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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Meadows Allegedly Behind Possible Attempt at Witness Intimidation of Cassidy Hutchinson: Reports
Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, may be the victim of attempted witness intimidation, and the person who may have attempted to intimidate her may be her former boss.
The Guardian on Friday reports “Hutchinson received at least one message tacitly warning her not to cooperate with the House January 6 select committee from an associate of former chief of staff Mark Meadows.”
That message, according to both CNN and The Guardian, was delivered at the direction of Mark Meadows, according to sources both news outlets cite.
One of the messages that the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack posted at the end of Hutchinson’s testimony read: “[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he’s thinking about you. He knows you’re loyal, and you’re going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.”
According to The Guardian, “The redaction was ‘Meadows,’ the sources said.”
CNN similarly reports: “One of [the] people who may have been trying to influence Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony did so at the behest of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to multiple sources familiar with information gathered by the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection.”
Citing multiple sources CNN reports “the ‘person’ referred to in the message, which was redacted in the version projected on a screen during the hearing, was Meadows.”
Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi Friday afternoon on MSNBC said there is “no question” that message constitutes “an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” he stressed.
“When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation,” Figliuzzi added.
Thursday on Twitter Figliuzzi wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”
Secret Service Agents Confirm Details Hutchinson Shared About Trump Demanding to Be Taken to US Capitol Jan. 6
Secret Service agents are coming forward to say for months after the January 6 insurrection they heard stories very similar to the account former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said she was told by a Trump loyalist and White House aide. The right-wing pro-Trump propaganda machine latched on to parts of her story in which she said she was told the outgoing president lunged at an agent, and “grabbed at” the steering wheel of the presidential limo, which on January 6 was an SUV.
Trump “angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way,” CNN reports, citing “two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred.”
That directly supports Hutchinson’s remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in her surprise bombshell testimony Tuesday. “The sources tell CNN that stories circulated about the incident,” CNN adds, “in the months immediately afterward the US Capitol attack and before she testified this week.”
CNN also reports that “one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as ‘demanding’ and that the former President said something similar to: ‘I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.’ The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.”
Hutchinson had told the Committee a Trump aide, Anthony Ornato, had told her Trump got into the presidential limo, which was not “The Beast,” as right-wing propagandists are claiming, but an SUV, and said: “I’m the f-ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!”
That closely echoes what agents told CNN.
“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel,” Hutchinson also told the Committee, citing Ornato as her source. “Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol.’”
“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson then added. “When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle.”
Watch CNN’s report from Friday below or at this link:
Sources say he “lunged toward the steering wheel in an effort to try and get the detail to take him to capitol hill” pic.twitter.com/QKI8ByLomV
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 1, 2022
Biden Blasts ‘Extremist’ Supreme Court and Promises to Protect Women Traveling Across State Lines to Obtain an Abortion
Calling the U.S. Supreme Court “extremist,” President Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable with nine Democratic governors Friday afternoon to discuss options in the wake of six conservative justices stripping the civil right of abortion from Americans. Biden promised he will protect women traveling across state lines to obtain an abortion and will protect women’s rights to FDA-approved abortion drugs.
The President, fresh off his NATO trip, called the Court overturning Roe v. Wade a “terrible extreme decision in my view, upending lives and impacting on the health and safety of millions of women.”
“I share the public outrage that this extremist court has committed to moving America backwards with fewer rights, less autonomy, and politicians invading the most personal decisions,” he added, echoing remarks he made in Madrid about the Court. The President warned that “if they expand on this decision” it will impact “men as well.”
“As I’ve said last week, this is not over. Last week, I announced two specific actions. First, if extremist governors try to block a woman from traveling from her state that prohibits her from seeking medical help she needs to a state that provides that care the federal government will act to protect her bedrock rights through the Attorney General’s Office. Second, if states try to block a woman from getting medication the FDA has already approved and has been available for more than 20 years, my administration will act and protect that woman’s right to that medication.”
The President warned that “ultimately, Congress is going to have to act to codify Roe into federal law. But as I said yesterday, the filibuster should not stand in the way of us being able to do that. But right now, we don’t have the votes from the Senate to change the filibuster on them at the moment. That means we need two more votes.”
“The choice is clear: either elect federal senators and representatives who will codify Roe or Republicans who will elect the House and Senate will try to ban abortions nationwide. Nationwide. This is going to go one way or the other after November. So let’s remember, the reasoning of this decision has an impact much beyond Roe and to the right to privacy more generally. Justice Thomas himself said that under the reasoning of this decision that the court should reconsider marriage equality and contraception and there’s a lot at stake here.”
Watch the president below or at this link:
Pres. Biden said Congress needs to act to codify Roe v. Wade into law but that “right now, we don’t have the votes in the Senate to change the filibuster.”
“We either elect federal senators who will codify Roe, or Republicans who will … try to ban abortions nationwide.” pic.twitter.com/TVsu2NqdnI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 1, 2022
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