Legislation is still in the making on LGBT issues in Congress, and many LGBT groups say they’re hopeful that the Trump administration will move quickly on an expansion of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the 2015 LGBT civil rights law.
But it’s unclear if the new president and Congress will be able to pass a new bill on this contentious issue.
“The administration is in a very bad place right now,” said Sarah Gertner, a staff attorney with Lambda Legal, a national LGBT advocacy group.
“There is no indication that it’s going to be passed at the end of this year, and the Trump team has a lot of work to do to get it done.”
Gertners concerns are echoed by advocates on both sides of the issue.
The Human Rights Campaign, which has lobbied for LGBT civil and human rights legislation since the 1990s, released a statement Friday calling ENDA an “important step” in advancing LGBT rights.
But the organization also said it was concerned about the lack of progress on the LGBT agenda in Congress.
“This bill is far from a perfect bill, but it’s a first step,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“It is not enough.
We need a comprehensive and lasting LGBT civil liberties bill that includes protections for transgender Americans, as well as equal pay protections for men and women.”
The LGBT community also said that it would continue to mobilize against the legislation, despite the lack a new president in place.
“President Trump and his allies have not provided a clear path forward on LGBT equality and human dignity,” the HRC statement said.
“That includes rejecting an ENDA that was passed by Congress, instead of following through on a promise to the LGBT community to do better.
That’s why HRC will continue to engage with allies, including the president, to pass the ENDA.”
The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers have signaled they intend to take a hard line on LGBT people, but they have not yet signed onto the ENADA expansion.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that he would sign an executive order on the subject.
But that order was delayed by the Congressional Budget Office, which said the order could create a tax burden on LGBT workers.
Trump also has said that he believes transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, despite legal protections against discrimination.
And he has suggested that transgender people could use public bathrooms that correspond with the gender with which they were born.
“We have to respect our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” Trump said last week.
“If I were a parent and you were going to the bathroom, I’d be the first one out the door.”
But GLAAD and other LGBT groups have said that transgender individuals have the same basic human rights as everyone else, and they say the Trump White House has not taken the same stance on the issue, which includes protections on restroom access.
GLAad’s executive director, Michaela Watkins, said she has met with several administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is also on the White House transition team.
But Watkins said it is unclear if these officials are willing to take the lead on this issue.