A leaked copy of President Trump’s “religious freedom” order legalizes discrimination against LGBT people.
The draft of the executive order entitled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom” was acquired by The Nation and The Investigative Fund. The four-page draft reveals staggering plans by President Trump to purportedly legalize discrimination in America.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) February 2, 2017
The draft order seeks to exempt people and organizations who assert moral or religious objections to premarital sex, same-sex marriage, trans identity and abortion. It also goes ahead to impede women’s access to contraception and abortion via the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, the order allows private companies not to be coerced into providing contraceptive coverage for their employees. It also permits tax-excused entities to comment on political or moral issues from a religious standpoint without fear of retribution.
The draft order which is currently making the rounds across federal staffers and advocacy organizations interprets religious organizations expansively and covers every organization, including “closely held for-profit corporations,” and encourages “religious freedom” in every facet of American life, “when providing social services, education or healthcare, earning a living, seeking a job, employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal or local governments.”
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) February 2, 2017
White House staffers have tried to downplay the effects of the executive order. Press Secretary, Sean Spicer told reporters that there were a lot of executive orders in the pipeline, adding that the religious freedom order, may or may not be issued. White House spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking to ABC News, pointed out that the Trump administration had no intention to push forward any orders at present.
Surprisingly, a draft copy of the religious freedom order began making the rounds Tuesday. Hours after the White House issued a statement that the president would not repeal LGBTQ protections, the former president had put in place. LGBTQ activists are saying that President Trump may have upheld Obama’s order, but has created an executive order that surpasses it, thereby nullifying the pre-existing protections for LGBTQ people. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin described the order far worse than initially feared.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) January 31, 2017
“The leaked draft of Donald Trump’s License to Discriminate order is sweeping and dangerous. It reads like a wish list from some of the most radical anti-equality activists…it seems this White House is poised to wildly expand anti-LGBTQ discrimination across all facets of the government…If Donald Trump goes through with even a fraction of this order, he reveals himself as a true enemy of the LGBTQ people.”
Legal experts believe the draft order may go above the authority of the executive branch if passed. Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center argued that by extending protections to a specific set of religious beliefs, the order violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
“The exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations. It would be astonishing if the Office of Legal Counsel certifies the legality of this blunderbuss order.”
— julie (@f750611a4c3a485) February 2, 2017
According to the Inquisitr, religious conservatives were not happy when the White House announced that it would maintain President Obama’s LGBTQ executive order. Religious groups have long since argued that Obama’s policies constricted their freedom and forced them to provide services to people that conflicted their religious beliefs. Mallory Quigley, communications director for social conservative Susan Anthony List, pointed out that the new president was simply delivering on electoral promises. He added that many pro-life movements had been hard done by the Obama-era.
“It is an expectation of the pro-life movement that the Trump administration would provide for the Little Sisters of Poor and others who have had their conscience rights violated by Obamacare. This would certainly be in keeping with the priorities that the administration has already laid out.”
[Featured Image by Efrem Lukatsky/AP Images]