Trump’s proposed religious freedom order could legalize discrimina


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

~The Grio

A leaked draft of a Trump administration executive order, called “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” outlines President Donald Trump’s plans to view corporations and organizations as being covered under religious freedom.

The order, according to The Nation, defines religious organizations so broadly that they include “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” and states “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.”

The draft seeks to claim exemptions for those organizations that object to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it would also block access to birth control and abortion for women under the Affordable Care Act.

“This executive 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,” said Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom.

“Moreover,” he continued, “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.”

While the White House would not respond to questions about whether or not an order on religious freedom was being drafted,  Sean Spicer told reporters, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”

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