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22 LGBT Advances That (Probably) Will Disappear Under A President Romney

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Under a President Mitt Romney, there are at least 22 advances in LGBT civil rights delivered by President Barack Obama that most likely will disappear. While Nancy Pelosi and, to a far lesser extent, Harry Reid, have worked to support civil rights and protections for the gay community, Barack Obama has — sometimes with great fanfare, oftentimes in the shadows — delivered important advances.

Back in 2010, at Change.org, I wrote a somewhat controversial (at the time) article, “Obama’s Gay Rights Come With An Expiration Date,” which stated:

President Obama should know better than to incrementalize gay rights, and tie them to his presidency. And yet, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

President Obama has slowly and quietly doled out rights to the LGBTQ community. These are rights we should have by the very nature of our existence, rights that every other American has upon birth, but the president has doled them out cautiously, meekly, without pomp or circumstance, and, worse, he has tied them to his presidency.

This tactic is problematic for two reasons.

First, by expanding our civil rights by issuing executive orders and memoranda, President Obama’s gay civil rights come with an expiration date. Yes, that’s right. The rights he has decreed, without working through Congress, are tied to his presidency. Any of his successors can, simply with the stroke of a pen, wipe out all our hard-earned rights, just because he or she wants to. Do you honestly think the next Republican president won’t do that?

Today, the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson posts a long list of 21 LGBT advances a President Romney could — with the stroke of a pen or incrementally — make disappear into a more progressive history.

Asking, “Would President Romney undo pro-LGBT advances?,” Johnson notes:

Many of the pro-LGBT advances that have happened under the Obama administration occurred through changes made by the executive branch rather than through legislation. Changes that were made without the consent of Congress could be reversed under an administration that wanted to cozy up to the religious right.

The Washington Blade has identified five regulatory changes and 16 sub-regulatory changes enacted by the Obama administration that could be reversed if Romney were elected to the White House. These changes include giving greater recognition to same-sex couples, protecting federal LGBT workers against discrimination and ensuring the federal government recognizes the correct gender of transgender people.

The one Johnson doesn’t include in his list of “five regulatory changes and 16 sub-regulatory changes” is the most-obvious: Obama’s support of same-sex marriage equality.

Here’s the list from the Blade:

Regulations

The Administrative Procedures Act provides safeguards against politically motivated policy switches. Thus repealing the policies below would involve a multi-year process.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted a regulation ending the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants.
  • President Obama issued Presidential Memorandum in April 2010 directing HHS to issue regulations requiring all hospitals receiving Medicaid and Medicare to prohibit discrimination in visitation against LGBT people. HHS issued a final regulation that went into effect in early 2011.
  • HUD issued final regulations in January 2012 prohibiting discrimination in federal public housing programs and federally insured mortgage loans.  HUD also requires its grantees to comply with LGBT-inclusive state and local housing discrimination protections.
  • The Office of Personnel Management published final regulations in the Federal Register expanding the eligibility for long-term care coverage to same-sex partners and sick leave to care for a same-sex partner.
  •  The federal Prison Rape Elimination Commission proposed national standards to reduce sexual abuse in correctional facilities, including standards regarding LGBT and intersex inmates. They were later instituted as a rule finalized by the Justice Department last month.

Sub-Regulatory Guidance/Policy Announcements

These are policy advances instituted by — and subject to the will of — the administration.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services revised its funding guidance around abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs, requiring that recipient programs are inclusive of and non-stigmatizing toward LGBT youth.
  • HHS, in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Justice, launched stopbullyingnow.com.
  • The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency recently released new 2011 Performance Based National Detention Standards.  These new standards provide guidance that aims to improve treatment of LGBT and HIV-positive people in detention facilities.
  • In summer 2011, ICE published a memo and clarifying guidance providing that an individual’s family relationships, including a same-sex relationship, would be considered as a factor in labeling certain deportations as low-priority deportations.
  • The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol announced a proposed regulatory change expanding the meaning of “members of a family residing in one household” for the purposes of the customs declaration form, which must be completed prior to re-entry to the United States.
  • The DOJ issued an opinion clarifying that the criminal provisions of the Violence Against Women Act related to stalking and abuse apply equally to same-sex partners.
  • The State Department revised the standards for changing a gender marker on a passport, making the process less burdensome for transgender people.
  • In September 2011, the Social Security Administration confirmed that it ended the practice of allowing gender to be matched in its Social Security Number Verification System (SSNVS). This resulted in the immediate cessation of SSA sending notifications that alert employers when the gender marker on an employee’s W-2 does not match Social Security records.
  • The State Department extended numerous benefits to the partners of Foreign Service officers, including diplomatic passports and access to emergency evacuation.
  • The State Department reversed a Bush administration policy that refused to use a same-sex marriage license as evidence of a name change for passports.
  • The Department of Education issued guidance clarifying when student bullying may violate federal law, distributed a memo outlining key components of strong state anti-bullying laws and policies and made clear to public schools that gay-straight alliances have a right to form and meet.
  • The Department of Education published guidance and, in coordination with the Department of Justice, has pursued Title IX complaints filed by LGBT students experiencing harassment based on sex or sex stereotyping.
  • OPM added gender identity to the equal employment opportunity policy governing all federal jobs.
  • The Department of Labor issued guidance clarifying that an employee can take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a same-sex partner’s child.
  • The IRS clarified that domestic partners (and their children) can be designated beneficiaries for VEBA funding/payment purposes.
  • The Census Bureau overturned the Bush administration’s interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act and agreed to release data on married same-sex couples along with other demographic information from the 2010 Census.

