Joplin pride organization calls out HHS rule change

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Trump administration has made a last minute change at the Department of Health and Human Services, and a local pride organization says the move is harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Department of Health and Human Services has implemented a rule change allowing social service providers that get government funding to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Critics, including Jomo Pride Inc. in Joplin, say the rule change could affect people trying to adopt and become foster parents, as well as the homeless and the elderly who get government assistance.

“We’re hoping the incoming administration reverses the guidances immediately after taking office, but we think that to discriminate against or bar any qualified American from health or adoption services solely based on sexual orientation is a direct assault on Americans’ right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Jomo Pride Inc.’s Ron Burch.

According to a release published in the Federal Register, the Department of Health and Human Services says the Obama-era regulations barring agency discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.