Log Cabin Republican Chair Believes LGBTs Should Support Trump

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday August 20, 2020

USA Today has published an opinion piece by Log Cabin Republican chair Robert Kabel, calling on all LGBT people to support Donald Trump for re-election.

In his piece, Kabel criticizes the Democratic party for touting its agenda of inclusivity while its "leaders have taken for granted the lesbian and gay community — along with other minority communities — thinking they had nowhere else to turn." By contrast, Kabel asserts that under President Trump's guidance, the GOP — a party the author concedes "generally stood against the inclusion of gay and lesbian conservatives" — has "delivered meaningful policy victories for gays and lesbians."

Among those alleged "victories," Kabel cites pre-White House Trump gestures such as "philanthropic work... combating the AIDS crisis," his support in "amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act" to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, his alleged support for sweeping equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, and being the "first private club owner in Palm Beach, Florida to admit an openly gay couple."

Kabel also touts the allegedly historic donation secured by the Trump administration from Gilead Sciences in combatting HIV/AIDS. Under this plan, Gilead would deliver PrEP to 200,000 people at high risk for contracting HIV, for up to 11 years. The most current estimation by the CDC is that approximately 1.2 million are living with HIV. The Gilead plan does not appear to contribute funds to HIV/AIDS research, and the administration of PrEP would, at best, stave off new infections.

The author also points to Trump's June 2019 statement on leading the effort to decriminalize homosexuality internationally without providing any evidence demonstrating the impact of the administration's work on this front.

After pointing to recent openly gay court appointees — Mary Rowland confirmed as federal district judge for US District Court of Northern Illinois in 2019, and Filipino-American judge Patrick Bumatay, confirmed to US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit — Kabel takes issue with Trump:

"...his administration's resistance to protecting gay, lesbian and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace in the recent Supreme Court case was thus disappointing. I'd also encourage the president to reconsider his stance on transgender men and women serving in the military."

But Kabel's piece fails to acknowledge the Obama administrations push toward legally codified equality in the form of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (2010), and support for marriage equality that resulted in the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

President Trump's talk about protecting LGBTQ Americans in his 2016 RNC speech, posing with an upside down rainbow flag while on the campaign trail, and vowing to support research for a cure for AIDS seems to greatly contrast with his administration's rollbacks of Obama era measures toward equality — including transgender student guidance, employment protections for federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and protections in housing, health care and adoption services, to name a few.

A side-by-side comparison of Obama and Trump LGBTQ+ policy agendas can be found at NPR, and are also discussed at HRC and GLAAD.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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