For progressives, like myself, it seems like every day more and more of the progress we made under President Obama is being rolled back under President Trump. But such is the political cycle in a two party system. What we have not yet seen is any rollback on LGBTQ protections, but are they coming?
On Feb. 1, The Nation reported that it had obtained a leaked executive order. The order, titled, “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” was not signed by President Trump, and he said he would not be signing it in the near future.
That does not mean that he will never sign the order, but what exactly did it say?
The text of the order reads that“any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” are protected “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”
These exemptions would apply when a person or business“believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”
Please note, if you wish to view the leaked copy of the order in its entirety, it can be found online at The Nation.
The White House has even went a step further by releasing the following statement to the Washington Post:
“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.”
At this point, it may be best to hope for the best but expect the worst. The simple fact is that we do not know what will happen to LGBTQ rights over the next four years. Trump has flip-flopped on issues too many times for us to be certain.
Even if you win, that does not mean that the battle is over. We must remain ever-vigilant against any incursions into the progress we have made with LGBTQ rights. And we must be prepared to fight. Fight just as hard to keep the rights as we did to gain them.