Both Clinton and Trump claim to be the most LGBT-supportive candidates their parties have seen yet. However, their endorsements from LGBT groups and support of LGBT policy widely differ.
Many national and state-based LGBT groups have endorsed Clinton: the Human Rights Campaign, the Lesbian Political Action Committee, the Congressional LGBT Caucus political action committee, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Equality California and Equality Pennsylvania. She has also won the support of prominent LGBT elected officials, such as former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and five of the six current LGBT members of the U.S. House (only Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has not).
Log Cabin Republican President Gregory Angelo has said, “Mr. Trump is perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party. His unprecedented overtures to the ‘LGBTQ community’—a first for any major-party candidate in our nation’s history—are worthy of praise and should serve as a clarion call to the GOP that the days of needing to toe an anti-LGBT line are now a thing of the past.” But how much support has Trump actually offered the LGBT community?
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both claim to be the most LGBT- supportive candidates their parties have seen but let’s compare their stance on the issues.
Supreme Court: Clinton said she would prioritize the issue of marriage equality in choosing a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump, however, said he would appoint someone in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who is perhaps the most anti-gay justice in history.
Equality Act: Clinton supports it, saying it will create “full federal equality for LGBT Americans and stronger anti-discrimination protections for everyone.” Trump has declined opportunities to say where he stands on the Equality Act.
Marriage Equality: While many critics agree, that Clinton’s support of marriage equality should have come earlier than it did, her position has evolved over the past 10 years. After leaving her Secretary of State post, Clinton said that LGBT Americans “deserve the rights of citizenship–that includes marriage….I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law.” On CNN, Trump said, “I don’t say anything. I’m just for traditional marriage.”
North Carolina’s HB2: Immediately after HB2 passed, Clinton issued a strong condemnation of the law that targeting transgender people, saying “LGBT people should be protected from discrimination under the law—period.” When asked about the law on NBC’s “Today Show,” Trump said North Carolina should “leave it the way it is.”
Kim Davis controversy: When county clerk Kim Davis refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban), Clinton said it was appropriate that Davis was jailed until she agreed to let her fellow clerks issue the licenses. Trump said Davis should have same-sex couples go to other counties to obtain their licenses.
When it’s convenient, Trump talks the talk about being a champion for gay rights. But talk is cheap. When voters consider something as critical as equal rights, it’s important to look at policy, not just rhetoric.