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Trump Isn’t The LGBTQ Ally He Claimed To Be After Orlando Shooting

While Donald Trump framed himself as a supporter of the LGBTQ community following the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub, his record on key gay rights issues tells a much different story.

“I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people… are the targets of persecution and intimidation,” he said in his speech on Monday. “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words?”

Trump’s actions, though, show that the Republican nominee is lukewarm at best — and hostile at worst — on marriage equality and anti-discrimination policies.

Earlier this year, Trump expressed conditional support for the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that justifies anti-gay discrimination on the basis of religious liberty.

“If Congress considers the First Amendment Defense Act a priority, then I will do all I can to make sure it comes to my desk for signatures and enactment,” Trump wrote in a letter to the American Principles Project, a socially conservative group, according to The Washington Blade.

The bill would allow federal employees to refuse to perform their responsibilities if they conflict with their opposition to same-sex marriage, and prevent the government from taking any action in response. Some say FADA would effectively enable government workers to refuse service to same-sex couples, following the infamous (and illegal) actions of county clerk Kim Davis — who Trump has refused to denounce or publicly oppose.  

When it comes to marriage equality itself, Trump’s public comments aren’t any better. Although he often says gay marriage should be left up to individual states, he has expressed an overall opposition to marriage equality on more than one recent occasion.

Earlier this year, he called Ted Cruz crazy and “the worst liar” on Twitter when the former presidential candidate said Trump supported Obama’s views on the issue.

And when the Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling on same-sex marriage in June 2015, he wrote on Twitter that the court “had let us down.”

His most unambiguous comments on the issue came weeks earlier, when, he said on Fox’s Hannity, “I am traditional. I am for traditional, and it’s a changing format, but I am very much for traditional marriage.”

These views may seem innocuous, if unsupportive, given the Supreme Court ruling, but Trump also expressed an interest in appointing judges who could overturn the gay marriage decision.

“If I’m elected I would be very strong in putting certain judges on the bench that maybe could change things, but they have a long way to go,” he said on Fox News Sunday in January.

When host Chris Wallace clarified, “are you saying that if you become President you might try to appoint justices to overrule the decision on same-sex marriage?” Trump said he “would strongly consider” such an approach.

The New York Times has gone so far as to say that Trump’s views are more accepting than his former opponents in the Republican primary contest. While that may be true, his expressed policy views make it difficult to see him becoming “a friend” to the LGBTQ community — regardless of his political pandering after a mass shooting.

Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a campaign speech about national security in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S. June 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Former Senator Writes Moving Essay About Finding Love With a Man After His Wife Died

Published with permission from Alternet.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford had an essay in Sunday’s New York Times detailing how he fell in love with a man after his wife died 20 years ago.

Wofford’s seat was taken by Rick Santorum, a politician well-known for his anti-LGBT stances. Wofford, who is now 90, wrote that he met his current companion, 40-year-old Matthew Charlton, five years after his wife died of leukemia and they will be married later this month. Among other things, the piece is a powerful testament to how marriage equality has helped so many lives:

Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.

For a long time, I did not suspect that idea and fate might meet in my lifetime to produce same-sex marriage equality. My focus was on other issues facing our nation, especially advancing national service for all. Seeking to change something as deeply ingrained in law and public opinion as the definition of marriage seemed impossible.

I was wrong, and should not have been so pessimistic. I had seen firsthand — working and walking with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — that when the time was right, major change for civil rights came to pass in a single creative decade. It is right to expand our conception of marriage to include all Americans who love each other.

You can read Wofford’s essay in its entirety here.

Photo: Flickr user Why Tuesday

Late Night Roundup: The Hitler/Trump Comparisons

Conan O’Brien decided that with everybody comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, he would bring on a special guest to respond to the charge: Adolf Hitler himself! (Portrayed by Sarah Silverman.)

“All these comparisons to Trump, it’s like — it bums me out. You know what I mean?” said Hitler/Sarah. “I mean, sometimes I watch him and I’m like, ‘Is that how people see me?'”

