Trump Guts Obama Order Protecting LGBT Federal Contractors

“It’s sending a message to these companies that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether they violate the law.”

On Monday, Donald Trump signed an executive order that will allow federal contractors to discriminate against their LGBT employees.

The order revokes three previous orders issued by President Obama, including Executive Order 13673, or “the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order.” Signed in 2014, it required that companies receiving large federal contracts demonstrate they have complied with federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender stereotyping for at least three years.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30:  (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House surrounded by small business leaders January 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump said he will ÒdramaticallyÓ reduce regulations overall with this executive action as it requires that for every new federal regulation implemented, two must be rescinded. (Photo by Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images)
Andrew Harrer, Getty Images

By nullifying EO 13673, “this administration has made it extremely difficult to enforce these federal laws as applied to federal contractors,” Lambda Legal attorney Camilla Taylor told Keen News Service.

“It’s sending a message to these companies that the federal government simply doesn’t care whether or not they violate the law.”

Federal contractors will no longer have to prove they have been compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination based on sex in employment.

The Obama administration had argued that Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination included sexual orientation and gender identity, a definition the Trump administration has been steadily moving away from. As Keen points out, the ADA and Rehabilitation Act are both of concern for the LGBT community, as they prohibit discrimination based on HIV status.

While the new order is a blow to civil liberties, Taylor insists “the substance of the laws are still there,” and that Lambda Legal will fight to ensure employers understand they are still obligated not to discriminate.

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