President Donald Trump campaigned on being a “real friend” to the gay community, but the evidence of the past few months suggests he is anything but LGBTQ friendly. The so-called “religious liberty” executive order is nothing more than presidential sanctioned homophobia. This point has not gone unnoticed.
Several prominent LGBTQ organizations have suggested the executive order Trump signed is a gateway for discrimination against gay Americans.
Signed in the White House Rose Garden, the executive order is worded in such a way that it directs the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to exercise “maximum enforcement discretion” over the so-called Johnson amendment.
The Johnson amendment exists to prevent churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
In addition, the order also provides so-called “regulatory relief” for organizations which have religious based objections to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that specifically mandates employers provide certain health services. Those series include but is not limited to coverage for contraception.
There were messages left with the White House about how the administration would address concerns the LGBTQ community has in respect to the executive order. Will the administration make assurances to the community the order will not have any negative impacts?
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees the Trump administration will not follow a conservatively minded anti-LGBTQ agenda. It is already known Trump “stands by nothing.” Anything the President says on this and or other issues cannot be taken for granted.
There is concern, highlighted by the head of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Executive Director Roddy Flynn, the Trump administration will use the executive order to harm gay Americans.
“The LGBT Equality Caucus will remain vigilant for any attempt to undermine the hard-fought gains our community has made in the past decade,” Flynn told CNN Thursday. “We plan on closely monitoring the implementation and interpretation of the executive order.”
“This administration has attacked the rights of transgender students and programs assisting LGBT elders,” he said. “We cannot trust that this order will be narrowly utilized to not directly harm our community. We will be watching.”
This is not the limit of the concerns people have. There has been speculation Attorney General Jeff Sessions will use the executive order to justify discriminate against LGBT Americans.
Conservatives will undoubtedly argue they have a right to their religious beliefs but discrimination cloaked in religious rhetoric is still discrimination.