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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Right-Wing Militia Spokeswoman Defends Lynching of KY Governor in Effigy: Protesting ‘Is Not the Answer Any Longer’
A group of right-wing protesters held a demonstration in front of the house of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s mansion this Sunday, at one point hanging an effigy of the governor on a tree in what looked to be a mock lynching. According to CNN, the protest was advertised on Facebook as a Patriot Day Rally to exercise Second Amendment rights.
The backlash against the group’s actions was swift, with even Mitch McConnell slamming the move as “unacceptable.”
“There is no place for hate in Kentucky,” he tweeted.
Responding to the backlash, one of the protest’s organizers took to Facebook and said that this is what happens when people have “stood by and watched this Governor drag people thru the mud and do nothing.”
“People have had enough, the rallies that you attend and speak at, do absolutely nothing to help the people of this State,” Kentucky 3Percenters Inc. State Secretary Patsy Kays Bush on Facebook. “It was not racist it was radical…You can condemn it till the cows come home but screaming and shouting in a microphone is not the answer any longer,….maybe it was in bad taste, maybe it was severe, maybe it was unexpected but at least it was something and I personally will stand by it to the absolute end.”
The video: pic.twitter.com/twsNAKscLV
— Sarah Ladd (@ladd_sarah) May 25, 2020
The protesters, who are part of a militia group that advocates for gun rights, were protesting against Beshear’s coronavirus restrictions at a Second Amendment rally in Kentucky over Memorial Day weekend.
Trump Threatens to Pull GOP Convention Out of NC as First Tweet on Solemn Holiday – Then Says ‘Happy Memorial Day!’
Memorial Day is a solemn American holiday. It was created for one reason and one reason only: to honor, and to mourn, the members of the U.S. Military who lost their lives while serving their country. It is not a happy day.
Given the coronavirus death toll will likely hit the 100,000 mark today, it is an especially solemn day.
Memorial Day is a day traditionally reserved by the nation’s elected leaders for reflection, visiting gravesites, laying wreaths, and perhaps a non-partisan, non-political speech. It is not a day for politics.
President Donald Trump woke up on this Memorial Day and decided to do things a president and a Commander-in-Chief should never do.
Trump continued his bizarre and heinous holiday tweetstorm by threatening to pull the GOP convention out of North Carolina. He claims he blames the state’s Democratic governor for not giving the RNC the promise they will be allowed to have a full house for their nominating convention, due to coronavirus concerns.
He then tweeted three words no Commander-in-Chief should ever say: “HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!”
That was followed by more political tweets.
After Declaring Churches ‘Essential’ and Ordering States to Let Them Reopen Trump Spends Sunday at His Golf Club
Despite having no constitutional authority to do so President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the nation’s governors to allow churches and all houses of worship to reopen “right away.” He threatened to “override” any governor who did not. To support his actions he declared churches “essential.”
On Sunday President Trump headed to the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, according to press pool reports.
About 100,000 people in America have died from the coronavirus.
Sunday’s golf outing follows Trump spending several hours on the links on Saturday, the first time he’s golfed in 76 days.
Scenes from the president’s return to golf for the first time in 76 days. Coverage using long lens with the president and security aware of the camera. Watch here. pic.twitter.com/KjeRbkyyDu
— Kelly O’Donnell (@KellyO) May 23, 2020
Several protesters on Sunday stood outside the entrance to Trump’s club resort.
“I care do you, 100,000 dead,” one protestor’s sign read.
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