Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has officially adopted new regulations, allowing recipients of government HHS grants to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on the grounds of ‘religious freedom’. The regulations were proposed in November 2019, and were released on January 7 2020 in an 86-page document which reverses anti-discrimination rulings made under Obama’s presidency.
The regulations read: “It is a public policy requirement of HHS that no person otherwise eligible will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in the administration of HHS programs and services, to the extent doing so is prohibited by federal statute.” However, federal statute does not protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination, thus giving HHS funding recipients grounds to legally exclude queer people. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the regulations will also affect “religious minorities and women in programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement and elder care programs” among more.
Alphonso David, president of the HRC, described the rulings as Trump’s final attack on the LGBTQ+ community before his presidency ends: “At the 11th hour, the lame duck Trump-Pence administration has published its parting assault on the LGBT+ community via a federal regulation that would permit discrimination across the entire spectrum of HHS programs receiving federal funding.” He also urged new president, Joe Biden, to reverse the legislation as soon as possible: “The Biden-Harris administration and Secretary Designate, Xavier Becerra, must urgently work to rescind this discriminatory regulation.”