Don’t expect Trump to roll back gay rights

Of reasons to worry about the Donald Trump administration, so far as I can see, anti-gay policies aren’t in the top 25. Or so I argue in an opinion piece in today’s New York Post. It was written before, but includes an updating reference to, the airing of a “60 Minutes” interview last night in which Trump said, of the Supreme Court’s marriage cases, “They’ve been settled, and I’m fine with that.”


  • How would we go back? Millions of people have settled rights. Would the rug be yanked out from them?

    Of course, there is zero support in the Constitution for Obergefell. Zero. But how do you unring that bell? Seems to me that there are limits to the judiciary’s power to correct its mistakes.

  • I mean, he said this back in January:

    “WALLACE: But — but just to button this up very quickly, sir, are you saying that if you become president, you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?” TRUMP: “I would strongly consider that, yes.”

    And that’s the fundamental problem with him. He has taken every side on every issue to tell people what he thinks they want to hear, seemingly unaware that we can go back and look at his past statements. On heath care, he’s taken every position from single payer to deregulate everything, reversing himself on key issues like preexisting conditions and allowing importation of drugs within a week. We don’t know what he personally wants, nor what policies he seeks as President. And in that vacuum, along with some of his choices for advisors and a continued push to make legal threats against those who criticize him, it’s pretty easy to become concerned.

    I’m more concerned about the fact that this blog is trying to normalize him here rather than focusing on the fact that, say, his campaign manager just warned a Senator to “be very careful about characterizing someone in a legal sense.”

    • And this makes Trump different from a lot of “ordinary” pols how? Obama used to tout the 2% of oil reserves canard.

      I’m not defending Trump here–the incoherence is an issue–the point is that we, as a society, with our Blue-Green partisanship.

  • >”trying to normalize him” — mx

    This theme of “normalizing him” has kept coming up in the past six days. If one publishes an analysis of how Trump is likely to handle pipeline siting or wage and hour regulation or gay rights as one might analyze the record of any other incoming chief executive, one stands accused of “normalizing him,” because in some wider sense he’s NOT NORMAL and every mention of him should be prefaced by a big boxed warning about that. But suppose on many issues that are not central to his appeal he does behave as a more normal political figure might? Are we supposed to prophesy abnormality just in order to keep the theme going?

    I think it makes more sense to save reminders of abnormality for subject areas where he breaks with the pattern seen as normal in earlier elected figures, of which I expect there to be many, including attitudes toward the press and speech, executive power, constitutional restraints on that power, and plenty of others.

    • That’s a fair point Walter, and I don’t think we ought to needlessly catastrophize things where the evidence doesn’t support such treatment. But I also worry that such policy articles are essentially cherry-picking some of his words and promises over others because we have very little idea what he actually stands for. We all, of course, want to know what is going to change, but even on his most signature issues like “the wall” and healthcare, he’s been widely all over the place on what they actually involve, how they’d impact our lives, how much they’ll cost, and how he’s going to pay for them. To me, that’s the NOT NORMAL part, and I agree with you on a big boxed warning here: he has no real positions on anything, reversing himself within a week on major policies. I’ve disagreed with matters of policy with every President elected during my lifetime, but I’ve largely known what they planned to do for better or for worse, and generalizations about politicians promises aside, they largely make efforts to carry them out. Now, it’s impossible to have level-headed discussion about what will happen on almost any topic because his administration is, at this point, simply a culture of adulation for the man and his bombast rather than an agenda.

      To me, it’s best to focus on what isn’t normal right now (say, attacks and legal threats against the press and critics, curtailment of traditional access for the press compared to past Presidents-elect, Steve Bannon, people waking up to find swastikas on their doors, Trump claiming his meeting with President Obama was only supposed to last 10 minutes when it had been scheduled for an hour, the conflicts of interest inherent in having Trump’s family on his transition team, Kushner reportedly being surprised that the West Wing staff will all be gone, etc…), than to try to convince ourselves about things that could be normal.

      I’d also note that your article addresses bathrooms (which I’m not getting into a debate on) and anti-discrimination laws, but not other, more subtle rights issues for transgender Americans, such as the State Department’s passport policy and protections for federal employees. Small policy changes like that one have made an enormous difference in many people’s lives without imposing burdens on private entities or anybody’s religious freedom. And many, with reasonable justification, fear they may be undone with the stroke of a pen. Some of his personnel choices certainly give cause for concern in this regard regardless of his apparent lack of personal interest in LGBT issues.

    • I could not have been more against President-Elect Trump. I think the country made an awful, awful mistake and I spent 72 hours in abject depression.

      But he is going to the President of the United States. My president as depressed as I am about it. So we have to normalize him across the board because he is the president. What he things and does matters and we have to deal with it. People should root for him whenever possible and fight him where they believe that cannot and should not.

  • mx,

    Of course, the reason some of these “rights” could be undone by penstroke is because that’s how they were granted in the first place.

    I’d also note that the left was never concerned about its own politicians longstanding duplicitousness on gay rights (publicly insisting they favored the traditional definition of marriage) precisely because all informed observers knew it was a lie meant to placate and dupe bitter clingers and low-information voters until the right case could be put before Anthony Kennedy.

    Deciding cultural issues by 5-4 margins, forcing everyone to bake celebratory cakes or else be financially ruined, and actively serking to punish the “losers” (as Mark Tushnet put it) has consequences. And this strife was perfectly foreseeable given the decades of strife that followed Roe.

  • As a gay married Republican, I am not worried about Trump “rolling back” my rights. I am looking forward to the increased rights I’ll have by virtue of less of my income being confiscated by the IRS.

    • I’m looking forward to having my taxes cut just like I look forward to running up credit card debt. It will feel good in the short-term.

      Bigger picture, I’d like to think you are worried about the health of the country and not just your rights and your taxes.