President Trump’s recent move to uphold an executive order issued by former President Obama in 2014 has received mixed reactions but it continues to create friction among religious conservatives. In 2014, Obama issued an executive order prohibited federal government contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the employment of federal employees.
A recently released statement by the White House press office says President Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans and the LGBTQ community is no exception. During his campaign, President Trump pledged to be respective and supportive of LGBTQ rights. True to his word, he is fulfilling his pledge.
This move has raised many eyebrows, especially from the U.S. Catholic bishops. They were quick to oppose the President’s action and they expressed their frustration by saying the order is deeply flawed and it will create a wave of discrimination against people of faith. The bishops further claimed this was reason enough to ban the order. “The Church steadfastly opposes all unjust discrimination against people of faith and we need to continue to advance justice and fairness in the workplace. Executive Order 13672, however, creates rather than solves problems,” according to a statement by the chair of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The bishops emphasized that the President’s actions will create new forms of discrimination against people of faith and therefore his move to uphold the order was not the way to go.
President Trump’s administration has “many people with long records of anti-LGBT policies and attitudes including Vice President [Mike] Pence” and has “shown a stunning lack of sensitivity to diversity issues,” remarked Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry. He says the fact that bishops fail to see LGBT employment protections are not a threat to religious liberty fuels his disappointment in them. He goes on to add “On the contrary, protecting LGBT people in the workplace is just putting the Catholic Church’s worker justice teaching into practice.”
The executive director of DignityUSA, Marianne Duddy-Burke expressed her relief with the Trump administration for upholding the order. She says the President’s administration has done a commendable job in recognizing the” importance of these protections and retaining them. And we know a majority of the Catholics in the U.S. support non-discrimination in employment for LGBT people.”
Ryan Anderson, a senior research, and fellow at the Conservative Heritage Foundation argues that the best way forward would have been focusing on religious exemptions rather than upholding President Obama’s LGBT executive order. He supports his opinion by saying, religious exemptions would “resolve many tensions and would make sense to a wide range of Americans.” Religious conservatives are in agreement with this opinion and they feel this should have been President Trump’s priority going forward.