Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and more than 100 other members of Congress are demanding that the Trump administration withdraw a proposed new rule that would discriminate against LGBTQ families and others. (Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee/TNS)

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and more than 100 other members of Congress are demanding that the Trump administration withdraw a proposed new rule that would discriminate against LGBTQ families and others. (Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee/TNS)

Lawmakers target Trump rule permitting religious, LGBTQ discrimination

Rep. Nydia Velazquez and more than 100 other members of Congress are demanding that the Trump administration withdraw a proposed new rule that would let religious groups discriminate against LGBTQ families.

The rule, which the administration says would remove barriers for religious and faith-based groups to get federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, would end protections put in place in 2016 by the Obama administration.

“This proposed rule single-handedly removes comprehensive protections from discrimination applied to all grants administered by HHS, thus permitting discrimination in federally funded adoption and foster care agencies, elder abuse programs, and many other HHS-funded health and human service programs that serve millions of Americans,” says the letter obtained by the Daily News.

The Obama rule stipulated that “no person otherwise eligible” would be blocked from programs based on “age, disability, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

It had the effect of protecting LGBTQ people and others who are not explicitly protected under law from discrimination in the $500 billion worth of programs that HHS runs.

The Trump rule would strip that away, letting religious groups exclude gay people or others from programs to provide foster care, HIV prevention, health care and numerous other services.

The administration argues that the Obama rule bars religious groups from federal programs and says excluded faith-based organizations offer “unique expertise that is crucial to advancing HHS’s mission of protecting and enhancing the health and well-being of Americans.”

Velazquez, a New York Democrat, and lawmakers said that the administration offered no proof that barring discrimination does anything to stop anyone from helping Americans, and the alleged difficulty for religious groups was not justification to let them discriminate.

“Agencies getting government grants to serve the public shouldn’t get to pick and choose whom they will serve,” the letter says.

The lawmakers also pointed to more than 12,000 comments the agency got in 2017 when it asked religious groups about barriers to providing services. Just four of the comments complained that religious groups should be allowed to discriminate.

The Trump rule was inspired by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who sought an exemption from the Obama standards for a foster care program run by Miracle Hill Ministries in Greenville that requires people to sign a statement of faith asserting they are Protestant churchgoers. It recently agreed to allow Catholics, but still excludes Jews, gay people and others who can’t meet its purity pledge.

The group was granted the exemption.

(c)2019 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Bay Area NewsPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Calfire (Shutterstock)
Wildfires burn around Northern California during first red flag weekend of the year

Firefighters around the region battled wildfires all day Saturday, starting less than… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

Most Read