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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: With just days to go, a critical election for LGBTQ Americans


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The matchup between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is in its final days. (Images public domain)

With just days remaining before the presidential election, the LGBTQ community is anxiously awaiting the outcome in a showdown between President Trump and Joe Biden with a winner unlikely to be known until days after Election Day next Tuesday.

There’s a lot on the line for LGBTQ people in this election, given the key differences between Biden and Trump in their approaches to LGBTQ issues. Biden is considered a longtime champion of the LGBTQ community, especially because of his comments on marriage equality on “Meet the Press” in 2012, while Trump has an built an anti-LGBTQ record over his administration.

The Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to expand the prohibition on ant-LGBTQ discrimination, remains a key difference between Biden and Trump. Biden has said it would be his No. 1 legislative priority and he’d sign it into law with his first 100 days in office, while Trump opposes the legislation based on unspecified “poison pills” in the measure.

National polls have, with few exceptions, shown Biden in the lead over Trump — sometimes by double digits. An IBD/TIPP poll published Wednesday found Biden leading Trump by 4.6 points, 50 percent to 45.4 percent in a four-way presidential poll of likely voters.

But the national vote doesn’t determine the election, the Electoral College does. As a result, more attention is focused on state polls to determine where voters stand in competitive states. Some polls show states in the South, such as Texas, North Carolina and Georgia, may be winnable for Biden, as are traditionally “blue” Midwestern states Trump won in 2016, including Michigan and Pennsylvania.

In Texas, a surprising University of Texas, Tyler poll on Sunday found Biden had a 48-45 lead over Trump in the traditionally Republican state, while subsequent polls have given Trump a slight edge. In Georgia, new polls from Monmouth University have predicted a Biden victory regardless of whether or not the state has high or low turnout in the election.

In Michigan, a Zia Poll and a Trafalgar Group poll had Trump with a single-digit lead in the state, while subsequent polls by the Glengariff Group found Biden had a comfortable double-digit lead. Pennsylvania polls have also been close in states where conservatives anticipate riots in the aftermath of a police killing of a black man will encourage voters to back Trump.

Malcolm Lazin, a Biden supporter and executive director of the Philadelphia-based Equality Forum, said he thinks at the end of the day Pennsylvania will hand Biden a victory.

“I anticipate that Pennsylvania will provide Joe Biden its electoral votes,” Lazin said. “With most Pennsylvanians voting down ballot, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will be in Democratic control and Republican control of the Pennsylvania Senate will be diminished.”

The full results for the presidential race will likely remain unsettled on the night of the election given voters amid the coronavirus pandemic are taking advantage of voting by mail, which has a history of taking longer to count. In Pennsylvania, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the counting of mail-in ballots so long as they are postmarked by the day before the election, allowing votes to come for three days after Election Day.

If Biden wins the election, his running mate Kamala Harris — who has built a record as an LGBTQ ally and refused to defend Proposition 8 as California attorney general — will also achieve an important victory as the first woman and first person of color elected vice president.

Kris Perry, the plaintiff in the case against California’s Proposition 8 who wed her partner with Harris officiating in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled against the anti-gay measure, expressed confidence in the electorate with days remaining before the election.

“I’m confident that the American people aspire for a more perfect union and that they want leadership in the White House that reflects the best part of themselves,” Perry said. “We are a nation full of diversity and capable of great compassion. I’ve seen first hand the power of federal judges, elected officials and voters and believe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will prevail on Nov. 3 and will work diligently to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights