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Trump wants to make it easier for federal contractors to use their ‘religious freedom’ to discriminate

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In January of 2017, President Trump promised not to do anything to change former President Barack Obama’s landmark LGBT protections. But this Wednesday, the Trump administration proposed new legislation that would allow businesses with federal contracts to discriminate against employees on the basis of sex, race, LGBT status, and other inborn traits, BuzzFeed News reports.

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The Labor Department’s 46-page draft says the proposed rule would apply to any organization or business that defines itself in religious terms.

“The contractor must be organized for a religious purpose, meaning that it was conceived with a self-identified religious purpose. This need not be the contractor’s only purpose,” the draft states, adding that a “religious purpose can be shown by articles of incorporation or other founding documents, but that is not the only type of evidence that can be used.”

From BuzzFeed News:

The policy, for example, could apparently allow a company that supplies machinery to the federal government to fire a woman simply because she’s a lesbian if they obtain a religious exemption.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the rule could allow the “firing or refusing to hire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents, or even discrimination on the basis of race.”

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As BuzzFeed News points out, the rule would leave longstanding nondiscrimination orders in place, but would make more exemptions available. A statement released by the Labor Department this Wednesday says the rule “would clarify that religious organizations may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government” while at the same time reaffirming “employers’ obligations not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or other protected bases and does not exempt or excuse a contractor from complying with any other requirements.”

But that hasn’t assuaged the fear of LGBT advocates, who say the rule is designed to undermine Obama’s protections for the LGBT community.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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Michael Avenatti says he has El Chapo’s former jail cell — which the drug dealer described as ‘torture’: report

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Attorney Michael Avenatti, the colorful attorney who came to prominence representing Stormy Daniels against Donald Trump, is unhappy with his jail conditions.

On Monday, his attorney wrote to the federal judge overseeing his trial to complain about the jail conditions Avenatti is experiencing during pre-trial detention.

Scott Srebnick, Avenatti's attorney, wrote to Judge Paul Gardephe to complain about the "notorious 10-South" section of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is being held in the Special Housing Unit.

"He is in a cell reportedly once occupied by El Chapo, on a floor that houses individuals charged with terrorism offenses," Avenatti's attorney wrote.

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It is Greta Thunberg vs Donald Trump at climate-focused Davos gathering of economic elites: report

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The starkly opposed visions of US President Donald Trump and Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg on climate change will clash in Davos on Tuesday as the World Economic Forum tries to face up to the perils of global warming on its 50th meeting.

The four-day gathering of the world's top political and business leaders in the Swiss Alps gets under way seeking to meet head-on the dangers to both the environment and economy from the heating of the planet.

Trump, who has repeatedly expressed scepticism about climate change, is set to give the first keynote address of Davos 2020 on Tuesday morning, on the same day as his impeachment trial opens at the Senate in Washington.

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‘Which Senator up this year most deserves to lose?’: Preet Bharara flooded with replies to provocative question

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Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara asked his 1.2 million Twitter followers a provocative question on the eve of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

With worries that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is presiding over a sham trial, many analysts have suggested that the Senate itself will be on trial.

"Which Senator up this year most deserves to lose?" Bharara, who was fired by Trump, asked.

There are a number of potentially vulnerable Republicans facing voters in 2020, including McConnell himself, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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