New Trump religious exemption proposal will allow discrimination against sexual orientation.

A rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday weakens a non-discrimination order put in place by former President Barack Obama. The rule can be used to refuse jobs to LGBTQ candidates based citing religious grounds.

Government contractors such as hospitals, universities, and corporations can now use this rule to exempt the LGBT+ population from employment. In order to use this rule, all they’ll have to do is produce evidence of their organization having a “religious purpose.”

The policy has been overseen by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The regulatory body is responsible for setting anti-discrimination policies for businesses that work for the government.

The acting U.S Secretary of Labor, Patrick Pizzella, made a statement saying the rule has been formulated keeping in mind the protection of civil rights of religious employers. It should ease them into participating in federal contracts.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, one-fourth of the American working population is employed by a government contractor.

The proposed policy change has come into criticism. Those opposing it have termed it tax-funded discrimination against vulnerable groups. The policy has also been criticized for its loose interpretation of religious contractor, which they believe is deliberate on the government’s part.

The evidence of religious purpose could be provided in the form of articles of incorporation, founding documents, and the like.

Ian Thompson, a senior legislative representative, said that the function of this new policy is to nullify the executive order without having to remove it. He also said that the policy is about religiously motivated discrimination.

It is concerning, as the lack of federal protections and inconsistent state policies have left the LGBT+ vulnerable to workplace discrimination. The issue has been widely debated upon in the U.S. in recent years.

October will witness the 1964 Civil Rights Act being discussed upon in the U.S. Supreme Court, to verify if LGBT+ people employed by private businesses can enjoy its protection. The Act makes discrimination on the grounds of race, color, nationality, sex and religion unlawful. The Trump administration has previously stated that the LGBT+ community cannot receive protections based on gender.

The new policy proposed is only next in line to the several Supreme Court rulings which have favored discrimination against LGBT+ on religious grounds. Thompson is observing this as another assault against the LGBT+ under the Trump administration.


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