With less than two weeks left in office, Donald Trump’s administration announced a new rule Friday that narrows nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQIA individuals seeking services of health and welfare programs that are funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This rule narrows LGBTQIA non-discrimination protections that were previously in 45 CFR 75.300(c) which barred discrimination without merit based on factors such as age, disability, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation in receiving benefits of HHS programs.
One example of the new rule changing treatment for the LGBTQIA community is that the original 45 CFR 75.300(d) required grant recipients to treat same-sex marriages as valid. The newly amended rule instead permits a change in treatment of same-sex marriages based on later Supreme Court rulings.
In its 86-page release adopting the rule HHS said that they are “committed to the principle that every person must be treated with dignity and respect and afforded all of the protections of the Constitution and statutes enacted by Congress – and to fully enforcing such civil rights protections and requirements.”
HHS presented explanations for creating a rule that contradicts this statement. Their release says that if they continue enforcing the rule as currently written in § 75.300(c) and (d) they will disrupt “the balance struck by Congress with respect to nondiscrimination requirements applicable to grant recipients.” HHS also cited evidence of accommodation requests and lawsuits as proof that the current rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb–2000bb-4 (RFRA). Lastly, the release by HHS also refers to the current rule leading to a decrease in “effectiveness of Department-funded programs by deterring participation in them.”
This rule will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.