Gay rights group blasts Trump administration over discrimination guideline change

The Trump administration’s track record with LGBTQ Americans has recently come under fire from advocacy groups amid reports that the Department of Interior removed “sexual orientation” from its anti-discrimination guidelines.

The Department of Interior appears to have removed “sexual orientation” from the agency’s 2017 ethics guide regarding workplace discrimination, which currently reads: “You shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age or handicap.”

The version that the Obama administration issued in 2009 included those words, the Huffington Post reported last month.

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An Interior spokeswoman said the department was still complying with an interpretation that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies anti-discrimination rules on the basis of "sex" to LGBTQ workers.

“Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under Title VII the term ‘sex’ includes gender, gender identity, transgender status, sexual orientation, and pregnancy,” the spokeswoman told The Huffington Post.

But Chris Sgro, the senior vice president of communications at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), told Fox News that this “latest attack” by the president and his administration was “disappointing, but not a surprise.”

He said the move sends a dangerous message to LGBTQ federal employees and could impact the November presidential elections.

It's absolutely common sense that people should be protected in employment at federal agencies from being fired just because they're gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender,” said Sgro. “So, for the Department of the Interior that employs tens of thousands of folks all across this country, to strip out that protection is dangerous.”

Sgro described the removal of the term from the anti-discrimination guidelines as the latest step to go after LGBTQ rights.

He said it began by stripping all mentions of the LGBTQ community from the White House website within hours of President Trump taking office.

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Sgro said these efforts continued with the administration’s move to restrict transgender men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces.

“Donald Trump defied bipartisan support in Congress for transgender troops bravely serving in our military,” said Sgro. “He defied nearly every service branch chief when he tweeted that cruel order to kick trans people out of the military, so he has spent his time in office attacking the most marginalized people within the LGBTQ community, and that's the transgender community.”

The White House did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment on the administration’s track record on LGBTQ issues.

However, the president did recognize Pride Month last year, touting his administration's campaign to get other countries to decriminalize homosexuality.

"As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison, or even execute individuals ... on the basis of their sexual orientation. My Administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and invite all nations to join us in this effort!" he tweeted.

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Sgro warned, though, that the administration's other actions could hurt at the ballot box.

This is not just an immoral stand that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are taking against our community,” explained Sgro. “It's also one that's going to be a losing one at the ballot box come November.

Emily DeCiccio is a video producer and reporter for Fox News Digital Originals. Tweet her @EmilyDeCiccio.