Larry Wilmore also spoke to another special guest, to comment on a new push in Missouri to exempt Christian business owners from having to serve gay people: Jesus Christ.

The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
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And on a more serious note, Stephen Colbert interviewed an important living person: Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who discussed such issues as the relationships between law enforcement and communities of color, between the federal government and the iPhone — and between the Justice Department and Hillary Clinton.

Trevor Noah highlighted the visit to Washington by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — and Trevor found himself becoming enchanted: “Why do I suddenly have the urge to throw my panties at the screen? I don’t even wear panties.” Or does he?

Jimmy Kimmel examined the latest issue from Wednesday night’s Democratic debate: The online arguments about what color Bernie Sanders’s suit was. Jimmy insisted: “That suit is so brown, Donald Trump wants to have it deported.”

‘Lesbian Mother’ Just Another Word For ‘Mother’

This is how John Ward described killing his first wife.

“I wanted her to give me my divorce and custody of my daughter,” he told Geraldo Rivera. “And she told me she’d see me in hell first. And I told her to save me a seat. And then I shot her.”

“…I shot her three times in the upper left shoulder,” he said. “She told me not to kill her, she would give me the baby and a divorce. I fired three times point blank into the heart. … And I reloaded and I shot her six more times, point blank.”

Ward did eight years in prison for second-degree murder. But there is more. One of his daughters has said that when she was a child, he tried to molest her and other children. A stepdaughter has said that when she was a teenager, “I brought a friend of mine over, a black girl. He was like, ‘Get that damn n—-r out of my yard.'”

The point being, that Ward was hardly an exemplary human being.

Yet when a Pensacola judge had to choose between this steaming hot pile of humanity and his estranged second wife in deciding custody of their adolescent daughter, Cassey, the judge sided with him. Given what a piece of work this guy was, you might wonder: What was it about Mary Ward that was so objectionable a court would choose him over her?

Simple. Mary was gay. Cassey, said the judge, should grow up in “a non-lesbian world.”

That appalling 1996 ruling is brought to mind by news of a new Supreme Court decision. Monday, the top court unanimously sided with a gay adoptive mother fighting her former partner for access to their children. The unnamed plaintiff filed suit after the couple split up and the ex-partner, who is the children’s biological mother, refused to let her see them. The adoption had originally been processed in Georgia, but the Supreme Court of Alabama, where the two women now reside, refused to recognize its legitimacy.

In striking down the lower court ruling, the Supreme Court offers an important affirmation of the parental rights of gay men and women. But even as you laud it, even as you welcome it, your thoughts turn to Mary Ward. And not just to her, but all the other men and women who lost their children because some judge deemed their sexuality more important than their personhood or parental fitness.

Sadly, we’ll never know what Mary’s take on this might have been. She died of a sudden heart attack the year after she lost her child. It’s hard not to suspect grief played some part in that.

Four years ago, a pair of Miami Beach filmmakers released “Unfit,” a documentary on the case. In writing about the film, The Miami Herald’s Steve Rothaus reported that Cassey ended up bouncing in and out of her father’s house for a few years before finally moving in for good with her older sister Carla, who is a lesbian.

Cassey herself told filmmakers she regrets being taken from her mom. “I look at my brother and my sisters, and how they’re, you know, doing good and have all their friends and great jobs and homes, and I think if Mom would have got to raise me it would be the same because they had the love and support from Mom. But my dad was country and kind of narrow-minded.”This week, the nation’s highest tribunal figured out what Cassey’s narrow-minded dad never could — that “lesbian mother” is just another word for “mother.” One is pleased to see it, but one’s pleasure is shadowed by morbid ruminations on the hardiness of ignorance, the intransigence of fear and the way people’s lives get ground to pieces on the gears in between. Twenty years after the fact, Mary Ward finally finds a rough and imperfect vindication. This is a good thing, yes.

But you know what they say about justice too long delayed.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.)

(c) 2016 THE MIAMI HERALD DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Photo: People stand outside the Supreme Court building at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., in this February 13, 2016 photo. REUTERS/Carlos Barria