The wicked elf of Washington -- better known as Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- has finally released the long-awaited and long-feared "license to discriminate." It is an official order by the government that demands all of its agencies must now do as much as possible to help accommodate those who claim their religious freedoms are being violated.
Basically, one's religious freedom will now trump concerns for the civil rights of LGBT people and anti-discrimination protections for women and others.
“This is putting the world on notice: You better take these claims seriously,” said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This is a signal to the rest of these agencies to rethink the protections they have put in place on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“Except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law,” Sessions wrote. “To the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity.”
This will mean that a person can deny service to a gay person. Don't want to issue a same-sex license even if that's your job? The government will protect your right not to! Don't want to help a queer couple adopt? You don't have to! Don't want a gay person staying in your AirBNB rental flat? Just say it offends your faith and you're free to do what you want.
Also at risk with the new guidelines is the Johnson Amendment, which currently bars churches and tax-exempt groups from endorsing political candidates. Sessions' decree could open the door to all of these tax-exempt groups -- like mega-rich Evangelical churches -- from playing a more aggressive role in politics than they already do.
“Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump’s cynical and hateful agenda will enable systematic, government-wide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backwards. We will fight them every step of the way.”
“Today’s guidance by Jeff Sessions proves this Administration will do anything possible to categorize LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens who are not equal under the law,” added Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “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. Nothing could be more un-American and unholy than using religion to justify harm and discrimination to others.”
Who knew you could cram so much evil into such a tiny little Session's size package.