On day one of his presidency, Joe Biden has signed the order enforcing the Supreme Court’s decision on LGBTQIA+ workplace equality.
The New York Times reports it was one of 17 orders signed by the incoming president including declarations re-joining the Paris climate agreement, overturning the ban on travel from a handful of Muslim-majority countries, and strengthening the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Them.us reports that LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups have celebrated the decision, which is likely to be followed by a repeal of Trump’s trans military ban.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Equality, said the order is a clear statement on the part of the Biden administration, “that there is no place for discrimination in the federal government”.
“Its a major victory for LGBTQ Americans,” Keisling said in a press release. “Today’s executive order moves us another step toward a day when transgender people can openly live as who they are without being targeted for discrimination.”
According to the fact sheet, the executive order will “direct agencies to take all lawful steps to make sure that federal anti-discrimination statutes that cover sex discrimination prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ persons.”
It’s not just a victory for LGBTQIA+ Americans. As a world leader, how the US treats its minority citizens sets a global example. Prior to the Trump administration, the US was an international voice for human rights, equality and democracy. It can’t credibly take the moral high ground on the word stage while actively disenfranchising its own people.
From the very beginning, Trump attacked and undermined LGBTQIA+ rights in healthcare, employment, education, commerce, the military, the prison system, and sport. He instructed the Department Of Justice to push forward laws in the Supreme Court that would make it legal to fire people for being gay or transgender. He appointed seasoned anti-gay campaigners like Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos to senior positions.
Trump’s stated mission to eliminate homophobia globally was at odds with his own domestic policy.
Now the US can lead by example when it comes to LGBTQIA+ equality, and in doing so encourage the elimination of global homophobia in a powerful and meaningful way.
The Trump “Legacy”
Trump didn’t just betray the LGBTQIA+ community. The outgoing administration has very few accomplishments worth celebrating. It failed to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously, which has cost the USA over 402,000 lives which, in turn, has left the economy weakened: unemployment is high at 8 percent and thousands of small businesses have shut down.
The USA’s leadership role in the world was diminished, with Trump turning his back on longstanding trade and security relationships, particular Europe.
Trump was also a disaster for the Republican Party itself. He lost two popular elections, he lost control of the House Of Representatives in the midterm elections and lost Republican control of the Senate at the end of his presidency.
He leaves the Oval Office as the only president to be impeached twice.
He leaves the party divided by infighting and with questions about its future direction. Will it return to a more traditional Republican Party platform or embrace the far-right conspiracy theories of the Q Anon movement and “Trumpism”?