For months now, we’ve seen unprecedented turnout for protests, marches, and rallies against the decisions of the Trump administration, from the Women’s March the day after his inauguration to the People’s Climate March which took place this past weekend. However, his next decision ignite the biggest anti-Trump demonstration ever.
According to multiple Politico sources, president Donald Trump will sign a religious liberty executive order on Thursday. Two senior administration officials have confirmed the forthcoming action, while one has noted that the plan is still under review. If this is to happen, the order would be signed on Thursday May 4, which is also the National Day of Prayer, a day in which the administration has already made plans to honour faith leaders.
Over the last several months, many conservative lawmakers have requested that Trump keep a promise made during the run of his campaign. Under this order, employers and other businesses would be granted the freedom to enforce discriminatory hiring practices if it conflicts with their religious beliefs and or associations.
According to Laura Durso of the progressive Center for American Progress and vice president of the LGBT Research Communications Project at CAP, such an order would provide "a license to discriminate across a wide range of federal programs." In an April interview with USA Today, Durso said, "You can’t have it both ways in this administration as much as they try to say 'we’re going to be a friend of the LGBT community, but give people the right to discriminate against them.”
This order would also be a victory for Vice President Mike Pence. Pushing for religious freedom was a major touchpoint during his time spent as governor in Indiana.
In February, The Nation's Sarah Posner reported on a leaked draft of the forthcoming executive order. Posner noted, “The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organisations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity.” She also said it “seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.”
This decision could be the most controversial order we’ve seen thus far.