As President Trump continues to issue edicts and executive orders his first week in office, there seems to be nothing off limits. From moving forward with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines to the Mexico border wall to freezing federal hiring, Americans are unsure what to expect next. Could the LGBTQ+ community be the next target?
Throughout the election, the majority of the gay community opposed Trump. Non-discrimination laws and ordinances are more predominant in liberal candidates, which for this minority group is important.
Trump said in an interview with CBS that he is “fine” with same-sex marriage and that the decision is “done.” Although he seems to be the first Republican president who won’t fight gay rights, those he has appointed are far (right) from keeping quiet about their feelings.
Vice President Mike Pence holds strong anti-LGBT stances. During his 2000 run for Congress, sections in his proposals “detailed oppose [for] any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities” and supported conversion therapy for homosexuals who were “seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Rationally speaking, many candidates change their views overtime, but Pence has yet to speak out against these stances he once held and has yet to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community.
Several of Trump’s senior staff picks are notoriously anti-gay. Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which forced service members to stay in the closet. Now Sessions fully supports the “First Amendment Defense Act,” which would allow employers, healthcare providers, and landlords to deny providing services to those in the LGBTQ+ community as long as their reasoning behind the refusal correlates with their beliefs. Trump has also shown support for the FADA, so it’s likely that this bill will be signed soon.
Betsy DeVos is nominated to be secretary of education and members of her family have donated to anti-gay organizations. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, pointed out during a confirmation hearing for DeVos that her “family has a long history of supporting anti-LGBT causes including donating millions of dollars to groups that push conversion therapy.”
Although DeVos replied she’s “for equality,” she fought against same-sex marriage. DeVos would be in charge of federal influences over education policy. With such a prestigious title, parents of LGBTQ+ children in the education system could fear what DeVos could do in the years to come.
With so many executive decisions being made early on in his presidency, the LGBTQ+ community may soon find out if Trump will keep anti-discrimination laws that protect them or if the “Trump train” will try to run them down.
Chace Jones is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.