WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, questioned Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge during a hearing held by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Quigley questioned Fudge about Trump appointee Ben Carson's decision to remove LGBTQ nondiscrimination guidance from HUD's website and thanked Fudge when she revealed the Department's intention to restore this guidance. Fudge and Quigley discussed their shared belief that LGBTQ Americans are entitled to the same access to HUD program as any other Americans and Quigley thanked Fudge for her commitment to fighting LGBTQ discrimination in housing policies.
The hearing capped four years of Quigley's fight to ensure equal treatment for LGBTQ Americans in public housing spaces. Quigley repeatedlyconfronted former Secretary Carson about his Department's transphobic and homophobic policies and even called for Carson's resignation.
Video of Quigley and Fudge's exchange on nondiscrimination guidance is available HERE and a transcript is provided below:
QUIGLEY: I sat through these hearings for four years with sometimes mind-numbing conversations with your predecessor about a discrimination issue.
Shortly after he was confirmed, HUD removed from its website the sub-regulatory nondiscrimination guidance for LGBT individuals that help providers meet the standards of existing HUD rules form 2012 to 2016.
Almost three years after the promise to review the guidance within a matter of weeks, more than 6 months after Congress directed the deadline to replace the guidance on the website, that matter had passed.
HUD informed me last year that it was declining to repost the documents at all.
Without this guidance HUD providers lacked the instructions necessary to follow department rules prohibiting the discrimination of LGBT individuals are more likely to face as a result unnecessary and harmful barriers to receiving services they badly need.
Do you plan to reverse these decisions and republish either the removed guidance or an updated version with the same purpose in the shortest reasonable timeline?
FUDGE: Absolutely Mr. Quigley, thank you so much for the question. I just want to say to you that I am very proud that HUD was the first federal agency to implement the President's executive order on preventing and combating discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
So it is now engrained in what we are doing in this agency and I'm very pleased about that.
As well we are looking at some of the other actions that were taken and we've already done things like change the mixed status rule. We have some things before OMB that are going to be coming very soon. So I am very happy about the direction we are going, as it relates to equity and equality.
QUIGLEY: It sounds from what you've said that the answer is obviously yes but we're talking to the whole country now, so if you could reiterate and broaden your answer to the extent that your time as HUD Secretary would be to root out LGBTQ discrimination and HUD policies and procedures throughout the entire system that which still might exist?
FUDGE: Well it is a directive from not only the President but from me personally. We have also talked about how we view that charge from the President to make sure that we are including discrimination against LGBTQ individuals caused by HUD's policies, policies that have been historically within the agency as well.
We know that now this is the law, we are going to follow it, we are going to be sure that we look at every policy in this agency to determine if in fact we are part of the problem. And if we are, we will correct it.
It is something that I am committed to and it is something that I have committed to the President at his directive.
Not he asked me to do it, he required that we do it and I'm happy that he did.
QUIGLEY: I'm pleased but not surprised, finally two recent studies analyzing data collected pursuant to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act found wide spread discrimination around same sex couples in the mortgage industry.
One of these studies specifically examined loans ensured by the Federal Housing Administration at HUD and found that gay male couples, especially including a person of color, were significantly less likely to have their loans approved than white heterosexual couples.
Obviously this must be a target of yours as well from what you have said...
FUDGE: It is. I mean certainly discrimination is built into our system and it is my responsibility to make equity the top of our agenda. It is something that again the President committed us to and it is something that I would do anyway—because if you look at me you can tell I have probably been discriminated in my life as well.
So we have a committee now that is to study equity. We have in every single department in this agency those who are looking at how we best address the systemic issues that have prevented people from being treated fairly whether it be FHA or any other part of this agency, but in particular FHA because it has been discriminatory practices over the many, many years that has kept people from realizing their dream of home ownership.
And so I appreciate the question and the line of questioning, but do know we are committed to making this happen.
QUIGLEY: My time is expired but we look forward to working with you.