The Trump administration is considering far-reaching rollbacks to ‘bedrock’ civil rights anti-discrimination rules.
A leaked memo from the Justice Department asks senior civil rights officials how the long-standing ‘disparate impact’ rules might be changed or removed in certain areas, the Washington Post reported on Thursday (3 January).
The long-standing rules offer legal protections against discrimination in various aspects of American life, such as education and public housing.
The rules also dictate that certain actions could constitute as discrimination, even if this was not the intent.
A move to roll back these regulations would affect various minority groups, including the LGBTI community.
GLAAD condemns Trump govt. for the 88th time
In response to the memo, LGBTI rights group GLAAD condemned the US government.
‘Either the Trump Administration is blissfully ignorant or just simply unwilling to understand the depth of discrimination that exists in the United States,’ Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement.
‘But one thing is certain: if you are a part of a marginalized community, President Trump wants nothing to do with you. These attacks on LGBTQ and other marginalized people must stop.’
GLAAD said this was the 88th time the US government under Trump had made the group’s Trump Accountability Project (TAP).
TAP lists the times the Trump administration has attacked the basic rights of LGBTI people – either through policy or rhetoric – since taking office almost two years ago.
‘Disparate impact is a bedrock principle,’
Civil rights advocates were also quick to express alarm at the contents of the memo, saying that diminishing this apparatus could have serious and long-lasting consequences.
‘Disparate impact is a bedrock principle,’ said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
‘Through the courts, we’ve been able to marshal data and use the disparate-impact doctrine as a robust tool for ferreting out discrimination.’
Republican administrations in the past have not made any serious attempts to alter the disparate impact rules.
This was largely out of concern that any governmental amendments to the rules could be considered racist by the public or be opposed by the Supreme Court.
Pelosi vows to pass the Equality Act
Thursday also saw Nancy Pelosi being reelected as the new House speaker in Congress.
Upon taking the position, Pelosi vowed to pass the Equality Act which would ban anti-LGBT discrimination under federal law.
‘We will make America fairer by passing the Equality Act to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community,’ Pelosi said.
Her announcement was praised by Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
‘Now is the time to move equality forward by advancing the Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans are able to go to go to work, raise their families, and live their lives free from discrimination,’ the Washington Blade reports Griffin saying.
‘Far too many LGBTQ people face unfair and unjust discrimination each and every day with only a patchwork of protections across the country. We are thankful for Speaker Pelosi reaffirming her commitment to advance this critically important legislation and seize this historic moment to make full federal LGBTQ equality a reality,’ Griffin added.
Pelosi also congratulated the new members of the 116th Congress, which include a record number of LGBTI representatives taking office, as Democrats took control of the House following the November midterm elections.