The Administration Proposed Eight New Faith-Based Rules
On January 17, 2020, only one day after “Religious Freedom Day” the administration proposed 8 new faith-based rules that seek to further eliminate the separation between church and state and undermine real religious expression for minority faiths as well as hard-won nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people, women, people of color, single people, low-and-no-income people, young people, immigrants, and all those who believe in real religious liberty.
Together, nine government agencies: Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, USAID, the Veterans Administration, and the soon to be released regulation from the Housing and Urban Development, all seek to concertedly expand religious exemptions by further blurring the line that (1) governs how the government and its agencies interact with faith based service providers and (2) allows faith based service providers are allowed to discriminate against their employees and the public that these providers serve.
We need your voices to ensure that these rules are not finalized. LGBTQ, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people are more likely to live in poverty than our cis and straight counterparts. We need to be able to access the services needed to live with dignity, health, and wellness. The Task Force is partnering with American Atheists to ensure that each of our members is able to comment on each proposed rule.
We are partnering with American Atheists to ensure that each of our members is able to comment on each proposed rule or the proposed rule that makes the most sense for you.
Comments must be submitted by February 18, 2020 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.
These rules are not being introduced in a vacuum and are just the latest attempt by the Trump Administration to discriminate against all of the communities that you and I care about. If you want more background information on these rules, please check out this backgrounder from our partners at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Your voice is important and only together can we create real and lasting change!
Thank you for taking time to speak truth to power!!
Candace Bond-Theriault, Esq., LL.M.
Senior Policy Counsel, Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice, Democracy Project Director
National LGBTQ Task Force
P.S. Here are just a few ways that these rules will be harmful for our people:
The proposed Department of Health and Human Services Rule seeks to ensure that healthcare service providers can refuse to perform certain procedures if such procedure is in opposition to the providers’ faith and the rule seeks to allow that provider to get away with not telling the patient that they do not want to perform the service and the provider would not have to refer the patient to another provider who would provide the needed service.
The proposed Department of Education regulation seeks to allow schools who consider themselves to be religious institutions, and potentially even those that seek to adhere to certain moral beliefs, to discriminate against its employees and students based on sex. This proposed rule would allow schools to prohibit an LGBTQ student club because it is against the school’s religious principles or even moral principles. According to the National Women’s Law Center, instead of addressing the urgent problem of sex discrimination in schools, the Department of Education is trying to make it easier for more schools to claim a religious right to discriminate.
We fear that a similar rule will soon be proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that will seek to allow faith-based shelters to turn away people based on their gender identity, sexual orientation or parental status.