Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on
Thursday criticized a new rule that allows taxpayer-funded
faith-based adoption agencies to refuse placement with LGBT couples.
The Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) rule undoes an Obama-era policy that went into effect
in December 2016. While the new rule has yet to take effect, HHS has
said that it will no longer enforce the current rule.
Trump admin rule allows adoption agencies to refuse placement with
Sanders, a leading candidate for the
2020 Democratic presidential nomination, made his remarks at the
annual 2019 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference, the Washington
“We have seen mean-spirited and
dangerous attempts to demonize LGBTQ people under the pretense of
‘religious liberty,'” Sanders said. “And we have sadly and
unexpectedly seen the Trump administration recently propose a new
rule that would provide federal grants to religious organizations
that actively discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, preventing them
from adopting or caring for children in foster care, preventing them
from enrolling their kids in pre-K programs and preventing them from
receiving the health care services that they need.”
“On a personal note, not as a
candidate, just as an American citizen – somebody who opposes Trump
on everything, that goes without saying – but maybe the ugliest
thing that he is doing, which is kind of unprecedented, is to really
go out of his way for cheap political gain to try to divide the
American people up based on the color of our skin, where we born, our
sexual orientation, our religion, our gender,” Sanders said.
Sanders also criticized the Trump
administration for arguing before the Supreme Court that employers
should be allowed to fire employees based on their sexual orientation
or gender identity and reinstating a ban on transgender troops.
The presidential candidate also touted
his record on LGBT rights.
“In Congress, I have consistently
fought against efforts to ban marriage equality, and I'm proud to be
the only candidate for president to have voted against the Defense of
Marriage Act in 1996,” Sanders said to applause from the crowd.