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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‘Red States Get a Lot of Money’: Fox News Host Destroys Marsha Blackburn’s ‘Blue State Bailout’ Lie
Fox News host Eric Shawn on Sunday challenged Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) after she claimed that the COVID-19 relief bill was delayed because Democrats “wanted people to suffer.”
“The Democrats did not want timely relief prior to the election,” Blackburn told Shawn in an interview on Fox News. “They wanted people to suffer and Nancy Pelosi told us why. She said because they felt like it would help them win the election.”
Shawn interrupted: “Do you think it really is fair to say Democrats wanted people to suffer? I mean, they don’t want people to suffer.”
“They delayed relief when people were saying we desperately need relief,” Blackburn argued. “They delayed money to small businesses when small businesses were saying we need another round of PPP. That was a choice they made.”
Blackburn went on to insist that only 9% of the latest relief bill is related to COVID-19, a claim that Politifact has rated as “half true.”
“So whether you want to say it was fair or not fair, it is an action they took,” the Tennessee Republican continued. “And it is an admission that they have made. So I think it was just really unfortunate that it was their choice.”
Even though Blackburn voted against the latest COVID-19 relief bill, she argued that people “desperately need help.”
“But do you really need to bail out the blue states that have mismanaged their funds and have mismanaged their pensions?” she quipped.
“But you also know,” Shawn interjected, “your state gets $6 billion, Florida gets $16 billion, Texas gets $27 billion. So red states get a lot of money too.”
“It is immoral to continue to pile debt on our children and grandchildren,” Blackburn opined. “It is selfish not to sit down and work this out so that we are not adding to the debt. There are all sorts of good things that you can do with money but we have to remember, the federal government only has money that the taxpayer sends to them.”
“Socialism is fine until you run out of other people’s money,” she added. “And this continuing to say you’re going to pick winners and losers with federal government money, which is taxpayer money, is completely inappropriate and, yes, it does need to stop.”
Watch the video below from Fox News.
GOP Governor Faceplants on CNN: Ending Mask Mandates Is ‘Following the Data’
CNN host Jake Tapper grilled Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Sunday over his decision to lift mask mandates and COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses in his state.
“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” the Republican governor announced on March 2.
Tapper started off his interview this weekend by telling Reeves that health experts were warning that “people will get sick and die” because of his decision. But Reeves insisted he was just “following the data.”
“We know more people are likely to get sick and die without mask mandates and that is what the science says,” Tapper said. “Why is this a tradeoff you’re willing to make?”
But Reeves insisted his state was in good shape. He also lashed out President Joe Biden, who last week accused Reeves and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of “Neanderthal thinking” for their decisions to end mask mandates and other measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Let’s talk a little bit more about the data,” Reeves told Tapper. “The fact is that at our peak, we had 1,450 Mississippians in hospital beds because of the virus. Today, that number is below 400. At our peak, we had 360 Mississippians in ICU beds. At this point that number is below 120. The fact is we have seen significantly reduced levels. and, oh, by the way, unlike President Biden who wants to insult Americans and insult Mississippians, I actually trust Mississippians to make good decisions.”
Tapper then asked Reeves if he thought it was a good idea for the residents of his state to continue wearing masks, to which Reeves replied that he did.
“If you have not received the vaccination and you’re going into a large crowd or if you’re going out to dinner, I strongly encourage Mississippians and people across the country to wear a mask because I believe that it does, in fact, reduce the ability of individuals to spread the virus. No question about that,” Reeves said.
“Only about 9% of Mississippi residents have been fully vaccinated – 9%,” Tapper noted. “The governor of neighboring Alabama, Republican Kay Ivey, is extending her mask mandate another month. Why not do the same thing so you can get more of your constituents vaccinated before relaxing your measures? We all want to go back to normal. The fear is if you do this, it will take longer to actually get back to normal.”
“Well, I should start by saying I love and appreciate Governor Ivey over in Alabama,” Reeves replied. “She is a great friend of mine and has been for many, many years. But when you look at the numbers in Mississippi, it doesn’t justify government intervention. It just simply does not. It doesn’t justify statewide mask mandates. You’ve made a very valid point earlier that statewide mask mandates have been in effect in our state over the last six months and we are not going back to that.”
Watch video below:
Protestors in Idaho Bring Their Kids to Mask-Burnings Promoted by Far Right Extremist Lawmakers
Two far right Republican state lawmakers in Idaho recorded a video promoting coronavirus mask burnings, which subsequently took place across the state Saturday, including on the steps of the state capitol in Boise.
Despite what the two lawmakers say, Republican Governor Brad Little has instituted no statewide mask mandate, businesses are mostly open, and there are no stay-at-home orders, according to The New York Times.
The two GOP lawmakers are Rep. Dorothy Moon, whose husband belongs to the antigovernment extremist group the John Birch Society, and Rep. Heather Scott who reportedly supports white nationalism and according to a report is a leader in a group known as COWS, or the Coalition of Western States. Its founder was removed from the GOP caucus after a report stated he had engaged in domestic terrorism.
In April of 2020 Scott “compared Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) to Adolf Hitler because she said that stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic are akin to Nazi extermination camps.”
In the video the two lawmakers, Moon and Scott, say they “fully support” the mask burnings.
“People are gonna be lining up [at] burn barrels to throw masks in, mandates, or emergency orders or replications there have, because I think everyone’s ready for this emergency order to be lifted,” Moon says. “And now we’re almost one year into this COVID lockdown and mandates and orders that it’s time to end the numbers aren’t there.”
Given that Idaho ranks 43rd in per capita coronavirus testing, it’s impossible to say accurately “the numbers aren’t there.”
Scott chimes in to say the mask-burnings will be “pretty fun,” and Moon adds that there will be “50 burn barrels set up around the state.”
And indeed, people did come out to burn masks, and brought their children with them. One speaker referred to Idaho residents as “political refugees,” apparently for living under mask requirements in Boise.
About 150 people are gathered in Boise, Idaho on the Capitol steps to “burn the mask” pic.twitter.com/bRoUy5bd86
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) March 6, 2021
Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Sergio Olmos posted these photos and videos of the mask-burning at the Idaho capitol. Law enforcement officers asked the anti-science extremists, who are promoting the mask-burnings and including their children in them, to put out the fire.
Parents encouraging their children to burn masks pic.twitter.com/XQuS9qBGbC
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) March 6, 2021
A child says “here fire, you hungry? here’s another mask”
A mask burning rally in boise, Idaho pic.twitter.com/MqNnaEKBP0
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) March 6, 2021
Parents encouraging kids to burn masks on Idaho Capitol steps pic.twitter.com/VOYfOYqwwt
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) March 6, 2021
Idaho state troopers and Boise police tell organizers to put out the fire.
Protestors tell police to go away pic.twitter.com/06nwOeuecY
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) March 6, 2021
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