Obama’s Federal Contract law safe, says White House

Donald Trump decried transgender military service as “political correctness.” (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)
Trump hoisted an upside down Pride flag at a Presidential campaign rally in Colorado.
Trump hoisted an upside down Pride flag at a Presidential campaign rally in Colorado.

The White House says Donald Trump will let remain a 2014 Obama Executive order that created workplace protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender federal employees and people employed by businesses who do work for the federal government.  But another Executive Order will negate it.

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The Obama Executive Order Trump is keeping amended Executive Order 11246, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories in the existing Executive Order covering federal contractors.

“It doesn’t make much sense,” President Obama said at the time, “but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. And that’s wrong.”

A great deal of anxiety about the Executive Order had taken hold in recent months. Candidate Trump promised “to rescind Obama’s illegal Executive Orders,” but it was never clear what he meant or if he meant all of them.

In response to growing questions, primarily from Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade about whether Trump intended to reverse the Obama order, the White House states that the president is supportive of gay rights.

“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the statement said. “The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”

According to the statement, this decision “was made personally” by Donald Trump.

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell said, the statement “says only that President Trump does not intend to take the extreme step of abolishing existing anti-discrimination protections for federal employees and contractors, some of which have been in place for nearly twenty years. That is not a step forward.” We remain concerned by reports that the President intends to issue an order creating new religious exemptions that will permit discrimination against LGBT people and others. This is also a distraction from the imminent announcement of a Supreme Court nominee, which is the most important issue for our community. The Senate must reject any nominee who will turn back the clock on our nation’s commitment to the equality and freedom of LGBT people, including the fundamental right to marry and to be treated equally to other married couples.”

Given the make up of his cabinet and the likelihood that the White House will within days embrace Religious Freedoms, it remains to be seen just how far Trump is really willing to go on LGBT rights. His Supreme Court nominee is likely to be a supporter of allowing people to discriminate in hiring and accommodation based on their religious beliefs.

Religious Freedom bills that would allow an employer or business owner the right to refuse service, jobs, accommodation, etc if they feel doing so violates their faith in many ways negates Trump’s embrace of Obama’s LGBT protections.

He has lined up a conservative ‘who’s who’ of antigay supporters and empowered them and now must please them.

Trump is opposed to same-sex marriage and does not support national employment non-discrimination legislation.

Only 19 of the 50 states have passed laws preventing LGBT Americans from being discriminated against by employers. Three others protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity.

There has been a blizzard in recent years of measures aimed at granting a broad range of religious exemptions to individuals, companies, and public and private institutions to shield them from LGBT workplace protections and laws that are already on the books.

Some gay rights advocates rolled their eyes.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told the New York Times that Donald Trump was setting a low bar by claiming credit for not overturning the actions of his predecessor.

“L.G.B.T.Q. refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason,” Mr. Griffin said. “Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House.”

Log Cabin Republicans had submitted a white paper to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Transition Team on the importance of preserving the longstanding LGBT Non-Discrimination Executive Order for federal contractors.

The document includes a petition representing signatories across the political spectrum; all of them added their names to encourage President Trump to maintain what Log Cabin called the “LGBT Non-Discrimination Executive Order.”

“Log Cabin Republicans was pleased to submit this important report presenting the common-sense conservative case for LGBT non-discrimination in federal contractors to the Trump Transition Team,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo stated. “Their request that we draft this document sends a strong signal that President Trump’s campaign promise to be a ‘real friend’ of the LGBT community is genuine; preserving the LGBT Non-Discrimination Executive Order proves it.”

The white paper, titled “The Importance of Maintaining the LGBT Non-Discrimination Executive Order,” is available online at this link.

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