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Nine Federal Agencies Issue Rule Implementing Religious Liberty Protections

by Robin Maril April 01, 2016

Yesterday, nine federal agencies issued a final rule implementing religious liberty protections put in place by President Obama in Executive Order 13559.  The regulations provide clarification regarding the protection of religious liberties of beneficiaries served by faith-based organizations. The regulations also require faith-based organizations to provide beneficiaries with written notice of their religious liberties and their right to receive services regardless of their religious beliefs, practices, or lack thereof. 

These regulations will play a significant role in ensuring that individuals have access to critical programs provided by agencies including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

HRC  appreciates the Obama administration’s commitment to ensuring that individuals in need are never required to choose between accesses to essential federally funded services and preserving their identity.  However, while today's action is a significant step toward strengthening critical protections for beneficiaries, we also recognize that these new regulations still lack some key protections for LGBT beneficiaries and employees. 

As HRC noted previously, these regulations lack clear, explicit protections for employees of organizations receiving federal grants on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Under the current policy, religious organizations remain eligible to receive federal funds despite maintaining a policy and practice of discriminating on the basis of religion.  To review today's announcement and final rule visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/03/31/agencies-issue-final-rule-extending-new-religious-liberty-protections-beneficiaries

Robin Maril
Robin Maril


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