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February 2, 2017

SAGE Stands Firmly Against Possible Executive Order Promoting Anti-LGBT Discrimination

License to discriminate would seriously threaten LGBT elders

[New York, NY] SAGE and our LGBT elder constituents are deeply troubled by detailed media reports indicating that the President intends to sign an unprecedented, sweeping order that would allow religious-based discrimination in federally-supported services and programs.  As reported, the Executive Order would subject many millions of Americans – including LGBT people and women in need of health care – to pernicious bias and mistreatment.

If signed, this Executive Order would give license to discriminate against LGBT elders in hospitals, nursing homes, and many other service settings where elders are highly vulnerable and desperately need care and support.  It gives permission to deny LGBT older adults tax-payer-funded home delivered meals and meals at senior centers.  And it provides a sweeping license to discriminate in the provision of any number of other critical aging services and supports.  Freedom of religion is an important, core American value.  But it cannot be used to endorse profound discrimination and mistreatment of any community – including LGBT elders – in federally supported services and programs.  The implementation of such an Executive Order would not only stigmatize, but endanger the lives of LGBT elders in the places, spaces, and times in their lives in which they are most vulnerable. 

Many LGBT elders rely on religiously affiliated entities to provide the food on their plate, the roof over their head, and the critical services and supports that empower them to remain independent, in their homes, in communities across the country.  No one wants to enter longer-term care or have a caregiver in their home.  But when this happens, LGBT elders and their non-LGBT peers alike, all deserve to be treated with equality, respect and dignity.  

This Executive Order must never see the light of day.  SAGE and LGBT elders will do everything within our power to prevent such a gross abdication of our responsibility as a country and as service providers to treat each other as equal citizens under the laws and to respect and care for each other.

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Christina DaCosta
Assistant Director of Communications
917-553-3328
cdacosta@sageusa.org

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