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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‘Huge Big WTF’: Experts Scorch CDC for Deleting New Guidance Revealing Coronavirus Is Airborne
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday quietly updated its official coronavirus guidance to reveal the pathogen is airborne, and can stay in the air at distances greater than six feet.
Few noticed the change but CNN reported it over the weekend.
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the update read.
That updated guidance has now been deleted, as Harvard professor and former DHS official Juliette Kayyam noted.
Pro-tip. Just got word from internal source that CDC took down the aerosol guidance. I don’t see it anymore. WTF.
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) September 21, 2020
She later noted CDC added a note to the page, claiming the update (which is critical information for everyone around the world) was a draft version.
“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.”
Here’s how some experts are responding:
Award-winning medical science writer covering the pandemic for the New York Times:
— Apoorva Mandavilli (@apoorva_nyc) September 21, 2020
Epidemiologist, Visiting Scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:
🚨HOLY HELL—CDC has now taken down the “coronavirus is aerosol & airborne” guidance from yesterday!!!! It’s like gone!! Instead it puts up some ‘a draft version was put up in error’ bullshit language. Ummm, HHS censorship??? #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/jps57DZ43R
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 21, 2020
4) I thought Mike Caputo is on medical leave… clearly Trump HHS muzzling of the CDC from many inside levers. CDC, the once venerable agency respected around the world… now decimated to be a walking zombie 🧟♂️ of it’s former self. So utterly terrible and terrifying.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) September 21, 2020
Molecular Biologist, and President of the Federation of American Scientists:
WHO: CDC guidance on aerosol transmission was draft advice and was taken down. We need to see what the final advice is.
WHO still holds that close range respiratory droplets are the main mode of transmission. But distance, duration of exposure, ventilation are all factors. pic.twitter.com/obv2HfQcny
— Dr. Ali Nouri (@AliNouriPhD) September 21, 2020
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
‘People Need to Go to Prison’: CNN Analyst Blasts Trump Admin Hiding Coronavirus Is Airborne at Far More Than 6 Feet
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday quietly changed its coronavirus official guidance to note that coronavirus droplets, or “aerosols,” can stay in the air far longer than previously thought and across far more than just six feet.
“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes).”
This would be a revelation to many, who have relied on CDC guidance urging people to social distance, which it has consistently defined as staying six feet apart.
Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital physician Abraar Karan, who is working on Massachusetts’ COVID-19 respoinse, calls the CDC update “a significant shift.”
But the CDC also effectively loosened its guidance, suggestion to stay “at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible.”
Under the “Protect yourself and others” section, the previous version, up until sometime on Friday, read: “Maintain good social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
Now it states:
Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Joe Lockhart, a CNN political analyst and former Clinton White House press secretary, took to Twitter to blast the administration.
“Actually seven months after @realDonaldTrump told Bob Woodward,” about just how deadly coronavirus is, and that it spread through the air, he wrote. “This is criminal and people need to go to prison for this.”
To be clear, President Trump knew.
“This is deadly stuff,” he told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, on tape. “You just breathe the air, and that’s how it’s passed.”
Trump Openly Admits He’s Fast-Tracking SCOTUS Nominee to Rule on ‘Fake Ballots’ During Contested Election
President Donald Trump is openly admitting he’s wasting no time, fast-tracking the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to help him during a contested election.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends,” Trump on Monday said because of “fake ballots,” he does not want a 4-4 Supreme Court ruling on the election, should there be one. There is zero evidence of fake ballots.
Trump suggests though he wants a confirmation vote before the elections, citing election disputes and his baseless claim of “fake ballots” being filled out. We don’t want a 4-4 tie at the court, he said
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 21, 2020
Trump says his SCOTUS appointment is important because of the “fake ballots” that will be sent out in the election. Again, total nonsense.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 21, 2020
He also admitted he is choosing a nominee based on how he thinks they can help him win votes in the election.
Asked to explain why Judge Barbara Lagoa is one of the top candidates on his list, Trump said, “she’s excellent, she’s Hispanic, she’s a terrific woman from everything I know. I don’t know her. Florida, we love Florida. So she’s got a lot of things. Very smart.”
Trump needs help with Hispanic voters, women, and Florida, so she checks all the boxes for him.
Trump explains that Barbara Lagoa is under consideration for SCOTUS because “she’s excellent, she’s Hispanic, she’s a terrific woman from everything I know. I don’t know her. Florida, we love Florida. So she’s got a lot of things.” pic.twitter.com/p2MkTEja6x
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 21, 2020
Trump, asked “is politics going to be part of” his decision on a nominee, says, “I try not to say so,” but admits, “I think probably automatically it is.”
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