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U.S. Labor Dept. goes through with rollback of LGBTQ protections

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday finalized a rule that would let federal contractors discriminate against LGBTQ people under a religious exemption.

The Washington Blade reported that there was no notice in the Federal Register that the finalizing process was over. The rule goes into effect on Jan. 8. President-elect Joe Biden gets sworn into office on Jan. 20.

Lambda Legal said in a statement that the rule governs grants provided by nine federal agencies and instructs states and federal contractors that grants and sub-grants must be dispersed to churches and religious organizations as well as secular groups.

“The Trump/Pence administration justifies this massive rule change with a series of erroneous and alarming premises and repeats the common claim that giving discriminatory agencies federal funding increases the number of service providers,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, director of law and policy at Lambda Legal. “But a dollar can only be spent once, whether it is public or private money. The same is true for public contracts. When discriminatory agencies obtain those contracts, welcoming agencies – and the people they serve well – lose out.”

Agencies affected by the rule include U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The rule change was first proposed in August 2019.

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