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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Rachel Maddow Can Hardly Contain Herself Reading Mary Trump’s Tell-All
Over time, Mary Trump discovered that her uncle and aunt had taken all of the money from Fred Trump and siphoned all of his money out of accounts and into trusts.
“My grandfather’s estate had actually been worth close to $1 billion, $1 billion when he died, I just didn’t know it yet,” wrote Mary Trump. “After I was sure [the lawyer] had gone, I grabbed copies of my grandfather’s wills, floppy disks with all the depositions from the lawsuits and some of my grandfather’s bank records, all of which I was legally entitled to as part of the lawsuit.”
See the full detailing of the story in the video below:
Bolsonaro: ‘I Drank Hydroxychloroquine and I’m Feeling Great’
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly contracted COVID-19 and says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as a means to recovery. The 65-year-old confirmed the diagnosis to journalists on Tuesday as he arrived to his presidential palace.
After asking reporters to step aside, Bolsonaro removed his face mask. “See, I am fine. See you next week, God willing.”
— AS-Source News (@ASB_Breaking) July 7, 2020
Bolsonaro said he was suffering muscle aches, fatigue and a fever but otherwise felt “normal.” This is a man who, prior to his diagnosis, repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as “just a little flu” and said the media coverage of the pandemic was “hysteria.” He also said, “Life continues. But if the economy doesn’t work it will bring new forms of death and suicide.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 65,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19 — the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States. An additional 1.6 million people have tested positive for the virus in Brazil. Low levels of testing mean deaths and infections are likely much higher.
With his positive COVID-19 result, Bolsonaro now joins U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The latter two world leaders were hospitalized during treatment.
– Coletiva no Palácio do Alvorada – 07 JULHO de 2020. https://t.co/FCKPt1yh5l
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) July 7, 2020
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who repeatedly played down the risks of Covid-19, has tested positive
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) July 7, 2020
#Bolsonaro: Covid-19 is just a little flu
— kj3ll0l (@Kj3ll0l) July 7, 2020
— #BlackLivesMatter Schaltjahr (@chiquitaflanke) July 7, 2020
#Bolsonaro (finally) acknowledged grave risk posed by a virus he'd dismissed as just a "little flu." "We know the fatality of the virus for those of a certain age, like me, above 65, and for those with comorbidities, diseases, other issues." ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I'M THINKING?
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) July 7, 2020
— TRJFF (@TRJFF) July 7, 2020
— Dwayne Walton (@23dwayne) July 7, 2020
Trump Shamefully Withdraws United States from World Health Organization During Pandemic
In an absolutely shameful move for Americans everywhere (whether they believe it right now or not), the Trump White House has announced its departure from the World Health Organization (WHO). The line was drawn in the proverbial sand on Tuesday, July 7.
“We have detailed the reforms that it [the WHO] must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” Trump said.
According to The Hill, the United States contributes upwards of $400 million annually to the WHO — the group’s largest contributor — and public health experts have warned that a suspension of funds would severely damage the organization.
Following Trump’s ill-timed announcement, United States Senator Bob Menendez tweeted, “Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic. To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn’t do it justice. This won’t protect American lives or interests — it leaves Americans sick & America alone.”
Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic.
To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice. This won't protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 7, 2020
“I disagree with the president’s decision,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a statement. “Certainly there needs to be a good, hard look at mistakes the World Health Organization might have made in connection with coronavirus, but the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it.”
“Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines, which citizens of the United States as well as others in the world need,” Alexander added.. “And withdrawing could make it harder to work with other countries to stop viruses before they get to the United States.”
It’s not the first time Trump has publicly denounced the WHO and it certainly won’t be his last. Trump said this past May that “China’s pattern of misconduct is well-known. For decades, they’ve ripped off the United States like no one has ever done before. Hundreds of billions of dollars per year were lost dealing with China, especially over the years during the prior administration. China raided our factories, off-shored our jobs, gutted our industries, stole our intellectual property and violated their commitments under the World Trade Organization.”
Although Trump has put the plan in motion to extricate America from the WHO, there may still be a long legal battle ahead if Congress challenges the decision in court since Congress already allocated funding for the WHO in its current spending bill.
119 days, America. The world is literally watching.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) July 7, 2020
Trump just formally withdrew the United States from the World Health Organization. What a shameful moment.
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) July 7, 2020
I will say it again. National unity. Global solidarity.
This is our only road out of this pandemic"-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 7, 2020
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 7, 2020
Petty, short-sighted and criminally irresponsible. #WHO is the world body that coordinates the global response to the virus. Now, we’re not just alone in our ineptitude, we’re actually alone. https://t.co/EDpNYva29j
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) July 7, 2020
Leaving the #WHO is a monumentally stupid decision from a deathly incompetent administration. It undermines our efforts to get #Covid under control while locking us out of the main global body tracking & responding to the virus. https://t.co/jSs2S5c8XF
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) July 7, 2020
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) July 7, 2020
— Prof. Dr. H. C. Vollmar (@hcvollmar) July 7, 2020
— Maalai Malar News (@maalaimalar) July 7, 2020
— Market Raptor (@swissraptor) July 7, 2020
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