Women and LGBT rights would be rolled back decades.
It’s become apparent this week that Donald Trump, having only been in office 13 days, wants to make clear his intentions as president for the next four years and a leaked draft of an anti-LGBT executive order on Wednesday solidifies that intent with a continued marginalizing future for the nation.
The order, if legitimate, will allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of religious freedom and could be signed as early as today.
The decree would severely impact the gay and trans community as well as a woman’s right to choose.
Built upon the foundation of religious freedom, the order would make it legal for businesses to openly discriminate against people if that business doesn't believe in same-sex marriage, trans rights or abortion.
This edict could roll back decades of freedoms and rights Americans have fought hard to claim, but it may go even further than that.
Based on the text, businesses would also be protected as tax-exempt if that organization, “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.”
Many human rights organizations are aggressively attacking the order saying it does nothing to increase religious freedom, but allows businesses a license to discriminate purely on conjecture.
"The dangerous and overly broad language of the draft executive order leaked to the public would leave basic rights at the personal discretion of others, and undermine the crucial safeguards against discrimination that have created opportunities for at-risk youth,” said GLSEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard.
Personal rights notwithstanding, the order would go beyond the protections of federal laws, allowing any organization or person a shelter firmly bolstered by their 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,” said Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom.
The leaked document is also clear about allowing organizations to side-step Supreme Court rulings:
The draft states: “Americans and their religious organizations will not be coerced by the Federal Government into participating in activities that violate their conscience.”
This could also mean that a religious federal employee or other government staffer could refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses and other legal documents based upon a person’s sexual orientation.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, in response to the leaked document, calls Trump a “bully” who is using the Republican Party as a beacon of hate.
“Donald Trump continues his hateful attacks on the communities that comprise our nation – this time by encouraging discrimination against the LGBT community, and by the denial of reproductive health care to women, all under the guise of so-called "religious freedom. "This draft order is breathtaking in its scope – encouraging discrimination in social services, healthcare and across the federal government, creating a second class of citizenship for LGBT Americans and denying women access to constitutionally protected reproductive freedom.”
The draft also states that the Department of Justice will establish a new section or working group dedicated to protecting "religious freedom."
"If this shameful executive order - or any order that is substantially similar - sees the light of day, we will fight it with every tool at our disposal." said Pride at Work executive director, Jerame Davis.