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The purpose of this blog is to stimulate thought and discussion about important issues in healthcare. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of CMDA. We encourage you to join the conversation on our website and share your experience, insight and expertise. CMDA has a rigorous and representative process in formulating official positions, which are largely limited to bioethical areas.

Obama Advancing Gender Ideology Through Regulations

January 28, 2016

by Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

Excerpted from “Proposed Obama Rule on Transgender Persons Could Affect Homeless Shelters,” The Daily Signal commentary by Melody Wood, January 20, 2016 – Emergency shelters are the next target for regulations elevating gender identity over health, safety, privacy, and religious liberty concerns. On Nov. 20, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided notice of a proposed new rule, “Equal Access in Accordance With an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs.”

This proposed rule, if implemented, would endanger religious liberty and create concerns for the privacy and safety of our most vulnerable citizens: the homeless and other people seeking emergency shelter for the night. In 2012, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a rule elevating sexual orientation and gender identity as specially protected classes under HUD-assisted and insured housing programs. This rule, however, allowed temporary emergency shelters to take sex into account when providing shared sleeping areas or bathrooms. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule would rescind this commonsense exemption that protects the faith, privacy, and safety concerns of those in shelters.

Beyond the privacy and safety concerns it causes, the proposed rule also poses a danger to religious liberty. Many emergency shelters are run by churches or religious organizations whose religious beliefs inspire them to help the poor. Yet many of these same churches and religious organizations also hold as a matter of faith or moral conviction that maleness and femaleness are objective biological realities to be respected and affirmed. This proposed rule would require religiously run shelters to violate their sincerely held religious and moral convictions on sexuality.

A comment submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by the Christian Medical Association, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, and similar organizations highlights the problems that the proposed regulation poses for religious liberty.

Should this rule go into effect, shelters run by religious organizations might be forced to choose between violating their beliefs and shutting down due to loss of government funding. The religious or moral convictions that affirm biological realities as meaningful are from the same set of beliefs that prompts these organizations to help the poor in the first place—it doesn’t make sense for the government to make them choose just one of these beliefs to stand by.


CMA VP for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody: “The official comment document filed on behalf of CMA and other ministries noted that this regulation stands at odds with federal law (e.g., the Fair Housing Act) and actually threatens the safety and privacy of vulnerable populations. Some excerpts:

‘These various rules … violate legitimate expectations of privacy of men and women, including those occupying single-sex housing facilities. This is especially true in the case of shared sleeping and bathing areas. It is important to recognize the privacy expectations of all housing residents, not just those claiming to be a sex other than their biological sex.

‘Just as a patient may insist that a health care provider be of the same sex when this protects the patient’s bodily privacy, a client’s biological sex is relevant to decisions about single-sex housing and shared sleeping and bathing areas.

‘The regulations may place a significant burden upon the associational and religious liberty of beneficiaries and other stakeholders. Some beneficiaries may consider it impermissible on religious grounds, for example, to share sleeping and bathing areas with adults to whom they are neither married nor related and who are biologically of the opposite sex. Similarly, a rule that forbade faith-based providers of housing to treat biological men as men, or biological women as women, could substantially burden their religiously-motivated mission to provide housing to those who need it.

‘The health, safety and privacy of all persons served by HUD programs are important. The proposed regulations, however, poorly serve, and in fact are contrary to, those interests. First, there is no statutory basis for treating gender identity as a protected category. Second, the housing needs of a man who self-identifies as a woman, or of a woman who self-identifies as a man, can and should be met in a way that objectively respects his or her health, safety, and privacy, but without compromising the health, safety, or privacy of other beneficiaries.’”

Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations® (CMDA) is made up of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and the Christian Dental Association (CDA). CMDA provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students.