The transformations, even so, continue, which is bringing amendments to the existing laws. As part of an initiative to roll back Trump-era religious liberty protections, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has voided certain faith-based exemptions for child welfare agencies.
Health and Human Services’ interest in annulling the Office of Civil Rights’, power to implement the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a landmark statute used in the previous government’s policies on sexuality and gender.
OCR Director Lisa Pino argued in an internal memo that the delegation of authority resulted in erroneous decisions on those concerns.
That revocation had been noted in the Federal Register as of Wednesday, and HHS had excluded several exemptions for faith-based organizations like foster care agencies that refuse to work even with the same couples. Now, this is also attracting some opposition. The waivers granted to South Carolina, Texas, and Michigan, according to HHS, were unconstitutionally vague.
Official Statements on the Amendments
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, shared the views on the existing conditions, and what the government is planning to do. He stated that “President Biden and Secretary Becerra are choosing to ignore the First Amendment.” “This action demonstrates that Secretary Becerra will not uphold the promise he made during his confirmation hearing to protect religious freedom for all Americans.”
“RFRA-based requests for exemptions, waivers, and modifications of program requirements in the programs they operate or oversee must be evaluated by department components in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.” As stated in the filing
In Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the Court ruled unanimously, according to Severino. The court ruled in favor of a Catholic foster organization that was challenging Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination executive order, which required it to continue serving same-sex couples. The court remanded the case to a lower court, and Catholic Social Services was granted exempt status.
In a press release issued Thursday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra stated, “Our action ensures we are best prepared to protect every American’s right to be free of discrimination.”
“We owe it to all who come forward to act, whether it’s to review, investigate, or take appropriate measures to protect their rights, given the large number of discrimination claims we’ve received. Any infringement of civil rights or religious freedoms is taken very seriously at HHS.”
Members of Congress have already criticized Becerra and presented legislation to stop his actions, so the latest move by HHS, which applies to groups that receive federal funding, is likely to draw even more oversight.