Trump White House issues anti-LGBT ‘freedom to discriminate’ directive

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 22: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks before U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum aimed at what he calls Chinese economic aggression in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on March 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Trump White House has issued a directive giving federal contractors free range to discriminate against LGBT+ people.

There is no federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but former President Barack Obama signed an executive order that required all federal contractors to abide by LGBT+ anti-discrimination principles.

However, a broad new directive issued on Friday effectively guts the power to sanction any federal contractor that discriminated based on their religious beliefs.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media during a lunch with armed service members at the Roosevelt Room of the White House July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump took questions from the press and discussed the status of the healthcare legislation. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (Alex Wong/Getty)

The document, issued by the Department of Labor, directly takes aim at the existing provisions that “prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.”

It cites the recent US Supreme Court ruling in favour of a baker who turned away a gay couple as precedent for a broad religious exemption.

It states: “Recent court decisions have addressed the broad freedoms and anti-discrimination protections that must be afforded religion-exercising organizations and individuals under the United States Constitution and federal law. See, e.g., Masterpiece Cakeshop)”

It directs Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs employees: “Staff are instructed to take these legal developments into account in all their relevant activities, including when providing compliance assistance, processing complaints, and enforcing the requirements of [the previous executive order]

“Staff should bear in mind that… they cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices and must proceed in a manner neutral toward and tolerant of … religious beliefs.

“They cannot condition the availability of [opportunities] upon a recipient’s willingness to surrender his [ or her] religiously impelled status.

“They must respect the right of religious people and institutions … to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government.”

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments