An anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” executive order is still on its way, with White House spokesperson Sean Spicer revealing the administration will “have something” to announce in the near future.
“I think we’ve discussed executive orders in the past, and for the most part, we’re not going to get into discussing what may or may not come until we’re ready to announce it,” Spicer said when asked about the religious freedom order at a press conference on Monday. “So, I’m sure as we move forward, we’ll have something.”
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who holds a position at the Family Research Center as a senior fellow, revealed to Huffington Post’s Michelangelo Signorile that the executive order is being redrafted for a later date. Huffington Post notes that the original draft allowed “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations” to discriminate based on “religious freedom.”
By protecting “religious freedoms,” the executive order draft would have allowed people, organizations, and corporations to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens based on anti-LGBTQ religious values in education, healthcare, the job market, employment, and government contracts and grants, as well as interacting with all levels of the government and accessing social services. It remains unclear what provisions will remain in the redraft or if any will be removed at all.
Blackwell, who served as President Trump’s domestic policy chair on his transition team, provides some insight into why the executive order was redrafted. It seems the White House was concerned a weak “religious freedom” order would be struck down by the courts.
“In the final analysis, what we want is an executive order that will meet the scrutiny of the judicial process,” Blackwell told Signorile. “If there is no executive order, that will disappoint [social conservatives]. But a good executive order will not. So we’re still in the process.”
Ken Klukowski, a former director for the Family Research Counter and a Breitbart writer, provided the structure for the executive order’s draft. Klukowski is also reportedly working on the executive order’s redraft.
“The president said when he was a candidate that there is a war on Christianity in America,” Klukowski said, according to Huffington Post. “And as someone who is a religious liberty lawyer who frequently represents the evangelical and Catholic communities in this country, that’s exactly the sort of language that most people in that situation use.”
The announcement comes less than a week after the Trump administration rolled back Obama administration protections for transgender students, sparking national concerns about transgender students’ ability to access public facilities across the nation. A “religious freedom” executive order could further damage the trans community, limiting public access to schools, hospitals, jobs, and housing for transgender citizens.