Family Equality Condemns Last-Minute HHS Rulemaking Targeting Vulnerable Populations During Pandemic

Today, Family Equality condemned HHS’ announcement of the finalization of a rule which would remove anti-discrimination protections based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion in federal health and human services programs, including foster care and adoption. The administration’s unlawful action endangers already vulnerable populations, particularly LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth in foster care, families, and individuals, as the country confronts the most deadly stage of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This is the Trump administration’s final salvo in its four-year relentless assault on LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit children, families, and individuals,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, interim CEO.  “Removing nondiscrimination protections from health and human services programs could literally endanger the lives of vulnerable populations disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including the LGBTQ+2S community.”

“We are particularly concerned that the 34% of foster youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit, who are eligible for $400 million in direct relief under the most recent COVID-19 relief bill, will be excluded from services and supports under this new rule,” said Julie Kruse, Director of Federal Policy.  “Turning away those in need of health and human services during a pandemic is unconscionable.”

Brogan-Kator added, “It is astonishing that during a political, economic and health crisis, the Trump administration in its final days is prioritizing rulemaking enabling discrimination against vulnerable populations.  Family Equality will sue HHS over this unlawful action.”

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ+ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

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