WASHINGTON — Reports state that President Trump might soon issue an executive order protecting the rights of religious groups following his decision to keep an Obama-era order banning groups that contract with the federal government from “discriminating” against homosexuals and transgenders in their business or non-profit organization.
The outlet The Nation obtained a leaked copy of the draft order, which allegedly protects faith-based entities “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.”
It also reportedly protects the tax-exempt status of any group 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.”
As previously reported, on Tuesday, the Trump administration advised that it would keep intact Obama’s order, #13672, which amended a 1969 order by then-President Richard Nixon prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap and age,” as well as a 1998 order from then-President Bill Clinton adding “sexual orientation” to the list.
Obama added “gender identity” to Clinton’s “sexual orientation” language.
“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the White House said in a statement. “The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”
“The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump,” it outlined.
But some evangelicals expressed concern over the administration’s decision to leave the order in place, stating that it is rather discriminatory to people of faith.
“No for-profit contractors will be allowed to work on any part of the president’s infrastructure plan without an all-out embrace of sexually non-normative behavior,” lamented Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association.
“No landscape business, no printer, no food service provider, no janitorial service, no IT company, no vendor, and certainly no bakers like the Kleins will be permitted to do any work for any federal agency unless they bend the knee to sexual anarchists and treat homosexual behavior as the moral equivalent of heterosexuality,” he said.
Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, however, said that he be believed that Trump would likely release an exemption of some sort despite the retention of the Obama-era order.
“I think this is going to be addressed,” he told NBC. “I have every confidence [that he will].”
Conservative commentator Matt Lewis remarked in a Tweet, though, in light of Trump’s actions, “Do we even need the ‘Republican’ qualifier? Trump is arguably more ‘pro-gay’ than Obama was when first elected.”