Quigley’s LGBT Anti-Discrimination Priorities Included in FY20 Appropriations Bills
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing, announced that two provisions to protect and advance LGBTQ+ rights were included in Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills. These provisions address LGBTQ+ discrimination in housing and blood donation practices.
At Quigley’s request, the FY2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill includes strong language on LGBT housing discrimination to prevent the rollback of HUD’s existing Equal Access Rule and codifies nondiscrimination subregulatory guidance removed by HUD in 2017. The inclusion of thi s language follows Quigley questioning Secretary Carson during a hearing earlier this year on the agency’s failure to review LGBT nondiscrimination guidance documents. The Department had removed guidance from their website in early 2017 that was aimed at helping housing providers comply with HUD nondiscrimination policies for LGBT service recipients and formally declined to reinstate it on March 6, 2019.
“I’m proud that Congress has stepped in to take action where Secretary Carson has repeatedly failed the LGBT community,” said Quigley. “LGBT Americans still face discrimination in too many areas of life. We have a responsibility to ensure that federal housing is not one of those places.”
Quigley also secured language in the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill urging the FDA and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to evaluate new data examining risk factors for HIV infection and adjust blood donation questions if warranted. Currently, gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men are prevented from donating blood based on their sexual orientation and sexual history. While the integrity and safety of blood donation should be maintained, this is yet another way to stigmatize men who have sex with men, particularly because there is insufficient scientific data linking sexual preference as a direct risk factor for blood-borne illnesses. This provision compliments similar language included in the Labor-Housing and Human Services FY20 bill, passed earlier this year, which condemns the current blood donation ban.
“Science and technology have come too far to justify the continuation of discriminatory blood donation rules,” Quigley said. “It is past time for the FDA to reexamine the basis for current blood donation rules. The language in these appropriations bills will help move our country in the right direction on this issue.”
Both the THUD and Agriculture appropriations bills passed the Appropriations Committee today.