After the Trump administration scrapped an executive order that would have discriminated against LGBTQ individuals, it seems they headed back to the drawing board to conjure up something even more vile — as impossible as that may seem.
However, with a vehement homophobe such as Vice-President Mike Pence at his side, you can’t really be duped into believing that Trump or his administration even remotely cares about the LGBTQ community.
The newest executive order under construction by the Trump administration will tap the support of the religious alt-right. And with them in his corner, Trump will seemingly have enough support to ignore the outcry of people distraught over the fact that millions of Americans will soon have their basic human rights infringed upon.
A draft of the order was obtained by The Nation and similar news outlets, and is titled Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom.
Honestly, that says it all. It’s not even like they’re trying to conceal their bigotry anymore. “Religious freedom” has been co-opted by the far-right in their efforts to infringe upon the rights of those they disagree with. But remember, it’s all because “God” told them to!
The four-page draft is currently under review by federal staff and advocacy organizations, but “seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.”
Although it fails to specifically mention Christianity, it’s obvious where its intent lies. Language within the draft protects 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.”
Essentially, the order makes it blatantly clear that LGBTQ individuals would be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, and women’s reproductive rights would fall second to those of an unborn fetus, all because “religious freedom” apparently trumps the basic human rights of women and LGBTQ persons.
According to The Nation, legal experts say the order may exceed the authority of the executive branch. Moreover, by protecting Christian religious beliefs, the order would risk violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
According to Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University’s law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom, the order “would appear to require agencies to provide extensive exemptions from a staggering number of federal laws – without regard to whether such laws substantially burden religious exercise. Moreover, the exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions, as well, because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations.”
This executive order expands the definition of “religious freedom” to mean anything for anyone, and Lederman says he’d be shocked if the Office of Legal Counsel certified the order.
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