Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s new Conservatives Against Discrimination project has a lot of work to do, not only in convincing Republicans to support and protect LGBTQ rights, but also in convincing the LGBTQ community that, as she put it in her June 9 Herald column, “a strong majority of Republicans nationwide support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.”
Consider that a 2019 Pew Research Center survey on Attitudes on Same-sex Marriage found only 37 percent of Republicans in favor of it. Or that most of the 30 states Ros-Lehtinen noted, including Florida, are run by Republicans and still do not have comprehensive nondiscrimination protections, so their LGBTQ residents still are vulnerable to discrimination. Or that a Public Religion Research Institute survey released in March found that support for laws protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination dropped 11 points between 2015 and 2018 among Republicans under age 30.
And let’s not forget that the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics, recently passed in the House of Representatives with the support of only eight Republicans out of 198 GOP members.
Under our current Republican president, the Justice Department is defending a ban on transgender troops in the military; and has said that transgender women in prison must be jailed with men; and that shop owners can refuse to service same-sex couples for religious reasons.
Just this month, the president banned our foreign embassies from flying rainbow pride flags in recognition of Gay Pride Month — with nary a peep of opposition from that “strong majority.”