News Releases

Today, Senator Murray sent two letters to senior members of President Trump’s cabinet highlighting the Administration’s recent moves that call its commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community into question

In a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Senator Murray decried the Department’s new proposal that would weaken housing protections for transgender individuals

Senator Murray also sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opposing the State Department’s decision to prevent Pride flags from being flown at U.S. embassies and expressing concern with Department policies that fail to promote equality

(Washington, D.C.) – As communities in Washington state and across the country observe Pride Month for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) today voiced her unequivocal support for equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people and slammed the Trump Administration’s moves to undermine the rights of transgender individuals and stymie efforts to promote equality across the globe.

First, Senator Murray sent a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson demanding that the Department rescind its recent proposal that would weaken discrimination protections in HUD-funded emergency and temporary homeless shelters based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

In opposition to the proposal, Senator Murray wrote, “Transgender individuals in the United States face significant barriers to accessing essential services – including housing. HUD’s proposal puts homeless transgender people, a population already facing enormous stigma, at risk of further discrimination. We demand the Department immediately withdraw the proposal and cease any action to reduce protections for transgender individuals.”

Senator Murray continued, “This effort to reverse the Equal Access Rule and its enforcement mechanisms is cruel and unacceptable. It will essentially give HUD’s backing to shelters that willfully discriminate against transgender individuals – putting thousands of homeless youth and adults at risk.  We urge you to rescind the proposed rule and maintain the necessary protections to keep safe the many transgender individuals who are experiencing homelessness.”

Read the full text of Senator Murray’s letter to Secretary Carson HERE.

Additionally, Senator Murray (D-WA) wrote to State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo opposing the Department’s decisions to reject requests from four embassies to fly a rainbow flag on embassy flagpoles in commemoration of Pride month. Noting this year’s State Department Human Rights Report states that “LGBTI violence and discrimination remained widespread around the world in 2018,” in her letter Senator Murray made clear any decision to limit official support for LGBTQIA+ rights would send the wrong signal to the rest of the world about U.S. commitment to this foreign policy priority.  The letter also demanded an explanation for the Department’s decision to: 1) not issue an official statement this year commemorating Pride month, 2) not issue a normally routine cable outlining activities for embassies to commemorate Pride, and 3) continue to not fill the vacant position of LGBTI special envoy.

“This community requires our moral leadership and support,” wrote Senator Murray. “But preventing the official flying of rainbow flags and limiting public messages celebrating Pride Month signals to the international community that the United States is abandoning the advancement of LGBTI rights as a foreign policy priority.”

Read the full text of Senator Murray’s letter to Secretary Pompeo HERE.