93 Percent of GOP Candidates Refuse to Say Whether They Support LGBTQ Rights

An overwhelming majority of Republican candidates in the midterm elections refuse to say whether they support LGBTQ rights.

Just days before Americans vote in the midterm elections, GLAAD released a survey of how accepting the 2018 candidates say they are of queer and transgender people. According to its report, 93 percent of Republicans running for governor, lieutenant governor, the U.S. Senate, or the U.S. House of Representatives refused to answer questions on the subject.

Of the 463 conservatives polled by the media watchdog group, just 32 responded.

Republicans who did participate in the survey were strongly divided on questions over whether, for instance, they would be comfortable with learning their family member is LGBTQ or seeing a same-sex couple holding hands in public.

According to GLAAD’s results, a little over half of the conservative respondents — or 55 percent — could be classified as “allies” to the LGBTQ community. That classification means these candidates “expressed a somewhat or high level of comfortability with all of the above scenarios,” as the organization explained.

This group included Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, who is running against America’s first openly trans gubernatorial nominee Christine Hallquist.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of those Republicans could best be described as “detached supporters. That means these politicians — like California House candidate Christine Russell and Connecticut Senate nominee Matthew Corey — “expressed mild or moderate discomfort with one or more of the above.”

The remainder — or 15 percent — reportedly expressed “discomfort at all of the above scenarios.” This group was referred to as “resistors,” like Oregon House nominee John Verbeek.

GLAAD concluded that Republicans were largely silent on LGBTQ lives.

“Acceptance should never be a partisan issue, but the paltry response from Republican candidates is unfortunate and the latest sign that creating an America where LGBTQ Americans are accepted is not a priority for their party,” said GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.

Ellis concluded that the results are a “wakeup call for LGBTQ people and allies to get out and vote on Nov. 6” following a New York Times report on a proposed White House memo erasing trans people in federal policy.

If implemented, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposal would define gender as exclusive to biological sex — immutable and designated by birth — in federal civil rights laws like Title IX. HHS will reportedly submit the memo to the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the end of the calendar year.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed the Democrats would introduce the Equality Act if they win back the U.S. House in two weeks. That bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections on the basis of LGBTQ identity.

Its passage would effectively negate the Trump administration’s alleged policy memo.

Democrats need to flip 24 GOP-controlled seats to regain control of the U.S. House. Despite predictions of a “blue wave” in a midterm race viewed as a referendum on Trump’s divisive presidency, early results show Republicans have taken an early lead in states where voters have the ability to mail in ballots.

GLAAD said the results from Democratic candidates in the survey illustrate the importance of progressives showing up at the polls next month.

“Americans deserve to know if the candidates they are putting in positions to make important decisions about their lives, their families, and their communities match their own levels of comfort and acceptance when it comes to LGBTQ people,” Ellis concluded.

Ninety-five percent of Democrats responded to the survey, and nearly every single one — 99 percent — were classified as allies. Kentucky House candidate Kenneth Stepp, Missouri House nominee Katy Geppert, Nevada House hopeful Susie Lee, Oklahoma House contender Frankie Robbins, and Texas House candidates Rick Kennedy and Jan McDowell fell in the “Detached Supporters” group.

No Democrats were “Resistors” — or those universally opposed to LGBTQ rights.

Image via Getty


Nico Lang

Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.

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