Judge blocks Trump administration ruling on LGBTQ health discrimination
A US judge has blocked the Trump administration with a preliminary injuction from pushing LGBTQ health discrimination against transgender people.
The Trump administration had proposed a regulation that says federal law that prohibits healthcare discrimination “on the basis of sex” doesn’t cover gender identity or sex stereotyping.
High court ruling also covers LGBTQ health discrimination
However, District Court Judge Frederic Block of New York ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) proposed regulation could not go into effect as planned.
Block said the legal basis of this regulation has been cast in doubt after the Supreme Court ruled last June that LGBTQ people are protected against employment discrimination under federal law
Block said, “When the Supreme Court announces a major decision, it seems a sensible thing to pause and reflect on the decision’s impact.”
He further said that the Trump administration’s new rules contradicted the high court ruling and that the HHS acted “arbitrarily and capriciously in enacting them.”
The Trump administration’s proposed regulation was challenged by two transgender women, Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker and Cecilia Gentili.
The two were represented by LGBTQ rights advocate group, Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
Reactions to blocking of LGBTQ health discrimination
The HRC lauded the judge’s ruling with its president Alphonso David saying: “We are pleased the court recognized this irrational rule for what it is: discrimination, plain and simple.”
David further said: “This failed attempt to callously strip away non-discriminiation health care protections is merely the latest in a long line of attacks against the transgender community from the Trump-Pence team.”
However, a spokesperson for the HHS said officials were “disappointed” with the judge’s decision.
Likewise, Ryan Anderson, a senior research fellow at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, said the high court decision “does not require, let alone justify, this activist ruling by a district judge.”
“The HHS regulations are good law and sound policy. Sex is a biological reality and good medicine takes it seriously,” Anderson said.
What the Trump administration was planning to do
The Trump administration’s move targets previous rules by the Obama administration protecting LGBTQ people under the healthcare discrimination provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Roger Severino, director of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, said the new interpretation would align with what lawmakers originally intended.
Moreover, the agency said it believed anti-discrimination provisions applies to “male or female as determined by biology.”
It justified their action as part of a broader effort to eliminate “costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens” that cost American taxpayers US$2.9 billion.
But before it was implemented, the Supreme Court ruled that federal nondiscrimination protections “because of sex” also covers transgender people in the workplace.