"Love Wins!" was the phrase flying around one year ago when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. In the aftermath of last week’s Orlando shooting, some conservative leaders showed previously-unseen empathy for LGBT Americans, however there’s been no rush by Republicans to back the currently pending nondiscrimination bill in Congress which would provide more protections for gay and transgender people. Instead Republicans are calling for action to stop terrorists getting into the country or to destroy ISIS. But it has to be remembered that, ISIS-inspired or not, this latest mass shooting was a hate crime against LGBT people. It is a bleak reminder that they are still a persecuted group in society and that the hard-won gains in civil and human rights are still far from secure or equal.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s responses were starkly different; Trump renewed his call to ban Muslims from entering the country whereas Clinton said the shooter was a hate-filled madman with a gun and called herself an ally of the gay community. This was indicative of the stark difference in the way that almost all Democrats and Republicans responded to the tragedy – most Democrats talked about the fact that it was LGBT people who were targeted; Republicans did not. This is unsurprising because it highlights the continuing stigma and discrimination that the gay community faces on a regular basis, and the terrible record of the Republican Party when it comes to LGBT rights.
Many socially conservative opponents of gay rights seem to self-victimize when they lay out their arguments, presenting the LGBT community as a direct threat to non-LGBT groups and institutions. North Carolina’s “bathroom law” and Mississippi’s “religious beliefs” law are the latest examples of controversial legislation that attack the rights and dignity of LGBT people by labeling them as pedophiles or a danger to Christianity. But over 60% of the general public support rights such as same-sex marriage, and these polarizing laws have generated mass protests, harsh criticism and even multiple lawsuits. For a party that prefers smaller government, these laws are at odds with Republican values due to their invasive and controlling nature, and only serve to divide the country further, obstruct equality and reinforce homophobic views. All of which is, quite frankly, an insult to the memories of the Orlando victims.
Think that love is hard to define? Movie for your mood: A Home at the End of the World