White House will defend rights of LGBT community, despite reports

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After speculation that orders protecting the LGBT community would be reversed, President Donald Trump’s administration released a statement Tuesday saying they will continue to protect the rights of those in the LGBT community, instead of opting for policy that favors religious liberty and could lead to discrimination.

Rumors circulated the past week about another Trump executive order which would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in multiple areas, including employment, social services, business and adoption, according to multiple reports. A draft of the order circulated and showed the new administration was reportedly planning to open up discriminatory practices based on “religious belief” and strip Obama-era policies.

That means multiple discriminatory practices would be put into action: providing taxpayer funds for discrimination in social services, authorizing federally funded adoption services to discriminate against LGBT parents, allowing the firing of federal employees and contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity and allowing federal employees to refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation.

But the White House statement says Trump instead plans to fulfill a campaign promise, ensuring his administration will protect the LGBT community from “violence and oppression.”

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” the statement reads. “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.”

Although the statement seemingly lessens any fear, those familiar with White House deliberations have told the Washington Post that no final decision has been made and the outcome of the order and what it will say is still in flux. It is reportedly “far from certain” that Trump would issue “such an order,” according to anonymous individuals that spoke with the Post.

Vice President Mike Pence is known for enacting policy that discriminates against the LGBT community. During his time as governor of Indiana, Pence signed a measure expanding religious liberties that allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Pence had to scale back the bill after nationwide backlash.