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Trump vows to keep Obama-era protection for LGBT federal workers

By Jennifer Epstein Bloomberg

President Donald Trump intends to maintain an Obama-era executive order aimed at protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender federal workers and contractors from workplace discrimination, the White House said Tuesday.

Trump “is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” according to the statement.

The statement was issued after reports Monday on news websites and social media that a draft order was circulating in Washington that would have repealed action taken in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama that applied to all federal agencies as well as to 24,000 companies with federal contracts that employ 28 million people, a fifth of the U.S. workforce.

Protections on the basis of sexual orientation for federal employees were already in place when Obama expanded them to include gender identity and to also require all federal contractors to have policies barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He chose not to include an exemption for employers affiliated with religious groups, something that Trump could still decide to add.

The reports on Monday also suggested that the Trump administration was considering an order that would have allowed federal employees to refuse to serve LGBT people; given federally funded adoption agencies the option of discriminating against LGBT parents; and allowed taxpayer funds to go toward social services programs that discriminate against LGBT people.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked Monday if the administration had plans for executive actions that would cut into LGBT rights.

“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.”

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