After being named a top presidential candidate in 2020, then-candidate Donald Trump was asked about his plan to legalize same-sex marriage.
In a September 20, 2020, interview on Fox News, Trump answered, “I’m for it.
It’s the best thing that ever happened to marriage.
It just changed the whole game.
We have so many great marriages going on now.”
In a second Fox News interview the following month, Trump reiterated his support for marriage equality.
“We’re going to have a very big marriage movement,” he said.
“The best marriage movement that ever took place in the history of the world.
It has the greatest, the most amazing, the greatest marriage.”
“I am for marriage,” Trump continued.
“I think it’s very important.
I think it is very important.”
In January 2021, Trump signed a controversial executive order to allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian employees.
The Trump administration argued that the policy is necessary to protect workers from discrimination and protect business owners from having to pay employees less than heterosexual employees.
It was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the administration to block the order, arguing that it violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which protects people’s rights to free speech and assembly.
In February 2021, the Trump Justice Department filed a brief in a federal district court arguing that the government’s actions violate the 14-year-old Civil Rights Act, which bars racial discrimination and prohibits unlawful retaliation against employees.
At the time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would challenge the executive order and argued that it would not be constitutional.
In June 2021, Sessions joined with four other Justice Department lawyers to write a brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
In the brief, the Justice department argued that Trump’s order violated the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) anti-discrimination protections, and argued the order could not be enforced in court because the government was not using the statute to enforce its discrimination claims.
The brief was issued just days after Sessions was confirmed as attorney general.
Sessions’ opinion did not address the EEOC’s claims against Trump and the administration did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
On May 10, 2021, in a meeting with the heads of religious institutions, Trump again expressed his support of same-, same-gender marriage.
“You can be married in a church.
It can be in a temple,” Trump said.
After the White House did not issue a statement on the issue, a number of religious leaders and gay rights advocates released a statement, saying that they supported Trump’s “commitment to full inclusion” for all people.
“President Trump’s support of marriage equality and his strong advocacy for equal treatment for all Americans have been instrumental in making this a reality,” said David Gandy, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign.
“In the coming days, we will have to wait for the Department of Justice’s final decision on whether to take this case, and we will work closely with all concerned to ensure this case is properly decided.”
After the Trump Administration released its opinion, LGBT rights advocates, who had been pressuring the administration for months to clarify its position, started receiving death threats and other harassing phone calls.
On June 1, 2021—the same day that the Trump-Sessions White House brief was filed—the White House released a new brief that included an appeal to the Court of Appeal of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court.
The new brief argued that because the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the EEoc’s claims, the order did not violate the Equal Access Clause of Title VII of the Civil Rights Code.
“For all the years of debate over the constitutionality of the Trump Executive Order, the Court’s decisions and precedents make clear that the order does not violate federal anti-discriminatory laws or the Equal Coverage Clause of this Act,” the brief said.
It continued, “The Executive Order does not create any new rights for individuals, nor does it change the law on the ground of sex.
It is a mere clarification of longstanding protections for individuals.”
On June 2, 2021 the Trump White House issued a second brief that stated the Trump order did, in fact, violate the EEO’s anti-Discrimination Clause.
In its brief, White House Counsel Don McGahn argued that “Trump’s executive order, as interpreted by the courts, is not a discriminatory action and therefore cannot be enforced by the EE Department.”
A federal judge sided with the White Senate.
On July 2, 2020—two days before Trump was sworn in as president—the U.C.L.A. filed a lawsuit against the Trump’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in federal court in New York, seeking to have the Trump executive order declared invalid.
The complaint, filed in April 2021, was the first legal