The Gorsuch Nomination

Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, probably would not have joined the ruling in favor of marriage equality, although he is a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the Obergefell decision.

In 2005, LGBTQ Nation reports, Gorsuch wrote an article for National Review in which he argued that liberals are using the courts too much to advance their agenda, and he cited same-sex marriage:

American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education… .

…too much reliance on constitutional litigation is also bad for the Left itself. The Left’s alliance with trial lawyers and its dependence on constitutional litigation to achieve its social goals risks political atrophy. Liberals may win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts. But in failing to reach out and persuade the public generally, they invite exactly the sort of backlash we saw in November when gay marriage was rejected in all eleven states where it was on the ballot.

Marriage equality was eventually achieve through the courts, and—unlike the abortion-ruling aftermath—without an escalation of the initial backlash the Gorsuch noted. But his arguments aren’t those of the fire-breathing LGBT-rights opponent of progressive fear-mongering.

Gorsuch does support religious liberty rights, which will drive the LGBT left berserk. He ruled against the government in a case involving the Obamacare mandate that employer health plans provide no-cost contraceptive coverage to female workers, including drugs some consider to be abortifacients. As LGBTQ Nation notes:

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the corporation argued that its religious beliefs were being violated by the ACA. Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby, holding that a for-profit business could have religious beliefs, with which the Supreme Court later agreed.

I agreed, too.

Gorsuch is a conservative, but he’s not a social conservative activist. I don’t expect that liberal media will pay much attention to the distinction.

More. An email just received from Zeke Stokes at GLAAD:

Gorsuch’s record on the federal bench means his appointment to the court could put LGBTQ people at risk, from workplace protections to even marriage equality. Coming on the heels of rumors of a sweeping Trump executive order attacking the LGBTQ community, this appointment could spell danger for LGBTQ people, women, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities — many of whom are already targets of Trump’s actions.

A follow-up from GLAAD explains:

We just got some devastating news. According to breaking media reports, a leaked copy of a draft executive order reveals plans by the Trump Administration to allow for widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people across the country– much like the law Vice President Mike Pence signed as governor of Indiana.

Attacking religious liberty rights will be the singular issue of the LGBT left (which is to say, the LGBT political movement) going forward.

LGBT Nondiscrimination Executive Order Remains in Place

White House says LGBT protections for federal workers will remain.

Score one for the Log Cabin Republicans. Guess the fear-mongers were wrong.

I fully support LGBT nondiscrimination policies within the federal workforce. But when extended to federal contractors, I’d favor a reasonable religious exemption so that, for instance, Catholic charities could choose not to participate in adoptions by same-sex couples.

But any change to Obama’s order by Trump would have been demagogued mercilessly as a “license to discriminate.”

The Human Rights Campaign never misses an opportunity to remain irrelevant. Via The Advocate, HRC’s head Chad Griffin tweeted: “Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar.”

More. Walter Olson at the Cato Institute addresses this issue: An Executive Order On LGBT Issues? Religious Exemptions? Both? He clarifies that while the White House said the president would keep in place Obama’s LGBT order applying to the federal workforce:

The White House did not rule out revisiting other decisions by its predecessor administration on gay rights, such as an order requiring federal contractors to adopt nondiscrimination policies, which pointedly did not provide conscience exemptions for private religious agencies.

Let the outrage begin!

Olson continues:

The effect of a contractor ban without religious objector provisions, I argued, would be to kick various religious agencies out of social service work in public settings in adoptions and foster care, as well as some prison, drug rehab, and various other settings. Ousting conservative religious groups from participation in social service adoption is likely to cut down on the number of successful placements made of children in public care, which would hurt the taxpayer, hurt adoptive parents, and, not least, hurt kids. The more genuinely pluralist approach, I argued, would be to acknowledge conscience exemptions while fully opening these systems to participation by contractors that gladly serve gays, persons of no given sect, religious unbelievers, and so forth.

Sounds good to me.

Furthermore. To clarify, it’s specifically the 2014 executive order that applies to employees of federal contractors that the White House said would continue in place.

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” the [White House] statement says. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

The New York Times relates:

Leaving those protections, of course, does not preclude another executive order that would roll back gay rights in other areas. Mr. Trump could, for example, still enshrine a religious freedom provision in federal policy.

I hope so, as balancing competing rights—civil rights (public accommodations nondiscrimination) and religious liberty (the right not to be forced by the state, on threat of punishment, to take action that violates religious convictions)—is what America is about.

Transgender Scouts

Via the Washington Post, the Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children who identify as boys to join:

…the organization will now accept boys based on the gender a parent puts on a child’s scouting application, ending a policy of accepting boys based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate.

