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Trump officially proposes ‘bigoted’ legal discrimination against LGBT people

Lily Wakefield August 15, 2019
Donald Trump

Donald Trump holds an LGBT rainbow flag given to him by supporter Max Nowak during a campaign rally at the Bank of Colorado Arena on the campus of University of Northern Colorado October 30, 2016 in Greeley, Colorado. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Donald Trump has officially proposed a rule which would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people and pregnant women in the name of religion.

The US Department of Labor announced the proposed rule yesterday (August 14), which it said would ensure “that conscience and religious freedom are given the broadest protection permitted by law.”

Rather than eliminating anti-discrimination laws, the rule would allow for a way around them.

It would allow employers to discriminate against people on the basis of protected characteristics like gender, orientation, sex, race, religion or nationality, provided they say that the decision was based on religious beliefs.

The National Centre for Transgender Equality said: “It could also lead to federal contractors refusing to hire women or unmarried workers who are pregnant or parents.”

The rule would include any organisation, even if they are for-profit, that works with or for the federal government and claims to have a “religious purpose.”

The document shows that the definition of a religious organisation or company is broad. It must be “conceived with a self-identified religious purpose,” but “this need not be the contractor’s only purpose.”

This “religious purpose” can be shown by founding documents or articles of incorporation, but “that is not the only type of evidence that can be used.”

The rule would allow for a way around anti-discrimination laws. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Nancy Pelosi said the Trump administration was inflicting a “campaign of intolerance”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the proposed rule is “cruel,” “bigoted” and “dangerous.”

She said: “The Administration’s license to discriminate is cruel, blatantly bigoted and downright dangerous.

“This hateful rule would greenlight open discrimination against tens of millions of Americans in the workplace, using taxpayer dollars to throw into jeopardy their safety, financial security and well-being.

“From Day One, this Administration has tried to inflict a campaign of intolerance against the American people.

“Its unceasing attacks on the civil rights and human dignity of the LGBTQ community and on other vulnerable populations profoundly dishonour our values as a nation and undermine the freedoms of all Americans.

“The Democratic House stands with the LGBTQ community in denouncing this offensive attack, and will continue to fight relentlessly until Senator McConnell has passed the Equality Act and sent this life-saving legislation to the President’s desk.

“Bigotry has no place in our nation.”

Ian Thompson, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement: “Once again, the Trump administration is shamefully working to license taxpayer-funded discrimination in the name of religion.

“Nearly one-quarter of the employees in the U.S. work for an employer that has a contract with the federal government.

“We will work to stop this rule that seeks to undermine our civil rights protections and encourages discrimination in the workplace.”

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