Betsy DeVos won’t say that she opposes discrimination against LGBTQ students

Betsy Devos at CPAC 2017
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos repeatedly dodged a question about whether it was alright to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

DeVos appeared before a House subcommittee hearing on education funding and out Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) asked her about LGBTQ discrimination.

“Do you think it’s all right for a school to discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity?” he asked.

“We have laws that cover discriminatory efforts, and our Office for Civil Rights has continued to be very diligent in investigating any allegation of discrimination and will continue to do so,” DeVos said.

“So is that a yes or is that a no?” Pocan asked.

“We follow the law as defined,” DeVos said.

Related: Betsy DeVos shows her true anti-trans colors at conservative conference

Pocan then brought up charter schools, and many charter schools discriminate against LGBTQ students.

The exchange highlights the Trump administration’s interpretation of existing civil rights law.

Under Barack Obama, the Department of Education considered discrimination against transgender people illegal, citing the ban on sex discrimination found in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. That guidance was reversed by DeVos and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017.

While she said that the reversal of the guidelines was merely because she believed that the issue was best addressed by state and local governments, her refusal to say whether she even personally believes that discrimination is wrong shows how opposed she is to treating LGBTQ students equally.

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