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These 18 Republicans Urged Trump to Discriminate Against LGBTs

senate republicans

Will the president sign an executive order legalizing bias? The senators hope so.


President Trump was sent a letter from 18 Republican senators who signed a letter asking the White House to sign an executive order defending "religious freedom." The letter was announced through a press release from the Family Research Council, which the progressive Southern Poverty Law Center refers to as a "hate group."

"An executive order requiring federal government agencies to protect the right to religious freedom is necessary," wrote the senators, "and directing agencies to adhere to existing federal laws protecting religious freedom is sound policy. We agree with and commend your strong statements in support of religious freedom, most recently at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2 where you stated, ' administration will do everything in its power to defend and protect religious liberty in our land.'"

The senators who signed the letter were Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Roy Blount, James Lankford, Steve Daines, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Mike Enzi, James Inhofe, Tim Scott, John Kennedy, Luther Strange, Bill Cassidy, Roger Wicker, James Risch, Dan Sullivan and Ron Johnson.

The letter states that representatives in the House are also working on drafting their own missive to Trump. "Let's hope the president heeds their advice and gives Americans the protection they desperately need!" read the FRC press release.

In February, a leaked draft of a "license to discriminate" religious freedom bill began circulating among federal agencies. The order, which has yet to be signed, would allow corporations and nonprofits to use religious freedom as a way to discriminate against LGBT people.

"The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers 'any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,' and protects 'religious freedom" in every walk of life: 'when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments,'" The Nation reported.

The White House declined to say whether the leaked draft would be signed by Trump. "Not all (drafts) reflect administration thinking or likely policy," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders to ABC News. "One official did not say who drafted this potential order, but did not dispute its authenticity," reported ABC.

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Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.
Yezmin Villarreal is the former news editor for The Advocate. Her work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mic, LA Weekly, Out Magazine and The Fader.