The Trump administration is planning a new, strong “religious liberty” regulation that would place the rights of businesses with federal contracts over the rights of LGBTQ workers – including the right to fire them for being LGBTQ.
Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden reports this new, proposed “regulation would carry more legal force” than Trump’s previous directive, “and is tremendously difficult to undo.”
This new plan, which is still in the works, is in addition to President Trump’s earlier directive this summer that carved out a religion-based loophole for federal contractors, effectively gutting President Barack Obama’s previous executive orders protecting the rights of LGBT workers.
After the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which was limited to only that one business, the Trump administration misapplied the Court’s ruling and used that language to create its religious liberty directive targeting LGBT workers.
Meanwhile, information on Trump’s new proposed regulation, which the administration claims is actually “deregulatory,” is sparse. The Dept. of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has only published that it “plans to update its regulations to comply with current law regarding protections for religion-exercising organizations.”
That would be at best a misinterpretation.
Buzzfeed notes “Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, a Christian Republican, has pushed for the regulation.”
The ACLU has already weighed in.
“A formal regulation could serve to further entrench the position that engaging in taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people can be permissible as long as it is framed as ‘religious liberty,’” Ian Thompson, a legislative representative at the ACLU, told BuzzFeed News. “We made clear that taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people is unacceptable.”
Melissa Rogers, a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, also weighed in, via Twitter: “Using the term ‘religion-exercising organizations’ seems to be an attempt to extend this exemption to businesses that serve as federal contractors. No Supreme Court decision mandates or supports such a change.”