The White House issued a statement today denying rumors President Trump was planning on signing an executive order undoing anti-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans.
Allies and advocates breathed a sigh of relief but at least one group is feeling swindled: The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson said President Trump “made a mistake” by agreeing to uphold Obama’s nondiscrimination policy.
“Many organizations, including faith-based groups, have beliefs about human embodiment that people are male and female,” said Anderson. “That females and males are made for each other, and that the federal government shouldn’t penalize those groups when they operate according to their convictions.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, says he’s optimistic the president will sign sign an order curtailing our freedoms by protecting businesses from “having to change their views on human sexuality and marriage” to get a contract with the federal government.
It was President Obama who signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating. On Tuesday, a White House spokesperson said Trump was leaving that order in place but Perkins insisted “I think this is going to be addressed.”
“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,” a statement from the White House read. “The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact.”
Mat Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel, a legal group that advises anti-LGBT groups, said Trump should still annul “Obama’s bad executive order that goes far beyond federal law.”
“The fluid and subjective term ‘gender identity’ does not prevent discrimination in the workplace but rather injects in the workplace an agenda that is harmful to businesses and to other employees.” (Staver called Obama’s order protecting trans Americans right to the use the bathroom that matches their gender identity “absurd.”)
Rep. Steve Russell, who unsuccessfully tried to get a religious-freedom bill passed last year, says he can’t understand “why the president would prevent people of faith to continue to contract with the military.”
In December Russell told BuzzFeed that Trump’s people gave him “very good assurances” the president would take executive action.
So was Trump just shining Russell then, or has he had a chanfe of heart—or is there more to come?