A federal judge granted a temporary injunction to the Los Angeles LGBT Center and other gay rights organizations that claimed Donald Trump’s executive order banning some types of diversity training conducted by federal contractors violated their free speech, it was announced Thursday.
The judge ruled that the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights to conduct diversity training that discusses structural racism, white privilege and sexism in society were violated by Trump’s executive order issued on Sept. 22.
“The court agrees with plaintiffs that the government’s argument is a gross mischaracterization of the speech plaintiffs want to express and an insult to their work of addressing discrimination and injustice towards historically underserved communities,” U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman wrote in her order Tuesday. “That this government dislikes this speech is irrelevant to the analysis but permeates their briefing.”
The Nov. 2 lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal in San Jose federal court on behalf of the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz and five other organizational plaintiffs, including the Los Angeles LGBT Center, sought to reverse Trump’s directive to agency heads to audit internal training curricula and discontinue the training, to conduct a similar audit of federal contractors and suspend or deny funding to contractors and grantees whose training or grant-funded activities cover these topics.
Dr. Ward Carpenter, the Los Angeles LGBT Center health services co-director, said the executive order “struck at the very heart of our country’s core principles, limiting freedom of speech and curtailing efforts to explore root causes of inequality.”
Carpenter, the lawsuit’s individual plaintiff, said that as a provider of critical services to underserved communities, the center “has a responsibility to help reduce barriers to care wherever possible. Black, Latinx, transgender, HIV-positive and other LGBTQ people have been ignored and even mistreated by the health care system for generations. If the center is to achieve our goal of creating a world where all LGBTQ people are free, equal and complete members of society, we must start by acknowledging the many ways in which the system has failed our community, then work to change it.”
Carpenter said the center applauds the court’s decision “to halt this mean-spirited and destructive executive order, and we look forward to a new administration that will actually support efforts to address systemic discrimination and promote equality.”