Three LGBT advocacy organizations sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for leaving them vulnerable during the COVID-19 emergency.
Family Equality, True Colors United and SAGE -- sued HHS for failure to enforce anti-discrimination protections against federal grantees. HHS announced the action Nov. 19, 2019.
“In November 2019, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services acted illegally by choosing, unilaterally and without justification, to ignore existing law that prevented HHS grantees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality. “This action runs counter to HHS’ mission — to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans — and instead places the well-being of millions of vulnerable LGBTQ Americans at risk. As a result, Family Equality joins with our friends at True Colors United and SAGE to ask that the court overturn this illegal and discriminatory HHS action. Family Equality takes no pleasure in suing HHS — rather, we wish the federal government were responsive to the needs of vulnerable LGBTQ Americans — but under the circumstances we have no choice but to ask the courts to intervene to ensure LGBTQ people are afforded the protections we deserve.”
Lambda Legal and Democracy Forward filed the lawsuit March 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The groups argue that they serve vulnerable populations that -- because of the new HHS rules -- are more susceptible to discrimination and refusal of services. This comes as the Coronavirus has forced many school and business closures.
The HHS administers $500 billion in federal grants.