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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‘Too Convenient to Be Believable’: Intelligence Experts Dispute Trump DNI Claim ‘Proud Boys’ Emails Really From Iran
Intelligence experts are responding to Wednesday night’s announcement by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe claiming that election interference emails that appear to from the U.S.-based hate group known as the Proud Boys are actually from Iran.
The emails threaten recipients to vote for President Donald Trump.
Shortly after Ratcliffe announced the emails were designed to harm President Trump, not influence Americans to vote for him, intelligence experts denounced his claims as “too convenient to be believable.”
U.S. Naval War College Professor of International Relations and National Security:
I find this Iran story too convenient to be believable wo more evidence from Ratcliffe, who has been quite willing to declassify raw intel after all https://t.co/Ka44obAts4
— David Burbach (@dburbach) October 22, 2020
CNN National Security and Legal Analyst, Former Intel Community attorney says “Ratcliffe isn’t a credible actor”:
"Proud Boys Send Emails Threatening People Who Don't Vote For Trump" is obviously a bad headline for Trump and the foreseeable outcome of sending those messages.
It's notable Wray didn't repeat assessment and Ratcliffe isn't a credible actor. But there is logic to the claim. https://t.co/2SXAFOmjt6
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 22, 2020
Former federal prosecutor, NBC News and MSNBC Legal Analyst:
The fake/foreign emails told people to vote for Trump (I’ve seen them). DNI Ratcliffe (the guy who lied about prosecuting terrorism cases) said the fake emails ARE TRYING TO HURT TRUMP! This is disinformation from Ratcliffe designed to energize Trump’s base!
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) October 22, 2020
U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and is a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves:
Dear @ODNIgov Ratcliffe: Actually, @DHSgov officials say that Iran sent spoofed emails to intimidate voters to vote FOR Donald Trump. Are you being fully honest with the American people? https://t.co/w1qvgWrPsR
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 21, 2020
Dear @DNI_Ratcliffe: Did you even review the emails that @DHSgov officials say Iran sent? Those emails intimidate DEMOCRATS and warn them to vote for Trump. That hurts @JoeBiden. So is there another email you are referring to, or are you misleading the American people? https://t.co/Z42at3xd7G
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 22, 2020
Head of Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s digital security initiative questions Ratcliffe’s intentions:
Hate to say it … but that press conference about Iranian efforts to sow confusion …. is sowing quite a bit of confusion itself. I don’t think this was the intention of Demers, @CISAKrebs, or @FBI – but the DNI? We’ll see….
— Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) October 22, 2020
Managing Director for National Security at the Center for American Progress. Formerly National Security Council, DOJ, ODNI, NCTC also questioning Ratcliffe’s motives:
I’m not rushing to think that press conference was politically motivated but I would feel better if Demers or Krebs had spoken. Why didn’t we hear from them? Why did Ratcliffe lead when domestic election infrastructure is DHS’s responsibility?
— katrina mulligan (@NatSecMulligan) October 22, 2020
On Tuesday The New York Times ran an opinion piece calling Ratcliffe “among the most destructive intelligence officials in U.S. history.” The title: “The Intelligence Director Who Is Undermining Trust and Truth.”
Judge Shoots Down Effort to Delay Hearing on Trump Rape Case — After Barr’s DOJ Was Caught Lying: Report
The United States Department of Justice received a public rebuke from a federal judge on Wednesday.
At issue was a hearing about the DOJ’s efforts to have taxpayer-funded lawyers defend President Donald Trump in a civil case over whether he defamed E. Jean Carroll after she accused him of sexual assault.
The DOJ attempted to delay the case after a government attorney was denied access to the courthouse due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The DOJ claimed that the new rules had started on Tuesday, even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced the ban a week earlier.
The judge denied the motion and noted the hearing could be conducted by phone.
The judge added that “contrary to the government’s suggestion, it appears that Virginia was added to the list of Restricted States over a week ago.”
The order was posted to Twitter by Courthouse News reporter Adam Klasfeld:
Upshot: The DOJ made an easily fact-checked error in a one-paragraph letter to a federal judge, who quickly noticed that and dressed the department down on the public record.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) October 21, 2020
Trump Mocked for Posting Photo of ‘The Many Things We’ve Done for Healthcare’ That’s a ‘Blank Sheet of Paper’
President Donald Trump is harping on his failed “60 Minutes” interview that he walked off from after veteran CBS News host Lesley Stahl began asking him questions about the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday.
CNN reports Trump has been pushing his chief of staff to release the White House’s recording of the interview, and barely minutes after that segment aired the President tweeted out photos of him with Stahl.
One of the photos shows White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany handing a huge book to Lesley Stahl.
“Kayleigh McEnany presenting Lesley Stahl (@60Minutes) with some of the many things we’ve done for Healthcare. Lesley had no idea!” Trump tweeted.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2020
But as Vox journalist Aaron Rupar noted, the book appears to be filled with blank paper – or at least the page she happened to be looking at clearly is blank.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 21, 2020
That observation was echoed by many, and others mocked the President for yet another empty plan.
— jowee BEAST (@joweebananas) October 21, 2020
About to say, if there is text on that page I can’t see it https://t.co/ZvFKRcBvTX
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) October 21, 2020
It is appropriate that the volumes of books printed by the White House detailing trump’s health care plan are all blank. https://t.co/Swz4Nhjrjk
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) October 21, 2020
So a very accurate representation https://t.co/TnF6zeXcVp
— nancy peloSEA 🌊 (@nancy_pelosea) October 21, 2020
— JayJay (@JJjpe10) October 21, 2020
Why in the hell do they keep doing this same “trick” over and over again? https://t.co/F64OvlXUix
— Ryan Ritter (@ndtex) October 21, 2020
Of course, it’s a book about Trump’s accomplishments. https://t.co/XYFS5Z8HZn
— Toni Mendoza (@ToniMen06774746) October 21, 2020
Oh my GOD this is beyond parody https://t.co/vEmqBgmLoX
— Al 𖤐 hex 𖤐 Lawson 🎃 (@AlexLawsonOFD) October 21, 2020
Is this what caused his tantrum? https://t.co/RZAqeOXHh3
— magdalynn.boyo (@Xalapalynn) October 21, 2020
If you open to the centerfold spread it probably says: “OUR HEALTHCARE PLAN WILL BE RELEASED IN TWO WEEKS” in giant letters. https://t.co/qyjYsZ1p0d
— Claudia Kincaid (@ClaudiaKincaid_) October 21, 2020
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