Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said he has no plans to restore guidelines prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ individuals because such rules are unnecessary.
During a testy exchange during a House Appropriations meeting, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, pressed Carson on why the Trump administration dropped rules barring the discrimination against individuals at shelters because they were queer. The congressman posted the exchange on Twitter.
Quigley, a long-time advocate in Congress, noted surveys show as many as 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ.
"To put it another way, LGBTQ youth are 120 percent more likely to become homeless and far more likely to be discriminated against at shelters," he said.
Carson said protections against discrimination already exist with or without the guidelines. There are rules put in place in 2012 and in 2016 that forbid the discrimination whether the guidelines highlight those or not.
"The guidance was pretty much obliterated by the '12-'16 rule, and we've gone back and studied it very carefully and concluded that putting that sub-regulatory guidance there actually confused the issue and made a lot more regulations necessary," Carson said. "We have tried to simplify things. We have not removed the rules."
Under Carson, HUD has changed its mission statement to be less inclusive.
Quigley said taking guidelines down sent the wrong message to those running shelters. He noted a conversation from when Carson visited Chicago, and front desk workers explained the confusion that there was no guidance with LGBTQ individuals.
For example, if someone shows up seeking shelter based on their gender that does not line up with government ID, a problem for many transgender youth kicked out of their homes, workers have no guidance what to do.
"If it says you can't have a discriminatory atmosphere, why don't you have guidance that posts that and instructs them not to discriminate?" Quigley asked.
"The rules already say that," Carson repeated.
Carson added that extra guidelines in fact may trip up the process.
"My suspicion is that you would probably dislike the subregulatory guidance that would be put up."
The aimless exchange left Quigley flabbergasted.
"We are all now more stupid than we were when we came in the room today sir," he told Carson. "Thank you."
Watch it below: