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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Watch: Anti-Science GOP Senator Urges Interior Nominee to Delete Tweet Saying ‘Republicans Don’t Believe in Science’
During the 2020 vice presidential debate U.S. Congresswoman Deb Haaland responded to remarks Mike Pence made, tweeting: “They deleted the word science from their website.” She appears to have been referring to one of the first acts the Environmental Protection Agency, under newly-sworn-in President Donald Trump, took: scrubbing part of the EPA’s website of the word “science.”
Columbia University’s Law Schools’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law reported:
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which develops clean water standards for states, removed references to “science” from a website describing its mission. A statement that the OSTP develops “science-based” standards to address water pollution was changed to indicate that the office develops “economically and technologically achievable standards.”
The following year, in 2018, Scientific American reported further erosion of adherence to science in the Trump administration:
Thousands of webpages with climate change information have been removed or buried at agencies including U.S. EPA, the Interior and Energy departments and elsewhere across the government, according to a new report.
During that VP debate, Rep. Haaland, a Democrat of New Mexico, who happens to be Native American, posted these two tweets:
Republicans 👏🏼 don’t 👏🏼 believe 👏🏼 in 👏🏼 science 👏🏼 #VPDebate
— Deb Haaland (@DebHaalandNM) October 8, 2020
She was not wrong.
She also did not know that four months later she would be sitting in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as President Biden’s nominee to be Secretary of the Interior, and be asked to delete her tweet by a Republican Senator – who does not believe in science.
Meet U.S. Senator Steve Daines of Montana.
Daines is anti-LGBT:
#SCOTUS is overriding the will of the people of Montana who have defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) June 26, 2015
He is pro-coal and fossil fuels and doesn’t believe in green energy or that climate change is real:
Mr. President, coal keeps the lights on and it will continue to power the world for decades to come. #SOTU
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) January 13, 2016
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) June 25, 2013
He killed the Keystone XL pipeline, re-entered the disastrous Paris Climate Agreement, and now, he’s trying to freeze oil, coal and gas leases on federal land. This is an outright attack on American energy and union jobs.
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) January 21, 2021
The #GreenNewDeal would leave our rural communities in the dark, literally. When it’s -40 out, our wind turbines stop turning. What picks up the slack and keeps the heat on for our families and businesses? COAL!
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) March 26, 2019
Daines, according to a local Montana news report, is the “most conservative U.S. House member in Montana history.”
Another local Montana news outlet asked why Sen. Daines is “Supporting the Anti-Science, Anti-Public Health Turning Point USA?” TPUSA is a far right wing organization very closely tied to both President Donald Trump and his son, Don Jr. It former communications director once suggested the only problem with Adolph Hitler was he was globalist.
Senator Daines is so anti-science he believes in creationism – or at least thinks it should be taught in science classes.
“What the schools should teach is, as it relates to biology and science is that they have, um, there’s evolution theory, there’s creation theory, and so forth. I think we should teach students to think critically, and teach students that there are evolutionary theories, there’s intelligent-design theories, and allow the students to make up their minds,” he said, as Mother Jones reported.
He’s also anti-abortion and supports an anti-LGBT hate group:
.@JoeBiden is rewarding the abortion industry and using taxpayer dollars to create a slush fund to line their pockets. It's shameful.
We must fight back and do all we can to protect the unborn, the most vulnerable and ALL life. https://t.co/J3X0ybuiyI
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) January 28, 2021
The fact that Daines has a degree in chemical engineering does not mean he believes in science. And if he does, he hides it very well, as his record shows.
Here’s Sen. Daines asking Congresswoman Haaland to delete her tweet, seemingly as a prerequisite to getting approved to become Interior Secretary.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) asks Interior Secretary nominee Rep. Deb Haaland to consider “retracting” her tweet saying “Republicans don’t believe in science.” pic.twitter.com/egTyYJH4tB
— The Recount (@therecount) February 24, 2021
Large Increase in Americans Who Now Identify as LGBTQ – Especially Among Gen Z – But Few Republicans
Over the past three years, a very short time period, there has been a large increase in the number of Americans who identify as LGBTQ, or any designation other than heterosexual.
