White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday morning during her regular press briefing that President Donald Trump has no problem with businesses hanging anti-gay signs that explicitly state they do not serve LGBT customers.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that states must list married same-sex couples on their children’s birth certificate. The per curiam decision (which means it was the decision of the court, acting as a unit) reaffirmed the Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. LGBT rights advocates hailed the ruling as a confirmation that Obergefell protects all rights relating to marriage, not simply the recognition of marriage itself.
The case concerns an Arkansas law about birth certificates which treats married opposite-sex couples differently from same-sex ones. The state permits the husband of a married woman to be automatically listed as the father even if he is not the genetic parent. Same-sex spouses are not extended the same courtesy.
A leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” signals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination, even by private companies and religious organizations. The draft order cites religious belief as grounds for its broad application: “Americans and their religious organizations will not be coerced by the Federal Government into participating in activities that violate their conscience.” President Donald Trump may reveal the order or some version of it at the National Prayer Breakfast currently underway.
The draft order takes direct aim at the LGBT community, effectively nullifying many if not most of their existing protections. Earlier this week, the White House announced there were no plans to repeal President Barack Obama’s executive order protecting federal contractors from anti-LGBT discrimination. But Ira Lupu, professor emeritus at George Washington University Law School and an expert on the Constitution’s religion clauses and on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), notes that the draft order’s language “privileges” certain beliefs about sexual orientation and sexual identity that identified most closely with conservative Catholics and evangelicals. That, he points out, oversteps what existing law such as RFRA (the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act) might authorize, and it may violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
The largest corporation in North Carolina condemned a new law that voids anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. Bank of America, which has its headquarters in Charlotte, announced it was joining over 80 chief executives, including Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Apple CEO Tim Cook, in opposing the new legislation. The CEOs voiced their concerns in an open letter to Governor Pat McCrory posted on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) website and are requesting a meeting with McCrory by Thursday. Bank of America was one of the largest contributors to McCrory’s 2012 gubernatorial campaign.
Wednesday evening, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill that overturns local gay and transgender protections. The bill was a direct response to a prior nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Charlotte, which had offered a wide range of protections. Most notably, the Charlotte ordinance allowed citizens to use the restroom that best matches their gender identity. State lawmakers acted ostensibly out of concern that women and children could be victimized by sexual predators posing as transgender to enter women’s restrooms. Lawmakers agreed to pass the legislation in a one-day special session, which will cost taxpayers approximately $42,000. The North Carolina House passed the bill 83-25. Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law mere hours after its introduction.