In response to Monday’s rapidly circulating rumor that President Trump would sign an executive order rolling back lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, the Administration released a statement early Tuesday that appears to deny the reports.
“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the comment from the White House Office of the Press Secretary stated.
“The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump,” the statement continued.
While the White House’s statement came as a relief to some, others were skeptical. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the country’s largest LGBTQ-rights organization, issued a statement criticizing Trump for “talking a big game” on LGBTQ rights but not being a real “friend to this community.”
“Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar. LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
“Donald Trump has left the key question unanswered -- will he commit to opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate?”
While the White House specifically stated the Trump Administration will leave President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBTQ workers intact, that does not mean, as HRC’s Griffin asserted, the Administration couldn’t issue an executive order rolling back LGBTQ rights in another way. However, a White House spokesperson told NBC News on Monday "that isn't the plan at this time."
In addition to the possibility of an executive order rolling back LGBTQ rights, many in the community have been bracing for the planned reintroduction of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) — legislation that Trump promised to sign during his campaign. That bill would prevent the government from being able to punish individuals, businesses and institutions who refuse service to LGBTQ people based on religious or moral convictions. The offices of Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Raul Labrador both confirmed to NBC News last week that they plan to introduce FADA.