On August 14, the Department of Labor announced a new rule allowing religious employers the maximum freedom to discriminate against LGBT Americans: employees, customers, suppliers, anyone. As Vox reported,
Trump’s executive order interprets that exemption far more broadly to include a much larger group of employers, such as for-profit companies that have a religious affiliation (St. Jude’s Hospital, Goodwill, and Georgetown University, for example).
The new rule also explicitly creates a broader definition of the word “religion.” Instead of viewing religion as a particular organized religion, the government would now include “all aspects of religious belief, observance, and practice as understood by the employer.” That language is very vague.
But here is the most concerning line in the 46-page document: The rule would “clarify that the religious exemption allows religious contractors not only to prefer in employment individuals who share their religion, but also to condition employment on acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets as understood by the employing contractor.”
In other words, not only could a religious hospital that contracts with the government refuse to hire someone who is Muslim or Jewish, they could also refuse to hire someone in a same-sex marriage or fire someone who had sex before marriage.
On August 16, the president’s solicitor general filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that transgender discrimination in employment is not illegal under the Civil Rights Act (under former Attorney General Sessions, the government argued that no LGBT Americans at all have any rights against discrimination).
In between those two announcements- on August 15- the leadership of the Log Cabin Republicans- a gay and lesbian group whose members will suffer any torture to be welcome at GOP cocktail parties- issued this article in The Washington Post.
Trump met his commitments to LGBTQ Americans. He has our endorsement.
By Robert Kabel and Jill Homan The Washington Post, August 15, 2019
Robert Kabel is chairman of Log Cabin Republicans. Jill Homan is the vice chairwoman of Log Cabin Republicans.
[Kabel has been running LCR in one guise or another since the early ‘90s. He is a Washington DC lobbyist. Homan is a real estate speculator- a small business owner, she says- responsible for “sourcing, underwriting, structuring, and executing commercial real estate investment opportunities which include multi-family and office acquisitions” with over $155 million in investments and transactions. A true small business.
[So minuscule is the GOP in the District of Columbia that Kabel and Homan represent DC on the Republican National Committee, where their influence is risible.]
[Here’s what they say:]
While the chasm between left and right in this nation continues to grow and even the definitions of “liberal” and “conservative” seem to be up for debate,
[I do not know Ms. Homan, but in the course of my misspent youth, I served a term on the LCR board and never heard Kabel express a desire for bipartisanship.]
there is one unambiguous sign of progress: The arc of history for America’s LGBTQ community continues to bend toward equality and inclusion. But even as we celebrate our victories, we know there is more to be done.
[“Our victories?” LCR opposes the Equality Act now pending in Congress. They had zero impact on the battle for marriage equality.]
Though the visibility of LGBTQ business leaders such as Tim Cook and Peter Thiel is part of a rapidly changing corporate environment,
[Tim Cook came out at 54 once he was firmly settled as Steve Jobs’ successor at Apple. He supports and raises money for Democrats. Hillary Clinton considered him for vice president.
[Peter Thiel is a libertarian and former backer of the homophobic, racist icon, Congressman Ron Paul. He cuts checks for some of the most anti-LGBT Republicans in America (SC Senator Jim DeMint, Ted Cruz, former NC congressman and indicted former NCGOP chair Robin Hayes, Putin whore Dana Rohrabacher, WA chronic candidate and reactionary Dino Rossi, and nativist bigot Tom Tancredo) because they promise him ever-fewer checks on the building of vast wealth and the advancement of income inequality. The GOP adores him because money drives his life, and he can buy protection from discrimination as he pleases.
[The only other major LGBT corporate chiefs are the heads of Qantas and Land o' Lakes Butter.]
LGBTQ individuals can still be fired just for being gay in a majority of states in America.
[LCR has done nothing about this except hand-wring.]
And while numerous societies have moved to ensure widespread equality for gays and lesbians, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters face persecution in too many countries abroad.
[Mostly, this occurs in repressive societies Donald Trump admires, and repressive societies Donald Trump hates. Go figure.]
Not all of these signs of change have been equally visible to the population at large.
[Please re-read the text above and see how many signs of change you can find.]
For LGBTQ Republicans, watching the 2016 GOP convention before Donald Trump took the stage was like a dream fulfilled. The distance between that event and Pat Buchanan’s hate-filled exhortation against the LGBTQ community in Houston in 1992 is a powerful measurement of how far we’ve come.
[At its heart, the LCR mission is to be invited to the top rung of GOP parties. When Kabel and Homan write of “how far we’ve come”, they mean stacking the DC 2016 convention delegation with seven gay/lesbian delegates out of 19. The Rapture will come when they get to have booths at CPAC and the Values Voters conference.]
