WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union is vowing to push back if President Donald Trump signs an executive order on religious liberty this week that could open the door to discrimination, as expected.
“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,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling said in a statement released Tuesday.
Trump is expected to sign the executive order as early as Thursday, instituting new policy that is likely to draw strong opposition from the LGBT community.
When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked at Wednesday’s news briefing if he could confirm that the order would be signed, he said an executive order would be signed but could not confirm the subject.
A senior administration official told CNN that it is “definitely possible” the White House could roll out the order Thursday to coincide with the National Day of Prayer, but cautioned that the timing of Trump’s executive orders often changes. The official declined to describe the details of the executive order.
But a draft of the order that had previously leaked to The Nation would provide sweeping legal protections for people to claim religious exemptions – provisions that civil liberties groups fear would allow for discrimination against LGBT Americans.
The signing of the executive order would be a key victory for Vice President Mike Pence, a staunch social conservative who has advocated for the signing of a religious liberty executive order.