June 26, 2018 at 5:38 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
LGBT groups condemn Supreme Court travel ban ruling

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LGBT advocacy groups on June 26, 2018, condemned the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld President Trump’s travel ban. (Photo by Ted Eytan; courtesy Flickr)

LGBT advocacy groups on Tuesday condemned the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the Trump administration’s policy that effectively bans the citizens of five Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

Lambda Legal Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven in a statement said the ruling is “as shameful as the internment of Japanese Americans and the doors slammed shut to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.”

“This is a dark day for the United States,” she said.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow echoed Tiven.

“Make no mistake: This is an unnecessary and dangerous ban against Muslims that recklessly puts lives in danger and undermines civil liberties in this country,” said Warbelow in a statement. “We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to uphold what is clearly a xenophobic effort that scapegoats persons of a particular faith, threatens the safety of human beings seeking refuge, encourages violence and discrimination against Muslim Americans, and does nothing to keep all Americans safer.”

Kierra Johnson, deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, in a statement described the ruling as “shameful” and stressed it “will be viewed by history as one of the court’s most heinous decisions, comparable to such decisions as Dred Scott and Bowers v. Hardwick.” Johnson is among those who spoke at a rally against the ruling that took place on the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Glenn D. Magpantay, executive director of National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, in his statement referred to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that banned Chinese people from entering the U.S. and internment camps in which Americans of Japanese descent were held during World War II. Magpantay also referenced the 1969 Stonewall riots.  

“Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban has a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people and will tear families apart,” he said.

Travel ban ‘rooted in Islamophobia and white supremacy’

The policy that the Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 ruling applies to Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea and certain Venezuelan government officials. An executive order that President Trump signed last September established the policy.

The administration removed Chad from the policy earlier this year.

Trump shortly after he took office signed an executive order that banned citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — from entering the U.S. 

A federal appeals court blocked the ban from taking effect.

Trump in March 2017 signed a second executive order that banned citizens from six Muslim-majority countries — Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — from entering the U.S. The ban also faced legal challenges, but the Supreme Court allowed part of it to go into effect.

A gay man from Benghazi, Libya, with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Tuesday condemned the ruling.

“It is sad,” he said.

OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern also condemned the ruling.

“Anyone seeking refuge from violence and persecution, including LGBTIQ individuals who face criminalization in five of the countries on the list, now has one more door closed in their face,” she said.

The New York City Anti-Violence Project in its own statement said the travel ban “is rooted in Islamophobia and white supremacy” and was “architected to harm those who are, and who are perceived to be, Muslim.”

Trump: Ruling is ‘moment of profound vindication’

Trump in a statement the White House released described the ruling as a “tremendous victory for the American people and the Constitution.”

“The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the president to defend the national security of the United States,” he said. “In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.” 

“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” added Trump.

The Supreme Court issued its ruling against the backdrop of mounting outrage over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigrant policy that includes the separation of immigrant children from their parents. The Supreme Court in recent weeks has also ruled in two cases that focused on a business owners’ right to deny services to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael //

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