What a Trump Administration Could Mean for LGBTQ Rights
We know that the LGBTQ and allied community are deeply concerned about the results of the election - and we are too. We’ve heard from many of you with important questions about what a Trump Administration could mean for LGBTQ people and our families, our marriages, and our service to country. Here are some answers.
- •Will marriage equality be overturned?It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely. It’s a binding decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress and Donald Trump cannot unilaterally undo marriage equality. Currently, all five justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality are still on the bench, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s hard to imagine how we lose marriage equality.
- •Will my parental rights be challenged?Most adoption law is set at the state level. The U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling makes clear that legally married same-sex couples should be treated the same as every other married couple. We think that listing both parents on a birth certificate should be sufficient to establish parentage. However, if you are a non-biological parent you may want to take the extra step of also adopting your child - simply to make sure you have every legal tie available.
- •What if my same-sex spouse was born in another country?The only concern is if your spouse has not come to the country with necessary documentation, isn’t now documented, or hasn’t applied for a green card. You should as quickly as possible ensure your spouse has a green card or legal documentation in place. If that is in place, there is no reason to believe your spouse would be deported.
- •Will protections for transgender people be undone?One of the big things that the Obama Administration has done through the Departments of Justice and Education is issue guidance protecting transgender people and students. That guidance is at very grave risk; there is a good chance it will be withdrawn. However, that doesn’t mean underlying law protecting people from discrimination is going away. For example, school districts have a moral and legal responsibility to provide every student a safe learning environment.
- •Can Don’t Ask Don’t Tell be reinstated?As a technical matter, the new president could say that LGBTQ people can no longer serve in the military. That would be exceedingly unlikely. Openly LGB service in the military has been phenomenally successful. Military leadership feels good about it, and LGBTQ servicemembers have skills and expertise our military needs. That being said, transgender military service has just begun, and it is a little more at risk. But once the military implements something, it takes a lot to change course.
- •Will the healthcare I receive be affected?There is nothing stopping hospitals and doctors’ offices from doing their best by their LGBTQ patients. Our concern is that a Trump Administration and the incoming Congress may push for huge carve outs allowing religious hospitals and healthcare facilities to discriminate against LGBTQ people by not recognizing same-sex marriages, for example, or not treating transgender people equally and with the dignity they deserve. We will be watching this like a hawk.
- •Will restaurants and places I do business be able to turn me away?Unfortunately, both federal law and many states laws lack provisions preventing discrimination against LGBTQ people in places of public accommodation, including businesses and restaurants. If you have such protections under your state or local laws, that is certainly not going to change in the short run. Federal agencies and the courts will continue to accept employment discrimination complaints, but we do have concerns that the new administration will very likely not enforce these.