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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‘Performative Drivel’: Marco Rubio Mocked and Schooled After Taking MLK Quote Out of Context
Washington Post National Political Reporter Eugene Scott set the stage Sunday evening:
Bracing myself for a slew of MLK quotes Monday from folks who have spent nearly every other day of the past year fighting against CRT …
— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) January 17, 2022
Sure enough, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was only too happy to oblige, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The Florida Republican, who almost daily posts a Bible passage to Twitter, is notorious for being among the many conservatives who are battling Critical Race Theory, the right’s latest non-existent boogey man.
Rubio has introduced legislation with far right extremist U.S. Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), to “prohibit federal funding to promote divisive concepts, such as Critical Race Theory.” A companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
Just as Scott warned, Senator Rubio posted a tweet that reads:
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” Dr. Martin Luther King (1963)
It’s from the third paragraph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and it exposes Rubio’s ignorance and hypocrisy.
New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie was among those who asked, “so, uh, what’s the next line?”
Bouie offered Rubio the answer:
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.'”
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) January 17, 2022
He was far from the only one to chastise and expose Rubio.
Equality Florida’s Press Secretary Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub anti-LGBTQ hate crime massacre (which Rubio used to reverse his promise to never run for office again):
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’.”
— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) January 17, 2022
“And yet you filibuster his dream over and over,” tweeted American Independent Senior Writer Joshua Israel.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the award-winning New York Times journalist and creator of “The 1619 Project”:
Missing smthg: It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds. https://t.co/tIxoPKyNIj
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) January 17, 2022
The whole speech is about how that promissory note is a bad check! Thieves, liars and cheats hand out bad checks that’s what King was saying about YOU and your government.
— Matt Deitsch (@MattxRed) January 17, 2022
You know that promissory notes aren’t a good thing, right? It’s an acknowledgement of a debt, something you owe. We inherited their debt.
The founders enshrined slavery and racism into our Constitution. The debt is paid when all citizens really are equal under/before the law.
— IrrevLyn is wearing a Bast-damned mask & BLM! 😷😾 (@Reverend_Lyn) January 17, 2022
— The Mean Progressive ™ (@MeanProgress) January 17, 2022
No. You don’t get to invoke his name in any righteousness cause you think you have. He called it exactly for what it is. The Jim Crow Filibuster
— Christopher Ryan (@FFChristopherRy) January 17, 2022
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
“It’s a cruel jest to a bootless man to say he ought to lift himself up by his own bootstraps.”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. https://t.co/ld0I2Ej6jZ
— Mattison (@Mattison) January 17, 2022
You want to celebrate this day and this American hero? Support the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill. Otherwise, your words are performative drivel.
— David Sugerman (@DavidSug) January 17, 2022
— Grandma Antifa 😷🌊🌈🎗 (@jenclark95624) January 17, 2022
Marco is taking a break from quoting the Bible out of context to quote Martin Luther King out of context. https://t.co/mR2LHACRJI
— Radioactive Dinosaur (@JeffSaysStuff2) January 17, 2022
Don’t quote him unless you plan on ending the filibuster and protecting voters’ rights.
— Zingamomma 🎶🇺🇸😷🇺🇸🎶 (@tubawidow) January 17, 2022
Lara Trump Thinks Microsoft Office Assistant ‘Clippy’ Is a Real Person Spying on Everything She Writes
Fox host Lara Trump either has a new conspiracy theory, or she is very confused.
Hosting the 5 p.m. EST hour, Trump was ranting about Microsoft Word’s Clippy and the suggested changes to words like “postman” into “letter carrier” and “mankind” into “humankind.” It’s part of the right’s latest attack on “wokism,” which they define as anything done in polite society that makes them uncomfortable.
“Someone is reading this?! And assessing what I’m writing?” Trump said, assuming that a person was actually watching and reading what she was typing in Word instead of an AI programed into what they call “office assistant.” It was once named Clippy, and it was never a real person.
According to Trump, the “office assistant” is a lot like her fancy new car that doesn’t require a key, just a push-button to start it. She said that the car wouldn’t start if she didn’t jingle the keys around. That’s false. Push-button start cars use safety technology that requires your foot on the break, the car in park, and the key fob in the car with you. It’s essentially a small low-frequency transmitter. So if the car won’t start, it’s likely that you need to replace the batteries.
According to Microsoft, the assistant doesn’t have to be turned on.
“The checker can be turned on and off in a menu called ‘Grammar & Refinements’, which lists everything it checks: Age bias, Cultural bias, Ethnic slurs, Gender bias, Gender-Neutral Pronouns, Gender-Specific Language, Racial Bias, Sexual Orientation Bias and Socioeconomic Bias,” said the statement.
See Lara Trump’s rant below:
Die-Hard MAGA Trump Supporters in Arizona Think ‘It’s Very Possible’ States Will ‘Decertify’ the 2020 Election
Donald Trump’s most recent rally in Arizona brought many opportunities for his supporters to explain why they think the former president will be back in office any day.
Politico spoke to a few MAGA folks on the ground at the event and got their thoughts on what’s next in the Trump movement.
“I hope states decertify the election. I want to hear him say it’s over, we are ready to move on and hold a new election,” Politico cited Ray Kallatsa from Tucson. “I do think it’s possible, very possible.”
His thoughts echo those of pillow mogul Mike Lindell, who spoke to the crowd ahead of the former president. He cited QAnon language.
“Can you feel the storm building? It’s America,” he said using the allusion of “the storm” which is part of the conspiracy group’s messaging.
The storm, “refers to excessive social conflict that is predicted to occur prior to society reaching the point of ‘The Great Awakening,’ explained Murray State University.
See the photos from the event at Politico.
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