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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‘This Is for the People to Decide’: Jaw-Dropping CNN Supercut Lays Bare the GOP’s Stunning Hypocrisy on SCOTUS
As the battle over replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who died Friday from complications of pancreatic cancer — takes shape in Washington, D.C., Republican senators who previously refused to hold a vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick are now having their words thrown in their faces.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Saturday played a devastating supercut that features Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explaining why they would not vote on Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.
“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said in 2016 — laying out what Cooper described as an “eerily similar” situation as the one currently playing out in Congress. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you would be absolutely right.”
“We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year, at least of a lame duck eight-year term, I would say it’s going to be a four-year term, that you’re not going to fill a vacancy of the Supreme Court based on what we’re doing here today,” he added. “That’s going to be the new rule.”
In his own floor speech on the matter in 2016, McConnell likewise urged Congress to give the American people a say in the Supreme Court pick.
“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So, of course, of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” McConnell said.
Cruz — who was shortlisted by Trump as a potential SCOTUS pick earlier this month — also insisted in 2016 that Congress should not move to replace Scalia until after the election.
“I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term, Cruz said. “I would say that if it was a republican president.”
“President Obama is eager to appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement this year,” he continued. “But do you know in the last 80 years we have not once has the Senate confirmed a nomination made in an election year and now is no year to start. This is for the people to decide. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Of course, all three men have now signaled they’re much more likely in 2020 to jam a conservative Supreme Court justice down voters’ throats on the eve of an election. After President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that the Senate has an “obligation” select a replacement for Ginsburg, Graham said he “fully” understands where the president is coming from.
In case that statement seems vague, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman added: ”I will support President [Trump] in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
And McConnell has also insisted “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
And in perhaps the least surprising flip-flop of all, Cruz on Saturday wrote an opinion piece for Fox News that outlined 3 reasons why the Senate must confirm Ginsburg’s replacement before election day. In it, he touted Trump’s “list of extremely qualified, principled constitutionalists who could serve on the Supreme Court” — which, of course, included himself — and argued that going into an election with an 8 person bench could trigger a constitutional crisis in the event of a contested election.
Amazing how now of the senators were concerned with such a problem when Obama appointed his nominee.
Watch the video below to see the blatant hypocrisy for yourself:
‘You Don’t See Any Hypocrisy?’ Chris Wallace Filets Tom Cotton by Replaying His Merrick Garland Speech
Fox News host Chris Wallace accused Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) of hypocrisy on Sunday after he vowed to push forward with a vote to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an election year.
“Why the rush to judgement?” Wallace asked Cotton after the senator promised a swift vote on President Donald Trump’s eventual nominee.
“We’re not going to rush,” Cotton insisted. “We not going to skip steps. We’re going to move forward without delay.”
Wallace reminded Cotton that President Barack Obama named Judge Merrick Garland as his nominee after Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.
“Senate Republicans blocked the choice of Garland,” Wallace noted before playing a clip of Cotton defending the move at the time.
In the clip, Cotton notes that the country will have a new president “in a few short months.”
“Why would we cut off the national debate about this next justice?” Cotton says in the clip. “Why would we squelch the voice of the people, why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the make up of the Supreme Court?”
Wallace continued following the clip: “Garland was nominated nine months before the election and you were saying then, nine months before the election, it was wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in. So if it was wrong then nine months before the election, why is it OK now six weeks before the election?”
For his part, Cotton argued that Republicans won the Senate in 2014 to stop President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations, and then he claimed that the current Republican Senate is in power to uphold nominations by President Donald Trump.
“You really don’t think there is any hypocrisy at all,” Wallace pressed, “in saying, we need to give voters — because you can parse the 2014 election, the 2018 election any way you want — but you stated a pretty firm principle in 2016 about Merrick Garland: It’s wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in.”
“You don’t see any hypocrisy between that position then and this position now?” the Fox News host wondered.
“Chris, the Senate majority is performing our constitutional duty and fulfilling the mandate that the voters gave us,” Cotton opined.
Watch the video below from Fox News.
Trump Says He Will Make SCOTUS Nomination Next Week – Appears He Will Use Seat to Strengthen Where He Is Weak in Polls
President Donald Trump says he will announce his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “next week.”
He made clear his primary deciding factors will be to help him in the polls.
Trump told reporters Saturday afternoon “most likely” he will choose a woman.
CNN reports he is leaning towards choosing a woman mostly because he is doing poorly in the polls with women.
Trump spoke about two women judges. He talked about Barbara Lagoa, noting she is Hispanic and from Florida. He is struggling in the polls with Hispanics and in Florida.
Reporters also asked about Amy Coney Barrett, a far right wing anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ extremist. Trump spoke positively about her as well. Reports say she is the current frontrunner.
Trump: I can see most likely it would be a woman, yeah I think I can say that. pic.twitter.com/1csAZefqUF
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 19, 2020
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