A number of LGBT elected officials have signed an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump expressing concerns about his Cabinet picks and asking him to ensure that progress on LGBT rights will not be reversed.
The letter, circulated by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, urges Trump to respect the LGBT community and push for legislation and policies that will advance LGBT equality.
Among the signatories are U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), as well as 154 mayors, state legislators, city councilmembers, and other elected officials from across the country.
“LGBT elected officials are unified and promising to use their positions of power to drive equality at every level of government. This unprecedented solidarity aims to reassure our community — at a time when many are understandably concerned — that our issues remain a priority, and they will strategize new ways to work across jurisdictions to protect and expand our rights,” Aisha Moodie-Mills, the president and CEO of the Victory Institute, said in a statement.
After congratulating the president-elect on his victory, the officials implore Trump to “deescalate the hostility and intolerance expressed by a small but vocal minority throughout the election season.”
“We believe in an America that values and accepts everyone, and a country that strives to improve quality of life for all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. These principles are what distinguish America in an often-troubled world — they are what make America great,” the letter reads. “And it is the elected leadership of our nation that determines whether our government embodies or undermines those ideals. It is elected leaders like ourselves — from the U.S. president to city councilmembers — that either appeal to the better angels of our fellow Americans, or use fear and rancor to spur unproductive discord.”
The officials express concern over the message that the president-elect appears to be sending by nominating people who have largely opposed advancements in LGBT rights. Revisiting the LGBT accomplishments achieved under President Obama, the officials ask Trump not to reverse course.
“Mr. President-elect, our nation will be weaker if LGBT military personnel are prevented from serving openly and equally. America will be worse off if discrimination protections for LGBT government employees or students are revoked,” the letter reads. “The entire country will suffer if there is a national attempt to implement ‘religious exemptions’ that allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers. And the world will be a darker place without America speaking against anti-LGBT violence and injustices abroad.
“We sincerely hope you aim to be a president for all Americans — including LGBT Americans of every race, ethnicity, gender and religion. As representatives of the LGBT community, we will hold your administration accountable for actions that infringe upon our rights and opportunities, and will oppose presidential appointees who denigrate or harm our community. But we much prefer to work with you to continue the incredible progress toward LGBT equality — to have you stand with us on the right side of history.”
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