Post submitted by Brian McBride, former HRC Digital Strategist
(hint: it wasn’t pretty)
This Thursday, President Trump is expected to sign a highly controversial and extremely dangerous executive order targeting the LGBTQ community, women, religious minorities, and possibly communities of color.
This ‘license to discriminate’ order would allow hospitals, child welfare providers, and other taxpayer-funded entities to discriminate against certain groups of people just because of who they are and who they love.
If this abhorrent proposal sounds familiar -- that’s because it is.
In 2015, then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence signed a state bill into law targeting LGBTQ people that encouraged widespread discrimination from medical providers, child welfare providers, businesses, government officials and taxpayer-funded entities. The backlash from the business community and voters was swift, and Pence soon became a national disgrace.
Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for Indiana’s economy and reputation. Indianapolis’s non-profit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue. And polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the law was bad for the state’s economy, and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed it.
Following the embarrassing fallout, his approval ratings tanked with voters and Pence decided not to run for re-election. Yet, his appalling record on LGBTQ equality won him a place on the ticket with Trump as his running mate. Now, Pence has been working behind the scenes at the White House to push his own disgraced values onto the national stage.
“The Constitution already protects the ability to exercise one’s religion,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “What our Constitution does not permit is wielding religion as a weapon of discrimination against someone else, particularly with taxpayer funds.”
Already, more than 50 percent of Americans live in an area of the U.S. where LGBTQ people are at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are -- and two-thirds of LGBTQ people report having faced such discrimination in their lives.