Are happy days over for gay rights advocates in the U.S.? The LGBT group practically had a field day during the pro-gay Obama administration winning legal battles and landmark cases one after the other. But the game has changed with the 2016 election as Republicans captured the White House, and taken majority of Congress and states. Much of the LGBT group's clout and influence anchored on so-called political correctness then may have died or gone away with former President Barack Obama leaving the White House for good last month.
The Obama years may have truly served as heydays for the gay community, getting their way with enacting laws to favor them, their interests, even their whims, anchored on an anti-discrimination battlecry. They held so much clout and influence in the last administration that Quena Gonzales, directory of state and local affairs at the Conservative Family Research Council said that the last election may have been in part " a repudiation of the radical attempt of the left to redefine marriage and redefine sex, and ram it down everyone's throat". And now is payback time for the group.
Only on the second month of the year yet more than 70 bills that would roll back LGBT rights, block transgender people from using the restrooms of their choice or allow denial of service on religious grounds have been filed across the U.S. Republican majorities in state legislatures are on the offensive momentum to score victories of their own and are effectively forcing gay rights supporters to be on the defensive end this time.
Already, a number of states are considering some measures similar to North Carolina's controversial H.B. 2 legislation which disallows cities from enacting anti-discrimination laws stricter than state standards. The said bill passed after the Charlotte City Council voted to permit gay people to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice. Similar initiatives have also been introduced in Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington.
A second set of bills is being pursued- religious freedom laws or First Amendment Defense Acts that would permit individuals to refuse service to LGBT people if their reason for doing so are anchored on their religious beliefs, and without fears of reprisals for doing so through lawsuits.
Some of those covered include wedding services who may object to same-sex unions. There's also a proposal in Alibama that would allow child welfare service offices to refuse to place a child in the home and under the care of a relative who falls within the LGBT category. There are also religious freedom bills introduced in Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and Illinois.
Gonzales and fellow conservatives can only be pleased with such development as she believes that there's an organic groundswell of opposition to having folks sued, railroaded and being forced to toe an ideological line. Gonzales told The Hill that she thinks that people should have a right of conscience, whether they agree with or not with the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage.
2016 election proved to be the game changer, and the players including the LGBT community and their supporters on one hand, and the conservatives and their believers on the other as players will definitely have a more intense and fiercer battles ahead under the Trump administration.