Picture note: we chose to put a rainbow flag as the picture as we didn’t think Trump deserved anymore outright publicity.
We’re sure you were part of the masses who were staring at their phones in disbelief last night as state by state turned a dark red, indicating it had been called for (now) President-elect Donald Trump.
In some ways, we can be thankful that we live in New Zealand: the USA (obviously) doesn’t rule us, so whatever rights abuses that may happen won’t make their way over here, and if anything else, our same-sex marriage laws make New Zealanders far more attractive in Americans’ eyes.
Joking aside, there are some grave worries for our LGBT+ allies over in the former Land of the Great:
- Trump has no policy plan himself on LGBT+ rights and on HIV/AIDS
- But there is currently a seat open on the Federal Supreme Court, which will be filled with a conservative judge (as the Republicans now control all three branches of government). This does mean that the decision in Obergefell v Hodges, which legalised same-sex marriage, may be overturned.
- Trump has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defence Act, which allows for freedom of speech in all forms – including hate-speech against queer people, on the basis of religion
- Don’t forget that anti-discrimination law for LGBT+ folk, especially transpeople, has not been written yet. There has been an executive order by President Obama stretching protection to those who work in federal services, but Trump also plans to overturn that.
- And for those of you who are hoping that Trump will be assassinated, remember that his Vice President, Mike Pence, will be the one succeeding, not Hillary Clinton. Mike Pence has consistently voted against LGBT+ rights, including believing in conversion therapy.
Are they absolutely screwed though? Not definitely, as even though the Republicans can practically make any laws they want, they still need a consensus between Congress, the Senate, and the President. As we saw with Obama, his second term was marred by the Republicans’ unwillingness to work with him, so there is still some hope that Republican head honchos may be able to rein him in. Granted, this is less likely to apply to rainbow rights, as the Republicans will want to hold their majorities in the House and Senate, and their main supporter base is morally conservative.
For those of you who are theist, God bless America. They’re going to need it.