On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it would be adding 40 prosecutors to roughly 20 US district attorney's offices around the country. She explains different agencies will be effectively run religious freedom tests on their actions.
"Supreme Court has held that the government's interest in addressing sexual-orientation discrimination is not sufficiently compelling to justify an infringement on the expressive association rights of a private organization". Previous RFRA laws referred only to protections citizens enjoy when the government was directly burdening their religious practice, but Indiana's law was created to offer "religious freedom" as a justification in cases between two citizens, thus protecting those who would discriminate because of their religious beliefs. October 11 is National Coming Out Day, where the LGBTQ community celebrates living one's life openly and authentically.
"The President has instructed me to issue guidance interpreting relgious liberty protections in federal law".
The freedom of religion is an important, fundamental right, expressly protected by federal law. "This Department remains committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals, and will continue to enforce the numerous laws that Congress has enacted that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation". The Attorney General issued a memo to United States Attorneys directing prosecutors to implement the enhanced crime reduction program.
"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. Though the Trump administration did not dispute the authenticity of the draft, it said it had "no plans" to take any action on it. On Friday, the Trump administration issued a rule - which the ACLU said it would sue over - allowing a much broader group of employers and insurers to exempt themselves from covering contraceptives on religious or moral grounds.
Furthermore, the memo clarifies, religious employers are entitled to limit employment to people whose beliefs and conduct adhere to their religious precepts. Just because or service or benefit is denied due to the granting of a religious exemption does not "render an exemption unavailable", Sessions contends. "Freedom of religion is paramount to our nation's success but does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others to harm others or to discriminate".
On Friday, Sessions outlined 20 broad "principles" created to ensure that "to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance and practice should be accommodated in all government activity", including a decree that "a governmental action substantially burdens an exercise of religion ... if it compels an act inconsistent with that observance or practice, or substantially pressures the adherent to modify such observance or practice".
"We have seen public officials criticized for their religious beliefs, elected representatives who have called for a "religious test" for public office, and marketplace discrimination against religious people who own and run businesses according to the dictates of their individual consciences", noted Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
While it is now the position of the Department of Justice that Title VII protections do not extend to transgender individuals, employers should still be careful to avoid discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as the law is still unsettled.
Montana Department of Justice's Division Criminal Investigation Administrator Bryan Lockerby stated, "My career has spanned over three decades in law enforcement and I've personally witnessed the growth of illegal drugs associated with the increase in violence, particularly with firearms".