Equality Florida Responds To 'License to Discriminate’ Guidance by The Trump Administration
ORLANDO, FL — Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued new guidance that gives a “license to discriminate” to federal agencies, contractors and grantees seeking religious exemptions from federal laws, rules and regulations.
Equality Florida’s senior policy director, Hannah Willard, provided the following statement:
“Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued sweeping guidance instructing federal agencies to provide significant leeway to staff and government contractors seeking religious exemptions from federal laws, rules and regulations. AG Sessions’ actions create a catastrophic license to discriminate - this guidance promotes widespread, state-sanctioned, taxpayer-funded discrimination. It invites taxpayer funded federal agencies, government employees and government contractors to discriminate against their fellow Americans as long as they cite a religious belief as the reason for doing it.
Trump has already made his anti-LGBTQ bigotry abundantly clear after vague words of support for our community during his campaign. His Administration has been targeting the most vulnerable among us since Day One. But today’s action by AG Sessions marks the Administration’s gravest attack against LGBTQ Americans to date and will have dire consequences beyond the LGBTQ community, directly impacting those of minority faiths, unmarried couples, single parents, and women.
Today’s can of worms from the Department of Justice threatens access to healthcare for millions of Americans. The guidance could be used to protect hospitals and healthcare providers who choose not to help LGBTQ people, single women, and others, simply because of who they are. Further, it would support federal contractors and grantees who block contraception coverage and other preventative services like STI and HIV screenings for their employees based on their religious beliefs.
The freedom of religion is fundamental to our American values. That’s why it’s already fully protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Special religious exemptions should not give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate.
This license-to-discriminate guidance comes just one day after the Department of Justice announced they would no longer protect transgender Americans from workplace discrimination under Title VII. These unprecedented attacks are aimed at systematically eroding the legal equality and even the basic dignity of LGBTQ Americans, and make this the most anti-LGBTQ administration in recent decades. This is government out of control an all-out assault on the rule of law in our nation.
Now is the time for our elected leaders to stand up for the Constitution, for their constituents, and for basic human decency. We cannot allow discrimination of any kind to stand, and we implore our elected leaders to defend us and stand up against these widespread attacks.”