Ensures the Rights of People of Faith Supersede the Rights of LGBT People
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday issued a 25-page memo that establishes the Trump administration's interpretation of federal law and regulations in an attempt to deliver to religious conservatives the widest possible license to discriminate, especially against the LGBT community. The AP calls it "an order that undercuts protections for LGBT people."
Sessions quoted President Trump saying his administration "will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore."
The new DOJ memo is "an attempt to deliver on President Donald Trump's pledge to his evangelical and other religious supporters," the AP reports, saying it "effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held."
It makes clear the Trump administration across all executive branch agencies and departments will ensure the rights of people of faith supersede the rights of LGBT people.
"Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override concerns for the civil rights of LGBT people and anti-discrimination protections for women and others," the AP explains. "The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government."
"This is putting the world on notice: You better take these claims seriously," said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "This is a signal to the rest of these agencies to rethink the protections they have put in place on sexual orientation and gender identity."
The Attorney General's memorandum includes 20 "Principles of Religious Liberty."
The anti-gay hate group Alliance Defending Freedom "called it 'a great day for religious freedom.' The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT-rights group, called the guidelines an 'all-out assault' on civil rights and a 'sweeping license to discriminate.'"
Politico adds that this new legal guidance "could affect health care, gay rights, political action by churches," and says it takes a "muscular view of religious freedom rights."
Naturally, a top Trump support, Tony Perkins of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, praised the administration's new interpretations of law.
"President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
"President Trump and the Department of Justice are putting federal government agencies on notice: you will not only respect the freedom of every American to believe but live according to those beliefs," Perkins added. "As President Trump continues to follow through on his promises on these core issues, he will continue to have the support of social conservatives on his policy initiatives."
Based on the Session memo earlier Friday the Trump administration issued a sweeping rollback of the ObamaCare contraception mandate, that requires nearly all employers to ensure health insurance plans provide contraception at no out-of-pocket cost to employees or those on their plans. Now, any employer can claim a religious or moral objection and opt out of covering contraception.
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