October 21, 2019 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

OPINION: Trump fails his own LGBT litmus test on immigration

BY TROY MASTERS  | Donald Trump invoked gay rights today while saying “a new immigration policy is needed immediately,” and that “the common thread” among all terrorist attacks is that “they have involved immigrants or the children of immigrants. Clearly, new screening procedures are needed.” 

“I call it extreme vetting,” he said during a policy position speech delivered in Ohio.

Referring to The Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which 43 mostly LGBT people were slain by the American born son of an Afghan immigrant, Trump said “I’ll tell you what, we can never ever allow this to happen again.”

Trump says he wants to bar any Muslim “who supports the death penalty for gays” from entering the U.S. His proposition goes even further, promising to identify and expel such people even though they may have already immigrated here.  

“The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place, was because we allowed his family to come here,” Trump said in a statement shortly after the massacre.

His plan is rooted in the prejudiced view that all family members of immigrants from Muslim nations should be suspected of supporting Islamic or Sharia law, a religious code that allows for “honor killings” as punishment for some ‘sins’ including women who ‘bring shame on their families’ by having sex before marriage or outside of their marriage, the death penalty for men who have sex with men, etc.  There are nearly a dozen countries where gay sex is punishable by death.

His plan strains credulity. It’s just the latest impossible red-meat promise but with a disarming gay twist. We are dared to debate or dispute. 

He says “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration to our country.”  

Yet Trump represents a party that supports imposing religious law throughout the United States. He is running on a platform that calls for punitive measures against women seeking an abortion and which includes extreme hostility toward gay rights.  His party supports conversion therapy, a psychological treatment (many refer to it as a form of torture) designed to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay or bisexual to straight. 

His party’s platform promotes ideas that inevitably lead to a state-sanctioned, hostile homeland for LGBT people that may result in violence, even death.  

Under Trump’s immigration plan many members of his own potential administration might be deemed unqualified for immigration. Mr. Trump himself might even be disqualified;  an immigration judge considering a Trump asylum case or immigration might, in reviewing his record, wonder if his stated beliefs indicate he might do physical harm to LGBT people.

But wait…in Trump’s America LGBT won’t have much right of redress or rights of any kind.  In fact, the rights we have achieved will be taken away from us.

He has repeatedly denounced marriage equality and has said he would “strongly consider” appointing judges to overturn it.

The 2016 Republican Party platform (which his supporters wrote and which he defended in Cleveland) says the party is sworn to defend the country against LGBT rights. “Five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” The platform seeks a “First Amendment Defense Act,” a federal bill—already written—that specifically allows overt  discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds.

Trump stands by a party that seeks to allow parents of children who may be LGBT: “to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children…conversion therapy.”  

Trump and his supporters stand by a platform that belittles gay and lesbian families: “A man and a woman family is the best, ideal vehicle for raising children.”

Trump’s vice presidential pick was a direct appeal to the most conservative and antigay forces in America.  Governor Mike Pence of Indiana famously wrote laws that allow people to invoke religious grounds as a basis of legal discrimination against LGBT people.

Many of Trump’s supporters and most prominent members of his party are currently fighting gender identity laws in an attempt to restrict gender definitions for legal purposes to the gender assigned at birth.

Trump’s party and his supporters have authored more than 100 antigay bills that are winding their way through statehouses in nearly 2 dozen states.

Oh, and let’s not forget Trump’s foreign sponsor Vladimir Putin, whose extreme hostility toward LGBT people is often expressed in violence.

“This so-called ‘policy’ cannot be taken seriously.  How can Trump put this forward with a straight face when he opposes marriage equality and selected as his running mate the man who signed an anti-LGBT law in Indiana?  It’s a cynical ploy to escape scrutiny of his outrageous proposal to ban an entire religion from our country and no one should fall for it,” said Hillary For America Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement:“What’s craziest about this ignorant, incomprehensible plan is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence would fail their own test,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Just last week, Donald Trump courted votes in Orlando from some of the nation’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ activists, including people who have worked to export anti-LGBTQ hate abroad. Trump and Pence have vowed to to roll back nationwide marriage equality, supported vile laws like North Carolina’s HB2 and pledged to appoint anti-LGBTQ Supreme Court justices. Pence is best known by most Americans for the hateful denial-of-service law he peddled in Indiana last year, and even sought to divert funding from HIV programs to promote the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

Keep us out of your proposals, thank you.

Homosexual acts can be punished by death in these countries:

The Afghan Penal Code does not refer to homosexual acts, but Article 130 of the Constitution allows recourse to be made to Sharia law, which prohibits same-sex sexual activity in general. Afghanistan’s Sharia law criminalizes same-sex sexual acts with a maximum of the death penalty. No known cases of death sentences have been meted out since the end of Taliban rule.

In accordance with sharia law, homosexual intercourse between men can be punished by death, and men can be flogged for lesser acts such as kissing. Women may be flogged.

Federal law classifies homosexual behavior as a felony punishable by imprisonment, but several states have adopted sharia law and imposed a death penalty for men. A law signed in early January makes it illegal for gay people countrywide to hold a meeting or form clubs.

Sharia law in Qatar applies only to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, regardless of sexual orientation.

Saudi Arabia
Under the country’s interpretation of sharia law, a married man engaging in sodomy or any non-Muslim who commits sodomy with a Muslim can be stoned to death. All sex outside of marriage is illegal.

The penal code stipulates prison, but in some southern regions, Islamic courts have imposed Sharia law and the death penalty.

Three-time offenders under the sodomy law can be put to death; first and second convictions result in flogging and imprisonment. Southern parts of the country have adopted more lenient laws.

According to 1994 penal code, married men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse. Unmarried men face whipping or one year in prison. Women face up to seven years in prison.

Muslim men engaging in homosexual sex can be stoned to death, according to a 1984 law, though none have been executed so far. Women face prison.

United Arab Emirates
Lawyers in the country and other experts disagree on whether federal law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape. In a recent Amnesty International report, the organization said it was not aware of any death sentences for homosexual acts. All sexual acts outside of marriage are banned.

There are 65 countries where Homosexual acts are illegal:

Noteworthy laws:

Death penalty laws exist but are unlikely to be implemented, according to the 2016 IGLA report.

Brunei adopted a death penalty (stoning) for homosexual acts but has not implemented it as of 2016.

A 2014 law makes same-sex relations a crime punishable by 15 to 20 years in prison.

A ban on same-sex relationships was tossed by the legal system in 2009 but reinstated in 2013. The supreme court said the government, not the courts, would have to change the law.

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