Here’s what you need to know about a new proposed HHS rule announced last week

On November 1, the Trump Administration announced that it would no longer enforce existing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations that prohibit discrimination in HHS-funded programs based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, and religion. The administration also announced that HHS-funded programs would no longer be required to recognize marriages of same-sex couples. In addition, it put forward a new rule that would allow most programs receiving HHS grants to discriminate based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. This proposed rule and the administration’s notice that they are suspending enforcement of existing nondiscrimination provisions will have widespread and devastating consequences.

This means federally funded programs and agencies could, for example, deny services to foster youth, refuse admission to shelters, deny children homes with prospective foster or adoptive families, shut out families seeking emergency services, and more. Those who receive government funding wouldn’t even have to justify their discrimination: the Trump administration would simply allow them to do it, no questions asked.

HHS awards more than $527 billion of taxpayer dollars in grants and contracts each year. This dangerous rule would impact the ability of millions of people to access and receive services from billions of dollars of programs ranging from adoption and foster care services for children, family preservation services, STI and HIV testing and prevention programs, Head Start programs, supportive housing services, reproductive health care, and much more. For example:

  • Head Start grant recipients and other federally funded child care facilities could refuse to serve children with married same-sex parents or provide services to a transgender youth
  • Meals on Wheels and other community meal programs designed to support older adults could refuse to deliver food to older Americans who are Jewish, Muslim, or LGBTQ
  • Adoption and foster care agencies that receive federal funding could keep children in government care rather than allow them to be adopted by qualified same-sex couples or families with different religious beliefs from the agency

Taxpayer dollars should not be used to advance discrimination and harm vulnerable children in foster care, older adults, those at risk for HIV, and more. The rule is the latest in a series of Trump administration efforts to undermine civil rights protections and harm people served by government-funded programs.

MAP, in partnership with other organizations like the ACLU, the Center for American Progress, and others, will continue to provide more information about what this proposed rule – and the notice of nonenforcement – means for the programs that millions of people count on.

Fashion Industry Leaders Pledge to Be Open to All

Tapestry was joined by over 50 fashion houses and brands, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion and the Open to All campaign, to make a powerful statement about the industry’s commitment to fostering inclusivity and protecting equality on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 in New York. (Loren Matthew/AP Images for Tapestry, Inc.)

Today, Tapestry Inc. (a leading New York-based house of modern luxury accessories and lifestyle brands including Coach, kate spade new york and Stuart Weitzman), over 50 fashion houses and brands, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion joined Open to All, making a powerful statement about the fashion industry’s commitment to fostering inclusivity and embracing equality. Never before have so many fashion houses joined together in a single, unified campaign that sends a message that everyone is welcome, valued and respected.

This collective effort was inspired by Tapestry’s work with the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. Founding Open to All signatories and fellow CEO Action members Levi Strauss & Co., Old Navy, and Gap Inc. joined Tapestry as they signed the Open to All pledge alongside more than 50 fashion houses and brands (see below for the full list of participating brands). We are grateful to Tapestry Inc., which partnered with Open to All to recruit these brands to join our campaign. Click here to read the press release.

This is a moment where fashion industry giants across America are sending a message: no matter who you are, where you’re from, what you look like, or what style and expression makes you feel like you, you are welcome.  

We encourage all Open to All public education coalition members to please share this historic announcement out over social media. Below are some graphics and sample posts to share.

In the almost two years since Open to All’s inception, and thanks to the leadership of the Open to All coalition, we have had over 5,000 large and small businesses sign the business pledge. Tapestry has worked beyond the walls of their stores to bring the fashion industry together to join the growing Open to All campaign. Open to All continues to build a thriving, competitive, and inclusive America where customers and employees are valued, respected and welcomed regardless of who they are. Today’s announcement exemplifies the spirit of Open to All and creates true transformation.