By Dominic Holden
When the Trump administration issued a directive in August that expanded a “religious exemption” for federal contractors who are accused of discrimination, activists feared the worst. The policy was essentially legal guidance, but it targeted LGBT rights specifically.
Now their fears have escalated.
The Trump administration is currently planning to create a formal religious-liberty regulation for businesses with federal contracts, which would create a loophole in an Obama administration policy protecting LGBT workers, according to several people familiar with the Labor Department’s plans who spoke to BuzzFeed News. Unlike the August directive, a regulation would carry more legal force and is tremendously difficult to undo.
It is unclear if the regulation will limit its scope to strictly religious corporations — for instance, a Jewish charity with a federal contract. The directive refers to the Supreme Court’s decisions in Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakeshop, which concerned closely held, for-profit businesses with religious owners, not religious corporations.
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