Mike Pence: Trump will roll back Obama executive orders on ‘day one’

A question mark hangs over executive protections on LGBT rights in the US, after Vice President-elect Mike Pence has reaffirmed plans to repeal Barack Obama’s executive orders en masse on “day one”.

In 2014 President Obama signed an executive order outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors. In 2016 his administration followed up with guidance to schools, urging them not to discriminate against transgender students.

In November, Mike Pence suggested Obama’s actions on LGBT rights may be scrapped so that “the transgender bathroom issue can be resolved with common sense at the local level”.

The VP confirmed today that the Trump administration is still planning a mass repeal of President Obama’s executive orders “on day one”, but failed to specify whether the LGBT rights order would be among them.

He told a press conference: “We laid out an agenda to make America great again and my message is we’re going to keep those promises.

“It’ll literally begin on day one before before the end of the day we do anticipate that the president elect will be in the Oval Office taking action to both repeal executive orders and also set into motion through executive action policies to implement promises that were made on the campaign trail.”

The incoming Vice President hinted only that the axed orders would be “onerous regulations that have been stifling growth”.

Like most of Trump’s appointees, the VP-elect has an extremely poor record on LGBT rights.

A hardline evangelical, the Governor of Indiana stirred up international outrage in 2015 when he signed Indiana’s controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, which gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.

Governor Pence previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy, and earlier this year appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.

An investigation in September found that Pence approved extreme anti-LGBT articles when he was the head of the Indiana Policy Review journal in the 1990s.

In an item published under his editorial tenure in the December 1993 issue, Pence’s journal criticised The Wall Street Journal for taking part in a job fair for gay journalists – suggesting that “gaydom” was a “pathological condition”, and arguing that gay journalists would be biased in their coverage because of their sexuality.

It claimed: “The more extreme of the gay movement consider themselves members of a sexual determined political party.”

Another edition published in 1993 attacked Bill Clinton for reforms to permit closeted gay people to serve in the army.

It claimed: “Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”