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“In my core, I believe America will be OK,” Obama said at his final press conference. But it’s hard to believe him when you look at just how dangerous the next four years could be for LGBTs.
We’ve had it real good for the past eight years, with some amazing progress for queer people. Just think back to where we were at the end of George W. Bush’s administration: no open military service, few states offered legal marriage, and you could be denied health care simply for being gay.
Return to the Dark Days
Now we could be looking at a return to those dark days under President Donald.
For example, one of Obama’s first actions was signing a hate crime bill into law. Being able to federally prosecute people for bias crimes provides a lot of protection to vulnerable groups—but those prosecutions have to be approved by the Attorney General. Donald’s pick for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has made is clear that he doesn’t see queer people as deserving of equal protection.
And it gets worse: under Obama, hospitals were required to treat same-sex married couples as though they were, in fact, married. But Republicans are already working on a repeal of that rule, along with everything else in the Affordable Care Act. They don’t even want same-sex partners to be able to take time off to care for sick and injured family, as straight people are allowed to do.
In fact, the guy Donald picked to run Health and Human Services is Tom Price, whose only interest in health care seems to be introducing laws that benefit his pharmaceutical industry donors. He said that there are “medical health costs” associated with homosexuality so equal rights for queers is too expensive.
No Protection from Discrimination
Over at the Department of Education, nominee Betsy DeVos comes from a family that donated millions of dollars to groups that push discredited ex-gay abuse. She claims that she had nothing to do with those donations; but as the top official in charge of protecting students’ civil rights, what would she do to protect them? Probably nothing.
And naturally, Ben Carson was nominated to run Housing and Urban Development. He’s had lots of lousy remarks about gays, saying that letting them get married would lead to polygamy; and during his confirmation hearing, he suggested that protecting the housing of queer couples amounts to “extra rights.”
Weakening Marriage Equality
The Donald administration could even take away marriage, and they could do it in the sneakiest way possible. Republican proposals would allow a gradual weakening and erosion of marriage recognition around the country, so even if you have a marriage license you might not be able to get it recognized. Donald himself said he’d sign a federal version of that bill.
It’s a truly terrifying state of affairs: rather than the gradual ebb and flow of laws, as one might expect in a democracy, we could be looking at a complete annihilation of our advances in a matter of just a few days.