Chris Johnson reports at the Washington Blade:
In one fell swoop, Donald Trump has fortified the anti-LGBT positions he expressed over his campaign and tapped as an adviser former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a two-time presidential candidate with a notoriously anti-LGBT history.
The actions are the result of Trump’s creation of a 35-member Catholic Advisory Council, which includes, in addition to Santorum, other individuals with anti-LGBT histories.
Accompanying the creation of the council is a new statement from Trump outlining “Issues of Importance to Catholics” and reiterating his support for the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal “religious freedom” bill seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.
Emphasizing his commitment to “religious liberty,” Trump hints at opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage and President Obama’s executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors.
“Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution,” Trump said. “It is our first liberty and provides the most important protection in that it protects our right of conscience. Activist judges and executive orders issued by presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy. If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”
The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) would legalize business discrimination against married gay couples on the basis of “deeply-held religious belief or moral conviction.” The American Family Association, the Liberty Counsel, and the Family Research Council have all withdrawn their support for FADA because recently added language also permits businesses to discriminate against straight married couples on the same grounds.