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ADDED ON: 01/10/2021

Amid coup chaos, Trump quietly erases LGBTQ protections in adoption, health services

1/8/21 | Washington Blade

Under the cover of chaos the day after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the Trump administration has officially nixed regulations barring federal grantees in the Department of Health & Human Services from discriminating against LGBTQ people, including in adoption services. HHS went public on Thursday with the final rule, which rescinds regulations implemented in the Obama administration barring discrimination among HHS grantees with respect to sex, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The change also rescinds the Obama-era regulations requiring HHS grantees to “treat as valid the marriages of same-sex couples.” Although Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which governs federal programs, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, it doesn’t prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination, so the regulation allows considerable discrimination in federal programs against LGBTQ people. “Given the careful balancing of rights, obligations, and goals in the public-private partnerships in federal grant programs, the department believes it appropriate to impose only those nondiscrimination requirements required by the Constitution and federal statutes applicable to the department’s grantees,” the federal rule says. Most prominently, the new regulation would allow taxpayer-funded child welfare services to refuse placement into LGBTQ families or discriminate against LGBTQ youth. Religiously affiliated adoption and foster care centers have been pushing for this change in regulation, including Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia, which currently has a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a First Amendment right to reject same-sex couples on religious grounds.

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