Though Donald Trump—and his few wacky LGBTQ followers–continues to insist that his administration is the most pro-queer in history, a proposed policy to the UN suggests otherwise. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has unveiled the Trumpian Commission on Unalienable Rights, which aims to exclude LGBTQ rights from a new vision of human rights.
The New York Times reports that European allies have privately expressed concerns that the proposed doctrine of human rights reverts to a Christianity-based “natural law” which would exclude the rights of LGBTQ people to live openly and free from the threat of violence. The doctrine would also erode women’s rights as well.
According to a report authored by Pompeo and the State Department, the Trump administration feels it important to emphasize the rights of certain groups over others. “There is good reason to worry that the prodigious expansion of human rights has weakened rather than strengthened the claims of human rights and left the most disadvantaged more vulnerable,” the report reads in part. “More rights do not always yield more justice. Transforming every worthy political preference into a claim of human rights inevitably dilutes the authority of human rights.”
The same report also emphasizes tradition over modern legality; in other words, regardless of what groups win legal recognition in their respective nations under the auspice of human rights, the UN should reject any evolution of the definition of the term, referring instead to the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights ratified by the UN in 1949. Spoiler alert: that definition did not mention LGBTQ people at all.
“Decisions about the priority of rights are not only inescapable but desirable. In many circumstances, certain rights have a necessary logical precedence,” the report also reads. Experts also observe that the adoption of this policy would also grant other nations the right to persecute various groups under the guise of tradition and necessity. That would further grant Russia the freedom to persecute LGBTQ people, for example, or allow the Chinese to persecute religious minorities–two ongoing international controversies.
Pompeo’s proposed policy is just the latest in a four-year assault on queer people by the Trump administration. The administration has pushed policies banning transgender people from serving in the armed forces, argued against workplace protections for LGBTQ people, banned embassies from flying the Pride flag, and appointed a roster of anti-LGBTQ judges among a litany of other assaults on equal rights. Trump’s latest pick of Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court also signed a statement in the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodges court decision which legalized marriage equality in all 50 states. The statement signed by Barrett opposed legalization of marriage equality, instead affirming a religious-based doctrine which deemed same-sex attraction and relationships immoral.