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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 3, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 05
Trump wants to allow discrimination on religious grounds

The Nation publishes leaked anti-LGBT order
Section One
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Trump wants to allow discrimination on religious grounds

The Nation publishes leaked anti-LGBT order

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Nation magazine has published a document it says is a leaked draft of an executive order intended to curtail LGBT rights and reproductive choice.

'The draft order 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,' The Nation reports.

'The White House did not respond to requests for comment, but when asked Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was in the works, White House spokesman 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.'

The revelation comes only 48 hours after the Trump administration announced that it would retain President Obama's executive order requiring companies that do business with the federal government to have nondiscrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The purpose of the leaked order seems to be the creation of a huge carve-out for religious convictions similar to the so-called 'First Amendment Defense Act' (FADA) being promoted by congressional Republicans.

Legal experts contacted by The Nation described the changes contained in the draft executive order as 'sweeping' and 'staggering.'

If enacted, the order may exceed the president's authority, they warned. It may also violate the First Amendment by extending protection to only one particular set of religious beliefs.

'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,' Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, told The Nation.

The exemptions, Lederman said, could themselves violate federal law or license individuals and private parties to violate federal law.

'Moreover,' he added, '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.'

The leaked draft defines 'religious exercise' as 'any act or refusal to act that is motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the act is required or compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.'

The Nation worried that the language of the draft 'might invite federal employees,' for example, at the Social Security Administration or Veterans Administration, 'to refuse on religious grounds to process applications or respond to questions from those whose benefits depend on same-sex marriages.'

Full reporting on the leaked order and a copy of it can be found here: https://www.thenation.com/article/leaked-draft-of-trumps-religious-freedom-order-reveals-sweeping-plans-to-legalize-discrimination/

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Trump wants to allow discrimination on religious grounds

The Nation publishes leaked anti-LGBT order

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