Hope the new policy proves helpful and isn’t misused. We’ll see.

New York magazine, no rightwing rag, on why the issue of what’s best for transgender kids is not always so simple:

A lot of people don’t realize that there is a genuine scientific debate over how to best help out children with gender dysphoria, or those who feel discomfort — sometimes extremely intense discomfort — with the body they were born into….

A concern is that young “effeminate” boys and “masculine” girls, many of whom would otherwise grow into either healthy and happy gay men and lesbian women (or, sometimes, somewhat “effeminate” heterosexual men and “masculine” heterosexual women), are told they’re transgender, perhaps by well-meaning parents, and put on that course.

More. Alternate facts, via an op-ed by Debra W. Soh, a sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto, in the Los Angeles Times:

[T]ransgender activists firmly believe that gender is a biological, rather than social, reality—but of course they don’t believe that it’s necessarily tied to sex at birth. They also believe that gender identity is quite stable early on, warranting a transition not only for transgender adults, but also young children who say they were born in the wrong body.

From a scientific perspective, they’re partially right: Gender identity is fixed, but only in adults; the same can’t be said for children, whose gender identity is flexible and doesn’t become stable until puberty.

Currently available research literature—including four studies published in the last nine years—suggests that 61% to 88% of gender dysphoric children will desist and grow up to be gay adults. … They won’t continue to identify as the opposite sex in adulthood. In one study of 139 gender dysphoric boys, 122 (88%) of the boys desisted.

While transitioning can be beneficial for transgender adults, it therefore doesn’t make sense to treat trans children in the same way. Nevertheless, transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls.

LCR Up, HRC Down

It’s Log Cabin’s time, with the much bigger and dominant LGBT movement organizations (Human Rights Campaign, Victory Fund) having ensured they’ll be frozen out by the Trump administration.

Via the Washington Blade, Log Cabin emerges as lead LGBT group in Trump era:

In another sign of how the political landscape has changed in Washington, the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans appears to have emerged as the lead LGBT organization expected to have access to the administration of President Donald Trump.

With most of the longstanding national LGBT advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, strongly supporting or tilting toward Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the November election, many political observers expect them to have little if any access to the Trump White House and federal agencies that oversee LGBT-related issues.

HRC has joined with others on the left in declaring its implacable hostility toward the Trump administration, and did so before Trump had been sworn in. So it’s good to see Log Cabin going its own way.

I think this is smart, too:

In a break with nearly all other LGBT advocacy groups, Angelo said Log Cabin doesn’t support the Equality Act, the latest version of a federal LGBT non-discrimination bill pending in Congress. He said the group would soon push for a different version of an LGBT non-discrimination bill that would likely gain more support among GOP lawmakers in Congress.

The overly broad Equality Act is an assault on religious liberty rights, rolling back protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Democrats once supported.

[Added: The Equality Act revokes any protection which religious objectors might enjoy under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I wrote about this last November, here, noting that “staunch opposition to religious exemptions and requiring that the existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (signed by Bill Clinton) be excluded from applying to any such [LGBT anti-discrimination] measure—as the Human Rights Campaign and others are demanding—is not a strategy that seeks to accomplish anything except to maintain the political standoff so useful in fundraising appeals. A win-win compromise—LGBT legal protections with reasonable and traditional exemptions for religious belief, especially among small, independent service providers—would be in the best interest of everyone except for activists whose power and prestige is based on perpetuating the culture wars.” Jonathan Rauch has also addressed this, as noted here.]

The great irony of all this is that Trump would, quite possible, be amenable to signing a common sense LGBT workplace anti-discrimination bill, but HRC and the LGBT left will work tirelessly to ensure that such an outcome never happens.

More. Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes:

For scorched-earth Never Trumpers…the response to this complex challenge is simple: Resist everything. For everyone else, from Doubtful Trumpers to Hopeful Trumpers, more productive ways of engaging with this presidency are opening up.

The media’s mostly Manichaean political model—bad forces arrayed against forces for good—is largely useless. The more productive if difficult path forward will require willing participants to pull out pieces of the Trump agenda and support them, refine them or, when necessary, resist. Full engagement with the Trump presidency doesn’t mean simple assent or rote opposition. …

For those who want to spend four years quaking before Mr. Trump’s kaleidoscopic tweets, the future is predictable. For everyone else, the more familiar struggles of American governance have just begun.

