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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‘Their Strategy Now Is Very Clear’: MSNBC’s Heilemann Explains How Trump Will Exploit COVID-19 to Steal the Election
MSNBC’s John Heilemann warned that President Donald Trump doesn’t even seem to be trying to win a fair election anymore, and instead is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to steal the election.
The “Morning Joe” contributor said the president was trying to widen the partisan gap between in-person and mail-in voting so he can challenge any vote that’s not physically cast on Nov. 3.
“Their strategy now is very clear, which is to try to win in enough battleground states the Election Day vote, and that I think is what’s going on here,” Heilemann said.
Many voters are casting their ballots by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Heilemann said Republicans are exploiting the partisan divide in concerns about the deadly virus.
“We already know there’s a disparity between Republicans and Democrats in terms of who’s willing to put health concerns aside and show up on Election Day, stand in a long line, go and vote in person,” Heilemann said. “We know there’s this giant disparity. Democrats are going to vote early and by mail. Republicans are going to show up on Election Day.”
Republicans are concerned that Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting will discourage GOP voters from casting their ballots that way, but Heilemann said that’s exactly what the president wants.
“Trump has focused explicitly on, how do I win the gameday vote?” he said. “How do I get my core base supporters to come out on Election Day, so on the gameday vote, I can put a flag in the ground and say, I won Pennsylvania on Election Day, in-person voting, and then after Election Day, all of those other votes, those tens of millions of votes that come in by mail, that have come in early, many of which are not going to be counted until after Election Day, then engage in a knife fight in the counting rooms, in the validation-certification process, in the courts, in the Electoral College, in the House of Representatives, ultimately.”
“The Trump campaign thinks the fight for the presidency is not — we all say, hey, Election Day’s early, people are voting early right now,” he added. “They say, we don’t care about that, we’re going to contend that all of that was illegitimate, and for us, Election Day starts on Election Day and continues until Jan. 20. That’s where the fight is going to happen.”
Trump is purposefully pushing conspiracy theories about mail-in voting and stoking the possibility of polling place violence because he needs Democrats to stay home on Election Day to claim a narrow win based on higher GOP turnout, according to Heilemann said.
“What’s the Proud Boys thing about?” he said. “It’s about their increasing conviction that there is going to be civil unrest in the country between — I’m talking about their conviction. This is not a left-wing, partisan conspiracy theory. Within Trump’s inner circle, within Trump’s councils of power, within the influential people on the outside, like Steve Bannon, they now talk about the war starts the day after Election Day. The fight is between Nov. 4 and Jan. 20, and some of that fight is going to be, as I said, in counting rooms, in the courts, in the House of Representatives, and, potentially, in the streets, and i think they are getting ready for that fight, and they are in some respects realizing it’s the only path to the presidency for him.”
“It’s going to be really ugly,” Heilemann added. “That’s what Trump said last night, this is not going to be pretty. This is going to be ugly.”
Trump Couldn’t Condemn White Supremacists. He Told Far Right Extremists ‘Proud Boys’ to ‘Stand By’ – They’re Cheering
The Proud Boys are cheering.
The group that calls themselves the “Proud Boys,” and claim to be “western chauvinists” but have been called a far right extremist, neo-fascist, misogynistic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and white nationalist hate group that promotes violence, just got a major show of support from President Donald Trump.
During Tuesday night’s presidential debate Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked the President – who has a long and ugly history of racism, white nationalism, and some say white supremacism – to condemn white supremacists.
Ultimately, he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
The group took to the social media platform Parler, which has become home to white supremacists, conservatives, and anti-Semites, and cheered. New York Times correspondent Mike Baker, who has been doing excellent work in Portland, tweeted out screenshots immediately after Trump’s remarks.
Clearly they’re ready for action – and awaiting orders from the president.
The Proud Boys are ecstatic tonight about getting mentioned in the debate tonight.
“Trump basically said to go fuck them up! this makes me so happy,” writes one prominent Proud Boy. pic.twitter.com/hYA7yQVAOn
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) September 30, 2020
Journalist Jonathan Katz says Trump didn’t condemn, he gave an order:
“Proud Boys stand back and stand by” is not a condemnation, it’s an order.
— Jonathan Myerson Katz (@KatzOnEarth) September 30, 2020
Media Matters’ senior researcher Alex Kaplan reports the Proud Boys immediately incorporated Trump’s orders into their logo:
— Alex Kaplan (@AlKapDC) September 30, 2020
CNN Security Correspondent Josh Campbell notes the language Trump used means “remain ready and alert.”
Trump told white supremacists to “stand by.”
The phrase “stand by” in paramilitary circles means: Remain ready and alert. We’ll call you if we need you.
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) September 30, 2020
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) says Trump didn’t just refuse to denounce white supremacists, he cheered them on.
This will be the story. Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. No – he cheered them on. And they heard him loud and clear. https://t.co/9lJQp49tOH
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) September 30, 2020
The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt says Trump owes Americans an apology or an explanation:
It’s astonishing that, when asked a simple question, will you condemn white supremacists, @POTUS responded – “The Proud Boys should stand back and stand by.” Trying to determine if this was an answer or an admission. @POTUS owes America an apology or an explanation. Now. https://t.co/9tgufXom9K
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) September 30, 2020
Watch: Trump Just Can’t Bring Himself to Condemn White Supremacists
Fox News host Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump during Tuesday night’s debate if he would condemn white supremacists.
He couldn’t bring himself to do it.
Trump could not say, “I condemn white supremacists.”
He hemmed and hawed.
He asked Wallace to give him a name.
He just couldn’t do it.
“I’m willing to do it but almost everything I see if from the left wing and not the right wing.”
Ultimately, this is what he managed to say.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by…”
Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists and Proud Boys. pic.twitter.com/X4Nfj7yKaf
— The Recount (@therecount) September 30, 2020
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