Some of the moral leaders who stood with Buchanan back then were still there three years ago in Cleveland, to be sure. But this time, they refrained from passing judgment on gays and lesbians.
[Rachel Hoff, another DC insider, sat on the 2016 GOP convention platform committee and pleaded for humiliatingly small concessions on LGBT rights. The committee made a hash of her. See, “Republican Platform Tilts Right Of Trump On LGBT Issues“, NPR, July 13, 2016.]
And in an extraordinarily uplifting moment, Thiel uttered the words for the first time, “I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American.” He was met with thunderous standing applause from the body of the Republican Party.
[See Thiel’s profile, above. Republicans rose up on their hind legs out of astonishment and joy that a gay man would castrate himself before them.]
This is the party that Trump has helped make possible by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook.
[See the 2016 Republican platform. The only thing Trump ever said about gay rights was that he would protect The Gays from Muslim terrorists.]
And since taking office, President Trump has followed through on many of his commitments to the United States, including taking bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.
[“Many” means “none”, so this claim is, literally, true.]
He has committed to end the spread of HIV/AIDS in 10 years, through the use of proven science, medicine and technology to which we now have access. This scourge decimated a generation of gay men in the United States and continues to inflict pain, suffering and death at home and abroad.
[The president’s plan was announced in the State of the Union address in February 2019. Nothing has come of it since.]
Trump has used the United States’ outsize global influence
[See Michael Hirsh, “America’s Road to Reputational Ruin,” Foreign Policy, July 17, 2019.]
to persuade other nations to adopt modern human rights standards, including launching an initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality, which is considered illegal in more than 70 countries. To lead this effort, the president has chosen the highest-ranking LGBTQ individual in the administration, Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany,
[That Grenell is the Top Gay tells you a lot. The president thinks he is dreamy: “The source recalled conversations they had with Trump amid the battle over Grenell's confirmation. "It would be," the source said, recounting Trump's comments, "'great looking guy.' He literally called him 'my beautiful Grenell,'" the source added. "He said it with, just, a great deal of pride. Like, 'Look at him go.' He loves it." Grenell had a Scaramucci-length tenure as presidential candidate Mitt Romney's foreign policy advisor. Then the evangelicals got wind of it.]
who brings his experience as the United States’ spokesman at the United Nations to bear on this critical campaign.
[Trump’s concern for LGBT rights has always been a con. The Grenell initiative was another State of the Union pander. He had no plan, and nothing has come of it. Nothing will, because most of Trump’s closest authoritarian supporters are the worst offenders. This plan was concocted to pressure Iran.
[Like evangelicals who ship money off for foreign missions while ignoring poverty and homelessness at their back door, he cares about LGBT foreigners more than he does Americans, whose throttling is the price of US evangelicals' support. See, Jared Kellner, “FOR TRUMP, LGBT RIGHTS ARE FOREIGN POLICY, NOT A DOMESTIC CONCERN,” Pacific Standard, July 12, 2019: “The pronouncements bookend a miserable three years for Trump on LGBT rights. Since taking office, Trump announced on Twitter that he would bar transgender Americans from serving in the United States armed forces; nominated judicial nominees with distinctly anti-LGBT records; beat back protections for transgender students attending schools that receive federal funding; rolled back protections for transgender employees under current civil rights law; sought to define gender on the basis of immutable biological features in a move that could legally categorize trans Americans out of existence; and, as recently as last week, ordered U.S. embassies not to fly the rainbow Pride flag.”]
And Grenell is one of many LGBTQ appointees whom Trump has tapped to serve in his administration.
[Trump has gotten one lesbian federal judge confirmed, out of 146. He has appointed three gay ambassadors: Grenell, a GOP activist, and career State Department diplomats to the powerhouse embassies of Lithuania and Nepal.
[He has a deputy press secretary who says he is sure the president would have no issue with his gayosity even though he has never met him, and he works in an office that gives no press briefings to anyone.
[He has an assistant secretary of state- a former Log Cabineteer- on the payroll. That’s it.
[BTW: whenever there’s A Gay to be sworn in, Trump sends Like Pence to do it.]
They serve America’s people and the government with honor and distinction, just as Leonard Matlovich sought to do in 1975 by appearing on the cover of Time magazine with the famous caption “I Am a Homosexual,” catapulting the plight of those discharged from the military into public light.
[The president banned transgender military personnel. When Leonard Matlovich was an LGBT activist, Log Cabin was not at his side. Gay service members continued to be dishonorably discharged for another thirty-five years after he came out. He sued and won reinstatement but accepted a cash payout because he knew the military would just find another reason to discharge him. He died in 1988.]
