A coalition of leaders from civil rights groups protested Wednesday in Lafayette Park in anticipation of President Trump signing a “religious freedom” executive order that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
LGBT rights advocates, civil rights leaders and lawmakers called the executive order Trump’s latest attempt at targeting minority communities following his actions seeking to bar U.S. entry to immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and expel undocumented immigrants from the United States.
Speakers at the event included Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a former White House LGBT liaison under the Obama administration, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey and Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president of external affairs at the Center for American Progress.
The lawmakers in attendance were Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), known for his support for LGBT rights, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who attended the protest after introducing the Equality Act in the U.S. Senate on the previous day.
“When you go into a business and you open your door in America, you open your door to everyone,” Merkley said. “You don’t get to slam the door shut because of a color of person’s skin, you don’t get to slam the door shut because of their gender, and here in America, we need to make sure that you can’t just slam the door shut because of who a person is or who they love.”