districts and state boards of education prevent transgender students from accessing restrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams that match their gender identity. [8], [9]
  • 02/10/2017: 48 hours after the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General the Department of Justice submitted a legal brief withdrawing its objection to a nationwide hold on the transgender youth protections put in place by the Obama Administration[10].
  • 02/02/2017: A draft executive order on "religious freedom" titled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom" has been leaked. If signed in its current form, it would create exemptions "when providing social services, education, or health care; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments" for people as well as "any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations" who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity. It also seeks to curtail women's access to contraception and abortion through the ACA. This may exceed the authority of the executive branch and violate federal law, as well as the First Amendment, by protecting one specific set of religious beliefs.[11]
  • 02/01/2017: Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. He is an open admirer of the late Judge Scalia, deplored that "liberals" used the courts to advance their "agenda," including marriage equality, and sided with corporations in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, in which they argued that a for-profit business could have religious beliefs and should not have to go against them to provide coverage for contraception to their employees under the ACA.[12]
  • 01/20/2017: John Gore was announced as the new deputy assistant attorney general to the Civil Rights Division. Mr. Gore defended North Carolina in a federal lawsuit against HB2[13] and UNC in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Lambda Legal[14] regarding the state's anti-transgender bathroom bill, on the grounds that UNC was not planning to enforce the law.[15]
  • 01/19/2017: Recent reporting states that as part of budget cuts, the Trump team plans to cut funding for civil rights.[16]

Projected Impact
Projected Impact
[edit]

Obamacare repeal

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act could have dire repercussions on the transgender community. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits health-care providers and insurers from discriminating on the basis of gender, and the Obama administration has issued a rule based on this section barring discrimination against gender nonconforming and transgender people,[17] including for transition-related care and gender reassignment surgery.[18] If the law is repealed, then the rules that interpret the law (including this protection) would no longer be in effect. Furthermore, given that the new Secretary for Health and Human Services, Tom Price, has objected to other protections for transgender people,[19] he is unlikely to try to reinstate a similar protection through other means.

The Medicaid expansion through the ACA also had a crucial impact on the fight against HIV: a report from the Kaiser Foundation states that Medicaid is now the single largest source of coverage for people with HIV in the US, covering more than 40% of people with HIV in care and accounting for 30% of all federal spending on HIV care.[20] For people living with HIV, losing coverage through a repeal would put their health and lives at risk. Any interruption in care also means that the epidemic could surge: when HIV-positive people are treated and their viral load is suppressed, the risk of transmission is almost zero, but if treatment is interrupted and the viral load goes up, it becomes transmissible again.[21] The ACA also banned lifetime caps on insurance benefits, something particularly precious for people suffering from long-term illnesses; covered preventive care, including HIV testing; and banned discrimination against people with preexisting conditions—such as HIV.[22]

Military

Trump and his incoming security advisors have described the move to authorize transgender soldiers to serve openly and to ban discharge based solely on their gender identity[23] as ill-advised "social engineering" imposed on the armed forces.[24] Trump's pick for Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis, has also voiced skepticism and criticized civilian leaders for pushing a "progressive agenda" that could weaken the Army. It is also worth noting that as a congressman, Pence voted against the repeal of the ban on openly gay troops—as did Jeff Sessions. [25] It would be easy to rescind or revise the Pentagon policy on transgender individuals, as Mattis would only need to notify Congress 30 days in advance and no legislation would be required,[26] but the move would impact an estimated 1,320 to 6,630 soldiers (numbers from the RAND report commissioned by the Pentagon in August 2008[27]) and leave them without protection.

Schools

Withdrawal of the Obama-era guidance for protections for transgender students under Title IX would mean that students could be required, under the authority of state or local school boards, to use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond with their biological gender rather than their gender identity. It would also limit students' eligibility to play on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity. It does still allow school boards to implement their own protections, and permits individuals or advocacy groups to appeal to federal courts if a transgender student's rights have been violated. [28]

Trump / GOP Strategy
Trump / GOP Strategy
[edit]

Trump has held conflicting positions on the subject of LGBTQ+ equality, [[29]] and his stances on individual subjects vary from interview[30] to interview.[31] Trump has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) if it were passed by Congress, a bill that would prohibit any kind of action against any corporation, organization or person if they acted according to the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations should be reserved to such a marriage. This Act is broad enough to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in a wide range of situations,from access to medical care to spouse benefits, and prevents the Federal government from fighting such discrimination in any way[32]. Jeff Sessions was among the sponsors of FADA.[33] This means, for instance, that an adoption agency receiving government funds would be able to refuse to place kids with LGBTQ+ parents and still be entitled to taxpayer funding.


