President Donald Trump and his administration are expected to come out in opposition to the Equality Act, which would bar discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, a senior administration official told the Washington Blade on Monday.
“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 senior administration official told The Blade’s Chris Johnson. The House is expected to vote on the Equality Act as soon as Friday. The administration will likely issue an official statement on the bill in tandem with the bill reaching the floor of the House (it’s not as likely that the Act will reach a full vote in the Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell).
The Equality Act, or H.R. 5, would provide protections nationwide on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation against discrimination in employment, schools, credit, housing, and public accommodations, and federally funded programs. The bill would also codify certain anti-discrimination protections for women and would extend discrimination protections for people of color.
In a statement, HRC President Chad Griffin said the organization was “disgusted, but certainly not surprised” by the news of Trump’s opposition to the Equality Act. Citing the majority of voters who say LGBTQ+ people deserve equal rights and protections under the law, Griffin added, “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.”
Currently 26 states have no specific protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which means LGBTQ+ people could be fired, treated unfairly in schools, or barred from public services because of their identities, with little to no legal recourse. Meanwhile, attempts to bar discrimination against LGBTQ+ people through federal laws have gone unsuccessful for decades.
It’s likely that Trump will use the new party line that LGBTQ+ people do need protection against discrimination (he said as much to The Advocate in 2000), but that protecting transgender people, in particular, will violate privacy and access to spaces for cisgender women.