week the U. S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case
“Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.”
The case - which has many of us LGBTQ Americans on pins and needles
- will litigate a baker’s rights to refuse to make a wedding
cake for a same-sex couple, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, on the
grounds of religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment.
the case is decided in favor of the baker, Jack Phillips, it will be
a colossal blow to civil rights gains and state nondiscrimination
laws, legalizing denying services to LGBTQ Americans based on
business owners religious belief. Trump’s solicitor general,
Noel Francisco, suggested these businesses should hang anti-LGBTQ
placards like “No Gays Allowed” warning us to stay away.
When Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to clarify the
president’s position on the matter at a White House briefing,
she responded: “The president certainly supports religious
liberty…I believe that would include that.”
a black lesbian with Trump in the White House, I now feel like I am
moving into a new Jim Crow era reestablishing discriminatory laws
targeting LGBTQ Americans. I grew up knowing about racist placards
that said “Colored Water Fountain,” “Waiting Room
For Colored Only,” ”We Serve Whites Only, and “No
N-word Allowed, to name a few.
Trump has taken office there has been an erosion of LGBTQ civil
rights under the guise of religious liberty. For example,
transgender Americans being denied access to public lavatories is
eerily reminiscent of the country’s last century Jim Crow era
denying African Americans access to lunch counters, water fountains,
and, libraries, gas stations, theaters, and restrooms, to name a few.
Signs that read “whites only” prohibited entry.
Jim Crow America restrooms were a hot-button issue, as today, and a
battleground for equal treatment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
outlawed discrimination based on national origin, race, hue, gender,
and religion. The law mandated desegregation of all public
accommodations, including bathrooms. The Obama administration
expanded the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBTQ Americans.
However, in February Trump’s administration revoked federal
guidelines permitting transgender students from using
“gender-appropriate facilities ” which aligned with their
June Trump paid tribute to the 49 LGBTQ victims of last year’s
Pulse Nightclub massacre, but failed to issue a proclamation for
in July, LGBTQ Americans received a one-two punch from the Trump
administration. The first punch was President Trump’s ban on
transgender service members, eerily reminiscent of when the military
did not want to integrate its ranks racially. In his inimitable style
of communicating to the American public, the order came in the form
of a tweet. Ironically, Trump's tweet came on the 69th anniversary of
President Harry Truman’s executive order desegregating the U.
S. military in 1948.
second punch occurred on the same day of Trump’s ban. The
Justice Department filed court papers citing Title VII of the 1964
Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in the workplace but it
does NOT bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender
Trump’s ban caught the Pentagon and Capitol Hill off guard, the
announcement was enthusiastically applauded by numerous anti-LGBTQ
hate groups across the country who have long advocated for it,
promulgating the fear that healthcare services to our transgender
troops would gravely hurt defense spending. In an ad by the Family
Research Council, for example, Chelsea Manning was pictured next to a
military jet with the question “Which one do you want our
military to be spending your tax dollars on - transgender surgeries
December 11 a federal judge denied request of the Trump
administration to delay enlistment deadline for transgender Americans
into the military. They can enlist as early as January 1, 2018.
am immensely thankful as a married lesbian that I reside in
Massachusetts, especially if Trump tries to overturn “Obergefell
v. Hodges,” the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that
legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
that may not be the case for many LGBTQ married couples outside of my
state. For example, in a Trumped-up Supreme Court there is talk among
Christian evangelicals of walking “Obergefell v. Hodges”
back without disrupting other precedents on marriage,” Rebecca
Buckwaler-Poza wrote in the article “The End of Gay Rights”
in the June issue of Pacific Standard Magazine.
Supreme Court can significantly undermine LGBT rights even without
reversing a single case,” Buckwaler-Poza wrote. "Right
now, the federal prohibition against sex discrimination doesn’t
bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender
identity; the Equal Protection Clause affords no specific protections
for LGBT people, as it does for members of groups defined by race or
nationality. The Court can strip the rights to intimacy and marriage
of their meaning, carving away gradually and masking the magnitude of
changes by phrasing them in arcane legal terms.”
movement for some time now has been afoot in state legislatures
across the country to disenfranchise LGBTQ Americans. These bills are
called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRA), and
are a backlash to the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and the
growing fear of when the Supreme Court legalize it nationwide. Since
lawmakers used them to codify LGBTQ discrimination to justify denying
us services on state and local levels, and Trump is in lock-step with
these discriminatory practices, Jim Crow is here.