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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 13, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 02
You don't deserve 'extra rights,' Ben Carson says
Section One
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You don't deserve 'extra rights,' Ben Carson says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Ben Carson - nominated for no discernable reason by Donald Trump to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - said at his January 12 confirmation hearing that LGBT Americans should not get 'extra rights.'

If confirmed by the US Senate, Carson would be in charge of administering federally funded housing for low-income people and enforcing federal nondiscrimination policies.

In 2012 and 2015, Obama's HUD adopted rules to ensure that the department's core housing programs and services are open to people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Those protections seem now to be at risk under Carson.

Asked by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio if he would enforce LGBT protections in the public housing sector, Carson tried to appear conciliatory.

'Of course, I would enforce all the laws of the land,' Carson responded. 'Of course, I think all Americans should be protected by the law.'

But then he added, 'What I have said before is I don't think anyone should get 'extra rights.'

Unfortunately Brown did not follow up with a question about what those 'extra rights' might be.

A clue might be found in a 2014 speech Carson delivered to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In it, he denied that Lesbian and Gay couples have a right to marry.

'Of course gay people should have the same rights as everyone else, but they don't get extra rights,' Carson told CPAC. 'They don't get to redefine marriage.'

LGBT people have very few rights actually guaranteed by federal statutes. Only Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act specifically address sexual orientation and gender identity. All other federal civil rights protections for the LGBT community come under executive orders or administrative guidelines issued by the Obama administration.

That's why a promise to 'enforce all the laws of the land' is not a good answer, at least from the perspective of LGBT rights.

Carson also sidestepped a question about Donald Trump's potential conflicts of interest.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren asked Carson to guarantee that 'not one dollar' of HUD money would go to Trump-owned businesses.

'I will not play favorites for anyone,' Carson said. 'I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people.'

'If there happens to be an extraordinarily good program that's working for millions of people, and it turns out that someone that you're targeting is going to gain $10 from it, am I going to say, 'No, the rest of you Americans can't have it?' Carson added. 'I think logic and common sense is the best way.'

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