Scott Walker Can’t Escape His Long History Opposing LGBT Equality

Ahead of his expected campaign launch today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, released the following statement on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

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“Scott Walker will have a difficult time making the case that he’s a new, fresh face on the national stage given that he wants to allow states to re-ban same-sax marriage,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs.  “Walker is not quiet about his opposition to LGBT equality either, but has a record of working to undermine even the most basic rights of LGBT residents in Wisconsin. With a candidacy so out of step with mainstream Americans, it’s hard to imagine Scott Walker will get the support he needs to be President.”

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Residents in Walker’s home state of Wisconsin support same-sex marriage, by a 59-33 margin, according to the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign released the results of a new survey that showed that 55 percent of voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry, including 40 percent who strongly oppose. This majority includes independents, married women and white millennials. All of these groups voted Republican in the last congressional election. HRC’s support has shown that nearly half the country knows an LGBT couple who has gotten married or is in a committed relationship.

Highlights on Walker’s Anti-LGBT Record:

Overview: While Scott Walker may claim that he doesn’t want to campaign on issues like marriage as a potential presidential candidate, the reality is that he has a history – both as governor, and in prior offices – of working to obstruct and even roll back basic rights for LGBT Americans. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

Marriage: Walker has consistently opposed marriage equality. He supported the original constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Wisconsin, supported an appeal that would have prevented same-sex marriages, and affirmed his opposition to marriage equality in a letter after they were made legal in Wisconsin. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

Discrimination: As County Executive, Walker opposed even basic rights for LGBT couples, like visitation rights. As governor, Walker tried to roll back the state’s domestic partner registry by dismissing the state attorneys hired to defend the program. Walker said that the U.S. House should take up a vote on ENDA, which would give LGBT Americans explicit protections from discrimination in the workplace. But he repealed a bill that protected state workers from wage discrimination based on sex. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

Harmful Rhetoric: Walker proposed eliminating an HIV/AIDS prevention program by saying that HIV/AIDS prevention was not a “core function” of government. Walker campaigned on his opposition to creating a basic domestic partner registry for LGBT residents, and then later said that voters were not demanding marriage equality. [Citations/Full Research Brief]

Photo By Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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