President Donald Trump will sign a new “religious liberty” order on Thursday, according to the Politico website. Many believe the order will allow for open discrimination against LGBT people and other groups.
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, and the White House will host several religious right leaders. Trump is expected to present the new order at that time, although sources within the administration said the language of the bill was still undergoing scrutiny by a legal team.
An early draft of the order was posted online by The Nation back in February. The magazine said the order appeared to provide protection from anti-discrimination laws for those who morally or religiously object to abortion, pre-marital sex, gay marriage or transgender identity. It also sought to block women from obtaining birth control and abortion through Obamacare.
The most disturbing part of the draft was the broad definition of “religious organization.” The wording at that time would make it possible for anyone to practice “religious freedom” at any level of life, including work, health care, social services and any dealings with the government.
The Trump administration has never admitted the order actually exists, but Ken Blackwell, who worked on the president’s transition team and is a religious rights activist, said the order is definitely on the way. The National Organization of Marriage also encouraged the order.
If the order is issued with the original wording intact, it would have similarities to the pending First Amendment Defense Act, which would essentially legalize discrimination.
The American Civil Liberties Union responded with a press release, stating that it would take the president to court and fight the order. It further said that while it defends religious freedom, the definition of that freedom should not include discrimination.
Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and president of GLAAD, denounced the order and said if it is issued with the same language as February’s reported draft, it would provide a “national license to discriminate” and place people’s lives in danger. She added that Trump is creating a situation where children could be denied medical care if a doctor does not approve of the parent’s relationship. She concluded by saying the order is un-American.