President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order that effectively guts a 2014 executive order signed by then-President Barack Obama barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.
The order, titled the Presidential Executive Order on the Revocation of Federal Contracting Executive Orders, revokes the requirement that federal contractors prove they've complied with federal laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The regulations in the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order have yet to take effect due to an ongoing lawsuit filed last year by a Texas association of builders and contractors.
Claudia Center, a disability rights attorney with the ACLU, told NBC News that the new order sends a message that the Trump administration will look the other way at noncompliance.
"It definitely sends a message that this administration does not prioritize these laws, or think that investigating compliance is important," Center said
In January, the White House denied rumors that it was planning to reverse Obama's order.
"President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community," the White House said in a statement. "President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump."
Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal told NBC News that without enforcement such protections are meaningless.
"The threat of loss of a federal contract is an incredibly powerful way of making sure companies follow the law," Taylor said.
Ironically, Obama for years resisted pressure to sign such an order, saying that a law was more durable and less likely to be reversed by a future president opposed to LGBT rights.