Current Affairs

Voters think Donald Trump is doing a terrible job on gay rights, polling shows

Nick Duffy March 29, 2018
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The Trump administration has focused fire on LGBT+ rights

The Trump administration has focused fire on LGBT+ rights (Mark Wilson/Getty )

Polling this week shows that voters think Donald Trump is doing a bad job on gay rights.

A poll, conducted by YouGov for The Economist, asked voters if they believed Trump was doing a good job on a range of issues.

44 percent of Americans said they strongly or somewhat disapproved of the way Trump was handling “gay rights”, compared to just 29 percent who strongly or somewhat approved of his handling of the issue. 27 percent had no opinion.

Just 12 percent of Americans “strongly” approved of Trump’s performance on the issue – the second-lowest of any issue polled, next to the budget deficit.

35 percent “strongly” disapprove.

However, few voters see the issue as a deal-breaker – with just two percent of those polled picking “gay rights” as “the most important issue for you”.

Trump has been strongly criticised by LGBT groups since taking office, facing accusations that his officials have sought to undermine much of the progress from the Obama administration.

The Justice Department has made the most dramatic attacks on LGBT equality under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, with officials appearing in court to argue that discrimination against gay people should be legal, and seeking to undermine civil rights laws protecting LGBT people.

Trump has also pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, a proposed Republican law that blocks the federal government from enforcing anti-discrimination protections or civil rights laws in cases where people acted based on “a sincerely held religious belief” in marriage.

Meanwhile Republican officials across a number of government departments face accusations of censoring mention of LGBT issues, with the White House itself sacking the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, shuttering the Office of National AIDS Policy, and ending Obama-era Pride Month celebrations

Trump has also followed guidance from anti-LGBT lobbyists by appointing conservative justices to the Supreme Court who oppose the equal marriage ruling – threatening to tip the balance towards rolling back equality if any liberal justices leave the bench.

The polling also found that a third of Americans want transgender people banned from the military – while just under half say they should be allowed to serve.

The YouGov polling asked if voters “favour or oppose allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military”.

It found that 49 percent of Americans strongly believe trans troops should be able to serve, while 34 percent are opposed, and 17 percent are not sure.

Interestingly, the numbers do not significantly change when Donald Trump’s name is added to the question.

When asked if they approve or disapprove of “Donald Trump issuing a ban on transgender people serving in the military”, 34 percent say they agree with the ban, and 48 percent say they disagree.

The White House had this week released a policy document detailing full plans for a ban on trans troops in the US military.

The document justified it with a number of spurious claims, citing transgender people’s “high rates of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders” and “extremely high rates of suicidal ideation and other comorbidities”, before claiming that “transition-related treatment is also proving to be disproportionately costly”.

Voters aren’t buying it, however.

45 percent said transgender people had made no difference to military effectiveness, while 10 percent said it was better and 26 percent said it was worse.

Related topics: Anti-gay, Donald Trump, Gay, homophobic, LGBT, poll, polling, Trump, US

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