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Federal judge halts Trump’s order against diversity training

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Federal judge halts Trump’s order against diversity training

A federal court has come out with a nationwide preliminary injunction that halts the implementation of an executive order by President Donald Trump last September against conducting LGBTQ-inclusive workplace diversity training.

Trump’s order bans federal contractors and grant recipients from conducting training that specifically addresses systemic racism and sexism.

The LGBTQ advocacy groups had filed a suit at the US District Court for the Northern District of California last November that would block the implementation of the order.

An order against diversity training

The order strictly prohibits training on “divisive concepts such as critical race theory, white privilege, systemic racism, or implicit or unconscious bias.”

The Trump administration also argued that it would be in the “public interest” to ban such training.

The plaintiffs included the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Santa Cruz Diversity Center in California, as well as the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Also included were: CrescentCare in New Orleans, Louisiana; Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, Pa.; and the LGBT+ elder advocacy group SAGE based in New York City.

Legal representation was done pro bono from Lambda Legal and Ropes & Gray Law Firm.

Effect of ban on diversity training

According to court records, the groups had filed the suit as plaintiffs as they would either lose funding or stand to lose funding in providing diversity training due to the order.

More importantly, the plaintiffs said the order is overly-vague with respect to prohibited conduct. They also said this order violates their free speech rights.

In response, US District Judge Beth Labson Freeman issued a 34-page ruling blocking the implementation of Trump’s order.

In her injunction, Freeman agreed with with plaintiffs that “the government’s argument is a gross mischaracterization of the speech plaintiffs want to express.”

The judge also agreed with the groups in stating that the government’s position is “an insult to their work of addressing discrimination and injustice towards historically underserved communities.”

Freeman added: “The court finds that a nationwide preliminary injunction is necessary to afford plaintiffs complete and meaningful relief.”

LGBTQ advocates hail judge’s ruling

Adrian E. Shanker, executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, lauded the ruling in an interview with the Philadelphia Gay News.

Because the center receives federal funding for a wide variety of services, Shanker said: “The executive order is so broad that it really compromises our ability to provide the training that our community needs us to provide.”

Meanwhile, SAGE CEO Michael Adams said, “This injunction could not come at a more crucial time,” because of the trainings cancelled due to the threat of the order.

Further, Dr. Ward Carpenter of Los Angeles LGBT Center said the order “struck at the very heart of our country’s core principles, limiting freedom of speech and curtailing efforts to explore root causes of inequality.”

Avatara Smith-Carrington, an attorney at Lambda Legal, said the order is “an effort to quash the truth and sweep under the rug an honest and long overdue reckoning with structural racism and sexism in our society.”

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