The Trump administration said it will keep Barack Obama's executive orders that instituted workplace protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, USA Today reports. In recent days, concern from LGBTQ rights groups had risen as drafts of executive orders to roll back these protections on the grounds of religious freedom reportedly made their way around Washington.
"The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump," the Trump administration said on Tuesday. In the statement, the White House mentioned that Trump "is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression."
Despite the assurances that discrimination will not be allowed through executive order, Trump has been vocal in his support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prevent the federal government from taking punitive action against individuals, businesses, and institutions that believe "marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman." Such a bill or a "religious freedom" executive order would give anyone a means of completely ignoring the protective order on religious grounds.
Trump has pledged to sign the bill if it is passed through Congress. A statement on the Trump-Pence campaign website reads, "If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths."
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have both said that they plan to introduce the bill this year. Trump's Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, whose final confirmation hearing and vote will take place on Tuesday, has also been an ardent supporter of the First Amendment Defense Act and was one of the bill's original sponsors.