Candidates vie for nation’s highest office

Comparing the Democratic and Republican Parties on LGBT rights

The LGBT voting bloc overwhelming goes to the Democratic Party, who have themselves shown more support for LGBT rights and concerns than has the Republican Party as a whole.

A Gallup survey conducted during the last presidential campaign in 2012 found that just 13 percent of LGBT voters identified as Republican, compared with 44 percent identifying as Democratic and 43 percent as Independent. Non-LGBT voters in that same poll identified as 30 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic and 39 percent Independent.

Exit polling from that election found that 76 percent of the LGBT vote went to Obama, with just 16 percent going to Romney.

A recent study by Whitman Insight Strategies founds that of the 338 likely voters who identified as LGBT, 84 percent backed Hillary Clinton compared to 16 who said they support Donald Trump.

In comparing the two party’s platforms and the candidates, it becomes clear why this is and what an uphill battle the GOP is facing if they hope to do any better with LGBT voters this time around.

The Candidates

clinton_kaineHillary Clinton

While Clinton took her time getting there, she supports same-sex marriage, announcing her stance on the issue in 2013 in a video produced with the Human Rights Campaign.  Hillary and Bill Clinton signed a joint statement celebrating the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act by the Supreme Court, which Bill Clinton had signed into law in 1996.

Clinton applauded President Barack Obama issuing a letter offering guidance to public schools in support of transgender students using the facilities matching their gender identity.

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As secretary of state, Clinton oversaw a change allowing transgender people to change the gender on their passports with a doctor’s note, eliminating the requirement for sexual reassignment surgery, which not all transgender people can afford or wish to have done.

Also in her role as secretary of state in the Obama Administration, Clinton spoke out against Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, calling them a “cynical political ploy.” She says she got into heated “shouting matches” with top Russian officials over the issue.

She also supports updating service records for the thousands of soldiers who were forced to leave the military because of their sexual orientation to reflect an honorable discharge.

Clinton also supports the Equality Act, which she pledges to work to get passed with Congress, which would extend federal discrimination protections to LGBT people in employment, education, housing, obtaining credit, federal funding, jury service and public accommodations.

In 2000, Clinton became the first First Lady to march in a Pride Parade and this year became the first major presidential candidate to march in one.

Tim Kaine

Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine also supports same-sex marriage, although he too took time to “evolve” into that position. He finally officially came around in 2013 as well. In 2006, he signed an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment despite saying he opposed it for going too far by forbidding civil unions.

He has long been in favor of the right of gay couples to adopt.

In a recent campaign stop in Greensboro, N.C. Kaine spoke out against HB2 and the way it was quickly pushed through.

“But you all have stood up in a major way, and you’ve said, ‘This is not who we are, this is not who North Carolina is, these are not our values,’” Kaine said, encouraging the crowd to continue moving “forward, not backward” on LGBT rights.

He also called out his Republican counterpart, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, for his anti-LGBT actions and rhetoric as governor of Indiana.

As governor of Virginia, Kaine extended an executive order forbidding workplace discrimination.

trump_penceDonald Trump

While Donald Trump has been talking himself up to LGBT voters on the campaign trail, claiming he would be the better candidate to tackle their issues and protect them against the threat of terrorism, as he claimed in his speech at the Republican National Convention, his record is less than stellar to say the least.

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Trump has repeatedly said he believes in “traditional marriage,” that is “between a man and a woman” and called the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage “shocking.” He tweeted that Justice John Roberts had “let us down” by ruling in favor of gay marriage.

While Trump initially seemed to signal support for transgender people who wished to use the bathroom matching their gender, he later backtracked.

“I’m going with the state,” he told The News & Observer when asked about HB2, adding that he had spoken with Gov. Pat McCrory about the issue.

Trump put together an evangelical advisory board to help with his campaign, which includes anti-gay and anti-transgender politicians and leaders, such as Michelle Bachmann, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

Mike Pence

Pence makes Trump look tame by comparison.

During his time as governor in Indiana, Pence supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, saying, “Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

Pence signed a so-called “religious freedom restoration act,” (RFRA) which would allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT people. He signed legislation revising the law to prevent discrimination in response to major backlash.

He signed a bill to jail same-sex couples who applied for a marriage license, as well as clerks who would issue one to them and any minister or other officiant who might marry them.

He also wanted to divert money from HIV prevention to conversion therapy, opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, spoke out against the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes bill, sat on the board of Focus on the Family affiliate the Indiana Family Institute and voted against ENDA, which would offer federal workplace protections for LGBT people.

The Platforms

Republican Party Platform

The Republican Party platform is so anti-LGBT that even the Log Cabin Republicans objected, calling it “the most anti-LGBT platform” in party history. They have a point.

Not only does it call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, it also dismisses same-sex parenting, supports RFRAs, and gives an approving nod to the debunked practice of conversion therapy.

Democratic Party Platform

The Democratic Party platform is much more pro-LGBT.

It reads:

“Democrats applaud last year’s decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people — like every other American — have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done. LGBT kids continue to be 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. That is unacceptable and must change. Democrats will fight for comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans and push back against state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals. We will combat LGBT youth homelessness and improve school climates, and we will protect transgender individuals from violence. We will promote LGBT human rights and ensure America’s foreign policy is inclusive of LGBT people around the world.”

— Photo Credits: Clinton, Trump, Pence, Gage Skidmore via Flickr. CC license.

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Posted by Jeff Taylor / Social Media Editor

Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport and has lived in Charlotte since 2006.@jefftaylorhuman.