The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a rule that would eliminate existing non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals in all federal grants administered by HHS. The proposal would erase protections that had been enacted in the Obama administration to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in government-funded grant programs.
The Obama administration had passed a regulation in 2016 that any organization receiving federal grant money could not discriminate against LGBT individuals. This reversal by the Trump administration would allow entities to deny services to LGBT individuals and families, even if these agencies are receiving federal grants.
HHS oversees the Administration on Community Living, the department responsible for directing the aging network and administering all Older Americans Act programs and services. Under this new rule, aging services organizations receiving federal funds, including senior centers, adult day centers, and congregate meal programs, could explicitly refuse services to LGBT people.
The proposal is the latest act in a series of attempts to prioritize religious exemptions over the rights of racial, ethnic, religious, and gender minorities. It has been championed by anti-LGBT groups including the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. If it were to go into effect, the rule change is also expected to affect the child welfare system, allowing adoption and foster care agencies to turn away same-sex couples. HHS also funds grants for health initiatives including HIV/STI prevention services, maternal care, domestic violence prevention, and drug treatment programs, all of which would be able to discriminate against LGBT people.
Read more about this proposed rule change here:
Human Rights Campaign: Trump Attacks LGBTQ People, Religious Minorities with Proposed HHS Regulation
Center for American Progress: HHS Proposal Puts Millions of Americans at Risk of Discrimination When Accessing Federally Funded Services