11 Republican Presidential Hopefuls and Their Awful Anti-LGBTQ+ Records
As Republicans continue to line up for their opportunity to out-conservative each other in their quest for the 2024 GOP nomination for president, the list of potential candidates continues to grow.
So far, a dozen contenders have joined the race.
This week, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Vice President Mike Pence entered the ever-growing field of people challenging twice-impeached and twice-indicted former president Donald Trump.
One thing all of them share is a dismal record on LGBTQ+ rights.
DNC spokesperson Rhyan Lake explains that the current crop of Republicans is dangerous to the LGBTQ+ community.
“The 2024 Republican field is one of the most extreme slate of candidates running for president in history – so it’s completely unsurprising that they’ve spent years pushing to rip away Amercans’ freedom to love who they want and be who they want to be,” Lake tells The Advocate in a statement.
“While President Biden has a vision of more freedoms, not less and more rights, not fewer – Republicans have shown time and time again they’ll stop at nothing to out-MAGA each other. Their anti-LGBTQ extremism is only one part of their mission to roll back hard-earned rights from the American people.”
Biden announced new government-wide initiatives on Thursday aimed at supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin
Glenn Youngkin hasn’t declared his presidential ambitions yet, but he appears to be positioning himself for a potential run given his state’s single-term limit on governors. He was elected as a Republican in Virginia, where recent elections trended blue.
He convinced enough voters that Democrats were responsible for pushing teachers to secretly teach white kids to feel bad about themselves through critical race theory, or CRT.
Before his election, the Associated Press reported that his faith imbued him with the importance of loving others.
He also expressed his view that the deeply divided country needs to move forward. Youngkin reacted with the same vagueness that he uses to answer questions about policy when asked whether his faith shapes his view of same-sex marriage.
Asked if he meant to convey support for same-sex marriage, he replied: “No,’ before saying that gay marriage is ‘legally acceptable’ in Virginia and that “I, as governor, will support that.”
Since his election, his administration has rewritten school policies around treating transgender students. It issued guidance to schools undoing accommodations the previous Democratic governor ushered in to affirm trans students’ experiences.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
The sitting governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, is one of the most unknown candidates. Among the anti-trans laws he signed was one that banned trans people from using bathrooms based on their gender identity.
In addition, he signed a bill that would force teachers to out transgender students no matter what the risk might be to their wellbeing, according to the Associated Press.
Also, Burgum signed legislation making it illegal for medical providers to provide gender-affirming care to children suffering from gender dysphoria.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Arguably the most anti-LGBTQ+ presidential candidate in U.S. history, Ron DeSantis has made it the mission of his governorship to attack queer and trans people, whether it’s children or families, or adults.
In addition to his draconian “don’t say gay” law that forbids the discussion of the existence of LGBTQ+ people or their experiences in the world in schools through high school graduation, he has stripped parents of the right to access life-saving, medically proven, and endorsed care for their children. His administration has rolled back access to books, medical care, bathrooms, and most public accommodations for transgender people in the state.
After Disney objected to his assault on the rights of LGBTQ+ people, DeSantis sought to get revenge against one of Florida’s largest employers.
He says that Florida is “where woke goes to die” and rails about “wokeism” and “woke gender ideology” nonstop, but those words have no meaning, critics say.
DeSantis has also aimed at drag performances by punishing private businesses that host them with examinations of their liquor licenses.
DeSantis is also reportedly closely connected to one of the internet’s worst anti-LGBTQ+ trolls, Chaya Raichik, who runs the hate account Libs of TikTok on Twitter.
DeSantis also denies the existence of transgender people.
“Asking us to be complicit in a fraud” that is “not true…we are not going to accept things that are not true in this country,” he said of trans identity at a campaign kickoff rally in Des Moines, Iowa, a few days before Pride Month this year.
“You take a man, and they dress up as a woman, and you tell me I have to accept that they are a woman, then you’re asking me to be complicit in a lie. And I just refuse to do that,” DeSantis said on the right-wing Benny Johnson Show in April.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
In 2011, former New Jersey governor and early Trump endorser Chris Christie said, “I am not a fan of same-sex marriage,” adding, “I believe marriage should be between one man and a woman,” during an NBC’s Meet the Pressappearance.
