Washington, D.C.-based LGBTQ newspaper The Washington Blade today (Wednesday, Sept. 16) filed suit against the Trump administration over the administration’s refusal to turn over emails related to a rule change allowing federal contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ workers.
The Blade, the oldest LGBTQ newspaper in the U.S., filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for emails within the Department of Labor related to the proposed rule change that would allow a religious exemption in employment non-discrimination requirements for federal contractors.
“The request sought to shed light on the motivation behind the proposal and whether it was to enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the name of religious freedom,” a Blade statement on the lawsuit said. “The department has so far ignored the FOIA request, forcing today’s action after more than a year of waiting.”
Washington Blade White House reporter Chris Johnson said, “We’re committed to our mission of holding the Trump administration accountable for its actions affecting LGBTQ people and marginalized communities. Our readers deserve to know the motivation for the Department of Labor’s proposal to undercut President Obama’s 2014 executive order, which brought long-sought protections for LGBTQ people working for federal contractors.”
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press attorneys, who are representing the Blade in the case, filed the lawsuit, with a representative saying, “We are glad to be representing the Washington Blade as it seeks access to records that could shed light on whether government officials took steps to undermine regulations intended to protect LGBTQ individuals from employment discrimination. Federal FOIA can only promote greater transparency and accountability if agencies comply with their statutory obligations to release information, which we fully expect the Department of Labor to do in this case.”
Blade editor Kevin Naff added, “This is another example of the Trump administration obfuscating and shirking its responsibilities to transparency. Thank you to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for joining us in this effort to hold the administration accountable and to get answers to these important questions.”
— Tammye Nash