Trump’s “religious liberty” executive order is meant to legalize anti-LGBT discrimination — and may be unconstitutional

From Salon:

New order will likely grant broad rights to refuse service or jobs to LGBT people or women who have had abortions

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The religious right boosted the thrice-married, porn-loving, pussy-grabbing Donald Trump into the White House and now it appears they are going to get paid. Politico has reported that on Thursday, which is the National Day of Prayer, Trump will likely sign a “religious liberty” executive order intended to grant broad rights to religious conservatives to discriminate against LGBT people and women perceived to be sexually immoral.

The scare quotes around “religious liberty” are deliberate. If this executive order is anything like the one leaked to The Nation in February, then it has nothing to do with religious liberty, as the term is commonly understood. In fact, the leaked executive order seems to violate the First Amendment, in that it privileges one set of religious beliefs — those of fundamentalist Christians — over all others.

The original draft of the executive order covered “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations” or any individuals “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”

This broad category of people would be allowed to discriminate, under the guise of religion, against LGBT people or women who want or have used reproductive health services, such as abortion or some forms of contraception. Sarah Posner of The Nation explained:

Language in the draft document specifically protects the tax-exempt status of any organization that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”

“This isn’t about religious liberty at all,” said Camilla Taylor, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, in a phone interview. “It’s a thinly veiled assault on LGBT people and anyone who needs reproductive health care,” said Taylor, referring to the draft order that had been leaked in February.

t’s possible, and even likely, that the White House has tried to update the new executive order in the hopes that it will be stand up to a court challenge. But that’s a move that’s been seen before from this administration when it came to assaults on First Amendment rights. When it was clear that Trump’s first “Muslim travel ban,” which was clearly an attempt to discriminate against people based on religious beliefs, would fail in court, the administration slapped together a new one with a few tweaks meant to make the bigotry less overt. Trump’s second travel ban does not seem to be passing muster in the courts either, though the matter is still in litigation.

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