On January 31, 2017, the White House posted the following statement on its website:
“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. “
That executive order was issued by President Barck Obama, and a number of religious leaders including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, opposed the measure. Two leaders of U.S. bishops’ committee expressed disappointment in Trump’s decision to maintain Obama’s executive order. Archbishop Charles Chaput, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, issued a joint statement which said, in part:
“The new administration’s decision not to rescind Executive Order 13672 is troubling and disappointing.”
In response to Trump’s decision and the bishops’ reaction to it, New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director, Francis DeBernardo, issued the following statement:
“I am surprised that President Trump has decided to enforce President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT people working for federal contractors. Trump has included in his administration many people with long records of anti-LGBTQ policies and attitudes—including Vice President Pence. Trump’s electoral campaign and the first two weeks of his administration have shown a stunning lack of sensitivity to diversity issues. He should apply his instincts in this decision to other civil rights issues, including immigration, health care, and labor law.
“Protecting the vulnerable and those in need are solid American values.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that Archbishop Charles Chaput, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Archbishop William Lori, Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, responded negatively to Trump’s decision. The U.S. bishops fail to see that employment protections to LGBT people are no threat to religious liberty. On the contrary, protecting LGBT people in the workplace is just putting the Catholic Church’s worker justice teaching into practice The majority of U.S. Catholics see this, as poll after poll has shown. sSupporting LGBT equality and justice is a solid Catholic value.”
Interestingly, a Washington Post news article reported that Trump’s decision was not a foregone conclusion. Even up to this past weekend, the decision may have gone in the opposite direction:
“A draft of a potential executive order that began circulating in Washington over the weekend called for overturning then President Obama’s directive barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the federal workforce and by federal contractors.
“The draft order included multiple provisions, such as possible exemptions that would allow adoption agencies and groups receiving federal funds to deny services to LGBT Americans based on their beliefs. The White House statement did not address those possible changes.”
The Washington Post article also carried a reaction statement from a U.S. LGBT political organization:
“Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Tuesday he and other activists remained concerned that the new administration could still undermine other legal protections based on sexual orientation or gender identify.
” ‘Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar. LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House,’ Griffin said. ‘Donald Trump has left the key question unanswered — will he commit to opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate?’ “
Bondings 2.0 will try to provide more Catholic perspectives on Trump’s decision, as they become available.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, February 2, 1017