Friday, January 08, 2021

HHS Adopts Amended Rules Reducing LQBTQ Anti-Discrimination Protections

The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday adopted final rules (full text of Release adopting rules) which narrow LGBTQ non-discrimination protections.  Previously, 45 CFR 75.300(c) barred discrimination on non-merit factors such as age, disability, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation in receiving benefits of HHS programs or in administering funded programs. The newly amended rule instead reads:

It is a public policy requirement of HHS that no person otherwise eligible will be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in the administration of HHS programs and services, to the extent doing so is prohibited by federal statute.

Previously 45 CFR 75.300(d) required grant recipients to treat same-sex marriages as valid. The newly amended rule instead reads:

HHS will follow all applicable Supreme Court decisions in administering its award programs.

In its 86-page release adopting the rule, HHS said that enforcing the prior rule may violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. ADF issued a press release announcing the adoption of the new rules. Americans United issued a press release criticizing the new rule.