Groups sue HUD, DOJ for documents over LGBT decisions

Groups sue HUD, DOJ for documents over LGBT decisions
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Two liberal advocacy groups are suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Justice Department for documents they say show agency officials are quietly making policy decisions that harm LGBT people.

People for the American Way and Right Wing Watch (RWW) say in the 10-page lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, that the agencies have failed to respond to their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests within the law’s applicable time-frame.

RWW asked HUD to produce documents following a New York magazine report that the agency quietly removed materials from its website that helped train homeless shelters to provide equal access to transgender people, canceled a survey of pilot programs designed to decrease LGBT homelessness in Cincinnati and Houston, and directed a department division to dissociate itself with a study it funded on LGBT housing discrimination.

RWW asked the Justice Department for documents related to reports that it removed multiple references to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth” from its 2017 annual solicitation for the Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative.

Elliot Mincberg, a senior counsel and senior fellow at People for the American Way, is hoping the lawsuit will force the agencies to respond to the requests for information.

“The law is very clear that the FOIA deadlines are enforceable,” he said. “We don’t know if just an email or a letter, but we are reasonably confident there’s some decision or directive that instructs that these things happen. It should not take that long to find them.”

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