President Trump says he will not overturn former President Obama’s order protecting LGBTQ employees of federal contractors from discrimination.
President Obama signed the historic order in July 2014 to extend all basic protections, benefits and policies to these workers.
On Tuesday, The White House said in a statement that the Trump administration will continue to enforce the executive order. The news follows rumours that Trump was preparing to reverse the provision.
“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” said the White House.
“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. 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,” concluded the statement.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBTQ rights group, was less than impressed, however. “Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar,” commented HRC President Chad Griffin.
“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,” he said.
Griffin continued: “Donald Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights.”
There are reports that Trump could still enact a loophole in the order and other discrimination protections, such as allowing taxpayer-funded workers and contractors to refuse to serve LGBTQ people on the basis of their religious beliefs.
While President Trump has claimed to support the LGBTQ community, during his election campaign he suggested that he would be open to revisiting the issue of marriage equality in America as well as opposing transgender rights and favouring so called “religious liberty” laws. Vice President Mike Pence is also is known for being openly anti-LGBTQ.