He also vetoed a bill by Democrats in New Jersey that legalized same-sex marriages within hours of the bill’s passage.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
One of the most anti-LGBTQ+ candidates in the Republican field is former South Carolina governor and Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, Nikki Haley.
She has opposed marriage equality for decades. She voiced that opposition since at least 2004 when she told reporters that she believed in marriage “between a man and a woman.”
By 2009, she said that if a same-sex marriage bill crossed her desk as governor, she would veto it. She continued to defend her position throughout her governorship, even after marriage equality was ushered into the state.
In 2016, she attacked a directive by a federal judge and Department of Education officials who advised public schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms following their gender identity.
In 2021 she called policies that allow transgender girls and women to play team sports “an attack on women’s rights.”
More recently, she has said that fellow presidential candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, did not go far enough with his “don’t say gay” law. At the time, prohibitions for discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity ended in elementary school. Since then, those prohibitions have been extended through high school graduation. She's also said that trans student-athletes are somehow responsible for suicide ideation in girls.
In late May, she denied the existence of trans people, asserting that Dylan Mulvaney was just “a guy dressed up like a girl, making fun of women,” Newsweekreported.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
As governor of Arkansas, Hutchinson has signed an abundance of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
In 2015, he signed a law for religious freedom, which critics say opened the door to discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities. In 2021 he signed a law that allows medical professionals to refuse treatment to LGBTQ+ people because doing so would violate their religious or moral beliefs, PBS reported.
Also that year, he signed a law that banned trans women and girls from participating in competitive sports on teams that align with their gender identity, according to the AP.
Former Vice President Mike Pence
A noted homophobe, former vice president Mike Pence is known for his anti-LGBTQ+ remarks and actions. He uses his faith to excuse his bigotry whenever he can and wraps himself in piety and religion every chance he gets.
In addition to being a major proponent of the federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, he expressed disappointment after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that all people have a right to marriage equality.
During his tenure as Indiana governor, Pence supported the state’s attorney general’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. After the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, Pence applauded that the decision allowed state bans to stay in place.
He urged the passage of an amendment to Indiana’s constitution banning such marriages, the Indy Starreported.
Former pharmaceutical executive and newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy describes himself as a nationalist who believes that America must regain civic pride.
However, since entering the election spotlight, he has used nearly every opportunity to spout lies and far-right-wing talking points about the LGBTQ+ community.
He criticized the “trans cult” when speaking on Fox News with Sean Hannity in May, the Washington Examinerreported.
“Dress how you want, behave how you want as an adult, live your life freely, but leave our kids alone and do not demand that we change our language or the way we live our lives,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.
On Meet the Press, Ramaswamy defended his belief in the binary gender system and told host Chuck Todd that “gender dysphoria for most of our history, all the way through the DSM V, has been characterized as a mental health disorder.”
He falsely claimed that affirming the identity of somebody with gender dysphoria is a matter of “cruelty.”
South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott
The South Carolinian is the only Black Republican senator serving in the U.S. Senate and a staunch anti-LGBTQ+ lawmaker.
Accordingly, he opposed the Respect for Marriage Act, which guaranteed marriage equality regardless of sexual orientation or race. Additionally, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the forerunner to the Equality Act.
Last year, Scott introduced legislation that would cut federal funding for schools that used students’ preferred pronouns without prior parental approval, Fox News reported.
Former President Donald Trump
Former president Donald Trump was outright hostile toward the LGBTQ+ community before that tactic was in vogue again with right-wing conservatives. He banned transgender servicemembers from participating in the United States Armed Forces.
While the Supreme Court was preparing to hear the Bostock v. Clayton County case, his administration argued that gay and trans workers were not protected by federal civil rights law. In 2020 however, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected gay and transgender employees from discrimination.
Trump said in 2021 that “We will ban men from participating in women’s sports,” during a rally in Texas, NBC reported. This was a reaction to NCAA swimmer Lia Thomas breaking multiple swimming records.