July 26, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ executive order still on the table?

Mike Pence (L) is America's most prominent enemy of LGBT people. Kellyanne Conway (R) rose to power as a spokesperson for the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. Together they have chosen Donald Trump's ideologically antigay cabinet.
Mike Pence (L) is America’s most prominent enemy of LGBT people. Kellyanne Conway (R) rose to power as a spokesperson for the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. Together they have chosen Donald Trump’s ideologically antigay cabinet.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday began an exchange on ABC’s “This Week” with an effort to affirm support for LGBT people, but subsequently dodged on whether he thinks a religious freedom executive order is needed that could undermine LGBT rights.

Pence said the Trump administration would reject discrimination under questioning from George Stephanopoulos about a White House statement affirming the president would leave intact an Obama-era executive order barring federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace bias.

“I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration,” Pence said. “I mean, he was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him. I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot’s heart, there’s no room for prejudice is part of who this president is.”

Turning to the social conservatives whom Trump addressed last week at the National Prayer Breakfast, Pence recalled Trump’s pledge to repeal the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits non-profit organizations, including churches, from making political endorsements. The law, Pence said, has “put a chilling effect on free speech in religious institutions around the country.”

The words in favor of LGBT rights are striking for Pence, who a has long anti-LGBT history that includes signing into law as Indiana governor a “religious freedom” bill that would have enabled anti-LGBT discrimination.

But Pence declares support for LGBT rights as a draft executive order — apparently from Trump administration — is circulating among federal advocacy groups that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied last week Trump would sign a “religious freedom” executive order — at least for the time being — as media outlets reported Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had a role in quashing it.

Asked by Stephanopoulos whether a “religious freedom” order is necessary, Pence deflected and said the president “made it clear that he wants to take action on the Johnson Amendment.”

“Back in the 1950s, the Congress passed a law that essentially threatened the tax-exempt status of churches and synagogues and religious institutions if they were seen to be involved in political expression,” Pence said. “And I have to tell you, I don’t think we’d have ever made it to these hallowed halls back in 1790 if the pulpits of this country had been silenced from speaking about what they thought was right and wrong.”

Pence alluded to possible executive action on the Johnson Amendment, saying Trump “directed the administration to begin to look at ways, both legislatively and through executive action” to undo the law.

When Stephanopoulos asked whether no “religious freedom” order would be forthcoming aside from possible action on the Johnson Amendment, Pence dodged and said “that’ll be the purview of the president to determine whether any of that’s necessary.”

“But I will tell you for our part,” Pence said. “The focus of this administration will continue to be to have a safer America, to have a more prosperous America, and to continue to advance the president’s agenda, both on Capitol Hill and through executive action and carry that message all across the country.”

Eliel Cruz, a New York-based bisexual activist and faith organizer, said Pence is “engaging in double speak” by saying the Trump administration will support LGBT rights, but won’t rule out a “religious freedom” executive order.

“They claim they want to protect the LGBT community but then they say they want to promote the religious freedoms of evangelicals,” Cruz said. “The issue, of course, is that these so called religious freedoms impede on the rights of LGBT Americans. The two cannot exist at the same time as one infringes on the other. The Trump administration will always choose the beliefs of anti LGBT evangelicals over the dignity and rights of LGBT people.”

Watch Pence’s remarks on “This Week” here (beginning at 6:30):

— The Washington Blade and National Gay Media Association 

Related Posts

Trans Incident At Wi Spa May Have Been Staged

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

On June 24th an Instagram user “cubaangel” posted a video of herself angrily confronting a staff member at the Wi...

Podcast Host Mat George Killed In Hit-And-Run

July 19, 2021

July 19, 2021

Mathew George, gay co-host of the podcast “She Rates Dogs”, has died at the age of 26 after a hit-and-run...

Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person Murdered- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 30th, 2021

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Serenity Hollis, 25th Trans Person...

Cops Banned From NYC Pride- E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 23rd, 2021

June 22, 2021

June 22, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Cops Banned From NYC Pride...

Caitlyn Jenner Running For California Governor – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 16th, 2021

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Caitlyn Jenner Running For California...

LA Pride Announces “Thrive With Pride” Theme – E.P.I.C Pride Show, June 9th, 2021

June 9, 2021

June 9, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – LA Pride Announces “Thrive With...

The Abbey Food & Bar Celebrates 30 Years

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

On May 23rd The Abbey Food & Bar celebrated 30 years since its founding in May 1991. The Abbey has...

Artists Featured For SaMo Pride Rainbow Road Art Walk

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

In honor of Pride month Santa Monica Pride (SaMo Pride) will feature a Rainbow Road Art Walk from June 4th-...

Railway Service Coming To WeHo

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

Metro rail service might be coming to the city of West Hollywood.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)...

LGBTQ Owned High Hemp Features First Organic Hemp Wrap

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

High Hemp features the world’s first ever organic hemp wrap which is revolutionizing the cannabis industry by offering a cleaner...

WeHo Announces David Wilson As Next City Manager

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

The City Council of the City of West Hollywood has announced its unanimous selection of David Wilson to serve as...

James Charles Admits To Messaging Under Age Boys- E.P.I.C Pride Show, May 19th, 2021

May 18, 2021

May 18, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – James Charles Admits To Messaging...

2021 Pride Announces “Thrive With Pride” Theme

May 15, 2021

May 15, 2021

LA Pride has announced its 2021 pride theme this year called “Thrive With Pride”.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in...

Stoli Vodka’s Harvey Milk Collector’s Edition Bottle

May 13, 2021

May 13, 2021

In honor of Pride 2021 Stoli Vodka has launched a limited edition Harvey Milk collectors edition bottle.  On Harvey Milk...

Demi Lavato Comes Out As Pansexual- E.P.I.C Pride Show, May 12th, 2021

May 11, 2021

May 11, 2021

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Demi Lavato Comes Out As...