GLSEN Statement on Religious Exemptions Executive Order

Religious Exemptions Executive Order

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GLSEN Statement on Leaked Religious Exemptions Executive Order Draft

NEW YORK (February 2, 2017) – GLSEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, released the following statement in response to the leaked release of a drafted sweeping executive order on religious exemptions that would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) people. Dr. Byard is available today for interviews.

“This executive order does not increase freedom of religion; rather, it creates a license to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, women and other groups.

"The dangerous and overly broad language of the draft executive order leaked to the public would leave basic rights at the personal discretion of others, and undermine the crucial safeguards against discrimination that have created opportunities for at-risk youth.

"On Monday, Donald Trump said he would not discriminate against LGBTQ people, but if this leaked executive order draft is real, it's current wording would allow health and counseling professionals to deny LGBTQ youth life-saving services, and it would allow school leaders to force some students to use separate and unequal facilities and deny them equal educational opportunities. LGBTQ educators could lose their jobs because of who they are, who they love or who they married. 

“In his speech today at the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump stated his goal is an America where ‘all of our citizens can feel safe and secure’ and ‘our most vulnerable citizens have a path to success.’ This executive order would do completely the opposite for millions of Americans.

"These are not the ideals or values our country was founded upon. We call on President Trump to live up to his promises to the LGBTQ community and protect LGBTQ youth by not broadening any religious exemptions already legally allowed to religious organizations. We are part of the American family, too."



GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN’s expertise to their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit