White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has denied that the Trump administration discriminates against same-sex couples and again defended its record on LGBTQ+ rights generally, earning her a rebuke from GLAAD.
McEnany made the comments at Monday's press briefing when Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson asked her why the State Department keeps appealing court decisions that order it to recognize birthright citizenship for children of married same-sex couples born abroad through assisted reproductive technology, even though both spouses are U.S. citizens.
"That pertained to surrogacy; it had nothing to do with sexual orientation of the parents," McEnany said. But the facts tell a different story.
In the latest decision, which came Thursday from a federal court in Georgia, U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown ruled that the administration must recognize the citizenship since birth of Simone Mize-Gregg, born two years ago in England via surrogacy to married couple Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg. Both men are U.S. citizens, and the family now lives in Decatur, Ga.
The men sued after the U.S. Consulate in London refused to recognize Simone's citizenship and denied her a passport. Because she is not biologically related to both men, the U.S. government considered her born "out of wedlock" and therefore not a citizen at birth. The government claims to apply the same requirements to children of different-sex couples who use assisted reproduction, but Mize and Gregg said that during the time they were waiting at the consulate, they saw at least 20 male-female couples receive passports for their children without facing questions about how a child was conceived.
The State Department is be considering an appeal of Judge Brown's decision, the Blade reports, and has appealed at least two similar rulings.
After denying that there was any discrimination against same-sex couples, McEnany asserted that Donald Trump's administration is pro-LGBTQ+.
"This administration and president will proudly stand on a record of achievements, like leading a global initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality throughout the world, launching a plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, and easing a ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men," she said. McEnany, who like most people in the Trump administration has a record of intensely anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, had made a similar comment when Johnson confronted her about the transgender military ban in July.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded to McEnany's latest prevarication with this statement: "The White House press secretary is wrong and so is the administration's policy, which has in fact only targeted same-sex parents.
"McEnany also again falsified the Trump administration's LGBTQ record -- 172 attacks and counting in policy and rhetoric. The administration's 'global initiative' went nowhere. Its plan for AIDS is horrifically underfunded and not serious. And the administration should be calling to completely lift the outdated and discriminatory ban on blood donations from gay and bi men. Press Secretary McEnany should update her LGBTQ talking points.
"We will continue to call out the truth about the administration's attacks against LGBTQ people in rhetoric and policy. We'll continue to call it what it is: abysmal. We'll continue to question why McEnany thinks it's a record to be proud of."