Indivisible: Conejo’s LGBTQ+ Issue Action Team is committed to fighting attacks on the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender and other sexual and gender minorities. Such threats are coming from a number of different directions in 2017, at the federal and local levels; the team is fighting those efforts by:
- Monitoring progress on the Trump draft “religious freedom” executive order that was leaked to the press, but not signed, in early February. The draft order would protect tax-exempt organizations (and even some businesses) that discriminate against individuals based on “the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, [that] sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, [and that] ‘male‘ and ‘female’ and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth.”
- Monitoring, and opposing, likely actions in Congress that would similarly allow discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.”
- Opposing potential attempts by conservatives in Congress to impose nationwide the sort of “bathroom bill” that has created controversy in North Carolina.
- Collaborating with, and supporting the efforts of, existing advocacy groups that oppose (and publicly protest) discrimination against LGBT+ individuals. Such efforts include the proposal to turn this year’s Pride parade in Los Angeles into a protest march.
- Monitoring the statements and actions of Conejo Valley Unified School District trustees who have attempted to undermine provisions of the state of California’s FAIR Act. The law adds to the state’s education curriculum references to the achievements of LGBTQ Americans.
The election of Donald Trump, and the ascension of Republicans to control over all three branches of the federal government and the majority of state governments, has created profound new threats to the rights of LGBTQ Americans. These include:
- Trump’s draft “religious freedom” order, and likely congressional legislation that – like the controversial state law signed by then-Indiana governor and current Vice President Mike Pence in 2015 -- are really thinly veiled attempts to enable discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans. While claiming to protect the First Amendment rights of religious conservatives, such laws actually would allow those conservatives to discriminate when hiring or setting employment policies, choosing and disciplining students, or deciding whom to provide with products or services in their churches, schools or other nonprofit organizations – or even their “tightly held” private businesses.
- State-based challenges to the Obergfell and Windsor decisions on same-sex marriage – including the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in January (reversing an earlier denial) to hear several cities’ arguments that they should be allowed to deny spousal benefits to same-sex couples.
- “Bathroom bills” like North Carolina’s notorious HB2, which encourage open discrimination against transgender Americans.
- Insidious efforts by officials at the local level to use religious grounds to question the government’s recognition of LGBTQ rights, and even the educational value of LGBTQ Americans’ achievements.