Log Cabin seems to get this; the LGBT Democrats, not so much. From the Washington Blade article:

The HRC message said the group had created a new “defy” logo and encouraged supporters to “resist” action by Trump that would harm LGBT people or roll back LGBT supportive policies put in place by President Barack Obama.. …

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund…[which] also lobbies for presidential appointments of LGBT people, issued a strongly worded statement on the day following the election leaving no doubt about its opposition to Trump. “Today I am heartbroken that racist, xenophobic, sexist and transphobic demagoguery won last night’s presidential election,” said Aisha Moodie-Mills, the Victory Fund’s president and CEO.

Sure, those are voices that are going to be welcome in administration deliberations.

Furthermore. No one expects the Republican leadership to favor an LGBT anti-discrimination bill. But if the Democrats introduced a common-sense measure with religious exemptions and got behind it, enough Republicans are likely to join them to get to a majority, and I believe Trump might very well sign it. But that’s the last thing the Democrats, and their LGBT auxiliaries, would want to happen.

Final thought. According to their 2015 form 990 filings for tax year 2014 (the last ones you can view for free through online search), total annual revenue was:
LCR: $      289,950.
HRC: $37,406,706.

Permanent Opposition

The Washington Post, on inauguration eve, reported D.C. Politics ‘Queer Dance Party’ shakes and shimmies to send a message to Mike Pence.

Entertaining themselves with disco exhibitionism doesn’t sound like an effective lobbying tactic, but then it’s not meant to be. Aside from the Log Cabin Republicans, the organized LGBT groups—many that still claim, somehow, that they’re nonpartisan—will be part and parcel of the Democratic party’s fierce and permanent opposition to all things Trump.

Via BuzzFeed: These Gay Republican Activists Are Making Inroads With Trump’s Team.

As progressives sprint to catch up — or refuse to deal with Trump’s staff directly — these gay activists on the right believe access to Trump’s White House will make them bellwethers for the entire LGBT movement.

But the “movement” doesn’t want anything to do with them. Trump may arguably be the first GOP president who doesn’t oppose gay legal equality (now even accepting marriage equality as a done deal). But instead of capitalizing on that, the LGBT left will be in full Democratic campaign mode from day one.

More. Some of Trump’s appointees, including at the Cabinet level, are not supportive of LGBT inclusion and legal equality (although the nature and depth of their opposition is often overstated, or they were never opposed to our rights, as with Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos (here, and here).

So, is the smart strategy to declare implacable and permanent opposition to Donald J. Trump from day one, or to work constructively with those in the administration, including Trump himself, who have an inclusive and supportive view of gay Americans? Clearly, the LGBT organizational establishment is committed to the former, ramping up partisan polarization to a fever pitch.

[Best line from Trump’s inaugural address: “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”]

Along similar lines, from Washington Blade columnist Mark Lee:

Such embarrassing foot stomping wins lesbians and gays few friends. We risk alienating actual and potential allies by unseemly hegemony and hatred.

Worse are the ridiculous claims of impending LGBT Armageddon most gays don’t believe and only sabotage a community’s credibility.

We’re not headed to concentration camps, nor is Trump gassing up any transport trucks. Illusory victories won by presidential orders signify we opted for transient gains by seeking only convenience and not consensus.

And if Chelsea Manning Wasn’t a Transgender Cause Celebre?

NYT: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence.

From a 35-year sentence, commuted to time served (7 years) for one of the largest breaches of diplomatic and military secrecy in American history—including thousands of classified State Department cables—carried out by an army intelligence analyst.

I just hope her sentence wasn’t reduced because she’s transgender and her cause was taken up, very vocally, by transgender and LGBT activists (perish the thought!).


A pertinent comment left at the above tweet: “Dems ok with leaking military secrets but not DNC secrets.”

More. During his December 2011 pretrial hearing, the New York Daily News reported of the defendant then known as Bradley Manning:

…his lawyers argued his status as a gay soldier before the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” played an important role in his actions.

Lawyers for Pfc. Bradley Manning began laying out a defense to show that his struggles in an environment hostile to homosexuality contributed to mental and emotional problems that should have barred him from having access to sensitive material.

The paper also reported that “The Obama administration says the released information has threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America’s relations with other governments.”

While her supporters celebrate, a press release from the Log Cabin Republicans says:

Log Cabin Republicans has always condemned Manning’s actions, and consistently stood against efforts by the left to elevate Manning as a paragon of the LGBT community.

“Chelsea Manning is no hero, and the commutation of her sentence is appalling,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo stated. “Manning was not imprisoned for being transgender — in fact, the government agreed to accommodate and facilitate her transition during her well-deserved sentence; she was imprisoned for traitorous clandestine activity that put military lives at risk. Her actions — and President Obama’s clemency — are nothing to celebrate.”

