September 27, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Trump yet to address LGBT Executive Order reversal, Spicer

Sean Spicer, Trump's White House Press Secretary, faces the media for the first time in the White House briefing room. WH.gov photo.
Sean Spicer, Trump’s White House Press Secretary, faces the media for the first time in the White House briefing room. WH.gov photo.

BY TROY MASTERS  | Chris Johnson, the Washington Blade reporter who famously asked President Obama one of the last White House press conference questions of his Presidency, today asked Trump White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer the first LGBT oriented questions of the Trump Presidency. 

Johnson asked the one question that is on all of our minds:

“The Log Cabin Republicans, the gay Republican group, delivered a White Paper to the Trump team urging the President to maintain an executive order from President Obama barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among Federal contractors.  The President (Trump) has said he is going to rescind executive orders that are unconstitutional, but will he maintain this executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination?”

Spicer replied: “I don’t know on that one. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.  I don’t know that we’ve gotten that far in the list of executive orders but I’ll be glad to get back to you.”

Johnson pressed:  “Are you saying he won’t rescind them?”

Spicer remained firm but instead of saying he would “be glad” to get back to Johnson he said “I’ll try to get back to you. His exact words were “Again, it’s not…I just don’t know the answer.  I’ll try to get back to you on that one.” 

The white paper Log Cabin Republicans delivered to the Trump transition team last week urges President Trump to maintain the executive order as implemented by former President Barack Obama and signed in 2014.

The Blade reported it has placed a request with the White House via email seeking verification on whether the White House intends to keep Executive Order 13672.

The order provides job protections for an estimated 34 million workers and many thousands who are LGBT.  It states that contractors can not do business with the Federal government unless the contractor expressly states it does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.

The Blade notes that the “Log Cabin Republican group last week gave the Trump transition team a petition signed by around 800 supporters of the executive order urging the new president to keep the directive in place.”

The list of Executive Orders signed by President Obama is long and several involve LGBT rights.  They are listed here along with other steps President Obama’s administration took on behalf of LGBT Americans.

On the labor rights front, training videos that address how to file sexual orientation discrimination and gender discrimination as well as videos on how to come into compliance with sexual orientation and gender identity requirements are no longer available on the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Judging by the record of Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., who has been in violation of key aspects of labor law, according to a report by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United released last week, rescinding the orders would not be too surprising.

Candidate Trump did not specify which Executive Orders signed by President Obama he would rescind. Using his staple rorschach of fuzzy and incendiary language, Trump regularly implied all Obama Executive Orders to be ‘unconstitutional.’

Wiggle room?  Alternative fact?  There’s evidence to suggest Trump may be the good cop on this issue.

Vice President Mike Pence has — at least on the LGBT front — been more forthcoming.

Pence assured supporters that Donald Trump would keep his promise to repeal all of Barack Obama‘s executive orders as his first action in office.

According to LGBTQ Nation, Pence told James Dobson, during an interview in October 2016, that “he and Trump are opposed to Obama’s directive to public schools requiring them to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms” consistent with their gender identity.

“Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools,” Pence told Dobson. “It’s just one more example of the heavy hand and liberal agenda of this administration working its way into the purview of the states and the people.”

But there is certainly movement in the direction of social neo-conservatism.

Acting on another issue of concern to Christian conservatives, President Trump took on Federal funding for international women’s health concerns.

Just hours after the largest protests in American history focused attention on women’s rights, President Trump rescinded a program that had provided funding for women’s health clinics internationally.  Trump reinstated the so called Mexico City Policy, which bars federal funds from going to overseas organizations “that perform or promote abortions.”

Abortion rights groups have long opposed the policy, and presidents have rescinded and restored it since 1984. Then-President Bill Clinton revoked it in January 1993 upon taking office because “these excessively broad anti-abortion conditions are unwarranted,” he wrote in his memorandum, adding that the policy had “undermined efforts to promote safe and efficacious family planning programs in foreign nations.” George W. Bush reinstated it and it was revoked again by President Obama.

Sarah Schulman, an activist, educator and author posted on Facebook a sentiment that sums up concerns about the move: “Is there anything more defining of an individual’s autonomy than the right to have an abortion? Forced motherhood is the ultimate loss of control. And this subordination is what Trump imposed today on women around the world who rely on US funded health services.”

Alexis Danzig  wrote in reply:  Anti-choice foes are planning 95 protests of Planned Parenthood clinics in 35 states on Feb 11, including NYC. Stay tuned for further information on how to support your local clinic, in coordination with the org. See: http://protestpp.com/locations/

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