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 presidentÂ won’tÂ 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:
The Administrative Procedures Act provides safeguards against politically motivated policy switches.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.
- Â 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 â€” and subject to the will of â€” 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, launchedÂ stopbullyingnow.com.
- The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency recently released new 2011 Performance Based National Detention Standards.Â 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 individualâ€™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 â€œmembers of a family residing in one householdâ€ 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 employeeâ€™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 partnerâ€™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 administrationâ€™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.
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Chris Wallace ‘Sad’ How Debate ‘Turned Out’: ‘Never Dreamt That It Would Go Off the Tracks’
Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who more than most at the right wing cable network stands up to President Donald Trump, was exceptionally passive in his moderation of the first presidential debate of 2020.
He was equally passive in how he discussed and described his performance.
“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace passively told The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum.
“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” he continued, appearing to take no responsibility for what was overwhelmingly described on social media Tuesday night as a “shit show.”
Continuing down the path of passivity, Wallace lamented it was “a terrible missed opportunity.”
“I’ve read some of the reviews, I know people think, Well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough,” he added. “I guess I didn’t realize — and there was no way you could, hindsight being 20/20 — that this was going to be the president’s strategy, not just for the beginning of the debate but the entire debate.”
There in fact was every reason to believe Trump would do what he did Tuesday night – bully, attack, threaten, lie, talk over his opponent, talk over the moderator, refuse to answer direct questions, and embarrass the nation – because he’s done it before, to varying degrees.
“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” Wallace says.
He also refused to blame the president for destroying the entire debate.
Asked directly if Mr. Trump had derailed the debate, Mr. Wallace replied, “Well, he certainly didn’t help.”
Care to elaborate? “No,” Mr. Wallace said. “To quote the president, ‘It is what it is.’”
Wallace seems keenly aware of the power of public opinion, and clearly allowed that to impact his role.
“People have to remember, and too many people forget, both of these candidates have the support of tens of millions of Americans.”
Wallace does not seem to have any regrets.
“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” Mr. Wallace said, in conclusion. “I’m just disappointed with the results. For me, but much more importantly, I’m disappointed for the country, because it could have been a much more useful evening than it turned out to be.”
Debate Commission Will Let Moderators Cut Candidates’ Mics
After President Donald Trump wholly ignored both the debate rules he agreed to and the moderator he agree to, the Committee on Presidential Debates said it would examine options to get control him.
The Commission will allow future debate moderators to cut candidates’ microphones if they deem necessary, according to CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
EXCLUSIVE: @CBSNews has learned the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to issue strict new rules in the coming days that include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules, per an informed source.
More tonight on the @CBSEveningNews
— Norah O’Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) September 30, 2020
That would be one option of several moderators can expect to be given – it’s unclear if the candidates will have to agree to the updated rules.
The Commission issued a statement Wednesday in response to the disaster caused by President Trump. The organization said Tuesday’s “debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”
They have vowed they “are going to be making changes” to avoid a replay of last night’s out of control catastrophe.
President Trump turned the debate into what many called a “shit show.”
Federal Judge Orders Barr to Release Redacted Portions of Mueller Report
A federal judge has ordered the Dept. of Justice to publish redacted portions of the Mueller report after determining Attorney General Bill Barr had not met his burden to satisfy keeping the information privileged.
“Based on the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court concludes that the Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote, as The Hill reports.
The redactions are important. They detail the process by which Mueller’s team decided to charge or not charge individuals with crimes. The full extent of who that includes in the report is not known, but there was great discussion after the report was released about why President Donald Trump had not been charged.
Judge Walton was appointed by President George W. Bush.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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