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Trump cabinet member promises ‘religious freedom’ executive order within 30 days

Trump cabinet member promises ‘religious freedom’ executive order within 30 days
Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The prayers of Jerry Johnson, the chief executive of the National Religious Broadcasters organization, appear to have been answered by an anonymous member of President Trump’s Cabinet: a long-awaited license to discriminate, in the form of an executive order, will be signed within the month, according to Johnson.

Johnson told the Sharon Herald, the website of a newspaper serving a conservative suburb of Pittsburgh, Penn., that a Cabinet member “signaled that something is going to happen in the next 30 days. There will be something that will balance the religious liberty concerns.” He did not identify his source.

It’s not clear if what’s coming is the same “religious freedom” executive order that was leaked 10 days ago, which would give the religious right a license to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. As LGBTQ Nation reported, that order, titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” is worse than anything feared by progressives.

The Nation first published the draft text and a separate copy was reviewed by LGBTQ Nation. White House officials confirmed that the draft LGBT executive order was one of about 200 executive orders that were contemplated during the transition — some by outside groups, others by transition officials — and claimed that it was never intended to be signed.

Politico reported Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump “helped lead the charge to scuttle” that draft executive order.

But the White House said only that it had no immediate plans to release the draft EO, according to a report by LGBTQ Nation earlier this month. That was followed by a statement pledging not to overturn former president Barack Obama‘s executive order protecting LGBTQ federal employees. It left open the possibility for the “religious freedom” executive order Johnson said he was promised, that would provide a carve out to those protections.

The “religious freedom” executive order, if it were signed as drafted, would effectively nullify all existing protections for LGBTQ people. President Trump wouldn’t need to specifically repeal the Obama order because the new one would supercede it.

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