HRC on Carson: Senate Confirms Another Shameful Cabinet Secretary

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, condemned the confirmation of Ben Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). An outspoken opponent of LGBTQ equality, Carson will now oversee the enforcement of fair housing laws as well as programs that provide crucial assisted and public housing.

Carson’s confirmation comes at a time when more than 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in an area of the United States where they are at risk of being evicted, fired, or refused service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ Americans report having encountered such discrimination in their lives.

“Ben Carson has not only opposed LGBTQ equality at every turn, he’s shown himself to lack even basic knowledge of housing issues and is ill-equipped to lead HUD,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “The fact of the matter is that a man who’s compared LGBTQ behavior to bestality is now in charge of protecting and housing homeless LGBTQ youth. That’s incredibly dangerous. Carson’s confirmation is just more proof that this administration is a threat to the LGBTQ community.”

As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson will be in charge of:

  • Addressing the epidemic of homeless youth, nearly 40% of whom identify as LGBTQ;
  • Ensuring LGBTQ Americans receive access to the protections of the federal Fair Housing Act  (FHA) by reiterating and promoting guidance encouraging an interpretation of the statute that prohibits discrimination based on both sex stereotyping and gender nonconformity as unlawful sex discrimination;
  • Ensuring access to HUD-funded housing units to LGBTQ people without discrimination;
  • Ensuring equal access to emergency shelters, FHA loans, and assisted housing, and enforcing federal regulations that require entities that provide such services to treat recipients in accordance with their gender identity.

Ben Carson has a long history of opposing LGBTQ equality. As a candidate for president, he opposed marriage equality, adoption by same-sex couples and LGBTQ parents, banning conversion therapy on minors, and non-discrimination protections. He bizarrely continues to peddle the myth that being LGBTQ is a lifestyle choice, and has compared marriage equality to beastiality. A history of Carson’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric can be found here.

Carson’s confirmation as HUD Secretary follows the confirmation of several other officials who are already attacking and undermining LGBTQ equality. Within 48 hours of Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General, he dropped an Obama Administration request to limit a stay on guidance protecting transgender students. Less than one week later, Sessions -- along with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos -- rescinded that guidance entirely. Moreover, the Trump White House is currently reported to be considering an executive order that would extend a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the pretense of religion.

 

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community

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