Trump's Religious Liberty Order Could Cause 'Constitutional Problems', Warns Former Ambassador
Donald Trump's leaked religious liberty executive order could cause 'constitutional problems', the former religious freedom ambassador has said.
The draft shows White House plans allowing exemptions to discrimination laws over issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, gender identity and pre-marital sex, according to The Nation.
"I think it raises very serious equal protection issues," said Rabbi David Saperstein, who recently left his role at the US State Department.
He said it could lead to government contractors refusing services based on their own religious beliefs.
"I think it raises significant constitutional problems," Saperstein told members of a Congressional subcommittee.
He was answering questions from Jerry Nadler, a Democrat congressman also influential in passing laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to help protect people from state imposition on religious beliefs.
'However, it should not be used as a sword to enable you to impose your religious belief on someone else,' he said.
The text of Trump's order says: 'Americans and their religious organizations will not be coerced by the Federal Government into participating in activities that violate their conscience.'
But the document, entitled Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom, contains exceptions so broad they effectively 'legalise discrimination', The Nation says.