>> White House says LGBT protections for federal workers will remain
Tandis que le monde demeure préoccupé par son administration, le nouveau président républicain, qui vient de restaurer la majorité conservatrice à la Cour suprême en nommant ce 31 janvier le juge Neil Gorsuch, 49 ans, « ultra-religieux, partisan de la peine de mort comme des puissants intérêts financiers », a toutefois tenté dans la foulée de rassurer la communauté LGBT.
Devant les rumeurs d’abrogation de certaines mesures anti-discriminations notamment au travail, annoncées par plusieurs médias américains ces derniers jours, Donald Trump a promis de ne revenir sur aucune des dispositions initiées par son prédécesseur sur la question, réitérant ainsi « son soutien ».
Le président « reste respectueux » et défend les droits de tous les américains, y compris ceux de la communauté LGBT, « comme il l’a fait tout au long de sa campagne », précise la Maison Blanche dans son communiqué. Examen de conscience ?
Le décret signé par Barack Obama en 2014 pour protéger les personnes contre les discriminations et violences fondées sur l’orientation sexuelle et l’identité de genre, « lorsqu’ils sont employés par des sous-traitants fédéraux, restera inchangé ».
Inspirée par le succès de la « Women’s March », qui a rassemblé plusieurs millions de manifestants le 21 janvier dernier, une mobilisation LGBT de masse pour « dénoncer cette politique Trumpiste » est toutefois prévue le 11 juin prochain, en pleine célébration de la fierté à Washington D.C. Les organisateurs espèrent soulever un maximum de militants, défenseurs et alliés, « afin d’envoyer un message clair à l’exécutif américain », qui a par ailleurs également rétabli une loi interdisant la promotion de l’interruption volontaire de grossesse pour toutes les organisations qui bénéficient de financements américains à l’étranger.
« Légaliser ce que Dieu a blâmé, c’est aller à l’encontre de valeurs de notre nation », a expliqué Trump à la chaîne ABC : « La bible nous enseigne qu’un meurtrier sera mis à mort. L’avortement est un assassinat, les coupables seront par conséquent sévèrement punis ! »
>> The White House vowed Tuesday to keep the Obama administration protections extended to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, a statement said, apparently responding to reports that the orders would be reversed.
« President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election, » the White House said in a statement. « The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. »
The stance followed reports that the Trump administration was considering a sharp break with Obama-era protections.
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.
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? »
The New York Times first reported the decision by the White House to stick with the Obama-era protections.
That top officials have been debating whether to wade into the issue of gay and transgender rights highlights the tension the new administration faces when it comes to social issues. Trump campaigned on an economic message, but he is under pressure from the social conservatives who propelled him into office to implement their top priorities.
The issue of gay rights is particularly fraught for Vice President Pence, who as governor of Indiana signed a controversial measure expanding religious liberties in a way that gay rights groups said opened the door to legalized discrimination. A national outcry over the bill led Pence and the state legislature to weaken the measure.
Speaking to reporters earlier Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to comment on whether an executive order affecting gay and transgender people was under consideration.
« I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue, » Spicer said. « There is 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. »
The executive order Obama signed in 2014 had two parts. It expanded protections in federal hiring, which already barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, to also include gender identity. And it required all companies doing business with the federal government to have explicit policies barring discrimination against gay and transgender workers.
The move was significant because it applied to 24,000 companies that collectively employed about 28 million workers — representing about a fifth of the U.S. workforce.
But the order drew sharp criticism from religious leaders — including many who were Obama’s allies at the time — because it did not provide an exemption for religious organizations that contract with the government. Many faith-based groups, including Catholic Charities USA, receive federal grants to assist people with housing, disaster relief and hunger, and expressed concern about the precedent it could set for other forms of federal funding.
Gay rights groups argued that such an exemption would amount to a loophole giving groups the right to discriminate.
Any attempt by the Trump administration to rescind or weaken Obama’s order would essentially be an effort to « authorize discrimination » against gay and transgender people, said James Esseks, director of the LGBT program at the American Civil Liberties Union.
« The Trump administration has shown that it’s willing to go against core American values of freedom and equality, and it’s troubling to hear they may
target LGBT people as well, » he said.
But he said the impact might be mitigated because federal law bans discrimination on the basis of sex. Many courts have interpreted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity to be a form of sex discrimination.
Drawing inspiration from last weekend’s Women’s March on Washington, a gay activist in New York City has announced plans for the National Pride March, a « mass » LGBT protest at the nation’s capital on June 11.
David Bruinooge, 42, of Brooklyn, N.Y., announced the plan on Facebook and created an event page for those interested in keeping up with the protest’s progress.
« We urge all supporters, friends, and family to descend on DC for the Pride 2017 weekend (June 8-11th) to make sure our voices are heard, » part of the post reads.