U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar joined representatives from the anti-LGBT countries of Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda on Thursday to launch the anti-LGBT/ anti-abortion “Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family.”
Pompeo and Azar have been working for at least a year and a half to mobilize Thursday’s signing of the Geneva Consensus seeking to reverse the Obama administration’s U.S. foreign policy which supported reproductive rights and LGBT equality.
The anti-LGBT agenda of the declaration reaffirms that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” Hungary’s Minister of State for Family, Youth and International Affairs Katalin Novák denounced international forces that she charged were trying to “weaken the traditional family” through a “culture of indoctrination and preaching”, “gender ideology,” and sex education.
Novák added that the right-wing anti-LGBT governments of Hungary and Poland are playing a leading role in promoting and strengthening the “traditional family.” Uganda’s health minister, Jane Aceng, criticized international pressure to support policies that “may be contrary to our values” and called for “due respect for our values and sovereignty.”
The Geneva Consensus Declaration event was a culmination of the Trump administration’s intensive efforts to build opposition to any international recognition of LGBT rights and a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Pompeo and Azar have been working on developing this new coalition for about a year and a half.
In Manhattan on Monday the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled prior decisions and said that a worker’s sex is necessarily a factor in discrimination based on sexual orientation. Thus ruling that a federal law banning sex bias in the workplace (The 1964 Civil Rights Act) also prohibits discrimination against gay employees.
The 2nd Circuit revived a lawsuit by the estate of Donald Zarda, a former skydiving instructor who said he was fired after he told a customer he was gay and she complained. Zarda’s estate was backed in the appeal by dozens of large companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc.
Zarda’s former employer, Altitude Express Inc, and companies that have faced similar lawsuits have argued that when Congress adopted Title VII more than 50 years ago, it did not consider whether the law’s ban on sex bias included discrimination based on sexual orientation.
But lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender groups and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have increasingly argued that sexual orientation is a function of a person’s gender.
The 2nd Circuit agreed on Monday in its 10-3 decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court in December declined to take up a different case out of Georgia that posed the same question.
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words sent bu the Trump administration at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget.
The forbidden words are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”
In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.
The question of how to address such issues as sexual orientation, gender identity and abortion rights — all of which received significant visibility under the Obama administration — has surfaced repeatedly in federal agencies since President Trump took office. Several key departments — including Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, as well as Justice, Education, and Housing and Urban Development — have changed some federal policies and how they collect government information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in the agency’s Office of Financial Services, according to the CDC analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.
News of the ban on certain words hasn’t yet spread to the broader group of scientists at the CDC, but it’s likely to provoke a backlash, the analyst said. “Our subject matter experts will not lay down quietly — this hasn’t trickled down to them yet.”