President Trump will sign an executive order on religious liberty on Thursday, a move that is already drawing protest from LGBTQ and civil rights groups.
Trump’s executive order would declare that “it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty,” according to a short summary released by the White House on Thursday. The order would provide what the White House calls “regulatory relief” for those who object on religious grounds to the mandates of Obamacare on healthcare services. The order would also direct the IRS to exercise “maximum enforcement discretion” when it comes to a longtime prohibition on religious leaders speaking about politics and candidates from the pulpit.
The exact text of the order was not released, but news outlets reported that the order would be limited to those actions.
But earlier on Wednesday, as reports leaked that Trump was prepared to sign an order, protesters staged a demonstration at a rally outside the White House.
Some held signs that read, “No hate. No license to discriminate.”
“There is nothing religious about discriminating against someone because of who they are, how God made them. That is a misuse and abuse of religion,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said at the rally.
He added, “Donald Trump promised to be a president for all Americans. But a president for all Americans cannot advance an executive order that would allow healthcare providers to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients, that would allow child welfare organizations to deny children a loving home, that would allow government employees to turn away LGBTQ people simply because of who they are, or that would undermine the rights of women, religious minorities, and communities of color.”
LGBTQ groups have been wary of the executive order, pointing to language in past state religious liberty legislation that allowed religious organizations to deny services based on their religious beliefs.