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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Trump Jr. Winds Up in Felony Poaching Scandal in Utah After Killing a Bear Baited With Pastries: Report
Second-generation New York real estate heir Donald Trump, Jr. is caught up in yet another hunting scandal.
Utah hunting guide Wade Lemon is facing five years in prison for baiting a bear that was killed by Trump, Jr. on May 18, 2018, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.
But the New York developer may not have been familiar enough with western hunting to know about the felony poaching.
“Trump Jr. is not named in a recent filing against Lemon, but the DNR confirmed his identity as the person named in the felony complaint as Lemon’s “client” on the hunt. Prosecutors have indicated there was no evidence showing Trump Jr. would have known about the alleged baiting that went on during the hunt,” the newspaper reported. “Without naming Trump Jr., Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the hunter in the case ‘was actually a victim and a now a possible witness in a fraudulent scheme to lead the hunter to believe it was actually a legitimate Wild West hunting situation.'”
Trump, Jr. posted pictures of his hunting trip to Instagram.
“On Sept. 3, 2020, The Utah Investigative Journalism Project requested files on closed investigations against Wade Lemon Hunting. The DNR provided files on cases dating back to 2009 except for the case on the 2018 Trump Jr. hunt. DNR had decided to reopen that case and denied the records request, stating the release would interfere with the now ‘open’ investigation,” the newspaper reported. “DNR turned the case over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Utah Attorney General Reyes has close ties to Trump, having campaigned for him and even flying to Nevada to investigate the election results after Trump’s defeat at the polls and signed on to a lawsuit claiming ‘unlawful election results.’ The Attorney General’s Office reinvestigated the case for months, then handed it off to the Davis County Attorney’s Office to screen for filing of charges.”
Trump, Jr.’s guided hunting trip resulted in kills of a black bear and mountain lion.
“Charging documents allege Lemon’s outfitters illegally used bait on the bear shot by Trump Jr. According to the document, a witness identified Lemon and his employees during the hunt in May 2018 and was able to identify Lemon over radio traffic, giving instructions to his employees,” the newspaper reported. “The illegal bait, ‘a pile of grain, oil and pastries’ was discovered with a trail camera pointed right on it with ‘WLH’ (for Wade Lemon Hunting) written on the side and with Lemon’s own telephone number, according to court documents. The charging documents also include evidence from a subordinate confirming Lemon had him place the bait in the location several weeks before the hunt.”
The guide Trump, Jr. hired for his hunt has been investigated before.
“Hunting guides who cater to the wealthy elite have a lot at stake in ensuring successful hunts. These companies employ hunters to scout woods, deserts, mountains and plains for the biggest game, to ensure these high-profile clients have the highest chance for a successful hunt. According to DNR, Wade Lemon Hunting has been investigated eight times for allegedly breaking the law to ensure a successful hunt, though he was not charged with a felony until Tuesday,” the newspaper explained.
The vast majority of game taken in America is from hunters who do not require a hired guide.
Adam Schiff Prosecutes the Case Against Ginni Thomas on MSNBC After ‘Stunning’ Revelations
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee offered a brutal analysis after a bombshell new report on efforts by Ginni Thomas seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud,” the newspaper reported.
MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace interviewed Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for analysis.
Schiff, a former federal prosecutor who was the impeachment manager during Trump’s first trial and is a member of the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, was asked by Wallace if the select committee would interview Ginni Thomas.
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“There are several stunning things to me about what is publicly known and has been revealed about Ginni Thomas. Here, she is weighing in with state legislators in Arizona, seeking to get them to essentially send a bogus slate of electors, that didn’t represent who won the popular election in Arizona,” Schiff said.
He referenced legal proceedings over the subpoena of “coup memo” author John Eastman.
“And you know, the judge in California, Judge Carter and the case involving Eastman, this lawyer, describes what the former president was involved in as a criminal conspiracy.”
“That was a conspiracy to interfere with the joint session, to defraud people, and here you have the wife of a Supreme Court justice engaged in a parallel effort to get Arizona to improperly cast aside the votes of millions,” he charged. “And also to add to it, her husband, on the Supreme Court, writing a dissent in a case, arguing providing records to Congress that might have revealed those same emails.”
“That conflict of interest just screams at you,” Schiff said.
Watch the segment below or at this link.
‘Fear-Driven Alliance’: Conservative Explains Why Far-Right CPAC ‘Opportunists’ and ‘Paranoids’ Are Meeting in Hungary
The rise of authoritarianism and fascism growing within the Republican Party was discussed by the opening panel on MSNBC’s “The Reidout” on Friday.
Host Joy Reid noted how the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is being held in Hungary this year, which is ruled by strongman Viktor Orbán.
“They have elections, of a sort, but also hamper voters’ abilities to make informed choices and heavily control the outcome that the elections are essentially a show,” she explained. “These are the autocratic dreams of a far-right leader obsessed with solidifying a Christian monoculture and who, in 2014, declared his intention to build an illiberal new state citing China, Russia and Turkey as role models. Flash forward to today where CPAC, the once conservative gathering that is now simply a cesspool of the far-right running amok, is holding its conference in Budapest.”
For analysis, Reid interviewed conservative writer Tom Nichols.
Nichols warned “there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists, and I want to get back to this issue of about Hungary, the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in — in some of this stuff and yet others, and I would say people like [Tucker] Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest, don’t believe in any of this and don’t believe in anything of this other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth.
“And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists along with with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they are doing the things they are doing,” he explained.
“A lot of this is an act, but the problem is you then paint yourself into a corner… You have to start actually trying to put forward policies and carry things out that, that make you look as if you believe the things that you’re doing. And then after a while, whether it’s an act or its opportunism is no longer relevant: You have become the thing you’ve been prancing about and pretending to be,” he explained.
Watch the segment below or at this link.
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