The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal are planning to sue the President over an anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ order that is rumoured to be under consideration this week.
According to reports yesterday, the White House is readying an executive order that would actively permit religious discrimination against LGBT people.
An early draft of the order leaked from inside the White House back in February, revealing elements to protect people who discriminate based on “the belief that marriage is or should be recognised as the union of one man and one woman [or that] male and female refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy at birth”.
The order was put on the back-burner for ‘re-drafting’ after the leak, but Congressional Republicans have kept up pressure on the President to sign its new incarnation.
The President is rumoured to be set to sign the order this week, after a demand from Vice President Mike Pence.
In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union vowed to sue Trump if he goes ahead and signs the order, which would render useless LGBT rights protections put in place by President Obama.
Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “The ACLU fights every day to defend religious freedom, but religious freedom does not mean the right to discriminate against or harm others.
“If President Trump signs an executive order that attempts to provide a license to discriminate against women or LGBT people, we will see him in court.”
LGBT equality non-profit Lambda Legal previously threatened action against Trump over the order.
A Lamba rep said: “We will fight this with everything we have. We are prepared to sue in a very short timeframe if the executive order closely resembles the leaked drafts.”
In a previous message, Lamba CEO Rachel B. Tiven said: “We have a message for President Trump: The reported Executive Order is a direct attack on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, everyone living with HIV, women, and all Americans who love liberty.
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“The immediate public outcry in response to the leaked order confirmed what we already know: people overwhelmingly reject discrimination against LGBT people and don’t want taxpayer money to fund hatred.
“Bigotry — whether against LGBT people, women, Muslim immigrants or refugees — has no place in our country.
“The Administration needs to stand down. Lambda Legal is remaining vigilant and is ready to file suit if this Executive Order is issued.”
Speaking to USA Today last week, a senior White House official confirmed that executive action on ‘religious freedom’ is still in the works, but that the proposal is under development to find a “middle ground”.
The source said the President wants to “allow for people to express and maintain their strongly held religious beliefs”, but is wary of directly rolling back LGBT rights protections.
A group of 18 Republican Senators and 51 Congresspeople including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have signed letters urging Trump to sign the executive order.
The Republican politicians claim that executive action is needed “to protect religious liberty in light of the Supreme Court’s recent redefinition of marriage”.
It asks: “We request that you sign the draft executive order on religious liberty… in order to protect millions of Americans whose religious freedom has been attacked or threatened over the last eight years.”