Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters is seeking to block President Donald Trump’s administration from allowing single-sex homeless and abuse shelters to discriminate on the basis of biological sex.
Waters sent a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson at the end of June suggesting that the Supreme Court decision in Bostock V. Clayton County granting LGBT Americans protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act may contradict HUD’s decision. Carson’s office responded with a letter Monday, arguing Waters was conflating Title VII with Title VIII, known as the Fair Housing Act, and there was no issue with its proposed rule change.
“This attempt to conflate Title VII with the Fair Housing Act is nothing more than grandstanding, as it certainly has nothing to do with what we are trying to do here and that’s to ensure women feel safe after traumatic experiences like domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by letting local shelters set their own admission policies,” HUD Principle Press Secretary Kasey Lovett told the Daily Caller. “The Chairwoman should work with us – not against us – to protect victims and support these shelters’ vital missions.”
HUD’s proposed rule change would allow single-sex shelters to write and follow their own policies for determining the sex of potential residents, so long as those policies are in line with state and local laws. The law was previously changed in 2016 under President Barack Obama’s administration to require facilities to accept residents based on gender identity, not biological gender.
Carson’s office argues this change effectively prevented facilities from enforcing their single-sex standards that were permitted under the FHA. (RELATED: Maxine Waters Spins Trump-Putin Conspiracy But Doesn’t ‘Have The Facts To Prove It’)
“The current HUD rule permits any man, simply by asserting that his gender is female, to obtain access to women’s shelters and even precludes the shelter from asking for identification,” Carson wrote in a letter earlier this year.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson has argued there is potential danger in allowing transgender women, or born-males, into all-female homeless shelters. He argued to the Daily Caller in 2019 that allowing transgender individuals to gain access to facilities on the basis of gender identity is not equal rights, but “extra rights.”
Waters’ office did not respond to a request for comment.