The statement was signed by Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the US bishops' domestic justice committee; Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chair of the religious liberty committee; and Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa, chair of the marriage subcommittee.
The bishops said the proposed regulation, "though not perfect nor answering all questions … is a step in the right direction toward improving flexibility while respecting all persons' right to basic shelter, for which we are grateful."
According to the proposed rule, a shelter that denies access to a transgender client must recommend the client to another shelter. A shelter may still choose to serve transgender people, but if it does, the shelter must do so consistently.
The USCCB's office of general counsel wrote to HUD Sept. 11 expressing gratitude "for the flexibility that the proposed rule provides on placement determinations in facilities that provide emergency shelter and other housing. This is important in fulfilling the basic need for, and human right to, shelter."
"We support the proposal, as it would offer needed flexibility to temporary and emergency shelters in making placement determinations based on sex. This flexibility will help service providers respond to the unique circumstances and needs of those in their care so they can continue to work towards the goal of ensuring everyone has access to safe, decent, and affordable shelter."
The bishops' counsel stated that HUD's 2016 rule "impeded the ability of organizations participating in HUD programs to make housing placements appropriate to persons on the basis of their sex. By removing these impediments and by restoring the flexibility of organizations that provide housing to make admissions and accommodations decisions, the proposed rule furthers the laudable objective of enabling everyone to receive needed housing."