Trump Administration Allows LGBTQ Discrimination with New HHS Rule

Amid the chaos following the far-right riots at the U.S. Capitol, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has officially adopted new rules allowing for discrimination against LGBTQ people.

The final regulations, detailed in an 86-page document, were officially released on Thursday (January 7). The regulations, which were originally proposed in November 2019, roll back Obama-era rules that ban discrimination on the basis of age, disability, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation by those receiving grants from the HHS. The requirement for HHS grantees to “treat as valid the marriages of same-sex couples” has also been rescinded.

Now, it is a requirement of HHS “that no person otherwise eligible 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.”

Federal statute doesn’t currently protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. Effectively, this new rule grants HHS grantees to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This new rule can affect programs related to foster care, adoption, HIV and STI prevention, youth homelessness, refugee resettlement, and elder care.

“At the 11th hour, the lame duck Trump-Pence administration has published its parting assault on the LGBTQ community via a federal regulation that would permit discrimination across the entire spectrum of HHS programs receiving federal funding,” Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “The Biden-Harris administration and Secretary Designate Xavier Becerra must urgently work to rescind this discriminatory regulation.”