Same-sex marriage became the law of the land in June 2015, but with a new president coming into the White House, could that change in the coming years? What’s the future for gay marriage under President Trump?
Donald Trump has held a variety of positions on gay marriage over the years, in 2011 saying that he was opposed to its legalization. This was at the time that Trump was considering running in the 2012 election.
“I just don’t feel good about it,” Trump said. “I don’t feel right about it. I’m against it, and I take a lot of heat because I come from New York. You know, for New York it’s like, how can you be against gay marriage? But I’m opposed to gay marriage.”
He maintained that position in an interview conducted in June 2015, which took place shortly after Trump announced that he would be running for president in 2016. He said that he’s for traditional marriage, and he implied that although gay marriage is now legal, he might appoint Supreme Court justices that would reverse the 2015 decision.
“If I’m elected, I would be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things,” Trump said during a conversation about gay marriage.
Chris Wallace followed up by directly asking Trump if he would appoint Supreme Court justices that would overrule the 2015 gay marriage decision. Trump responded by saying, “I would strongly consider that, yes.” During this same interview, Trump said he disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision and that the issue of same-sex marriage should have been left up to the states.
However, during his campaign, Trump said that he would be a proponent of LGBT rights and that he would do more for this community as president than Hillary Clinton. More specifically, he said that he would protect them from radical Islamic terrorism, particularly in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the summer.
“As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said at the Republican National Convention. When the audience applauded, Trump said, “And, I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said.”
Although Trump said in January that he opposes the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision, in a recent interview with 60 Minutes, the president-elect now says he is “fine” with the court’s decision, adding that the issue is settled. When Trump was asked if he supports same-sex marriage, he responded by saying, “It’s irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.”
Trump had an opportunity in this interview to say that he believes marriage is a constitutional right and he agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision, but he did not do so. Instead, he simply said that the issue has been decided, which is more of a factual statement than a policy position. And although he says he’s “fine” with gay marriage being legal, that doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of his Supreme Court appointments going back on the 2015 ruling.
It seems, though, that Trump does not care too much about same-sex marriage either way, never bringing the issue up during any campaign events and only talking about it when pressed by reporters. Although on several occasions he has suggested that the Supreme Court’s ruling should be overturned, it does not appear that this is something he’s particularly interested in pursuing as president, whereas he has been much more vocal about wanting to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
But many LGBTQ activists are concerned about the fact that Vice President Elect Mike Pence is quite opposed to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ issues in general. In fact, Pence said in a 2006 speech that allowing same-sex couples to marry would lead to the collapse of society as we know it. While arguing for a constitutional amendment specifically defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, Pence said that “throughout history, societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”
Plus, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This was the bill that allowed businesses to deny service to gay couples. Just about a week after the law was signed, a restaurant called Memories Pizza announced that it would refuse to cater a gay wedding, which made national headlines.
Mike Pence is currently leading Donald Trump’s transition team.