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Betsy DeVos Refuses to Say She Opposes Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination

The education secretary has rolled back trans student rights, and supports charter schools that discriminate.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos repeatedly refused to answer a question on whether she thought it was okay for students to be discriminated against for being LGBTQ.

DeVos was called before the House on Tuesday to answer questions on Trump's education budget, where openly gay lawmaker Rep. Mark Pocan grilled her on the issue of equitable treatment for all.

"Do you think it’s all right for a school to discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity?" Pocan asked, following up on another question about school suspensions. He noted DeVos had mentioned other categories, such as race, religion, and national origin, but not LGBTQ status.

"Um, we have laws that cover discriminatory efforts, and, um, our office for civil rights has continued to be very diligent in investigating any allegation of discrimination and will continue to do so," she sputtered.

"So is that a yes or is that a no?" Pocan asked. "I’m trying to get a yes-or-no, I guess, on that."

When DeVos deflected, and said only that the administration follows the law, Pocan pressed on.

"So, personally you don't have an opinion on it?" he asked. "Because...you are giving money to some charter schools that do discriminate."

DeVos again declined to give a straight answer.

In addition to questioning DeVos on her stance on LGBTQ issues, Pocan also noted her support for charter schools, despite what he said was a "25% failure rate," as well as her decision to cut Special Olympics funding in order to pay for more charter schools.

Pocan was one of five members of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus to send an opposition letter in 2017 to the committee considering DeVos' nomination, citing her and her family's support for anti-LGBTQ organizations and politicians.

That same year, while appearing before the House to answer questions on the education budget, she refused to say she would prohibit carter schools receiving federal funding from discriminating against LGBTQ students.

Under DeVos, the Department of Education has rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender students, refusing to hear complaints from those who say they are being forced to use bathrooms and locker rooms inconsistent with their gender identity.