The Big Story: LGBT Politics in the Campaign for 2016

Clinton Campaign Vows to Pass Equality Act, Expand PrEP & End Ex-Gay Therapy

(EDGE) The presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced far-reaching plans this week to fight AIDS and promote the rights of LGBT citizens at home. Clinton's plan, which takes on everything from employment discrimination to ex-gay therapy, aims to build off the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

"As president, I will continue to fight so that LGBT Americans and families can live, work, and pray free of discrimination. I will not settle for anything less," Clinton said. "It is unacceptable that LGBT kids continue to be discriminated against and bullied at school, a restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home. We have to do better. And it's why I will continue to fight so every person and every family is treated with respect and dignity no matter who they are or who they love." 

Among the items outlined in Clinton's push for full equality for LGBT Americans is her pledge to work with Congress to pass the comprehensive nondiscrimination Equality Act, which was introduced this year. She also promises to continue President Barack Obama's LGBT equality executive actions and extend Title VII protections to include "gender identity" and "sexual orientation."

Clinton's campaign promises are also good news for LGBT youth, parents, and elders. She plans to end discrimination for LGBT family adoptions, combat school bullying and place a national ban on gay "conversion therapy" for minors.

The Clinton plan also supports efforts to allow transgender personnel to serve openly in the military and correct the records of service members who were forced out of service before and during "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Transgender rights are also on Clinton's agenda. Her campaign plans to take on anti-trans violence and streamline identity documents for transgender Americans.

The fight against AIDS and fight for those living with HIV will also be a part of a Clinton presidency. She promises to take on price-gouging pharmaceutical companies and place a cap on out-of-pocket expenses for people living with HIV. She says she will increase the $125 million in grants by the Center for Disease Control to expand the use of HIV prevention medication including PrEP. Clinton is also calling on Republican governors to extend Medicaid coverage to provide life-saving health care for people living with HIV.

Could Trump Get the Gay Vote? Log Cabin Leader Praises Frontrunner

(EDGE) In a recent blog piece on Reuters, Jonathan Jacob Allen explored the paradox of Trump's campaign, which has offended almost every minority group in the country except gay people. In a year where his fellow GOP hopefuls practically jostled for position to see who could get in the most photos with defiant Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, Trump has openly criticized the civil servant for not doing her job. Allen notes Trump, along with rival Chris Christie, are the only two in the crowded field of hopefuls who the Human Rights Campaign is even lukewarm on in regards to their LGBT rights records.

None of this has missed the eye of Gregory T. Angelo, head of the conservative gay group Log Cabin Republicans, who didn't shy away from using superlatives when asked about The Donald. 

"He is one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates ever to run for the presidency," Angelo said.

Angelo also praised the billionaire for his neutral stance on same-sex marriage. This, of course is [faint] praise in a year where every GOP primary candidate has at least gone on the record as opposing the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Several of the more conservative candidates, which include long-shots Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee along with serious contenders Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, have even pledged to make it a priority if elected to dismantle it altogether. For the record, the thrice married Trump sill believes marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.

As for Trump's views on non-discrimination legislation, Angelo lauded the candidate for having a "stand-out position" on the issue. Ironically, the Equality Act, which was introduced into congress in 2015 and did not receive the support of a single Republican lawmaker, has not received the support of Angelo and hasn't been embraced by Trump either.

Whether a mutual admiration society of sorts will exist between Trump and Angelo's Log Cabin Republicans remains to be seen. Angelo and his group asked for an audience with Trump in January. Angelo promised Trump's record on other issues that have polarized the voting populace "is something that should at least come into discussion."


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