Texas senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has announced his plan to protect "religious liberty" should he win November's general election and occupy the White House next year.
"America’s Christian bakers and florists and wedding planners will be safe under a Ted Cruz presidency," Starnes wrote, referring to the many bakers and florists who have refused to serve LGBT customers, claiming that doing so would violate their religious freedom.
“As president, I have pledged on my first day in office to rescind every single one of President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions, and to direct every federal agency to respect and protect the religious liberty of every American,” Cruz told Fox News.
According to Starnes, the "Domestic Religious Liberty Policy Proposals for Incoming Administration" indicates that a President Cruz "will protect Americans from discrimination by the federal government on the basis of their view of marriage and also protect employers threatened by the HHS contraception mandate."
The proposal outlines seven areas where Cruz's council believes religious liberty is under attack, including "Marriage and Human Sexuality," "HHS Contraception Mandate and Conscience Protections," "Military," "IRS," "Role of Faith in the Public Square," and "Education."
Under a Cruz administration, federal agencies will be directed to "stop interpreting 'sex' to include 'sexual orientation' and/or 'gender identity, where the term 'sex' refers to a protected class in federal law," the proposal suggests. That interpretation has been a signature advancement for trans equality under President Barack Obama.
Cruz's religious liberty proposal also asks the Department of Education to review and clarify "guidance at school to ensure it adequately explains the rights of students, teachers and other employees to live out their faith."
The council also called for an executive order "protecting persons from discrimination by the federal government on the basis of their view that marriage is between a man and a woman," channeling controversial anti-LGBT legislation in Georgia that is currently awaiting action by the state's Republican governor.
As for military policy, Cruz's council recommends that the Joint Chiefs of Staff "fully update and revise their regulations protecting the free exercise of religion to ensure they properly reflect a robust, constitutional understanding of free exercise, and the religious liberty protections in the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts."
Read the full proposal from the Cruz campaign here.