There are grave concerns that US President Donald Trump will sign an executive order in the coming days that would allow for anti-LGBT+ discrimination in a number of areas, including employment.
Sources in Washington have said that President Trump plans to repeal an order that former President Barack Obama signed in 2014, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign’s Senior Vice President, says the rumours are “deeply troubling”.
“We already know that he is willing to target and marginalise at-risk communities for his perceived political gain,” says Winterhof.
There are rumours that the executive order would be presented under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ and would protect those who discriminate against LGBT+ people in areas such as employment, social services, and adoption.
Such an order would allow people to discriminate in hiring practices and refuse goods and services to LGBT+ people if it conflicted with their religious beliefs.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to deny the rumours at a briefing today.
“I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There’s a lot of executive orders, a lot of things the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill but we have nothing on that front now,” Spicer told the Washington Blade.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is concerned that an anti-LGBT executive order from Trump could follow ‘Indiana-style discrimination’, referring to the 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' signed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor of Indiana. The law was eventually amended but initially allowed businesses to turn away LGBT+ individuals.
Winterhof has vowed that the HRC will stand with those who have been targeted by the Trump Administration.
“As the President and his team plan their next steps, we want to make one thing clear: we won't give one inch when it comes to defending equality, whether it is a full-on frontal assault or an attack under the guise of religion.”