FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 14, 2016
CONTACT: Kristofer Eisenla, LUNA+EISENLA media
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – Equality Forum, the nation’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights summit, called Donald Trump’s announcement of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice-presidential running mate “deeply troubling for LGBT Americans.”
“The selection of anti-gay crusader Gov. Mike Pence, along with the homophobic Republican party platform and a deafening silence on the LGBT Equality Act completes a trifecta of hate from Donald Trump on LGBT rights,” said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum. “Although Trump claims he’s a ‘friend’ of the LGBT community, his rhetoric is in direct contrast to his actions which are deeply troubling and sends chills down the backs of 20 million LGBT Americans and to those who believe in civil rights for all citizens.”
Governor Mike Pence has a long history of opposing the rights of LGBT people. During his time in Congress, Pence co-sponsored a constitutional amendment opposing the rights of same-sex couples to marry, and voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), hate crimes legislation protecting LGBT people and repeal of the military’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
In March 2015, Governor Pence signed a bill into law permitting business owners in Indiana to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers due to their religious beliefs. The bill was widely condemned by athletes, business owners and corporate America, leading to public condemnation and business pulling out projects in the state because of the bill’s discriminatory nature.
Background on Trump’s refusal to state if he support or opposes the Equality Act:
The Equality Forum sent a letter dated June 14, 2016 to the Donald J. Trump for President’s New York and Alexandria, Virginia campaign offices requesting the candidate’s position on the Equality Act, asking, “Does Mr. Trump support or oppose the passage of the Equality Act?”
To date, the Trump campaign has not responded.
“Mr. Trump’s campaign is in part based on his asserted willingness to tell it like it is. He claims that he is not a hater,” continued Lazin. “For an estimated 20 million LGBT Americans, the Equality Act would protect them in their daily lives and its passage would send a historic message that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will not be tolerated by our federal government.”
The Equality Act, a bipartisan bill was introduced last year in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the judicial system.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has pledged her support for the Equality Act.
In the letter, Equality Forum noted that Mr. Trump’s stated in response to the Orlando massacre that he is a “real friend” of the LGBT community.
"By not responding to whether he supports or opposes the Equality Act, Mr. Trump lacks the backbone and appears to contradict his claim to be a better friend to the gay community than the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. If these assumptions are inaccurate, we call on Mr. Trump to tell American voters whether he supports or opposes the Equality Act,” Mr. Lazin concluded.
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About the Equality Forum
Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit.
Equality Forum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to advance national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights through education. For more information on the Equality Forum, please visit: www.equalityforum.com