NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union has demanded documents from four federal agencies concerning a potential executive order that would sanction religiously motivated discrimination against LGBT people, members of minority faiths, women, and people seeking reproductive health care.
“The American people deserve to know whether this administration plans to protect the rights of all Americans or whether it will sanction discrimination,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director for the ACLU. “The ACLU fights every day to defend religious freedom, but religious freedom does not mean the right to discriminate against or harm others. If President Trump signs an executive order that authorizes discrimination against women and LGBT people, we will see him in court.”
The Freedom of Information Act requests were filed with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, and Treasury and seek any communications regarding the drafting of an executive order that would attempt to grant broad religious exemptions to organizations from rules barring discrimination. A draft version of the order leaked last month.
Among other items, the draft order would insert broad exemptions into existing nondiscrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to offer insurance coverage for contraception, authorize federally funded child welfare organizations to make decisions based on religious directives regardless of the best interests of the child, and allow federal employees, contractors, and grantees to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and women seeking reproductive health care.
Today’s FOIA requests are here:
Department of Treasury: https://www.aclu.org/letter/foia-request-department-treasury
Department of Justice: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/foia-request-department-justice
Department of Labor: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/foia-request-department-labor
Department Health and Human Services: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/foia-request-department-health-and-human-services