A four-page draft of an executive order on religious freedom that President Trump reportedly plans to issue has been obtained by The Nation and The Investigative Fund.
The document states that, "Americans and their religious organisations will not be coerced by the Federal Government into participating in activities that violate their conscience."
This executive order would seem to have bearing on cases such as the Christian bakers who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding or the Catholic hospitals which refused to provide contraception under the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
The forthcoming executive order would reportedly provide exemptions for all religious companies and institutions based on “religious exercise,” which it defines as “any act or refusal to act that is motivated by a sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the act is required or compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.”
Some experts have been questioning whether this order is legal.
Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center explained, "This executive order would appear to require agencies to provide extensive exemptions from a staggering number of federal laws – without regard to whether such laws substantially burden religious exercise."
"Moreover, the exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions, as well, because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations,” he added.
Although Trump is preparing to issue this executive order in support of religious freedom, he decided earlier this week to leave in place anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in the workplace.
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Publication date: February 2, 2017