Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on January 7, announced a new rule that will permit social service agencies and providers that receive HHS grant funding to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as on the basis of religion and sex. The rule impacts HHS-supported social services ranging from foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention programs and refugee assistance to programs for seniors and adults and youth experiencing homelessness, and many other public health services. It will be formally published on Monday, Jan. 12, and is scheduled to take effect Feb. 11, 2021.

            Sasha Buchert, senior attorney with Lambda Legal, said that the new rule is yet another blow in the Trump administration’s “no-holds-barred and comprehensive assault on the health and well-being of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV, as well as on women, religious minorities and limited English speakers. “Even as Trump administration officials abandon ship, HHS has announced yet another dangerous rule that invites discrimination against the very people federal grant programs are meant to help,” Buchert continued. “We call on the Biden-Harris administration to address discriminatory policies such as these immediately and commit to eliminating them root and branch. But in the meantime, Lambda Legal is prepared to take whatever action is necessary to protect the LGBTQ community from harm.”

  1. Currey Cook, director of Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project, said, “HHS is charged with protecting the health and wellbeing of all people, but its actions today demonstrate once again its complete disregard for its mission. This rule rolls back critical protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, and in doing so, puts at risk some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, including LGBT people who are poor or experiencing homelessness; LGBT seniors and LGBT youth in out-of-home care, including children in foster care, people living with HIV, and many others.” HHS announced it would stop enforcing anti-discrimination protections against federal grantees even before releasing the text of the new rule. In a press release Lambda Legal officials denounced the new rule as “just the latest in a series of regulatory changes by HHS that target LGBTQ people and people living with HIV, as well as other vulnerable and marginalized communities.” (Dallas Voice – Tammye Nash at https://dallasvoice.com/trumps-hhs-issues-new-rule-permitting-discrimination/)

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