Monthly Archives: September 2014

Documents from Dept. of Education – Title IX Religious Exemptions

I received about 250 pages (counting the pages that were fully blanked out as non responsive) from the Department of Education today.  I’m still going through them, but I think this is the key page as far as Department policy on assessing the eligibility of an institution for religious exemptions (page 48 of the second file, 13-00442-F (OCR-PLG) (1 of 2)).

“The applicant or recipient will normally be considered to be controlled by a religious organization if one or more of the following conditions prevail:

  1. It is a school or department of divinity; or
  2. It requires its faculty, students, or employees to be members of, or otherwise espouse a personal belief in, the religion of the organization by which it claims to be controlled; or
  3. Its charter and catalog, or other official publication, contains explicit statement that it is controlled by a religious organization or an organ thereof or is committed to the doctrines of a particular religion, and the members of its governing body are appointed by the controlling religious organization or an organ thereof, and it receives a significant amount of financial support from the controlling religious organization or an organ thereof.”

Criteria for Religious Exemption

The document is undated, but from the rest of the file is likely from the mid-1980s.


13-00442-F (OCR-PLG) (1 of 2)

13-00442-F (OCR-PLG) (2 of 2)

Meeting with OIRA – Resources Supporting Trans-Inclusive Healthcare

Catching up on some old business:  on July 15, 2014 I spoke to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA, the portion of the Executive Office of the President that oversees the Federal regulatory process) about a then-pending Office of Personnel Management rulemaking updating the government’s employment nondiscrimination policies.  This update was to, among other things, include “gender identity” as an explicitly protected class.  However, the update did not address the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB), the system that delivers health insurance to millions of Federal employees.

Both the OIRA meeting record and my meeting handout are publicly available.  For those advocating for trans-inclusive healthcare to your private employees, the handout may prove useful.  As my argument was not only based on the legal necessity of trans-inclusive healthcare, but also on the costs and benefits of providing such insurance, the studies and discussions will be powerful evidence to support your case to management. (This isn’t legal advice).

The final rule at issue was published July 29, 2014, and also did not include reference to FEHB.  However, I don’t view this as a loss.  The rulemaking was a vehicle to present these concerns directly to the White House, and in that light I succeeded beyond my expectations; I was surprised to even be able to speak with OIRA directly.

Several rulemakings remain, including the most significant, a Department of Health and Human Services rulemaking or interpretation addressing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which bans (among other things) discrimination on the basis of sex.  The Department has previously said that this section does not require insurers to provide trans-inclusive health coverage, but that language disappeared at the same time the Department requested comments from the public on interpreting the section.  The docket was replete with comments from individuals and organizations demanding trans-inclusive health insurance (including a comment I wrote anonymously, not yet being fully out at the time).  Some of these, particularly the comments of Whitman-Walker Health, made a compelling case that trans-inclusive health insurance is legally required by present statutes and not something to be decided on a state-by-state or insurer-by-insurer basis.

Hopefully my presentation to OIRA helped to raise visibility on these issues, so that when the Department rulemaking is under White House review, it will be done with the knowledge that their actions are being watched closely and critically to ensure that transgender people are not again denied equal protection of the laws.

Justice for Jane – CTDCF Admits No Policy To Justify Turning Away Potential Adoptive Families

In response to a recent FOIA request for processes, eligibility criteria or other methods for determining no adoptive parents would be permitted to adopt a specific child, Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families admitted yesterday afternoon that it had no documents responsive to the question, meaning no such policy exists.  That raises the question: if there’s no policy allowing CTDCF to turn away all prospective adoptive parents, on what basis are they doing exactly that when it comes to Jane Doe?

This new response again demonstrates that CTDCF is ignoring the rights of Jane Doe and is acting outside of the law to keep her imprisoned in a facility for male juvenile delinquents despite the fact that she is neither accused of nor convicted of any crime.


FOIA Response for CTDCF Records - Children Categorically Ineligible for Adoption



Justice for Jane – How does CTDCF Render a Child Ineligible for Adoption

Jane Doe has been imprisoned by CTDCF because they claim there is no home for her, while ignoring requests from families who would welcome her into their homes.  This FOIA request asks how CTDCF came to the conclusion that Jane wasn’t eligible for foster care or adoption, as it seems they do not see any family as fit for Jane.


CTDCF FOIA3 - Eligibility for Adoption (redacted) CTDCF FOIA3 - Eligibility for Adoption (redacted) 2

Justice for Jane: Connecticut Admits No Policy to Justify Solitary Confinement

Jane Doe of Connecticut has been placed in solitary confinement at a facility for male juvenile delinquents on parole, despite neither being male nor adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent.  I contacted CTDCF and formally requested any records of policies or procedures to determine when a girl under their care should be placed in a male facility, how such a girl should be protected, and procedures on solitary confinement generally.

The official response from CTDCF was that the agency has “no responsive records.”  This constitutes a legal admission by CTDCF that no written policies or procedures exist.  As was widely suspected, CTDCF is inventing policy in order to warehouse Jane in a male facility.

It is important to remember that in response to a prior records request, CTDCF formally acknowledged that it has never housed a cisgender girl in a male facility.  The question thus remains:  why does CTDCF treat transgender children in a different and more punitive manner than cisgender children?  Why is the governor continuing to allow this violation of state and Federal laws banning government discrimination on the basis of gender identity?