By: Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy Director
“I really couldn’t say, Senator,” was the reply Kenneth Marcus gave when Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) challenged him to “name a single example of something President Trump has said or done when it comes to discrimination or women’s rights or civil rights you disagree with” in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Marcus, who has been named to head the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education, is only the latest Trump nominee whose primary qualification seems to be that he wants to dismantle the office to which he has been nominated.
The primary function of OCR is to protect civil rights in federally-assisted education programs and to prohibit discrimination on the bases of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or membership in patriotic youth organizations. Implementation of Federal education policy is carried out by ‘technical guidance’ which instructs K-12 schools and higher education institutions on how to comply with civil rights laws.
Equality California and a wide range of progressive organizations oppose the Marcus nomination on the grounds that his career and written record clearly reveal indifference – if not real animus – toward LGBTQ people, communities of color, immigrants, and the disabled.
We sent a letter to every U.S. Senator to explain why Kenneth Marcus is a far-right ideologue who, if confirmed, would serve under Secretary Betsy Devos who has herself dismantled protections for transgender students and demonstrated a shocking unwillingness to use Title IX to protect students against sexual assault on campus.
Specifically, throughout his career, Marcus has:
Equality California believes that Kenneth Marcus is manifestly unfit for this key position in the Department of Education. The head of the Office of Civil Rights in any federal agency should be committed to protecting the civil rights of the most vulnerable. LGBTQ students, and particularly those who are gender-nonconforming, are acutely at risk and deserve a champion.