The Oval Office occupant takes heat over his pick to lead the CDC, while his ban of trans troops gets pushed back by the courts, and Oklahoma goes anti-gay parents.
Redfield Red Flags
Robert Redfield, the president’s choice to run the Centers for Disease Control, may have no experience running a federal agency, but that’s okay. He’s passed the White House’s litmus test for being anti-LGBTQ.
Never mind that’s a Baltimore-based HIV researcher; his resume is rife with public commentary that commingles politics and religion when it comes to policy positions — and he’s not a recent convert to the far right. As far back at as the Reagan administration, Redfield pushed for mandatory HIV testing of military recruits — and then making the status of those tested available to health authorities.
During that same time, he became involved with a group founded by Christian evangelicals called the Association for a Sound AIDS Policy (ASAP). Among their core beliefs: HIV/AIDS was “God’s judgment against LGBTQ people,” and was spread not through unprotected sex. but was a byproduct of single-parent households and the erosion of “family values.”
Not long after, Redfield had to answer charges of scientific misconduct related to his connection with an experimental HIV vaccine. Those charges were ultimately withdrawn, but the data also had to be corrected.
More recently, Redfield pushed a program in Africa called “The ABCs of AIDS,” intended to curb the epidemic through monogamy and sexual abstinence, with condom use as a last resort. The program was actually enacted and the rates of HIV infection rose everywhere it took effect.
Washington State Senator Patty Murray wrote Trump to voice her reservations, given Redfield’s “lack of public health credentials and history of controversial positions regarding the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.”
Trans Ban On Trial
In the nation’s capital, Doe Vs. Trump pits the transgender military plaintiffs against the administration in their first head-to-head legal challenge of the newest trans ban directives. The plaintiffs seek a summary judgment in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia based on evidence they say demonstrates how the ban violates their rights to Equal Protection and Due Process rights — and that the court should institute a permanent declaration to keep the ban from ever being put into practice.
In the process of discovery, plaintiffs learned that the so-called ‘Mattis Plan’ is identical in substance to the ban of all transgender Americans from Armed Services duty that Trump unveiled last year on Twitter. According to Jennifer Levi, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Transgender Rights Project Director, “There is no reason to treat transgender people so unfairly. The Plaintiffs seek nothing more,” she said, “than to be held to the same standards applied to all other service members.””
Oklahoma..! No Gay
Private adoption agencies will now enjoy legal cover to discriminate against LGBTQ couples on the basis of religious objections, after Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma signed a bill into law last Friday.
The new law now permits agencies to decline placing kids where such placement “would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”
Many believe the law to be unconstitutional, while advocates believe it will help kids by protecting the agencies that protect them.
Last modified: May 18, 2018