Social conservatives are excited for a Trump presidency (and Pence vice presidency), and they are already bragging about all of their plans to roll back LGBT equality. This may come as a surprise, however, for the millions of people who sought information on the candidates’ positions on LGBT issues as it became apparent he’d won the election — an apparent parallel to the U.K. residents who were surprised to learn about the consequences of voting for Brexit.
Groups like the Family Research Council (FRC), the Heritage Foundation, and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have all laid out plans and expectations this week about how they envision the next four years. Their ideas are largely centered around a massive expansion of “religious liberty” — i.e. permission to openly discriminate against LGBT people.
At a press conference Wednesday, FRC’s Tony Perkins called Trump’s election “a repudiation of the Obama years and a rejection of the anti-evangelical movement.” He reiterated that Trump openly supported the Republican Party’s platform, which has been called the most anti-LGBT political platform ever — in part because Perkins helped write it.
In an email release, NOM President Brian Brown called the election “a bright and exciting time for NOM.” The organization has been largely irrelevant since losing its fight against same-sex marriage over a year ago and widely mocked for its incessant and desperate fundraising requests. Now, Brown proclaimed, “our voice and our views matter to the incoming administration.”
Here are a few of the things they’re excited to work with the Trump White House to do:
- Appoint Supreme Court justices who will reverse marriage equality and take other anti-LGBT positions, which Trump promised back in January he would do.
- Rescind all of President Obama’s executive actions protecting LGBT people, including nondiscrimination protections for federal contractors and all of the guidance protecting transgender workers and students under federal law, which Vice President-elect Mike Pence promised a month ago the Trump administration would do.
- Pass the so-called Civil Rights Uniformity Act, which would ensure that no federal law offering protections on the basis of “sex” protects transgender people from discrimination.
- Pass the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that would extend a nationwide license to businesses to deny service to same-sex couples, which Trump said back in September he’d sign.
- Codify the Russell Amendment, which would further allow for any federal contractor or recipient of federal funding to discriminate against LGBT people.
- Resume U.S. aid to countries that openly oppress their LGBT citizens.
- “Repeal and replace” Obamacare, including its protections for transgender people and women to access appropriate care.
What’s perhaps most disturbing isn’t the reality of these plans, but how surprised many people seemed to be that a Trump presidency will enable these kinds of LGBT rollbacks.
Starting late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, traffic on ThinkProgress started to spike dramatically on one post in particular: “Pence confirms once and for all that Trump will be an anti-LGBT president,” a piece that was first published over a month ago.
The chart below shows that readers began accessing the post as it became evident Trump had won. Traffic dipped when people went to bed and massively spiked the next morning.
ThinkProgress did nothing to promote the post until a tweet shortly before 11:00 AM, by which point the spike had already reached its zenith. By the end of the day Wednesday, it was one of the highest-trafficked posts on ThinkProgress — ever. As of Thursday morning it’s still being widely read.
This seems to mirror the effect in the Britain when, the day after the “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, Google surged with searches like, “What is the EU?” Google Trends data are not yet available for Election Day, but it seems likely that as the reality set in that Donald Trump might actually be elected, many sought information about what impact that will have on issues they care about.
Likewise, many LGBT reporters have shared with ThinkProgress that they have had Trump voters reach out to them to insist that despite their vote, they will fight to protect LGBT rights. ThinkProgress has received similar messages. In trying to assure us there won’t be rollbacks to equality under President Trump, it seems that they are actually trying to assure themselves.
Opponents of LGBT equality, on the other hand, have had plenty of reason to be optimistic about a Trump/Pence presidency for some time.