The ‘religious freedom’ directive was issued by the White House

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There is no federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but former President Barack Obama signed an executive order that required all federal contractors to abide by LGBT+ anti-discrimination principles. But the current administration believes that the discrimination against the LGBT community can be explained and excused by religious beliefs and it should be federally approved. The document, issued by the Department of Labor, directly takes aim at the existing provisions that “prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.” It cites the recent US Supreme Court ruling in favor of a baker who turned away a gay couple as precedent for similar cases of such kind. It states: “Recent court decisions have addressed the broad freedoms and anti-discrimination protections that must be afforded religion-exercising organizations and individuals under the United States Constitution and federal law. See, e.g., Masterpiece Cakeshop)”.It directs Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs employees to take the directive into consideration while providing the goods and services to customers. “They cannot condition the availability of [opportunities] upon a recipient’s willingness to surrender his [ or her] religiously impelled status. They must respect the right of religious people and institutions … to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government,” it states.

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