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Sessions ends transgender workplace protections

Sessions ends transgender workplace protections

Sessions says "this is a conclusion of law, not policy". She explains different agencies will be effectively run religious freedom tests on their actions.

Numerous current conflicts in the religious sphere concern civil rights for lesbians, gays and transgender people _ for instance, whether religious organizations can refuse to employ people due to their sexual identification. The government's compelling interest in enforcing these laws should mean the businesses lose their arguments - but the Department of Justice guidance suggests that the interest in ending discrimination against LGBT people isn't actually all that important. 'To the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity'.

The Justice Department consulted with the Mormon Church, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops when crafting the guidance, all of whom have a history of opposing LGBTQ rights.

A background memo accompanying the new guidance insists the move "does not authorize anyone to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity in violation of federal law or change existing federal and state protections".

However, the legal memo suggests that the government's legal authority to forbid racial discrimination may not be as strong as its authority to target other forms of discrimination, such as bias against women or LGBT individuals.

On the contaceptive exemption, for example, the Obama administration tried twice to draw up guidelines that they believed would give religious organizations a "work around" for their consciences by allowing them to have insurance companies pay for contraception coverage - as if someone can "work around" their most cherished religious beliefs. The Sessions memo "doesn't legalize discrimination at all", scoffed one to Politico. However, the Washington Blade notes that language specifically spelling that out is not found in the memo.

"Groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who dedicate their lives to the indigent elderly, can finally expect the restitution of their conscience-rights in court", Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, policy advisor with The Catholic Association, stated on Friday. The document has already been criticized by its opponents as oppressive to women and the LGBT community. They say some people don't even bother fighting them.

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Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation, said the latest memo was a "an attack on the values of freedom and fairness that make this nation great".

The statement released Friday makes clear that, in Sessions' view, the benefit of the doubt should go to the person declaring a religious belief over those claiming illegal discrimination.

However, Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, praised the action. Every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith. 'This is a freedom that has been a fundamental part of our society since the beginning of our nation'. Many conservative Christian schools and faith-based agencies require employees to adhere to moral codes that ban sex outside marriage and same-sex relationships, among other behavior.

Carey added, "Don't be fooled; this guidance isn't meant to protect people of faith".

That's a reversal of an Obama-era directive that interpreted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as prohibiting workplace discrimination against transgender employees.

Because of a new interim final rule announced October 6 by the Trump administration, clients of First Liberty are now exempt from the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, which forced businesses, ministries, and other non-profit organizations to reject their religious beliefs and moral convictions or violate the law.

Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 in response to outcry about a Supreme Court case involving two members of a Native American church in OR who used the hallucinogen peyote in a religious ceremony. Politico reports that the ACLU and California attorney general Xavier Becerra will sue to block the rules from going into effect, and you can expect their ultimate fate to be tied up in the court system for the foreseeable future. Discrimination against transgender people is sex discrimination, just as DOJ recognized years ago. While the Court limited its ruling to the facts of the case, the administration adopts the approach as a general rule. "We urge the federal courts to reject the radical efforts by this administration to justify discrimination on the basis of religion".

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