Trump’s USDA Promotes Anti-LGBTQ Religious Exemptions

November 7, 2017

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today called attention to new USDA religious exemptions policy statement that furthers the Trump Administration work to further undermine LGBTQ non-discrimination protections. The new statement appeared on the USDA website yesterday and states that the USDA supports the discussion, display, and distribution of religious materials on “same-sex marriage, gender identity, and sexual morality,” by USDA personnel and those working in facilities inspected by the USDA.

“If the USDA wants to create workplaces where employees can bring their best selves to work, that means protecting all employees – including LGBTQ people – from discrimination, not placing targets on the backs of marginalized communities,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “This new policy is a solution in search of a problem and can be used as a license to discriminate against others. From the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Justice, up to the Oval Office, President Trump and his administration are working around the clock to dismantle LGBTQ workplace protections and promote their agenda of hate.”

The USDA policy cities Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the same clause that the Department of Justice has argued does not cover employment "discrimination based on sexual orientation.” It was also used to reverse a federal government policy that protected transgender employees in the workplace. This further displays a disturbing pattern of distorting freedom of religion by arguing it gives the right to discriminate against others, a cheap tactic that has garnered the full praise of the anti-LGBTQ hate group, Family Research Council.