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LGBT Seniors Fear Repercussions of Possible 'Religious Freedom' Executive Order

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Written by Emily Mongan

A draft of an executive order being considered by President Donald Trump has raised concerns among advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors for its possible consequences on long-term care facilities. The draft order, called “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to respect Religious Freedom,” would allow organizations to claim religious- and moral-based objections “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.” Legal experts have described the draft order as “sweeping” and “staggering,” and have noted that order, if passed, would “go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations,” the Nation reported.

Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders, or SAGE, released a statement indicating the order could allow hospitals, nursing homes and other elder care organizations to deny services and discriminate against LGBT seniors. “Freedom of religion is an important, core American value,” the statement reads. “But it cannot be used to endorse profound discrimination and mistreatment of any community — including LGBT elders — in federally supported services and programs." The group added that the implementation of the order “would not only stigmatize, but endanger the lives of LGBT elders,” and that it must “never see the light of day.” READ MORE

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