According to a just-published report from Gallup, 5.6 percent of Americans identify as LGBT, or non-heterosexual, up from 4.5 percent in 2017. The report covers all of 2020. (Note: Gallup uses the term “LGBT,” a far narrower construct than many Americans observe today. These numbers reflect that specific designation.)
Among Generation Z, which Gallup defines as those 18-23, nearly 16 percent – about one in six – identify as LGBT. That’s almost three times the national average.
About one in eleven Millennials (those born between 1981-1996) or 9.1 percent, say they identify as LGBT.
Gallup also reports more than half of LGBT Americans (54.6%) identify as bisexual. That’s 3.1 percent of the total U.S. adult population.
One in four (24.5%) of LGBT Americans say they are gay, 11.7 percent lesbian, and 11.3% transgender. 3.3 percent “volunteer another non-heterosexual preference or term to describe their sexual orientation, such as queer or same-gender-loving.”
There is also a political component to the study.
13 percent of liberals, but just 2.3 percent of conservatives say they are LGBT. In stricter party terms, “8.8% of Democrats, 6.5% of independents and 1.7% of Republicans identifying as LGBT.”
In related news, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican of Maine who just last June was the only GOP co-sponsor of the LGBTQ Equality Act, has refused to demonstrate similar leadership this year, when she could cast the deciding vote. President Joe Biden has committed to signing the legislation into law.
Image via Shutterstock
Anti-LGBTQ Religious-Right Christian Nationalist Home-School Activist and Anti-Masker Launches Congressional Bid
Christian nationalist home-schooling advocate, author, and podcaster Heidi St. John launched a run for U.S. Congress Sunday in Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler became a target of supporters of former President Donald Trump after voting for his impeachment in January and revealing damning details about a phone call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that took place during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
A week prior to the launch of her congressional bid, St. John took to Facebook to post, “Trump now knows who his enemies are in the REPUBLICAN party. And so do we. Silver lining of the shampeachment. The RINOS need to GO!! #acquitted.”
St. John calls herself “The Busy Mom” on Facebook, hosts a daily “Off the Bench” podcast, publishes a blog, and runs a ministry for mothers that promotes her book “Becoming Mom Strong.” She is an ally of Alliance Defending Freedom President Michael Farris and has spoken at the church of religious-right activist pastor Jack Hibbs in California. Rick Green, host of the “WallBuilders Live!” radio program, was a recent guest on her podcast, which she said gets about a million downloads per month.
St. John urges parents to pull their children out of public schools, which she refers to as “government indoctrination centers” that promote “garbage sexual ideologies” and a “weird era of transgenderism.” She said on a recent podcast that gender confirmation surgery should be illegal and that doctors who perform it are “criminals.”
St. John charges that the COVID-19 coronavirus was “weaponized” to create fear by the media and Democrats who saw the virus as an opportunity to hurt Trump’s reelection chances. She urges people not to be mask-wearing “sheep” and to take off their masks. In a Jan. 18 video, she said that Christians’ job is to proclaim truth, adding, “That’s why I don’t do the mask. It’s B.S. of the highest order.”
In a Jan. 9 Facebook video, she declared, “This nation is a Christian nation” while denouncing people who criticized Trump’s religious-right supporters as Christian nationalists or as being part of a Trump-worshiping cult. She said the idea that Trump incited the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol was “a lie that the left is pushing.” She also said that “social justice is a lie from the pit of hell.”
Before Inauguration Day, St. John appeared to be hoping for a miracle that would keep Trump in power. A Jan. 12 Facebook post read, “’It’s all over’? Then along came David with his sling shot. God decides when it’s over.”
In an Inauguration Day blog post she wrote, “My heart is breaking for our Republic today. I know many of you are grieving with me. I am still in disbelief that the left pulled off the greatest vote heist in American history.”
St. John appeared on Wisconsin pastor David Fiorazo’s “Stand Up for the Truth” podcast on Feb. 4, where she said, “I’m hoping that in 2022 there’s a red wave in this country like we’ve never seen, and not just a red wave—a Christian red wave.”
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