Negative rhetoric from GOP candidates has the potential to halt the LGBTQ movement’s strides towards equality.
With the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the LGBTQ movement has propelled itself in the direction of civil justice.
Boston Herald’s article entitled “Next president will name as many as four Supreme Court justices” shows that this victory was a big step forward, but is certainly not the end of the fight.
Interviews, debates and several media sources posted to the Human Rights Campaign website show that each Republican candidate opposed the decision of Obergefell v. Hodges and have consistently neglected LGBTQ efforts for change.
This election has proven to be quite the spectacle, most specifically with the GOP backing their evangelical views.
The Boston Herald noted that the next elected president will potentially have the power to reshape the federal quarts seeing that 3 of the justices are over the age of 77 making seats increasingly more available especially if the new president is elected two terms.
According to voting records and quotations provided by the HRC, if elected, candidates like Cruz seek to select originalist Supreme Court justices that will rigidly interpret the Constitution in future federal cases.
With an elected GOP candidate, the chances of passing any legislature in support of LGBTQ rights during their presidency are improbable, Hilary Clinton said in Washington this past October.
“Honestly, [the GOP’s] discrimination doesn’t bother me at all because I know I’m on the right side of history,” said Nathalie Huyhn, practicing Catholic and LGBTQ member.
Huyhn said finding people to talk with about these issues and creating an open space for conversation is the best strategy to discuss politics and spread consciousness.
A number of people I have talked to about the subject said they were surprised by the intensity of the GOP opposition.
According to a 2015 Pew Research poll more than two-thirds of moderates and 65 percent of independent voters support same-sex marriage.
After examining the poll results, it seems that the GOP is ignoring this voting block, however, it is vital for a Republican campaign trail to appeal to the evangelicals living in Middle America.
“Almost always, we can define the block of evangelicals as conservative voters. So that’s why you see the GOP candidates spending so much time trying to grab that little block of voters because they can’t win without them,” said John Shrader, Journalism Professor at CSULB and media politics expert.
Shrader also points out that most of these evangelicals are single-issue voters, meaning they feel so passionately about one specific subject (i.e. same-sex marriage, abortion etc.) they will disregard any other sectors of that candidate’s political platform.
CSULB Political Science Prof. Frank Baber said that the reason why the Bible Belt has so much voting power is due to the disproportionate representation it is granted in the U.S. Senate.
“For those reasons, the Far Right gets more bang for its buck in the smaller and religiously conservative states,” Baber said.
Another 2016 Pew poll showed the relationship between the voters and the candidates’ religious background.
The survey found that “fully half of American adults say they would be less likely to vote for a hypothetical presidential candidate who does not believe in God, while just 6 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a nonbeliever.”
With the exception of Trump, the Republican candidates have all clung to their religious platforms throughout their campaigns, as shown through both the GOP debates and information available on HRC.
The intensity of opposition towards the LGBTQ movement is a looming concern for the Democratic Party striving for equality.
“The continuing processes of modernization and secularization will have to take care of that problem by reducing that segment of the population over time. But a lot of other conservatives harbor prejudices that can be shaken by persistent but polite confrontation,” Baber said.