Surprise, Surprise: Trump Opposes the Equality Act

The bill, up for a full House vote this week, would grant federal non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community.

President Donald Trump opposes the Equality Act, which would grant federal non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, according to a senior administration official.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the official told the Washington Blade.

equality act
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

As the publication notes, this somewhat contradicts a statement he made in 2000, in an interview with The Advocate, where he said he would be in favor of adding sexual orientation as a protected class to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, calling it “only fair.”

The Equality Act would also include protections for transgender people, whom the administration has targeted in schools, prisons, the workplace, and the armed forces, and would not allow for a religious carve-out that would permit discrimination so long as the person or entity could cite a faith-based reason for their discriminatory actions.

The Trump administration has made it clear it stands on the side of allowing such loopholes that would grant a license to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. It has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of those wishing to discriminate in the name of their religion, and formed a “religious liberty task force” last year. Trump also signed religious freedom executive orders in both 2017 and 2018.

The Equality Act is scheduled for a full House vote on Friday, after passing through the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, with all the Democrats voting in favor and all the Republicans voting against. If it passes in the House, it will move on to a much less favorable Senate, which is controlled by the GOP.

“We’re disgusted, but certainly not surprised, by Donald Trump’s announcement that he opposes the Equality Act, which is supported by seven in ten Americans and more than two hundred major businesses,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

“By opposing this common sense civil rights legislation, Donald Trump is ensuring that LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired or denied housing in a majority of states. The LGBTQ community, and all Americans for that matter, deserve a president with the courage and decency to sign this bill into law, and we will continue the urgent work to pass the Equality Act and replace Donald Trump with a pro-equality president who will sign it into law.”

Journalist, editor, and artist.