Bracing for Thursday's scheduled religious liberty executive order, civil rights groups are extremely nervous about they believe could be the impact of what President Donald Trump is going to sign.
Fearing that the order will take away established liberties and freedoms from religious minorities, women, and the LGBT community, civil rights groups are already rallying without specifically knowing what will be included — or not — in the presidential order.
Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU, told reporters Wednesday that the organization is already gearing up to file a lawsuit.
"Obviously, we need to see what it says and see what it does," Amiri explained, "but if it resembles the leaked executive order and is going to harm LGBT individuals and women and religious minorities, we will absolutely be filing suit."
A draft copy of the executive order was reportedly obtained by The Nation in February. The outlet reported that the order contained verbiage that would essentially legalize discrimination based on the opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, among other hot-button issues.
According to The Nation's report, the order protects "any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations," who protect “religious freedom” “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 order would reportedly also restrict women's access to contraceptives and abortion.
When the order leaked, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, "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.”
After the document leaked, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News, "We do not have plans to sign anything at this time but will let you know when we have any updates."
A statement from The White House read:
President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.
Three months later, however, observers fear the issue might be back on the table, and the ACLU isn't the only one worried about what the order might actually entail.
"If this executive order is anything like the one that was leaked in February," said Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign's legal director, "it would create an unprecedented license to discriminate with taxpayers’ funds, undermine women’s health care and elevate one narrow set of religious beliefs over all others.
“It would promote and encourage discrimination by government contractors’ employees against people who are LGBTQ as well as open the door to a wide range of discrimination against women, unmarried couples, single parents and religious minorities," Warbelow noted.
On Wednesday, the National Center for Transgender Equality urged supporters to contact the White House to prevent the possible order from being signed off on and said in a statement:
We’ve got to stop this. We pushed back hard when rumors of a pro-discrimination order surfaced in February, and we shut it down. But opponents of equality have been lobbying for it ever since. Now we’ve got to push back even harder.