Donald Trump's Extreme Immigration Test Isn't One He Himself Could Pass

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has given us a few versions of his plan for allowing or denying certain people entrance into the United States. His first proposal: Ban the Muslims. His second proposal: Ban Muslims from certain countries. On Monday, Trump offered a further revised version, which includes the administration of an ideological questionnaire to individuals applying for visas to gauge their support for American principles. According to Associated Press, campaign officials elaborated that these would include religious freedom, gender equality, and gay rights. Trump has been couching his Muslim ban proposals in gay rights rhetoric for months; interestingly, many Republican lawmakers wouldn't pass a test on the issue.

Trump's vetting questionnaire would likely only focus on the most extreme homophobic attitudes that support violence against the gay community. In response to the horrific gay nightclub shooting in Orlando which claimed 49 lives in June, Trump said at a rally, "We want to live in a country where gay and lesbian Americans and all Americans are safe from radical Islam — which, by the way, wants to murder and has murdered gays, and they enslave women."

But gay rights goes beyond the right not to be murdered for your sexual orientation. Although most Republican lawmakers, along with their presidential nominee, almost certainly would agree that gay people shouldn't be killed, most of them pretty much stop there.


The 2016 official Republican Party platform, shaped ahead of the convention in July, is staunchly opposed to gay marriage, and says that children have the right to be raised by a mother and father — language that could be used to support adoption agencies which deny services to gay couples. In Congress, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly stymied versions of the Equality Act, which would federally protect the LGBT community from discrimination in housing, education, employment, services and more, based on "religious freedom" concerns.

For his part, Trump has said that he opposes marriage equality, and would consider appointing a Supreme Court judge who'd overturn the 2015 decision which protected marriage rights for same-sex couples. Other than that, Trump hasn't offered any policy specifics regarding gay rights. It's worth noting that in 2007, his vice presidential pick and then-Rep. Mike Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have protected gay people from employment discrimination.

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If gay rights means more than the right to be alive, then Trump and the vast majority of the Republican field fail the gay rights test. But perhaps a better yardstick for measuring American principles, as Trump referred to them in his speech, is public opinion. According to research by the Public Religion Research Institute, a majority of Americans support marriage equality, and a majority — including a majority of Republicans — also support anti-discrimination legislation akin to the Equality Act.

Trump and his party are not on solid footing to pass, much less to develop, an ideological test on pro-gay stances.