The latest directive coming out of the Trump administration that has Christian conservatives rejoicing and LGBT activists furious reveals the predictable challenge of a president who promised to advocate for two groups that very often have opposing interests.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a sweeping directive to agencies to do as much as possible to accommodate Americans who say their religious freedoms are being violated. But critics say that move may be undercutting protections for LGBT people.
The move is President Trump's latest attempt to deliver to the 80 percent of white evangelicals who backed him in the general election and who still mostly have favorable views of him despite him receiving record low approval ratings in general. From the Associated Press:
Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override concerns for the civil rights of LGBT people and anti-discrimination protections for women and others. The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.
But gay rights activists are concerned about the decision and point to it as the latest example of a president uninterested in protecting the rights of LGBT Americans.
“The Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said. “This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump's cynical and hateful agenda will enable systematic, governmentwide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families.”
“Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backward. We will fight them every step of the way,” he added.