February 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Whitman-Walker plans ‘tentative’ march on White House
Sean Spicer, gay news, Washington Blade, protest march

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said there are no immediate plans for an executive order on ‘religious freedom,’ but if one emerges, Whitman-Walker is ready to march in protest. (Screen capture via C-Span)

D.C.’s Whitman-Walker Health announced in an email on Tuesday to about 25,000 people that it will organize a protest march to the White House if President Donald Trump issues a “religious liberties” executive order that activists say would curtail LGBT rights.

“We are closely monitoring the new administration and its executive orders,” the Whitman-Walker announcement says. “One such order may permit religious choice to supersede other laws that protect against discrimination. This order would offer a blank check for individuals and organizations to discriminate on the basis of one’s convictions.”

LGBT advocacy groups that received a draft copy of a religious liberties order leaked from the White House say it would have a devastating impact on LGBT rights protections and would negate an Obama executive order protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has said President Trump decided not to rescind the Obama executive order and has no immediate plans to issue and sign a religious liberties order.

“We have not received any insider or additional information about the religious freedom executive order,” said Whitman-Walker spokesperson Abby Fenton. “However, we feel strongly that if an order of this nature comes out, we will respond with a march.”

Added Fenton: “We sent this preemptively because we know if an order comes out we will need to act quickly.”

She said Whitman-Walker would decide on the route to the White House that such a march would take if and when a religious liberties executive order is issued.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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