It was reported in February that President Trump was on the verge of signing an executive order that would have reversed his predecessor’s LGBT protections for federal workers, but he backed away at the last minute. Some have speculated that he pulled back at the behest of his daughter, Ivanka, whose progressive tendencies are not well hidden. Others believe that Trump himself is reluctant to fully embrace a conservative position on LGBT “rights,” and that his refusal to sign the order is consistent with his stance during the campaign.
Whatever the cause, more than 50 House Republicans are now asking the president to revisit the order and roll back Obama’s LGBT discrimination rules. In a letter to the White House obtained by USA Today, the GOP members said:
“We request that you sign the draft executive order on religious liberty, as reported by numerous outlets on February 2, 2017, in order to protect millions of Americans whose religious freedom has been attacked or threatened over the last eight years.”
According to White House officials, President Trump has not quite decided where to land on a new religious liberty order. While he wants to ensure that federal workers are free from religious persecution, he doesn’t want to invoke the wrath of the LGBT community.
If Trump were to go back and sign the original order, a draft of which was leaked to the media, it would eliminate the mandate imposed on religious institutions that force them to provide health insurance covering birth control. Republicans also want to see Trump sign an order that would let doctors refuse to perform abortions if they have a religious objection to the procedure.
Protecting religious freedom does not – and will never – mean giving federal agencies or contractors the right to discriminate against LGBT individuals. On the other hand, cementing LGBT “rights” into law almost certainly means restricting the free exercise of religion. Now take a look at the Constitution and tell us what you see. Is the “right to be flamboyantly gay” enshrined in the Bill of Rights? Not in our copy.
Anti-discrimination laws are already on shaky constitutional ground as it is; expanding them to include such vague, amorphic concepts like sexuality and “gender identity” not only goes beyond the Constitution – it takes us beyond logic, science, and common sense.
This never had to become a war between the First Amendment and the LGBT movement. But if it has become such a war, we damn well know which side we’re on.