Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, issued a statement in response to reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking credit for directing a Department of Justice lawyer to help prosecute a hate crime case in Iowa.
Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director said:
“One week after Jeff Sessions changed DOJ policy by refusing to protect transgender people under Title VII and launched a sweeping license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, he’s seeking credit for prosecuting a hate crime? We believe Americans deserve an Attorney General willing to address systemic discrimination and enforce policies and laws that prevent hate violence in the first place.”
One week ago, at the direction of Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) rescinded a memo issued by the Obama Administration and replaced it with a discriminatory memo arguing that anti-discrimination protections under Title VII do not apply to transgender people. DOJ instructed all U.S. attorneys to adopt this dangerous position in all pending and future matters. The very next day, Sessions launched a sweeping “license to discriminate” that puts millions of LGBTQ Americans at risk of discrimination.
A preliminary analysis of the Trump-Pence administration’s license to discriminate indicates that LGBTQ people and women will be at risk in some of the following ways:
- A Social Security Administration employee could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse.
- A federal contractor could refuse to provide services to LGBTQ people, including in emergencies, without risk of losing federal contracts.
- Organizations that had previously been prohibited from requiring all of their employees from following the tenets of the organization’s faith could now possibly discriminate against LGBTQ people in the provision of benefits and overall employment status.
- Agencies receiving federal funding, and even their individual staff members, could refuse to provide services to LGBTQ children in crisis, or to place adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple simply because of who they are.