Senior Republican: Trump has given me ‘assurances’ he will axe Obama’s LGBT rights protections

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A senior Republican has confirmed that the Trump administration is still planning to roll back Barack Obama’s executive orders on LGBT rights.

President Obama last year signed an executive order outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors. Earlier this year his administration followed up with guidance to schools, urging them not to discriminate against transgender students.

The Trump administration, which says it plans to axe many of Obama’s executive orders, has declined to say whether the measures will see the axe, though VP-elect Mike Pence said previously that he would repeal them so that “the transgender bathroom issue can be resolved with common sense at the local level”.

A senior Republican who previously led the efforts to attack the executive orders in Congress has now confirmed the intention.

Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell had previously attached an amendment to the crucial National Defense Authorization Act that would effectively usurp Obama’s order,  giving federal contractors a license to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious beliefs.

However, after the Russell Amendment was stripped from the law at the eleventh hour, Russell told Buzzfeed he expected the issue to be solved by the incoming administration instead.

He said: “These issues will be resolved, and we have gotten some very good assurances moving forward. I am certainly encouraged by the signs that I am getting from the administration that is inbound.”

He added that he has “gotten very positive signals” from the Trump transition team” on the issue, though refused to be drawn on specifics.

As Obama’s LGBT rights protections were affirmed using executive powers without legislation from Congress, the next President would be equally able to revoke them using executive powers.

Given the anti-LGBT voices crowding the Trump administration’s cabinet, it is likely the President will face internal pressure to act on the issue.