Federal judges protect LGBTQ rights with unconstitutional ruling

LGBTQ protected: A proposed rule by the Trump administration was ruled unconstitutional on Wednesday, Nov. 6, by two federal judges. The proposed rule would have allowed adoption agencies and other health care providers to deny LGBTQ couples based on religious beliefs.

Wesley Tabor

The Trump administration’s proposed adoption rule was deemed unconstitutional Wednesday, Nov. 6, by two federal judges.

The proposed rule would have allowed adoption centers to reject LGBTQ couples based on religious beliefs and moral convictions. The rule was scheduled to take effect Nov. 22.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the southern district of New York said the rule was unconstitutional because it would have allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to withhold funding from health care providers that did not comply with the proposed regulation.

Engelmayer wasn’t the only judge who disagreed with the proposed principles.

The very next day, Thursday, Nov. 7, Judge Stanley A. Bastian of the eastern district of Washington defined the rule by saying it was “discrimination by another name.”

The struck down rule was originally published by the Department of Health and Human Services in May 2019. The rule would have expanded the ability of doctors, nurses and other health care workers to refuse services on moral or religious grounds.

New York Attorney General Letitia James stated the following in an official statement released last week.

“The rule would have encouraged health care providers to ‘openly discriminate’ against some patients. Health care is a basic right that should never be subject to political games.”

Prior to any official determination on the case, several LGBTQ advocacy groups had submitted amicus briefs arguing against the rule, according to multiple reports.

Washburn University Queers and Allies advocate for LGBTQ rights on Washburn’s campus. Lauren Evans, the organization’s president, believes that the federal judges made the right call when they deemed the proposed rule unconstitutional.

“LGBTQ+ people should not be put in a preventable life or death situation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Queer lives are at risk every day, and trans people face open and often physical hate,” said Evans. “This should never translate over to health care, a profession in which people must pledge to do no harm.”

The Washburn University College Democrats and Washburn University College Republicans each had their opinions on the ruling.

“Executive orders being shot down by federal judges is not new to this administration,” said Washburn University College Republicans Vice President Jake Nordhus. “I had a feeling that this order would be shot down early in the process. This [LGBTQ/health care proposed rule] probably isn’t the president’s top priority. It’ll be interesting to follow moving forward.”

Washburn University College Democrats Vice President Payton Smith thought the outcome was a good example of the United States Government system of checks and balances.

“I’m pleased to see federal judges strike down the Trump Administration’s attempt at limiting the LGBTQ community’s access to healthcare under the disguise of religious freedom,” said Smith.

For more information, check out my original report/article in last week’s issue or online at washburnreview.org

Edited by Adam White, Brianna Smith, Jessica Galvin