And it is not merely policies specific to LGBTQ people that have been good for our community. The president’s tax cuts have benefited LGBTQ families and helped put food on their tables.
[In other words, they are now grasping at straws.]
[“MARK MAZUR: Low-income families with children might see a tax cut of $50 or $100 a year. In the middle-income categories, the tax cuts would be several hundred dollars.
[ZARROLI: And he says high-end taxpayers may have saved thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars. Though Trump initially promised that rich people would be hurt by his tax bill, they weren't, says former Obama administration official David Kamin.
[DAVID KAMIN: Those at the top are not paying, on average, more because of this bill. Quite the opposite - they're getting a disproportionate amount of this tax cut.” NPR, “The Losers And Winners Of The Trump Administration's Big Tax Cut,” April 15, 2019.
His opportunity zones have helped create new LGBTQ-founded small businesses.
[This is not true. I defy Kabel and Homan to show proof of a single instance: “The Opportunity Zone program, part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has been touted as a key tool in revitalizing distressed communities. The Trump administration argues that giving tax breaks to investors to incentivize investments in certain struggling geographical areas will in turn benefit these communities and their residents.
[“Critics of the Opportunity Zone program, however, argue that such trickle-down approaches do not work, and that this latest tax break only adds to the tax giveaways for the rich. Moreover, they point to evidence that the program is geared exclusively toward the wealthy and could even harm the residents and communities it is meant to serve. Proponents, on the other hand, have touted new projects—the result of incentivized investment—that could benefit distressed communities. Which side is ultimately correct depends on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s guidance on how to implement the program. Its most recent set of rules, however, make clear that the Opportunity Zone program will not be a tool for economic development. If it was, Treasury would have imposed strict guidelines that ensured the projects funded through the program are those needed and vetted by targeted communities. However, the loose rules and favorable eligibility requirements in Treasury’s new guidelines will ensure that the Opportunity Zone program is just a tax shelter for the wealthy to park their capital gains.” The best you can say is that it is like the tax cut claim, above, some LGBT Americans might share in the crumbs.]
The administration’s aggressive negotiations on trade deals have preserved LGBTQ jobs.
[How many? Aggressive negotiations have not, so far, produced one single new trade deal passed into law. And, as Kabel and Homan- and I- note, above, in most states firing people for being LGBT is legal and the president wants to make it universal.]
His hard line on foreign policy has protected LGBTQ lives.
[How many? Where? And how many in the US? What about the State Department's new advisory commission on redefining what “human rights” are, stacked with antigay activists? And what does this do for us in the crushing hinge in America?]
What benefits all Americans benefits the LGBTQ community, as we cross every racial, socioeconomic, religious and cultural divide.
[This makes no sense whatever.]
While we do not agree with every policy or platform position presented by the White House or the Republican Party, we share a commitment to individual responsibility, personal freedom and a strong national defense. To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, 80 percent my friend is not 20 percent my enemy.
[The GOP is committed to repealing or gutting LGBT rights from top to bottom. Anyone with a head can see it in their policies, the president’s administrative and judicial appointments, and the bales of religious freedom laws being passed at the state level. We see it in the increasing levels of LGBT hate crimes, ans the growing number of GOP officer holders and preachers calling for the extrajudicial execution of LGBT Americans- without consequence. The Trump cabinet is the most anti-LGBT in history. His federal judicial nominees seem to have to answer only one question: “Hate the gays?”
[As Frank Bruni points out, Trump has the same flabby, personal indifference to LGBT Americans the Reagans did. They admitted wealthy ones into their circles but did, and said nothing while their apparatchiks woke up every day keen to throttle The Gays.
We are committed to letting all qualified Americans serve in the military,
[This claim is like declaring that the moon is round and pizza is delicious. The president has not challenged the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.]
and Log Cabin Republicans was a leader in the legal fight to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
[They filed a lawsuit in 2004. It took until 2010 to bring to trial. It was dismissed as moot because Congress repealed the policy. While they wanked away six years in federal court, the fight was won on Capitol Hill.]
We oppose the transgender service restriction and will continue to press the administration to reconsider.
[So far the president has not even acknowledged LCR’s endorsement. As is the case with black athletes, he hasn’t time for men on their knees.]
To be treated equally, fairly and justly under the law is our goal, and we know that “Inclusion Wins” is a mantra we share with the president. The Log Cabin Republicans endorse Donald Trump for reelection as president.
[A mantra is “a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers.” For Log Cabin Republicans, it is the delusion that they, too, will have a Sally Field Moment.]