It is easy to blame the LGB voters for Trump as stupid or illinformed. The truth is that we, in the LGBTQ mainstream, are doing something wrong.

Federal contractors

Last Friday, January 8, a new Department of Labor rule became effective through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The objective of the rule is to “address the freedoms and anti-discrimination protections that must be afforded religion-exercising organizations and individuals under the U.S.Constitution and federal law.”

Under the guise of preventing discrimination based upon religion, Labor reversed an Obama-era rule in order to allow federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people

This is transactional zero-sum politics that pits LGBTQ citizens against people of faith.

This rule change has been in progress since August, 2019. Since then the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In theory, at least, the rule change is meaningless. As people often say: “It’s the thought that counts.”

No company needs to discriminate against LGBTQ people and, in fact, few do. Managers generally work hard to recruit the most able talent available. I know — it could force a company to provide health insurance to a gay spouse which conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owner of the company.

That is an extreme position and argument. Even if we assume a literal interpretation of scripture (which is absurd per se), gay sex is prohibited. No one is forcing the owner of a company to have gay sex.

Federally subsidized adoption

Last Thursday — one day after an attempted coup d’etat — the Department of Health and Human Services removed nondiscrimination protections from federally subsidized adoption and foster care. The rule change was initially proposed in November, 2019.

The rule is couched in the boilerplate that we see so often from the religious right: “The Department is committed to the principle that every person must be treated with dignity and respect …” The reality is that the Department is committed to pandering to religious zealots.

The new rule effectively allows taxpayer funded child welfare agencies the right to arbitrarily determine that same-sex marriages are invalid. Obergefell v. Hodges gives us the right to marry. Under Trump it does not give us the right to be treated as married couples.

This is probably the result of lobbying by the tax-exempt United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The net effect is that child welfare agencies can refuse to place children with gay couples and even discriminate against gay youth. The administration  has chutzpah to claim that this treats all people with “dignity and respect.”

Allowing child welfare agencies to discriminate hurts all children in need of placement. It is just common sense that the larger the pool of available and qualified adoptive or foster parent, the greater the likelihood of a child obtaining a placement. Discrimination diminishes the pool.

New rules are not the solution

As president Joe Biden has promised to sign into law the Equality Act. That solves these problems and adds some permanence to the solution. Rule changes are relatively easy compared to reversing a law. Based on oral argument in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia at the Supreme Court, it seems likely that the Court will rule in favor of the Catholic Church.

The same idiot who has now been impeached twice has given the country three conservative justices of the Supreme Court. Replacing Justice Ginsburg with Justice Barrett does not bode well for LGBTQ rights. Trump couldn’t care less about issues of importance to religious conservatives. These actions were designed to improve Trump’s reelection chances.

WTF Log Cabin? WTF?

Trump/Pence received about 28% of the vote of LGBTQ people (more likely LGB people). In 2016 Trump received 14% of our votes. What, exactly, has Trump done to merit that increase in support. GLAAD reports 181 incidents of anti-LGBTQ bias from the Trump administration over the last four years.

For years Republicans have succeeded in getting people to vote against their economic interests. Now it seems that the GOPers have succeeded at getting people to vote against their community interests. It is mind boggling. Particularly when you consider Joe Biden’s record of LGBTQ alliance.

It is easy to blame the LGB voters for Trump as stupid or ill-informed. The truth is that we in the LGBTQ mainstream are doing something wrong. We will never get 100% of the LGBTQ voters to support gay-friendly Democrats but we should be able to get it back to the 2016 level.

HRC can start by hiring more fiscal conservatives who will generate activism through social media. In October the Lincoln Project ran a spot critical of religious extremists while not appealing directly to LGBTQ voters:

The mid-terms are in two years. One way to help Democrats retain Congress is to modify our outreach and our media. There are people who are far — far — more creative than I (I am severely left-brained). I am certain that we can do something to improve things. BTW, about 7% of all voters were sexual minorities. There is much to be gained.

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