In contrast to other recent remarks, Donald Trump said on Thursday progress on gay rights would continue under his administration and cast himself as a uniter of people regardless of their views on the issue.
Trump made the remarks in New Hampshire just days before the state’s primary in an interview with New England Cable News’s Sue O’Connell, who’s also publisher of the Boston-based LGBT newspaper Bay Windows.
O’Connell, a lesbian, asked Trump if the country can look for more “forward motion” on gay and lesbian rights if he’s elected to the White House.
“Well, you can,” Trump answered. ” And look, again, we’re going to bring people together, and thats your thing and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together and if we don’t we’re not going to have a country anymore.”
It’s hard to say what kind of forward progress would happen on LGBT rights under a Trump administration. In a 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump said he supports amending federal civil rights law to include sexual orientation. Although Trump has said in this election cycle companies shouldn’t fire people for being gay, but hasn’t said whether he still supports amending federal law to achieve that goal or whether he would also support protections for transgender people.
Meanwhile, Trump has signaled qualified support for the First Amendment Defense Act, federal religious freedom legislation seen to enable to anti-LGBT discrimination. An opponent of same-sex marriage, Trump said on Sunday he would consider appointing justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse the ruling in favor of marriage equality.
Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, said the remarks reveal a glimmer of hope Trump would be a friend to LGBT people in the White House.
“As I’ve long said, putting all else aside — and with Donald Trump, that can, at times, be a herculean task — there is a legitimate case to be made that Donald Trump would be an ally to the LGBT community as President of the United States,” Angelo said. “Trump confirmed that today.”