White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
on Monday refused to comment on whether President Donald Trump is
preparing to sign an executive order targeting the LGBT community.
When asked about reports that such a
directive is in the works, Spicer did not deny the possibility.
“I'm not getting ahead of the
executive orders that we may or may not issue,” Spicer
told reporters. “There's a lot of executive orders; a lot of
things the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill,
but we have nothing on that front now.”
On Monday, the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest LGBT right advocate, issued a statement
expressing concerns about such an order.
“The rumors of an anti-LGBTQ
executive action by President Trump are deeply troubling,” said
JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s senior vice president for policy and
political affairs. “We already know that he is willing to target
and marginalize at-risk communities for his perceived political gain.
As the president and his team plan their next steps, we want to make
one thing clear: we won’t give one inch when it comes to defending
equality, whether it is a full-on frontal assault or an attack under
the guise of religion. Mike Pence should know that better than anyone
given his track record in Indiana.”
As governor of Indiana, Vice President
Pence was forced to roll back a “religious freedom” law that
critics said would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT
In a series of tweets, Washington
Post columnist Josh Rogin said that a senior administration
official had confirmed that an order targeting the LGBT community was
on the president's agenda.
“[T]here is a draft Executive order
on LGBT issues including adoption,” Rogin tweeted. “Admin source
says LGBT EO could affect federal employee benefits & protections
& adoption agencies that receive federal funding. … EO could
allow fed employees to refuse to serve LGBT based on belief marriage
is b/t man & woman or gender is immutable from birth.”
A possible announcement could come as
early as Thursday, when Trump speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast
in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The president said during the campaign
that “religious freedom” would be a priority of his
administration and pledged as president to sign the First Amendment
Defense Act (FADA), a bill that seeks to undermine the Supreme
Court's 2015 finding that gay and lesbian couples have a
constitutional right to marry.
Trump says he would sign bill that protects opponents of gay