The Trump administration’s creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force encourages discrimination
SAGE today blasted an announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions creating a taxpayer-funded Religious Liberty Task Force, the latest step by the Trump administration to provide a license to discriminate.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement of a so-called Religious Liberty Task Force at the Department of Justice is one more effort by this Administration to obliterate anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “LGBT elders, who rely on religiously affiliated providers for non-discriminatory care, have played a huge role in the ‘changing cultural climate’ that the Attorney General condemns. They will not go back into the closet so that this administration can pander to the forces of intolerance and bigotry,” said Adams.
Because 85 percent of nonprofit continuing care retirement communities are religiously affiliated, the federal government’s approach poses a grave threat to LGBT elders who need care, as highlighted in Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder Services, a recent report by SAGE, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), and Columbia Law School’s Public Rights/Private Conscience Project.
In response, SAGE fought back, launching its Care Can’t Wait campaign in May. The campaign, which has reached thousands of supporters across the country, is mobilizing LGBT elders, allies, providers, and all who believe in caring for our community members, to stand with LGBT elders in the face of religious discrimination. To date, more than 25,000 people have signed the Care Can’t Wait pledge.
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at sageusa.org.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.