Furthermore. James Kirchick writes Bradley Manning is No Gay Hero:

For centuries, gay people have served with distinction and honor in the armed forces, and it is the service of these countless veterans whom today’s gays can thank for the freedom to serve openly. Bradley Manning’s actions are fodder to those who have long argued that homosexuality naturally leads to treason; some on the far right have argued that his actions were intended as “revenge” over the military’s then-enforced anti-gay policy. It is unconscionable that gay activists, of all people, would play into these slanders.

Still more. A “potent symbol for transgender Americans.” Chase Strangio, Manning’s ACLU attorney, said that “Her story really does reflect so much of the systemic discrimination that transgender people face,” adding “She’s an incredibly thoughtful and devoted person,” and that “She’s felt a sense of responsibility to the transgender community and wanted to be someone who contributed to the fight for transgender justice.”

To which the Washington Times editorialized: “No one doubts Chelsea Manning’s feelings of ‘responsibility to the transgender community.’ It’s a pity she felt no such responsibility to her country, and to the men and women who were assigned to the battlefield to defend that country with their very lives.”

Celebrities Toe the Line—or Else?

As reported by The Daily Beast, Jennifer Holliday Pulls Out of Trump Inauguration, Apologizes to LGBT Community:

On Saturday morning Jennifer Holliday released a letter addressed to the LGBT community announcing that she will no longer be performing at the inauguration concert, apologizing for what she called a “lapse of judgment.” She cites this article in her letter, saying that after she read it she realized that “my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!”

[Added: The issue isn’t whether Holliday will or won’t perform as she sees fit, but that there is a new McCarthyism of the left afoot, where celebrities have been warned that “legitimatizing” the Trump presidency by performing at the inauguration or at future White House-related cultural events will put them on a new black list because the administration is—in this case—allegedly anti-gay.]

LGBT progressives and Democrats have advanced the false narrative that Trump is anti-gay, when—despite his other failings—he was easily the most gay-accepting GOP president nominee ever, as I discussed in an earlier post. And so a day that should unite Americans of goodwill despite political differences becomes a day that divides and provokes yet more partisan polarization.

More evidence of LGBT progressives’ disconnect from, well, reality. Challenging the dominant liberal-left narrative, historian John Gordon Steele writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Trump May Herald a New Political Order:

To bring permanent change, Mr. Trump needs policies that succeed on the ground, not merely in theory. Faster growth and rising incomes are always rewarded at the ballot box. …

But continued outreach to minority communities is also crucial. Mr. Trump has promised to address the problems of inner cities, which he accuses the Democrats of ignoring for decades. And at one rally last fall, he was handed a rainbow flag, a symbol of gay rights. He smiled broadly and held it aloft as the audience cheered.

This is not your father’s Republican Party.

WAMU, the NPR station in the nation’s capital, recently featured an interview with entrepreneur Jeff Giesea. As noted on the station’s website (which links to the interview):

Jeff Giesea says he isn’t what most people expect a Trump supporter to be—he’s a gay, Stanford-educated resident of a city Hillary Clinton carried by over 90 percent. But Giesea says broad stereotypes are part of the problem with modern politics, where common ground is often hard to find.

You think?

More. Opera star Andrea Bocelli backs out of Trump inauguration because of death threats. As Twitchy noted, “Tolerant Left Strikes Again!”

Furthermore. Jennifer Holliday told the cast of “The View” that death threats forced her to cancel her performance during the inauguration:

I was receiving death threats at this point. I was receiving death threats from black people, the N-word from black people. They were saying they were going to kill me.” …

“At first I said, ‘Are these white people just messing with me? I’m going, ‘Oh my God, these are black people calling me this. They were saying I should kill myself.”

Can a Catholic Hospital Refuse a Gender-Transition Surgery?

As the new year began, LGBT groups denounced a decision by a federal judge in Texas that blocked, nationwide, federal regulations issued under the Affordable Care Act that barred discrimination against transgendered patients.

As the Washington Times reported, “U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor is the same judge who, four months earlier, blocked President Obama’s order compelling public schools nationwide to permit bathroom and locker room access on the basis of gender identity.”

The lawsuit against the transgender anti-discrimination rule was brought by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing the Franciscan Alliance.

