In recent weeks, Members of Congress have sent letters voicing their opposition to the administration’s efforts to attack the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. These letters were sent to the administration in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v Clayton County, Georgia and HUD’s announcement of its anti-transgender proposed change to the Equal Access Rule.
On June 29, Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) of the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to Secretary Ben Carson calling on HUD to reconsider its anti-transgender rule proposal to the Equal Access Rule (see Memo, 7/6) due to potential contradictions with the Bostock v Clayton County ruling.
In compliance with HUD regulations, the proposed rule was sent to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for a 15-day period ending on June 30. On June 15, the Supreme Court ruled in the Bostock v. Clayton County case that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ people from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation (see Memo, 06/22). Given the timing of this landmark Supreme Court decision and HUD’s announcement of the rule, the lawmakers continue to question the applicability and implementation of the anti-transgender rule.
“Given the potential contradictions between the language in the Bostock decision and the language in the regulation submitted to us for review,” the lawmakers wrote, “we ask the Department of Housing and Urban Development to reconsider publishing this regulation for public comment before conducting additional legal analysis.” While the committee cannot recommend specific changes to the proposed rule, they are allowed to request that HUD take into consideration the implications that the Supreme Court decision will have on the application of the rule.
Representative Wexton and Chairwoman Waters have a record of supporting LGBTQ rights and opposing HUD’s discriminatory policies. Representative Wexton introduced H.R. 3018, the “Ensuring Equal Access to Shelter Act of 2019,” a bill prohibiting implementation of the anti-transgender rule. Both representatives were also original cosponsors to H.R. 5, the “Equality Act," a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in a wide variety of areas.
On July 9, 120 members of Congress called on President Trump to direct the federal government to remove all regulations, executive orders, and agency policies that discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Referencing the Bostock v. County ruling, the members of Congress wrote, “The Supreme Court’s unambiguous rejection of these discriminatory arguments means that the harmful policies put in place by your Administration to permit discrimination against the LGBTQ community must immediately be reviewed and revoked or revised to make clear that protections apply to all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The law requires this action.” They demanded that the administration identify steps to implement the Bostock v. Clayton County ruling in its agencies, enforce the nation’s civil rights laws that prohibit sex discrimination, and review, revoke and revise all federal agency regulations, polices, and executive orders which permit discrimination against LGBTQ people.
The administration has continually attacked the civil rights of LGBTQ people and has allowed for discrimination to persist. HUD’s anti-transgender proposal is just the latest of these attacks. The letters reflect congressional outrage, affirming that discrimination against the LGBTQ community will not be tolerated.
At the time of this writing, HUD has not published the rule to the Federal Register. Once published, a 60-day public comment period will open. NLIHC, True Colors United, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Housing Law Project, and other national organizations have launched the Housing Saving Lives campaign to oppose HUD’s anti-transgender rule. Together, we are calling for individuals and organizations to submit public comments in opposition to HUD’s proposed rule during the 60-day comment period. Template letters and other resources will be made available on the housingsaveslives.org website in the coming weeks.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding levels for HUD affordable housing and community development programs, voted on July 8 to approve a fiscal year (FY) 2021 spending bill that includes legislative action to prevent HUD from advancing the anti-transgender rule, an action which NLIHC supports.
Read Chairwomen Waters’ and Representative Wexton’s full letter to HUD: https://tinyurl.com/yd3yo53f
Read the full letter from members of Congress to President Trump: https://bit.ly/322h0NC
The Bostock v. Clayton County decision: https://bit.ly/2YIHG2J
HUD’s anti-transgender proposed rule change to the Equal Access Rule: https://bit.ly/3ed2JjR
Read the joint press statement from NLIHC and other Housing Saves Lives partners opposing HUD’s anti-transgender rule here: https://bit.ly/2CWWWBS
NLIHC urges advocates to oppose this rule by going to www.housingsaveslives.org