Trump Administration Proposes Rule Allowing Federal Contractors To Discriminate Against LGBTs And Others

Dominic Holden reports at Buzzfeed News:

The Trump administration on Wednesday formally proposed a new rule to let businesses with federal contracts cite religious objections as a valid reason to discriminate against their workers on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, LGBTQ status, and other characteristics — thereby skirting worker protections created by past presidents.

But the Trump administration makes clear in the draft rule that a corporation needn’t focus entirely on religion to qualify, saying, “The contractor must be organized for a religious purpose, meaning that it was conceived with a self-identified religious purpose. This need not be the contractor’s only purpose.”

Bloomberg Law reports:

The proposal would cement current exemptions that “religion-exercising organizations” can use to shield themselves from bias claims for hiring decisions and other actions motivated by religious belief. That includes religious entities as well as “closely held” companies acting in accordance with an owner’s religious beliefs, two senior DOL officials said.

The proposed rule has been pending review by the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs since April, after it was published in the Labor Department’s regulatory agenda in October 2018. The proposal will be open for public comments until Sept. 16.

Trump has nominated the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to run the Labor Department. Scalia, of course, was arguably the most openly anti-LGBT justice to ever sit on that bench.