House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) celebrated “National Coming Out Day” today by releasing a statement accusing President Donald Trump’s administration of engaging in a “malicious” campaign against LGBTs.
“Sadly, we celebrate this day while the Trump Administration engages in a mean-spirited and malicious campaign against LGBT Americans,” Pelosi said in her official “National Coming Out Day” statement. “The White House’s ‘License to Discriminate’ guidelines are the latest assault on the rights of the LGBT community and open the floodgates to cruel, immoral discrimination against vulnerable Americans.”
The “License to Discriminate” guidelines Pelosi refers to are presumably the guidelines on religious freedom that Attorney General Jeff Sessions released on Friday. The Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as “the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization,” has labeled these religious freedom guidelines a “license to discriminate.”
“HRC strongly condemned the Trump-Pence administration’s decision to carry out a sweeping ‘license to discriminate’ that puts millions of LGBTQ Americans at risk of discrimination,” the HRC said on its website.
Sessions issued the guidelines under the direction of an Executive Order that President Trump issued in May.
One of the guidelines issued by Sessions says: “Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking in the public square, or interacting with government.”
“Constitutional protections for religious liberty are not conditioned upon the willingness of a religious person or organization to remain separate from civil society,” the guidelines continue. “Although application of the relevant protections may differ in different contexts, individuals and organizations do not give up their religious-liberty protections by providing or receiving social services, education, or healthcare; by seeking to earn or earning a living; by employing others to do the same; by receiving government grants or contracts; or by otherwise interacting with federal, state, or local governments.”
“Each National Coming Out Day, we celebrate the incredible progress the LGBT community has made to ensure that full equality is shared by all, no matter who they are or whom they love. Today, we also reaffirm our support for the men and women still living in the shadows and pledge to work toward a future where all are free to live their authentic lives.
“Sadly, we celebrate this day while the Trump Administration engages in a mean-spirited and malicious campaign against LGBT Americans. The White House’s ‘License to Discriminate’ guidelines are the latest assault on the rights of the LGBT community and open the floodgates to cruel, immoral discrimination against vulnerable Americans. These attacks make passage of the Equality Act even more urgent. All people have the right to be safe from bigotry, and to have justice under the law.
“In the courts, in state legislatures and in Congress, Democrats will fight relentlessly for the rights of all Americans to live full and honest lives. On this National Coming Out Day, we honor the courage of Americans around the country who overcame incredible hardship to live with pride, and we renew our pledge to stand by and protect all members of the LGBT community.”