The American Civil Liberties Union will not sue the Trump administration after a "careful review" of the religious freedom executive order, which lacked LGBT language that the group previously found objectionable.
Condemning what he called an "elaborate photo-op with no discernable policy outcome," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero the order "does not meaningfully alter the ability of religious institutions or individuals to intervene in the political process."
"The order portends but does not yet do harm to the provision of reproductive health services," he added.
Joined by religious leaders, President Trump signed the order in the Rose Garden on Thursday, National Prayer Day. It directs the Internal Revenue Service to pare back enforcement on the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt churches and nonprofits from participating in politics. It also provides "regulatory relief" to companies objecting to an Obamacare mandate that required that contraception is included in healthcare plans — something which has already been weakened by the courts.
The ACLU said Trump did not make good on his prior assertion to "totally destroy" the Johnson Amendment and said the directive to federal agencies to explore religious-based exceptions to healthcare lacks teeth but may lay the groundwork for a future legal battle.
"What President Trump did today was merely provide a faux sop to religious conservatives and kick the can down the road on religious exemptions on reproductive health care services," Romero said.
The order signed did not include language in a leaked draft that critics fear would allow federal contractors to refuse service to LGBT employees because of their faith.
In response to that draft, the ACLU warned that if Trump signs such an executive order "that attempts to provide a license to discriminate against women or LGBT people, we will see him in court."