The Republican candidates: Trump, Cruz, and Rubio
As far as the Republican Party is concerned, you can’t really expect much from the Republican candidates when it concerns LGBT issues.
After all, all six candidates– Donald Trump, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, former Ohio Governor John Kasich, Dr. Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush– have signified that they aren’t fans of gender equality.
Front-runner Republican candidates
Donald Trump, the controversial business mogul, has been a consistent opponent of marriage equality. He said he opposed it because he was a ‘traditional’ guy, choosing to support domestic partnerships instead.
While he once said he backed protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace by adding sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, more recently he expressed support for the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would expose LGBT people to more discrimination.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has also constantly opposed equality for the LGBT community. In the Senate, he supported a constitutional amendment that would prevent the federal government from recognizing marriage equality.
“2016 will be the religious liberty election,” Cruz said, and defended harmful discriminatory legislation in Indiana and Arkansas.
Cruz even went on as far as attacking fellow Republicans for marching in pride parades, and raised the warning of the threat of “mandatory gay marriage.” He’s vowed to make his opposition to LGBT equality a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, and he has thus far lived up to that promise.
Moderate Republican candidates
The conventional wisdom is that Florida Senator Marco Rubio is the moderate alternative to Cruz and Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. But when it comes to LGBT equality, he is as extreme as anyone.
In less than three minutes on the Christian Broadcasting Network, the candidate said he would reverse the efforts on LGBT non-discrimination, appoint judges to roll back abortion and same-sex marriage, and expand religious exemptions to a wide range of laws.
Likewise, despite claiming he opposed discrimination, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—- which would have given LGBT Americans explicit protection from discrimination in the workplace—- and he threatened to oppose his own immigration bill if it includes provisions for same-sex couples.
Sadly, several Republican presidential candidates have served up attacks on LGBT people over the past few months, committing themselves to their persecution by rolling back gains in equality and enshrining the right to discriminate into law like FADA.
As of last count, Cruz won in the Iowa caucus while Trump ran away with the New Hampshire primary. The next battleground will be the South Carolina primary.
Ironically, these same Republican candidates have stayed relatively mum on issues like abortion, gun control violence, and Islamophobia, despite recent tragedies spotlighting these issues in the media.