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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration will soon make it easier for adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples, senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump is steadily rolling back Obama-era nondiscrimination policies across the entire federal government — including health care, housing and the military.

Details: Former President Obama banned adoption and foster-care agencies from receiving federal funding if they refused to work with same-sex couples. Religious organizations have consistently bristled at that policy, arguing that they're being forced to contradict their beliefs.

  • Administration officials said the White House is weighing two options: either rescinding those rules altogether, or adding an explicit exemption for religious organizations.
  • The debate is mainly about which approach would hold up better in court, the officials said. A religious exemption seems to have the upper hand for now, but that could change.

Trump alluded to this issue at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year, but did not announce a formal policy.

  • The process is now far enough along that an announcement could happen by early July, the officials said.

Between the lines: The formal policy would come from the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Civil Rights — which has been at the forefront of Trump's broader effort to accommodate religious organizations and roll back nondiscrimination rules.

  • The director of that office, Roger Severino, would not directly address questions about the adoption policy during a brief interview, pointing instead to other actions his office has already taken.
  • Just this morning, OCR said it will scrap an Obama-era policy that says doctors can't discriminate against transgender patients. (That policy had already been frozen by a federal judge.) It has also expanded health care workers' legal right to refuse to perform services that violate their religious beliefs.

Go deeper

7 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Why fears of a SPAC bubble may be overblown

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The SPAC surge continues unabated, with 10 new ones formed since Wednesday morning. And that's OK.

Between the lines: There are growing concerns that retail investors are about to get rolled, with smart sponsors taking advantage of dumb money.