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Leaked Draft of ‘Religious Freedom’ Executive Order Targeting LGBT Community Stirs Anxiety and Anger

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Sweeping Executive Order Would Enable Massive Anti-LGBT Discrimination Under Cloak of ‘Religious Freedom’

A draft “religious freedom” executive order leaked to news outlets Tuesday is creating overlapping states of anxiety and anger among LGBTQ people and their allies. Its title is, “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom.”

First reported by The Nation, the proposed language of the draft would make nearly total allowance for exemptions by any person, church, religious organization or for-profit business, allowing them to claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, contraceptives, abortion, and gender identity outside of their particular viewpoint. 

As word spread Wednesday evening, Zack Ford, LGBT Editor for the Center for American Progress news site, ThinkProgress, reacted, writing:

President Trump’s promise not to rescind President Obama’s 2014 executive order protecting the LGBT employees of federal contractors may very well have meant nothing. Rumors of an anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ order being developed this week proved to be quite accurate, and though it doesn’t technically rescind the protections, it would create such a broad license to discriminate that it virtually overrides them. And LGBT people aren’t the only target.'”

The White House did not respond to requests for comment Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was being considered or a draft circulated, however, in answer to a question from The Washington Blade during the daily press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.” 

Reacting to the language of the draft, Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom told The Nation, “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.”

He went on to note that the exemptions could themselves violate federal law or license individuals and private parties to violate federal law. “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.” It would be “astonishing,” he said, “if the Office of Legal Counsel certifies the legality of this blunderbuss order.”

RELATED: Exclusive: Executive Order to Roll Back Obama’s Federal Protections for LGBT Employees in the Works

Ford stated, “To be clear, it doesn’t protect people regardless of what they believe on LGBT issues, sex before marriage, or abortion; it only protects people people who take the religious conservative position on those issues. It is a flagrant endorsement of one set of religious beliefs over another.”

Whether or not the draft or a variant of it will be finalized, signed and then released remains to be seen. However, responding to ABC News on Wednesday, the White House did not dispute the authenticity of the draft, but did claim that it is one of hundreds of circulating executive orders that do not all reflect administration thinking or intended policy. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained, “We do not have plans to sign anything at this time but will let you know when we have any updates.” 

Rumors swirled that President Trump will sign or announce the order at Thursday morning’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com
 

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CRIME

Highland Park Shooting Deaths Include Both Parents of Two Year Old Found at Scene of July 4th Massacre

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On Twitter Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the July 4th Highland Park mass shooting a photo of a young boy appeared in several tweets. He was described as lost, good samaritans assumed he had become separated from his parents in the mayhem of the massacre, and people were trying to reunite him with his family.

CBS Chicago reporter Marissa Parra now reveals the boy’s name is Aiden, but he won’t be reunited with his parents: both were shot dead by the Highland Park gunman.

“Kevin McCarthy, 37, and Irina McCarthy, 35, were among the seven people [who] were killed during the mass shooting,” CBS Chicago reports.

“We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family,” reads the story on a GoFundMe page hoping to raise money for Aiden.

“Sadly, I need to share his name…Aiden McCarthy. And he needs more of our help,” it adds. “At two years old, Aiden is left in the unthinkable position; to grow up without his parents,” it adds. “Aiden will be cared for by his loving grandparents, Misha and Nina Levberg, and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan. He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love, and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”

About $475,000 has quickly been raised with more than 7600 people contributing. The top donation is $5000.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Invasion’: Texas Lt. Gov. Likens Border Crossings to Attack on Pearl Harbor – ‘These People Are a Danger to America’

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Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a far-right Republican, is comparing migrants crossing the border into Texas to Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2335 people. He is calling it an “invasion” and says that gives the state the right to “put hands on people.”

Patrick, who because of Texas’ unique structure is more powerful than the governor, told Fox News on Tuesday, “we are being invaded, and if we’re being invaded under the constitution I think that gives us the power to put hands on people and send them back. Put hands on people and send them back,” he said repeatedly.

“These people are a danger to America,” Patrick said in a rant. It was unclear if he was referring to migrants or President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The Lt. Governor, who has hawked the racist “great replacement theoryrepeatedly, and used the term “invasionrepeatedly, told Fox News that Texas is now spending $4 billion annually on the border, while Texas National Guardsmen and Texas Rangers complain of being called up to serve, having to abandon their regular jobs, for no apparent reason.

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Blames ‘Video Game Industry’ for El Paso White Supremacist Terrorism: ‘We’ve Always Had Guns’

“This is the biggest danger we have, to your family,” Patrick says of the fentanyl crossing the border. “It’s all on Biden,” he claimed.

Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott drew extensive criticism for using the deaths of more than 50 migrants packed into an 18-wheel tractor-trailer as a political opportunity to attack President Biden. Even some conservatives attacked Abbott for his inhumane remarks..

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

7th Victim of July 4th Mass Shooting Dies

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Seven people have now died as a result of a gunman opening fire from a rooftop into an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

The latest victim succumbed to their injuries Tuesday afternoon, NBC 5 Chicago reported. Authorities have not identified all the victims, but have said five of those who died were adults. Another 46 people were wounded.

Police on Tuesday announced that the shooter fired at least 70 rounds into the crowd, using a “high-powered rifle” that is “similar” to a AR-15. They also revealed the suspected gunman planned the attack for weeks, purchased his weapons legally, disguised himself by wearing women’s attire to “conceal his facial tattoos and  his identity,” and to “help him during the escape.” He then walked to his mother’s house after the shooting.

Law enforcement Monday evening arrested Robert Crimo, who they say is a “person of interest,” but he has not been charged.

“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community,” Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures. There are no words I can offer to lift the pain of those they leave behind. Please know that our state grieves with you, that MK and I grieve with you.”

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