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Meet an anti-LGBTQ Senate candidate: Don Bolduc

The New Hampshire GOP Senate nominee has repeatedly spoken out against same-sex marriage, trans people playing sports or receiving healthcare, and protections against discrimination.

By Josh Israel - September 20, 2022
New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc speaks during a debate, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Henniker, N.H.
New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc speaks during a debate, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Henniker, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Don Bolduc, a far-right Republican Senate candidate who has previously voiced support for anti-LGBTQ measures, won New Hampshire’s Republican primary for Senate last week.

His opponent in the general election is incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a longtime supporter of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights. The political action committee of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a LGBTQ civil rights organization, endorsed Hassan in April.

“Senator Hassan has been a passionate and reliable ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re excited to endorse her for reelection,” HRC’s interim president Joni Madison said in a statement. “As a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, Senator Hassan has made clear that she sees the widespread discrimination that LGBTQ+ people still face and is standing with the LGBTQ+ community to work to pass this desperately needed bill.”

Additionally, Hassan’s campaign page lists “protecting LGBTQ rights” as one of her top priorities because “every American — regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation — deserves to be a full and equal citizen in our democracy.”

Since winning the nomination, Bolduc has sought to change some of his most significant public positions from his primary campaign. In an interview on Thursday, he revealed he no longer believes that former President Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election. He also chose to speak out against a national ban on abortion, despite previously voicing support for it in public and private settings.

Bolduc also has an extensive documented history of publicly opposing equal rights and disparaging the LGBTQ community in previous remarks and policy stances. The Bolduc campaign did not respond to an inquiry from the American Independent Foundation as to whether any of his positions on LGBTQ rights have changed, however.

Supports ‘don’t say gay’ and anti-trans policies in schools

Bolduc has repeatedly railed against schools even acknowledging that the LGBTQ community exists.

In remarks made in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on July 12, he claimed LGBTQ issues were related to issues in the educational system: “The dropping in the scores. The lowering of the standards. The teaching of ideas and concepts that should never, ever enter a school — private, public or otherwise — about sexuality and about transgender [people] and about social emotional learning,” he complained.

In June, he posted on Facebook in reference to transgender girls and women, “Allowing biological men to participate in women’s sports is another huge problem in America schools.” He further stated, “Gender confusion in our classrooms must not be taught,” claiming that “in K-12 schools nationwide, false narratives are being constructed, and content is being cherry-picked to fit an ideological (and frankly anti-American) agenda.”

He argued trans girls that they should be barred from student athletics in a June 23 post, writing, “We must continue to support Title IX and fight against all attempts of the Biden administration supported by my US Senate opponent to allow biological men to participate in women’s sports. Join me in protecting the rights of women and preventing biological males from participating in women’s sports.”

Mocks pronouns and Pride

In a July 20 appearance before the Hudson Republican Committee, Bolduc complained about the armed forces because he claims they focus too much on “CRT [critical race theory] and rainbow bullets to celebrate LGBTQ+ [Pride] month [and] the teaching of pronouns.”

He argued, “The only pronouns we need to know is ‘we the people.’ That’s the most important pronoun.”

As of this article’s publication, Bolduc’s official campaign biography includes at least 27 uses of “he” or “his” pronouns.

Does not support employment protections for LGBTQ workers

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court decided Bostock v. Clayton County, determining by a 6-3 majority that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects gay and trans people against sex-based discrimination in employment.

Bolduc criticized the ruling the day after it was issued, telling the Carroll County Republicans, “I don’t think that was the intent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to be honest with you.”

In February 2021, he posted on Facebook in opposition to the Equality Act, legislation that would expressly add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to existing federal nondiscrimination laws. Bolduc claimed such protections would violate the rights of religious people opposed to LGBTQ rights and specifically condemned its protections for trans women:

Please do not [be] fooled by the language and the seemingly logical justification for this bill. The details in the bill will not support equality or improve equity. It will lead to unprecedented divisiveness. This law will set back equality and equity. I cannot in good faith support this legislation. While the language in it is uplifting and espouses legal protection for all, it comes at the expense of Americans’ constitutionally protected religious liberties. It is also clear that the Act will have a significant and harmful impact on women’s athletics by putting genetically-born female competitors at a disadvantage.

Repeatedly speaks against marriage equality

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in its landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

But in his June 2020 remarks in Carroll County, Bolduc stated, “I am a believer in traditional marriage.”

Last month, he told a voter that he would not support the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan effort to guard marriage equality against encroachment by a future Supreme Court ruling. He also claimed that the right to marry is an unneeded “special” right because it would “suggest that we need special laws for people.”

“Why do we even need a Respect for Marriage Act, if we just followed our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution?” he asked.

Stands against medical care for transgender veterans

In July 2021, Bolduc stated he doesn’t believe the Veterans Affairs Department should provide medically necessary gender-related care to those who have served in the Armed Services, deeming it a waste of money.

“Gender confirmation surgery is NOT an appropriate program for the VA. This is an elective surgery, and our government should not be involved,” he posted on Facebook. “Our taxpayer dollars should go towards treating our veterans with service connected disabilities lacking adequate care. These Americans deserve to have timely, quality care.”

An estimated 134,000-plus transgender Americans have served in the military and become eligible to receive medical care through the federal government.

Used a homophobic slur in a campaign ad

During his unsuccessful 2020 Senate bid, Bolduc ran a television ad in which he personally used an anti-LGBTQ slur.

“I didn’t spend my life defending this country to let a bunch of liberal, socialist pansies squander it away,” he told viewers. “I’m Don Bolduc. I approved this message and I’m asking for your vote.”

At the time, Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Wyatt Ronan denounced the 15-second spot. “Donald Bolduc’s use of a homophobic slur in his campaign ad is shameful and dangerous. A campaign run on hate has no place in New Hampshire or anywhere in this country. History shows that New Hampshire is won by supporting and advancing the rights and protections of LGBTQ Granite Staters, not demeaning them,” their statement read.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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