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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

Supreme Court rejects second GOP effort to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court, for the second time in two days, rejected a GOP request to shorten the deadline mail-in ballots must be received by North Carolina officials to be counted.

The state of play: The state's deadline had been extended from 3 days to 9 days post-Election Day.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

The vaccine race turns toward nationalism

The coronavirus pandemic is worsening, both in the U.S. and abroad, with cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rising.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of global vaccine development — including why the U.S. and China seem to going at it alone — with medicinal chemist and biotech blogger Derek Lowe.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases — Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.