Donald Trump continued his ongoing rebuke of the LGBTQ community today, by appearing as the headliner at the arch-conservative “Road To Majority” conference in Washington, DC.
The event, hosted by the anti-gay Faith and Freedom Coalition, also includes Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Ted Cruz, both outspoken homophobes, among its roster of speakers. Cruz appeared alongside Sen. Marco Rubio last fall, at a Florida conference where the organizer called for the public execution of gays by hanging. The Faith and Freedom Coalition has held that homosexuality should be recriminalized, and that gays were “incompatible with Christian life“.
“In a really beautiful ceremony at the White House, on the National Day of Prayer,” Trump told the audience, invoking the “turn away the gays” order he approved, “I signed, as I promised I would, a new executive action to protect religious liberty in America, including protecting the rights of groups like yours.” The order allows all persons and companies doing business with the federal government to refuse goods and services to LGBT people “based on their religious beliefs“. The order was comparable to a “religious freedom” law the Vice President signed as Governor of Indiana.
Trump’s remarks come just three days before a massive demonstration in Washington, the National Equality March, which protests the rollback of LGBTQ rights under the new administration.
In April, Trump reversed President Barack Obama’s education directive instructing public schools that receive federal funding, to permit transgender students to express their gender identity freely. That measure also allowed transgender pupils to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
In another step backwards, the President defunded, then abolished, the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), and the LGBTQ Affairs office, both White House agencies.
Finally, Trump refused to issue a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month, which Obama did every year of his two terms.
“President Trump’s negligence at the start of Pride Month provided another example that this administration is no friend of the community,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, observed. “While the Trump administration tries to systematically erase LGBTQ families and people from the fabric of this nation, LGBTQ Americans and families must do what we know best–stay visible and march for acceptance.” The White House declined multiple requests for comment on this story.