WH Preparing to Sign Religious Liberty Order Thursday

04 May, 2017, 00:27 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

President Trump is expected to mark Thursday's National Day of Prayer by signing of an executive order on religious liberty, meeting a campaign promise to Christian conservative groups who overwhelmingly supported his election.

Conservative hope arose after a four-page draft copy of a religious freedom order was leaked to the press in early February. One conservative, though, told the Politico the language remains "very, very strong".

Civil rights groups are bracing for President Trump to sign an executive order on religious liberty that they fear will give individuals and organizations a sweeping license to discriminate against women and LGBTQ Americans.

The ACLU said if Trump signs an executive order "that attempts to provide a license to discriminate against women or LGBT people, we will see him in court".

Progressive critics have argued the executive order would allow discrimination against the LGBT community at the federal level.

#LicenseToDiscriminate was trending on Twitter Wednesday afternoon as groups, activists and even politicians rallied in front of the White House to voice their opposition to the order.

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Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said: "The ACLU fights every day to defend religious freedom, but religious freedom does not mean the right to discriminate against or harm others".

In addition to the threats of legal action, over 1,300 left-leaning faith leaders signed a statement condemning the rumored religious freedom order.

The White House has yet to officially confirm the plan, but the administration will host faith leaders on Thursday.

Ira Lupu, a professor emeritus at the George Washington University Law School and an expert on the Constitution's religion clauses, said that the language of the draft "might invite federal employees...to refuse on religious grounds to process applications or respond to questions from those whose benefits depend on same sex marriages". Other problematic features were that entities that believed that an "individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy" and "that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life", were covered under the religious freedom order.

The executive order would also establish a new bureau to protect "religious freedom", within the Justice Department.

Stutzman said she was exercising her First Amendment rights, but the court held that her floral arrangements do not constitute protected free speech, and that providing flowers to a same-sex wedding would not serve as an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

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