People For the American Way has filed
suit against two federal agencies demanding the release of documents
related to reported changes in federal policy toward LGBT people.
Right Wing Watch, which is run by
People For the American Way, said Thursday that it had filed Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Justice and
the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last year.
Neither agency, Right Wing Watch said, “produced any responsive
The 10-page lawsuit was filed Wednesday
with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Right Wing Watch filed its FOIA request
with HUD after New York magazine reported that the agency was
quietly unplugging resources aimed at curbing LGBT homelessness,
including removing materials from its website on providing equal
access to transgender people seeking homeless shelters, canceling a
survey on projects in Cincinnati and Houston aimed at reducing LGBT
homelessness and directing a department division to dissociate itself
from a major study on housing discrimination against the LGBT
Right Wing Watch asked the Justice
Department for documents related to a The New York Times
report which claimed that the department had “scrubbed references
to 'L.G.B.T.Q. Youth' from the description of a federal program for
victims of sex trafficking.”
Elliot Mincberg, senior counsel and
senior fellow at People For the American Way, told The Hill
that he hopes the lawsuit will force a response from the agencies.
“The law is very clear that the FOIA
deadlines are enforceable,” he
said. “We don't know if just an email or a letter, but we are
reasonably confident there's some decision or directive that
instructs that these things happen. It should not take that long to
It should be noted that both agencies
are run by men who are vocally opposed to LGBT rights. During his
Senate confirmation hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that
recognizing religious freedom would be “a very high priority” for
him. Sessions, who is opposed to marriage equality, said that he
would “follow” the Supreme Court's 2015 landmark ruling that
struck down state marriage bans.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has warned
that marriage equality will led to “mass killings” and give
“abnormal” people “extra rights.” He's also floated the idea
of a transgender only bathroom. He was forced to backtrack on saying
that prison can make a person gay. In 2013, he created an uproar
when he linked same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia.