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Noah Feldman

A Trump Executive Order to Shrug At

The statement on religious liberty is so watered down, it's almost meaningless.
Nothing changes here.

Nothing changes here.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s executive order on religious liberty is a significant win for liberals -- not for what it says, but for what it doesn’t say. For months, evangelical conservatives have anticipated and liberals have feared an order that would have invited anti-gay discrimination under the rubric of religious freedom. A document purporting to be a draft order to that effect began circulating shortly after Trump’s inauguration.

Yet the order issued Thursday is silent on gay marriage or gay rights. It includes just three brief substantive sections, none of which is of great practical or symbolic significance.