A leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination.
The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “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 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.
Language in the draft document specifically protects the tax-exempt status of 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.”
In other words this order would repeal much of the progress made by the Obama administration, and once again allow Christian business owners to discriminate based on sexuality, gender, and lifestyle.
That would mean these fundamentalist Christians, Jews, and even Muslims, could use this order to deny adequate healthcare to women, kick gay students out of their private schools, and refuse to rent to any person, or persons, whose lifestyle they believed conflicted with their faith in some way.
It should be noted that this is still in a draft form, so it is by no means official.
However based on everything that we have seen since Trump took office I have a high level of certainty that a lot of what is in this draft will find its way to the final executive order.