Conservative groups create petitions urging Trump to sign religious liberty executive order

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017.

Two conservative groups have launched separate petitions to call on President Donald Trump to sign an executive order that would protect religious freedom in the U.S.

A draft copy of an executive order titled "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom" was leaked to the media earlier this month. The draft indicated that it would provide protections for religious individuals and organizations that uphold traditional beliefs on gender, sexuality and marriage.

Last week, the American Family Association (AFA) and the Family Research Council (FRC) launched separate petitions asking Trump to issue the executive order.

Politico reported earlier this month that Ivanka and her husband played a role in encouraging the president to abandon the executive order. The couple reportedly favored putting out a statement that promises to uphold the 2014 executive order introduced by the Barack Obama administration which protects employees from anti-LGBT discrimination while working for federal contractors.

"He's getting pushback from [his daughter] Ivanka Trump and her husband [Jared Kushner]. They're telling President Trump, 'Don't sign anything like this because it will hurt you,'" said AFA President Tim Wildmon.

The White House has stated that the draft is just one of about 200 executive orders that were contemplated during the transition period and that it was never intended to be signed.

However, FRC President Tony Perkins said that he is confident that the Trump administration would address the issue of religious freedom.

"I feel confident that they have an appreciation of religious freedom, and I'm pretty certain they're going to address it. I'm talking to people in the Trump administration, and I know they understand the importance of this," said Perkins.

Both petitions cited incidents when Christians have been penalized for refusing to provide their products or services due to their religious beliefs.

The AFA petition mentioned the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were ordered to pay the fine of $135,000 because they refused to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding in 2013.

One of the incidents mentioned in the FRC petition was the case of Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, who had to go through a criminal investigation after he disagreed with his commanding officer that a subordinate's expression of opposition to same-sex marriage amounted to discrimination.

The FRC petition has garnered more than 15,000 signatures while the AFA petition has been signed by over 96,438 people. Wildmon said that he will personally deliver the AFA petition to the White House.

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