SOURCE: HRC

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Ohio Republicans Allow Anti-Vaxxers to Advance Effort for Broad Constitutional Amendment Banning Medical Mandates

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If anti-vaxxers are successful, enshrined into the Ohio constitution will be a ban on any entity, including the state, requiring vaccinations – not only against COVID but against any of the 20 or so diseases the CDC recommends every person be inoculated against by their 18th birthday.

With the help of Republicans, anti-vaxxers are working to place a ballot initiative before voters next year that not only would ban medical mandates like vaccines, but would ban any medical requirements, and would make a private company’s choice to only serve those vaccinated against deadly diseases like COVID-19 illegal.

“If passed, Ohio would become the only state in the nation with an explicit ban of vaccine mandates in its constitution,” the Ohio Capital Journal reports. “It would mark a major step backward for public health, dampen an already sluggish COVID-19 vaccination effort in Ohio, and nix a practice of mandating vaccination that traces back through early American history.”

“The Ohio Ballot Board — a bipartisan panel controlled by Republicans — allowed organizers of the ‘Medical Right to Refuse’ amendment to begin gathering the 443,000 voters’ signatures required to place the referendum on a ballot. Organizers said they’re hoping to put the issue to voters in May 2023.”

The proposed ballot initiative to change Ohio’s constitution includes this passage:

“No law, rule, regulation, person, employer, entity, or healthcare provider shall require, mandate or coerce any person to receive or use a medical procedure, treatment, injection, vaccine, prophylactic, pharmaceutical, or medical device nor shall the aforementioned discriminate against the individual who exercises this right.”

That would mean parents would no longer be required to inoculate their school-aged children against any of the 20 or so diseases, some deadly, the CDC recommends vaccinations for, including polio, chickenpox, influenza, Hepatitis A and B, Rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumonia, Measles, mumps, rubella, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Meningococcal Disease, Pneumococcal disease, Dengue fever, or COVID-19.

The proposed initiative also includes this crucial line: “An individual’s right to refuse any medical procedure, treatment, injection, vaccine, prophylactic, pharmaceutical, or medical device shall be absolute.”

The Ohio National Guard, local school districts, medical facilities, hospitals, laboratories, restaurants – any public or private employer would be unable to protect their staff by requiring vaccinations or masks.

Organizers will have to obtain at least 443,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot.

 

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News

‘Probably the Biggest Witness Left’: NYT Reporter Explains What Pat Cipollone Can Tell the Jan. 6 Committee

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Pat Cipollone has agreed to testify before the Jan. 6 Committee, and a New York Times reporter explained what the former White House counsel might be able to tell investigators.

Multiple witnesses have placed Cipollone near the center of Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, which the White House counsel repeatedly said were unlawful, and Times correspondent Luke Broadwater told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he would be able to provide valuable testimony even if some topics are protected by executive privilege and the Fifth Amendment.

“Pat Cipollone is an extremely key figure who is there for several of the major moments in this plot to overturn the election, and he may know things we don’t even know about yet that he could reveal to them tomorrow during this interview,” Broadwater said. “I do expect Pat Cipollone’s testimony to be played next week at some of the hearings. There was conversations about whether he should testify live in front of the public, [Rep.] Liz Cheney called for that, but the committee does like to know exactly what a person is going to say before they go up there.”

“They don’t want to turn one of these televised hearings into, you know, a food fight,” he added. “They like to know exactly what a person is going to say before they decide to put them out there, so I think we’ll see Pat Cipollone video clips but not necessarily Pat Cipollone sitting at the witness stand.”

READ MORE: Trump’s ‘full-blown coup’: What was Mike Flynn’s plan? How much did Meadows and Giuliani know? What about Ginni? What happens next?

Congressional investigators understand that Cipollone can’t discuss his private conservations with the former president, due to attorney-client privilege, but he can tell them about discussions with other White House aides and staffers, including Cassidy Hutchinson.

“Everyone concedes that Pat Cipollone does have attorney-client privilege with Donald Trump,” Broadwater said. “He has sort of resisted coming forward and talking about some of those things, so I don’t think we’ll see him necessarily talk about direct conversations with Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean he can’t talk about lots of other material. We heard Cassidy Hutchinson talk about how Pat Cipollone and Mark Meadows were going back and forth into the Oval Office to try to get Donald Trump to call off the mob.”

“Can he talk about the things he said to Cassidy?” Broadwater added. “Can he talk about the things he said to Mark Meadows? You know, we know he was there for meetings about seizing voting machines, he was there when Bill Barr offered his resignation, he was there when they had draft letters to — false draft letters from the Justice Department, and for when he shot down plans from members of Congress, from John Eastman to put forward false slates of electors.”

“There’s so many things that Pat Cipollone knows,” Broadwater added. “I think his testimony could be absolutely crucial for this committee, and he was probably the biggest witness left that they could get, that they hadn’t yet so, you know, I expect this interview to be very important tomorrow.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

Image: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire

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U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.

“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”

NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.

The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.

One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.

Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.

“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”

Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.

Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:

Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.

 

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