This November’s presidential election may carry with it the biggest consequences any U.S. election has ever had for LGBTQ parents and our children. That’s why we need to make our voting plans now.
As writer, professor, and transgender parent Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote today in her New York Times piece, “What’s at Stake for L.G.B.T.Q. Families in This Election,” President Trump’s record on LGBTQ equality is atrocious. The Republican party’s 2020 platform—identical to its 2016 platform—condemns marriage equality. (I’ll note that it refers to marriage as “one man and one woman” a total of five times.) The president’s recent shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees for his second term includes many anti-LGBTQ individuals.
That’s troubling for many reasons, as Boylan says (and her full piece, as always, is worth a read). I’ll add another: several important cases related to LGBTQ parental rights are still making their way through the federal courts. They will decide whether children born outside of the U.S. to parents in same-sex relationships, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen, should have U.S. citizenship. While the families have had some wins, the U.S. State Department continues to appeal them.
Another case, on whether taxpayer-funded child welfare agencies should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others by citing religious beliefs, will be heard by the Supreme Court on November 4, the day after the election—too early for any of the new nominees, but still a case to watch in a majority conservative court.
On the state level, there is still much progress to be made in terms of simple, cheap, and solid legal protections for both parents in same-sex couples. (Herewith your regular reminder that marriage alone isn’t enough.) That has less to do with who sits in the Oval Office and more with state legislatures and governors’ offices, but is yet another reason to vote this fall.
As Boylan notes, however, citing data from the Williams Institute at UCLA, an estimated one-fifth of queer adults are not registered to vote. That’s rather appalling. That same Williams study also found that “LGBT voters were significantly more likely than non-LGBT voters to say they would support candidates who are black, Latino/a, or LGBT themselves.” If you want our elected officials to be as diverse as America really is:
- Register to vote if you’re not already.
- Check here if you’re not sure.
- Get an absentee ballot if you’d rather vote by mail (and do this well in advance in case of mail delays).
- Find your polling place if you plan to go in person. Make plans for a long wait in line, if necessary (bring a book or a deck of cards; try this book if you want to show young kids why you’re there)—and coordinate rides with friends and neighbors.
- Help out with nonpartisan voter outreach campaigns like Reclaim Our Vote to help ensure every American can exercise this fundamental right, or stay involved with LGBTQ and other social justice organizations. If you have college-age kids, you may wish to suggest they help with Every Vote Counts, a student-led, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing voter turnout and expanding voter access nationwide.
- If you want to help turn out Democrats in battleground states (even if you don’t live there), check out this page from Vote Save America.
We can make a difference. These next seven weeks are critical, however. Let’s do this.