The US bishops are criticizing the measure as harmful to people of faith [or for the same reason that they object to his executive orders on refugees and immigrants; namely, loss of federal funds for national and local Catholic Charities’ programs and personnel]
by Max Douglas • ChurchMilitant • February 1, 2017
WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) – Despite rumors that President Donald Trump would overturn the previous president’s executive order that furthered “rights” of federal LGBTQ employees and contractors, the White House issued a statement Tuesday saying Trump would make no changes.
The president has hinted in the past that the gay marriage issue is not as important an issue to him as others. The White House confirmed January 31 Trump is “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”
The White House released the statement after rumors the president would overturn Obama’s 2014 Executive Order 13672, which “protects” employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors. The executive order is broad and affects more than 28 million workers.
The 2014 executive order was met with criticism from the U.S. Catholic bishops, calling the order unprecedented and extreme. They insisted it “should be opposed.” The bishops called the executive order “an anomaly … containing no religious liberty protections.”
“In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination,” the bishops stated.
And in a statement posted on the USCCB’s website Wednesday, Abp. Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Abp. William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, criticized Trump’s decision to keep the anti-discrimination measure.
The new administration’s decision not to rescind Executive Order 13672 is troubling and disappointing. The Executive Order is deeply flawed, and its many problems are outlined in our statement from 2014. The Church steadfastly opposes all unjust discrimination, and we need to continue to advance justice and fairness in the workplace. Executive Order 13672, however, creates problems rather than solves them. In seeking to remedy instances of discrimination, it creates new forms of discrimination against people of faith. Keeping the Executive Order intact is not the answer.
Catholic Charities USA receives hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the federal government in grants and contracts. There are worries the federal government could withhold funds if Catholic-run organizations engaged in so-called gender identity discrimination, refusing to accommodate transgenders or similar actions.
The White House statement said Trump “continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.” It continued, “The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”
When asked about Trump’s stance on the executive order earlier in the week, Spicer told reporters, “There are a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”
Conservatives are hoping that further religious liberty provisions will be added by the president, allowing Catholic organizations to avoid penalties.
Pro-sodomy advocates are still dissatisfied with the recent promise to uphold LGBTQ rights. Chad Griffin, president of the aggressively pro-gay Human Rights Campaign, 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?”
The same day Trump promised to uphold the 2014 executive order, he also nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Goruch has not had any cases that directly address LGBT rights.