“Judge O’Connor’s decision to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from implementing crucial protections for transgender people seeking healthcare services puts thousands of people at risk of marginalization, harassment, and discrimination at a time they are most vulnerable and in need of inclusive, respectful care,” Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

Writing in the blog Health Affairs, Timothy Jost, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va., said, “Nothing in the [Affordable Care Act’s] section 1557 rule specifically requires practitioners or health care facilities to provide gender transition services. … The rule does not impose on health care professionals an obligation to provide gender transition services…. It is troubling that this litigation has been promoted based on false statements about the requirements of section 1557, which Judge O’Connor has to a certain extent uncritically accepted.”

But just a few days later, the Washington Post reported that Jionni Conforti, a 33-year-old transgender man, is suing a Catholic hospital for not accommodating his transition-related hysterectomy. The suit referenced both the (now blocked) Affordable Care Act rule and New Jersey’s anti-discrimination statute.

Lambda Legal, which is representing Conforti, said the hospital was not entitled to “decide who their patients are.”

But suing a Catholic hospital for not accommodating a gender-realignment surgery raises many issues about the failure to recognize the difference between a private/religious and public/government facility. If a Catholic hospital has no right not to host a gender transition-related surgery, can a patient demand it also allow elective abortions to be performed?

Gays for Trump Prepare to Celebrate

The Washington Blade reports on gay Trump supporters’ upcoming inaugural festivities:

At least three LGBT Republican sponsored events, including a “Deplora-Ball,” are scheduled to take place in or near Washington during the Jan. 20 weekend when Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

This is sure to enrage LGBT progressives who are informed by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddox that internment in concentration camps may be just around the corner [no, she wasn’t kidding]. And judging from much of the mainstream and LGBT media’s coverage of the president elect, it would be difficult to explain why anyone who is L, G, B or T would have voted for Trump or plans to celebrate his presidency.

Here’s a look back on the Trump/LGBT flag-holding incident and how it triggered LGBT-left apoplexy. And my thoughts last July on Trump’s remarks about protecting “our LGBTQ citizens” who are “wonderful Americans” during his acceptance speech at the GOP convention. In a post-election interview with “60 Minutes,” Trump said of gay marriage that “these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And I’m fine with that.”

[Added: The point of the above is not that Trump is exemplary and certainly not that he was better than the Democrats on LGBT equality issues. It’s to point out that he has moved the bar upward in this regard for GOP presidential nominees, even as his party’s platform has remained hidebound. So if you’re gay and supportive of his wider agenda, then celebrating his inauguration isn’t a sign of betrayal and self-loathing, as many LGBT progressives believe it to be.]

As I have argued, the LGBT left’s responses to Trump’s selection for his administration of figures such as vice president Mike Pence and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson are often based on exaggerations, if not flat-out distortions, of their positions. While there are certainly members of the incoming administration opposed to gay equality, the Trump administration, at the direction of the president himself, could eschew an anti-gay agenda and at the same time choose not to continue some of the most divisive directives of the Obama administration (such as the federal mandate on transgender use of public school restrooms and locker rooms).

Maybe the next 4 (or 8) years will prove my optimism wrong, or maybe it will expose the reaction of the LGBT left as hysterical and hyper-partisan.

Kirchick: The Symbiotic Relationship Between the Alt-Right and PC Left

The always interesting James Kirchick has penned an essay titled Enemies, A Love Story. Here’s an excerpt:

The rise of a majoritarian (i.e., white male) identity politics is the lamentable yet entirely predictable reaction to decades of minority identity politics. The alt-right is literally a reactionary movement, reacting to the perceived denigration of mainstream American culture by grievance-mongering radicals for whom the very word “white” is a slur. Absent the intellectual totalitarianism and bullying hypocrisy of the ascendant social-justice-warrior left, the Trump phenomenon would have lacked potency. The two sides exist in a sick, codependent symbiosis. …

Of course, racism, sexism, and nativism existed long before Trump, and nothing can excuse the demagogy and divisiveness engaged in by the president-elect and his surrogates. But we should be able to critique the excesses of identity politics without being called racists.

That’s what Columbia professor Mark Lilla tried to do in a postmortem essay for the New York Times titled “The End of Identity Liberalism.” A liberal in good standing, Lilla reassessed the prominence afforded to identity politics as the engine of the left’s value system and appealed for a return to a more universalistic politics that focuses more on broad economic concerns than narrow racial, sexual, and gendered ones. “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing,” he wrote. For this, a Columbia colleague angrily likened Lilla to David Duke, both men being accused of “contributing to the same ideological project, the former cloaked in a KKK hood, the latter in an academic gown.”

Kirchick concludes, “Those wanting to deflate the allure of the Trumpian right must also tackle the excesses of the social-justice-warrior left.” But from what I’ve seen, it’s “circle the wagons” all round on both the right and the left.