Sessions' DOJ reverses transgender workplace protections

A bump stock is attached to a semi-automatic

The Justice Department has aggressively come to the defense of religious freedom.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work.

"There will be numerous interpretations of what that religious freedom test would be and how the license to discrimination would be applied across particular agencies, grants and contracts", Stachelberg says.

"Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people", Sessions said in an October 6 statement.

Sessions' assertion that "every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith" is, on its face, an innocuous-sounding statement with which anyone who possesses a pocket Constitution would have a tough time disagreeing.

Sessions is indeed wrong when it comes to the law - and when it comes to protecting basic human rights for all Americans.

The guidance includes the assurance that it "does not authorize anyone to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity in violation of federal law or change existing federal and state protections".

Unsurprisingly, the DOJ's directive was met with effusive praise by right-wing lawmakers and religious organizations, and fierce condemnation by civil rights groups that argue the Sessions memo constitutes little more than a "license to discriminate" against the LGBTQ community.

He additionally explained that the government can not compel a person or organization to act contrary to their religion, stating that "a government action that bans an aspect of an adherent's religious observance or practice, compels an act inconsistent with that observance or practice, will qualify as a substantial burden on the exercise of religion".

The Sessions memo says the IRS may not enforce the Johnson Amendment "against a religious non-profit organization under circumstances in which it would not enforce the amendment against a secular non-profit organization".

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The last time they played at this venue was in 2008 also against Bangladesh . As play was delayed, commentator Neil Manthorp tweeted out the reason.

The policy says the mere claim that someone's religious freedom was violated is enough to override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, women and others. The law, which added sexual orientation to the federal hate crimes statue, was passed in 2009.

The freedom of religion extends to persons and organizations. The guidance mirrors Christian fundamentalist request for the freedom to discriminate. Courts have repeatedly ruled that transgender people are protected by sex discrimination laws in employment, education, housing and healthcare.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement that Trump and Sessions have put the federal government "on notice". James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, criticized ABC News for its coverage of the group in July, after ABC News reported that Sessions delivered a closed-door address to the group at their Summit on Religious Liberty in California, where he suggested, according to a text of the speech later published by the conservative website The Federalist, religion was "under attack".

"This guidance is part of a tradition of administrations helping to educate the public and officials regarding the laws that protect religious liberty, such as President Clinton's pioneering guidance protecting religious liberty in public schools".

Trump's Justice Department appeared in federal court Tuesday to argue that employers should be able to fire people because they are gay.

Trump's order is being challenged in court, though some religious activists and experts have said it was more symbolic than practically meaningful.

Legal organizations likely will file lawsuits over the guidance for compromising the rights of LGBT people and others.

"Today's DOJ memo is a road map for federal agencies: guiding them to discriminate against women and LGBT people", Tiven said.

"It is countenancing discrimination", said Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the ACLU.

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