US Vice President Mike Pence addressed why the executive order protecting LGBTI people in the workplace has not been rescinded by President Donald Trump.
‘I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration,’ Pence said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday (5 February).
‘He was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him.’
There were reports last week that Trump planned strike down President Barack Obama’s previous order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Reportedly First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner – a senior advisor in The White House – played a role in stopping the reversal and were in favor of issuing a statement to end mounting speculation and protests.
But then a draft of a sweeping ‘religious freedom’ executive order making it legal to discriminate against LGBTI people and others surfaced.
It was quickly denounced by LGBTI groups and The White House said Trump had no plans to sign such an order ‘at this time.
Pence was asked about it on The Week and said: ‘I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot’s heart, there’s no room for prejudice, is part of who this president is.’
But he said Trump remains committed to repealing the Johnson Amendment which he said has ‘put a chilling effect on free speech in religious institutions around the country.’
The amendment is a provision in the US tax code that prohibits non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
Pence has a staunch LGBTI record as a governor and as a member of the US Congress.
He supports conversion therapy, as a way to ‘change sexual behavior’, a dangerous and harmful practice condemned by mainstream health groups across the entire world.
Pence voted for the Marriage Protection Amendment in 2006, a law that would have stopped marriage equality nationwide.
He had said being gay is a ‘choice’ and that preventing gay couples from marrying was not discrimination, but a means of enforcing ‘God’s idea.’
And in 2007, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a law to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
He said the law ‘wages war on freedom and religion in the workplace.’