The Washington Blade reports that Donald Trump will oppose the Equality Act, set for a vote in the full House of Representatives this Friday.
“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” wrote a senior Trump administration official in an email to the Blade.
The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, LGBTQs have no explicit protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in 30 states. LGBTQ+ people can be denied public services, treated unfairly at school, or fired from their job for being who they are – and it’s legal.
During the 2016 presidential election, Trump laughingly promised to be “better for the gays” than Hillary Clinton. But since taking office, his administration has been nothing but a series of attacks on the LGBTQ community.
Just days ago, the Trump administration announced new guidelines that would allow health care professionals to deny medical care if they claim ‘deeply religious objections’ to homosexuality. The move was reportedly a move to protect “conscience rights.”
The Blade also points to an interview with The Advocate in 2000, when Trump was considering a third party run for the White House, where he said he supported amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation.
“I like the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It would be simple. It would be straightforward. We don’t need to rewrite the laws currently on the books, although I do think we need to address hate-crimes legislation.
“But amending the Civil Rights Act would grant the same protection to gay people that we give to other Americans — it’s only fair. I actually suggested this first, and now I see [Democratic presidential candidate] Bill Bradley has jumped on the bandwagon and is claiming the idea as his own.”
The Advocate’s editors thought it was worth noting that Trump claiming the idea of amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as his own is pretty rich since a bill to do just that was introduced in the 1970s.
To be honest, no one expected today’s Trump to support the Equality Act. In truth, the bill will most probably never reach his desk as the legislation will never get a vote in a GOP-led Senate.
LGBTQ advocacy groups quickly denounced the news.
“President Trump’s opposition to the Equality Act, a bill that would protect hard-working Americans against discrimination, shows the unyielding power that anti-LGBTQ activists like the Heritage Foundation have on this Administration,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, in a statement.
“LGBTQ Americans will not forget the President’s politically craven flip-flop on this fair and just legislation, which further cements his Administration’s legacy of being the most anti-LGBTQ government in recent memory.”
And the Human Rights Campaign president, Chad Griffin, wrote to supporters, “We’re disgusted, but certainly not surprised, by Donald Trump’s announcement that he opposes the Equality Act, which is supported by seven in ten Americans and more than two hundred major businesses.”
“By opposing this common sense civil rights legislation, Donald Trump is ensuring that LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired or denied housing in a majority of states,” continued Griffin. “The LGBTQ community, and all Americans for that matter, deserve a president with the courage and decency to sign this bill into law, and we will continue the urgent work to pass the Equality Act and replace Donald Trump with a pro-equality president who will sign it into law.”