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 Crushes GOP Whip Steve Scalise’s Twisted Defense of Trump: ‘We’re Not Talking About the Whistleblower’
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) struggled on Sunday to defend President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to bribe the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
During an interview on FOX News Sunday, Wallace grilled Scalise about reports that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was overheard saying Trump only cared about things that benefit him like an investigation into Biden.
Wallace pointed out that Trump “never mentions the word corruption” in either of his telephone calls with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky but he did mention Joe Biden and his son.
“What he talks about is investigations,” Wallace explained. “Investigations of the Democrats, possible interference in 2016, investigations into the Bidens.”
Scalise complained that none of the impeachment witness who have testified in public hearings were on the calls with Trump and Zelensky.
“That’s not true for Gordon Sondland,” Wallace said. “Gordon Sondland met directly with the president a half dozen times.”
“Doesn’t that blow a hole in the president’s defense?” Wallace asked.
“The president’s defense is that those things didn’t happen,” Scalise said of pressure put on Ukraine. “There were only two people who participated in that phone call, President Trump and President Zelensky… the bottom line is he got the money.”
“A dozen people listened in on the phone call,” Wallace interrupted. “They are career foreign service officers. These are people who worked in the Trump administration.”
“The inspector general said the whistleblower had political motivations,” Scalise said.
“We’re not talking about the whistleblower,” Wallace replied. “I’m asking you about these people who worked for the Trump administration, who worked on the National Security Council or worked for the vice president’s office.”
“The foreign minister of Ukraine just came out two days ago to clear some of this up,” Scalise remarked.
“He incidentally was not on the call either,” Wallace chuckled.
Watch a clip of the interview below.
Democratic Louisiana Governor Wins Re-Election in Massive Defeat for Trump
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards won re-election in a highly contested high dollar race against a candidate who spent at least $12 million of his own money and had President Donald Trump at his beck and call. Edwards beat Republican Eddie Rispone, who Trump had personally campaigned for three times in the state in the past five weeks, and had promoted repeatedly on Twitter.
Louisiana, 3 hours left, get out and Vote for @EddieRispone for Governor. Lower taxes and much more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2019
Calling it a “hard loss” and “a stinging rebuke” for Trump, The New York Times notes the president’s multiple visits to campaign for Rispone were “an effort to lift the Republicans and demonstrate his own clout.”
Bel Edwards campaigned on his record, which included expanding badly-needed Medicare, raising taxes to help fix the state’s budget, and giving teachers a pay increase.
Governor Edwards’ predecessor, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, “repeatedly used short-term patches to eliminate financial shortfalls,” The Shreveport Times reported in January. “They raided savings accounts, drained trust funds, sold off state property and delayed bill payments to keep the budget in balance amid tax breaks that siphoned away more and more money from the treasury.”
Earlier this week in Louisiana President Trump campaigned for Rispone, but appeared to be more interested in framing the election as a vote of confidence for himself.
This Saturday, the eyes of history are looking at the people of Louisiana. If you want to defend your values, your jobs, and your freedom, then you need to REPLACE Radical Liberal John Bel Edwards with a true Louisiana Patriot: @EddieRispone! #GeauxVote pic.twitter.com/odAuD5DFPB
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
Trump had recently backed Kentucky Republican governor Matt Devin for re-election. He too went down in defeat.
In Virginia Republicans, despite Trump’s support, lost massively. Democrats took control of both the House and Senate, giving them control of the State Legislature and the Governor’s office for the first time since 1973.
Pollster Matt McDermott summed it up Saturday night:
Since Trump took office, Democrats have flipped governorships in: Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Kentucky. And now, held the governorship in Louisiana, where Trump won in 2016 by 20 points.
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) November 17, 2019
‘She’s in a Cult’: George and Kellyanne Conway Are ‘Increasingly Distant’ and Jared Kushner Wants Her Gone: Report
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and her husband, conservative attorney George Conway, are not the first political couple with different views. But the others — Democratic strategist James Carville and outspoken conservative Mary Matalin, “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC — haven’t displayed near as extreme a cleavage as the Conways. And journalist Gabriel Sherman examines the Conways’ radically different views on President Donald Trump and some of the fallout this week in a Vanity Fair report.
Kellyanne Conway is one of Trump’s most aggressive defenders, while her husband is a Never Trump conservative who absolutely despises the president. Sherman reports that according to “three sources close to George,” the Conways’ relationship has “become increasingly distant as impeachment has gained steam.”
A Republican insider, quoted anonymously, told Vanity Fair that George Conway “tells people she’s in a cult.” And another source identified by Sherman as “close to George” told Vanity Fair, “It’s not going to get better until she’s cast out of the cult.”
Sherman reports, “Sources say George currently spends much of the time working out of Manhattan. When he sees Kellyanne in Washington, they rarely talk about Trump, except for some ‘passive-aggressive digs,’ a person familiar with the conversations told me.”
Trump, Sherman notes, is furious over George Conway’s relentless attacks, and White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner — according to a Sherman source — has pushed for his father-in-law to force Kellyanne Conway out of the administration because of her husband.
“Jared wants her gone. There’s real friction,” a White House source told Vanity Fair. And another anonymous source also described friction between Kellyanne Conway and Kushner, saying, “Kellyanne has complained that Jared has tried to do a number on her from day one.”
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