Trump's vice president and cabinet appointees have systematically advocated for or implemented policies that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, and Trump himself has advocated for policy decisions that would have direct repercussions on the LGBTQ+ community. Trump has, for instance, vowed to "cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama" on his first day in office, which would nullify protections for LGBT workers such as the Executive Order 13672 signed by Obama in 2014, which states that federal contractors cannot be fired on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation (only 19 states currently have such protection).[34]

Mike Pence, the vice president, has repeatedly sought to restrict LGBTQ+ rights while governor of Indiana. As governor, he signed a Religious Freedom Amendment allowing people to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals. Recently a similar amendment was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act in December 2016 for federal contractors, but it was removed under threat of veto by President Obama. Under President Trump, such an amendment or law might succeed in being turned into law.[35] Pence may also use his influence over Trump to persuade him to disengage when faced with LGBTQ+ discrimination issues, such as the impending state-level battle over transgender bathroom use. [36]

A number of Trump's political appointments, including Steven Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Tom Price and Betsy De Vos, have actively worked to limit LGBTQ+ equality.

Finally, in fulfilling his promise to nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court, Trump could change the composition of the court such that it overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed the right to marriage for same-sex couples. Since this was a narrow 5-4 decision, appointing two or more conservative justices could result in rulings that revoke marriage equality.

Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
[edit]

It would require nominating two conservative Supreme Court Justices to dismantle Obergefell v. Hodges (revoking marriage equality), which would need 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Just as Republican Senators refused to confirm Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court justice, Democrats could potentially block Trump from nominating any justice to the court who does not support Obergefell v. Hodges or other major decisions on social issues, like Roe v. Wade.[37]

The First Amendment Defense Act, a new piece of proposed legislation that would "open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people,"[38] according to the ACLU, would also require 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Democratic filibuster, which means that Democrats can block such legislation from passing if they are unified in their opposition.

A study has founds that when states adopt marriage equality suicide rates among teenagers and young adults decline significantly, in particular among LGBTQ+ youth.[39] Another study has shown that allowing trans kids to transition is very beneficial for their mental health - trans kids allowed to transition showed no difference to their peers or siblings in terms of development and self-reported depressive symptoms or anxiety.[40]

Past Updates
Past Updates
[edit]

  • 2/14/2017: North Carolina State Senator Jeff Jackson has filed a clean bill to repeal HB2, the infamous "bathroom bill." It would overturn the provisions of HB2, removing penalties for transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, and increase jail sentences for crimes in bathrooms. The full text of the bill can be found here: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2017&BillID=H107
  • 02/13/2017: The Trump Administration has announced it would keep Randy Berry, an Obama appointee, as Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons within the State Department, a move that surprised gay advocates and defied evangelical groups who had called for his dismissal.[41]
  • 02/02/2017: More than 400 faith leaders have signed a letter asking Trump not to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals.[42][43]
  • 01/31/2017: Boy Scouts of America announced that they will now accept members based on the gender they declare in their application, opening the way for trans boys to join.[44]
  • 01/30/2017: Sources say that an executive order allowing discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs could be published this week and have a very wide reach, including making taxpayer funds available for discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in social services; allow federally funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ+ parents; eliminate nondiscrimination protections in order to make it possible to fire federal employers and contractors based on their sexual orientation or gender identity; and allow federal employees to refuse to serve people based on the beliefs that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that gender is an immutable characteristic set at birth.[45] It seems that the protection for LGBTQ+ federal workers established under Obama will stay in place, but that does not rule out other types of discrimination, including through a federal religious freedom act.[46]
  • 01/24/2017: Judge Wiliam Pryor, reportedly considered for the Supreme Court nomination, has filed a brief in the Supreme Court stating that “States should remain free to protect the moral standards of their communities through legislation that prohibits homosexual sodomy” and that "The states should not be required to accept, as a matter of constitutional doctrine, that homosexual activity is harmless and does not expose both the individual and the public to deleterious spiritual and physical consequences."[47][48] Judge Diane Sykes, considered for the same position, has argued that anti-gay groups have a constitutional right to receive government subsidies, denying that anti-gay discrimination even exists as long as people engaged in discrimination make an exception for gay people who refrain from having sex.[49][50]