STATEMENT: HHS’ New Discriminatory Rule Change Is a Parting Blow to Women and LGBTQ Americans

Washington, D.C. — While Donald Trump was inciting a seditious and deadly siege of the Capitol, his administration was busy finalizing one of its last acts of persecution against women, LGBTQ people, and religious minorities.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will publish a final rule change that will eliminate clear and explicit prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation for organizations receiving taxpayer dollars to serve the American people. It also removes the explicit requirement to treat same-sex marriages equally, as required under the U.S. constitution.

Sharita Gruberg, senior director for the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in response to the final rule change:

For four years, the president and his administration officials have taken every opportunity to defend and expand widespread discrimination at the expense of the health and welfare of the American people. HHS administers more than half a billion taxpayer dollars through grants to provide the public with critical services, money that will now be permitted to go to organizations that pick and choose whom they will serve.

The LGBTQ community is hardly alone in being targeted by this rule change. Millions of other Americans are at risk of losing access to critical services in the midst of an economic crisis and pandemic. These services include childcare programs, health care, homeless shelters, programs for seniors, foster and adoption services, violence prevention, and much more.

By the time this rule goes into effect, Trump will be out of office. But the stains of his ruinous tenure will outlive his administration and will require the full attention of his successor. President-elect Joe Biden can and should act swiftly to delay and ultimately reverse these changes.

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