The Trump administration has issued new guidance that seeks to uphold ‘religious freedoms’.
The directive would undermine Obama-era legislature put in place to protect against LGBTI discrimination.
This follows a US Supreme Court ruling which found in favor of a baker who turned away a same-sex couple.
The move has troubled LGBTI advocacy groups, who believe this could legitimise forms of discrimination against LGBTI people.
The document issued by the Department of Labour takes aim at labour rights provisions drawn up in 2014 under President Obama.
Obama signed an executive order which banned LGBTI discrimination among federal contractors which came into effect in 2015.
However, the latest move by the Trump adminstration would effectivly undermine his predecessor’s order.
The directive purports to ‘incorporate recent developments in the law regarding religion-exercising organizations and individuals,’ the Washington Blade reported.
The document also referenced the high-profile case of Colorado baker, Jack Philips.
Philips said his Christian beliefs meant he could not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Many LGBTI groups consider this to be discriminatory against the LGBTI community.
The case ended up in the US Supreme Court, which ruled 7-2 in favor of Philips in June.
‘Serious cause for concern’
LGBTI rights groups have been vocal about how the Supreme Court’s ruling could affect LGBTI rights in the US.
Campaigners have said that this is an example of how the Supreme Court’s ruling is manifesting in ways which undermine LGBTI rights. The Obama-era executive order covers an estimated 34 million workers, about 22 percent of the US workforce.
Sharon McGowan, legal director for Lambda Legal, said her organization has ‘serious cause for concern’.
‘Apparently, this Administration believes – correctly – that rescinding the EO outright would cause a huge public and politically damaging outcry,’ McGowan said. ‘So instead, they are trying to accomplish the same end through different means.’
Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today US Justice Department would be establishing a ‘religious liberty task force’.