According to a new report from Politico that cites administration officials, the Trump administration is considering action on an executive order that could make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people as soon as this Thursday. The report comes days after a Trump administration official refused to rule out some type of executive action in a USA Today article. Earlier this year, a draft order leaked that was sweeping in scope: it outlined a broad License to Discriminate that would have made it easier for federal employees, as well as non-profits and for-profit businesses receiving federal funding or contracts, to discriminate against LGBT people and others. According to today’s Politico report, the latest draft order under consideration “hasn’t been dialed back much – if at all – since the February leak.”
Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, and Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia today released the following statement on behalf of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination:
“Any action from the administration that permits individuals and business owners a sweeping license to discriminate against LGBT people and other groups of Americans is inexcusable. Using the guise of religion in an attempt to allow unfair treatment is unconstitutional and not reflective of American values. Religious freedom is a constitutional right we all cherish. But it cannot be abused in order to give people the right to discriminate.”
A previous draft of a similar or identical executive order leaked by the Nation in February would have established broad exemptions for individuals and businesses to claim religious objections under virtually any circumstance in order to refuse services and discriminate against individuals and certain groups of people. Some examples of what this discrimination could look like towards LGBT people include:
- A lesbian or bisexual woman who is suffering from intimate partner violence could be refused screening and counseling if their provider does not approve of same-sex relationships.
- LGBT people who work for a federal contractor could be fired from a job simply because their employer disapproves of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- A doctor could refuse to provide medical care to an LGBT person, and an LGB person could be prohibited from visiting their dying spouse in the hospital.
- A pharmacist could refuse to refill a prescription for someone living with HIV/AIDS.
- A nursing home could turn away an elderly LGBT person or same-sex couple.
- A federal employee could harass or even engage in violence towards an LGBT person.
- Foster care and adoption agencies could undermine the best interests of children by refusing to place them with loving, committed same-sex couples who are best qualified to care for them, including close relatives such as an aunt or uncle who is LGBT.
- Federal government employees could deny LGBT people Social Security benefits by refusing to process important paperwork.
- Homeless shelters or food kitchens could turn away LGBT people in need of assistance.
- A pediatrician could refuse to provide care and treatment to the child of same-sex parents.
- Agencies could refuse to accept LGBT kids who are in urgent need of safe, loving homes – or they could place them with parents who intend to subject the children to dangerous practices, like conversion therapy.
Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination is a a broad-based, nonpartisan coalition comprised of local officials who support equal protections and fair treatment for all LGBT people. The coalition launched at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in January in Washington, DC and currently includes 242 mayors from 46 states and the District of Columbia.