Department of Justice Religious Liberty Guidance Opens Door for Discrimination Against LGBT Community

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today expressed concern over the Department of Justice’s new guidance on protecting religious liberty, which could allow discrimination against LGBT people.

Today’s memo to federal agencies indicates that the government cannot unduly burden the act of practicing one’s faith, saying, “The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.” Human Rights First notes that this guidance could be used by federal employees and contractors to not comply with existing federal bans barring discrimination against the LGBT community, among others.

“While the actual impact of this guidance is not clear yet, and we expect a lot of court challenges as it does get implemented, it is obvious that Attorney General Sessions will relentlessly advance his notion of religious liberty at the expense of marginalized communities, specifically the LGBT community,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “There are lives at stake here. Should these rules get interpreted to mean that federally-funded organizations can pick and choose who they would serve, communities in need will be devastated.”

For more information or to speak with Gaylord, contact Christopher Plummer at [email protected] or 202-370-3310.


Published on October 6, 2017


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