The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that it was making changes to an Obama-era executive order that could allow religious federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers.
The Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published a proposal to “clarify” President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
According to the OFCCP, the new rule would “clarify that religious organizations may make employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious tenets and beliefs without fear of sanction by the federal government.”
The agency claims that the proposal “ensures that conscience and religious freedom are given the broadest protection permitted by law.”
“The proposed regulation merely clarifies the regulation’s definition of ‘religion’ and related terms to confirm that “religion” includes not merely belief, but also ‘all aspects of religious observance and practice,'” a Labor Department spokesperson told TPM in an email.
But civil rights advocates say the proposed change could allow workplace discrimination against women, religious minorities and the LGBTQ community based on employers’ religious practices.
Human Right Campaign President Alphonso David slammed the rule as a “broad and sweeping effort” to implement a “license to discriminate.”
“With this proposed regulation, the Trump administration is seeking to gut existing protections for LGBTQ people, women, and religious minorities, and we cannot stand idly by,” David said in a statement.