Donald Trump’s victory for the presidency of the US will ignite fears in sections fighting for progressive ideas and equal rights in the country and outside. President-elect Trump is likely to fill the LGBT community and climate change activists with anxiety over his possible steps to undo all that President Barack Obama achieved. Obama had ensured LGBT rights and signing of crucial climate change agreements to control global warming.
Trump is known to be against gay rights and gay marriages. LGBT community has not been one that found favour with him during his campaign and though he mentioned several times that many of his ‘friends were gay and fantastic people’, he was against gay marriages.
Repealing the rights with legal reform will take some going as it needs to take place in each state, Congress and even sometimes in the Supreme Court. But the committed Trump can start the process on a provisional basis with a Presidential executive order that can be overridden by Congress, which is highly unlikely given the House and Senate are also Republican majority now.
Mike Pence pledged to dismantle Obama’s groundwork and Trump resonated his words for a review of Obama’s executive orders for the protection of the LGBT community. The President-elect and GOP presented one of the most draconian party platforms in recent years over issues of LGBT rights. They suppressed the matters of same-sex adoption. The platform and Trump adopted an antagonistic stand on same sex parenting and supported the controversial ‘gay cure’ therapy. The previously moderate Trump has adopted a completely evangelical approach in his fight to reach the White House.
The Republican Party now finds itself in the control of the legislature and the executive for the first time since 2005. LGBT community is rightly feeling the nerves. Now, the Equality Act Bill for amending the Civil Rights Act, 1964 on a federal level to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity sets to find its way to the trash can. Transgender restrooms in public are a thing of the past now with Trump pledging in front of conservative Christians that he will make sure this issue is sorted on its own without federal intervention and with ‘common sense’.
He is expected to pass the First Amendment Defence Act that will permit anti-LGBT discrimination on religious grounds. This discrimination will be allowed in healthcare, employment, retail, church, education and pretty much all other avenues of public life. The FADA will also disallow government intervention in such matters of discrimination.
Trump will likely be behind the appointment of three justices in the US Supreme Court. In a divided court where crucial matters have earlier been decided on a 5-4 vote between 9 justices, he has promised to appoint judges in the mould of the deceased justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia was sharply against LGBT rights and opposed to decriminalising sodomy. Scalia wrote a searing opposition piece against the equal marriage ruling and Trump had put out a shortlist for SC justice hopefuls that were right wing conservatives. Trump has come on record to say that he will use his appointment powers to overturn the same sex marriage ruling.
Trump also called global warming a chinese hoax and promised to cancel US commitment to the Paris Agreement other environmental pacts along with regulations on the energy industry imposed on the premise of climate impact.
US overcame its energy crisis and rising fuel prices by tapping into its vast oil and gas reserves by using the ‘fracking’ process. House speaker Paul Ryan insists that fracking (short for fracturing the earth’s crust to extract oil) of the shale oil and gas deposits has brought a resurgence in the US oil and gas industry and has created tens of thousands of jobs for the American people and reduced energy prices.
An Obama administration regulation was recently struck down by a federal court after an oil and gas lobby moved the court over a stringent security regulation imposed by the government. The rule mandated that all hydraulic fracking done on oil wells located on federal lands must comply by federal safety standards. It added that the companies mining the oil must also disclose information of the chemicals that they were injecting into the ground to extract the oil.
Fracking involves injection of water, gravel and certain chemicals for fracturing the crust and extracting oil. It causes safety concerns as well as leakage of methane which causes environmental damage and is highly inflammable and hence dangerous to the security of the people living nearby. The judge argued that Congressional assent, which was majority Republican, was not taken for implementing that regulation and now with Trump at the helm, he is set to rip off all regulations on the energy industry blocked previously by environment activists. Obama also tried to reduce the usage of coal and incentivised the gas industry but that Congress blocked that as well.
According to several TV reports in the US, such fracking in rural areas like in Ohio and Kentucky were leading to leaking of methane in wells of common people. One out of 10 Americans now live within a mile of an oil or gas well or a petroleum reservoir connected to a fracking rig and wells have started to turn grey in many places. The security threat along with environment impact is clearly visible but Trump’s stand has been polarising.
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