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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Marjorie Taylor Greene During House Hearing: It’s ‘Against the Law’ to Ban My Twitter Account
Members of Congress have access to vast resources to conduct the people’s business, including on-staff attorneys and the ability to contract experts, yet on Wednesday U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared to shun those assets while appearing before the TV cameras while misrepresenting federal law. She falsely declared that Twitter banning her personal account was “against the law,” and a violation of her First Amendment rights as she made clear she will use her newly-restored committee assignments to spread falsehoods, misinformation, and disinformation.
Greene now sits on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. During its third hearing of the year, “Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story,” Greene appeared determined to extract vengeance for her personal Twitter account being permanently “suspended” – banned –before Elon Musk purchased the company and restored accounts of countless extremists.
At the beginning of her remarks Greene mentioned the witnesses, including former Twitter executives, and said: “You can consider your speech canceled during my time because you permanently canceled mine.”
“You see, you permanently banned my personal Twitter account, and it was my campaign account also, so let’s talk about election interference, shall we?”
“Let’s explain 52 United States law 10101: ‘No person shall intimidate, threaten or coerce or attempt to stop any other person for the purpose of interfering with their rights to vote or to vote as you may choose,'” Greene said, reading inaccurately from 52 U.S.C. 10101.
For reasons unknown, Congresswoman Greene decided that federal voting rights law applies to Twitter. It does not.
“You didn’t shadow ban or permanently ban my Democrat opponent,” Greene charged. “No, you did that to me. And that was wrong and it was against the law.”
It is not against the law for Twitter to shadow ban or permanently ban anyone, even a Member of Congress and their personal Twitter account.
“You see, not only that, was it was it me, that you violated my First Amendment rights, you violated countless conservative Americans,” she said, which again is false. The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Greene pushed forward.
“These were doctors that were trying to tell the truth about COVID,” she said, of people spreading false or misleading information and disinformation. “Doctors that were having success treating people with ivermectin that you all would not allow to be talked about.”
The FDA has made clear ivermectin is not a treatment for COVID-19: “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”
“These were parents complaining about their school boards, teaching gender lies in their schools, biological males entering their daughter’s bathrooms and sports,” she complained. “These were also people questioning the 2020 election. And guess what? That’s Americans’ First Amendment right. These were people talking about voting machines. You know what? Democrats did that in 2019 before the 2020 election,” she claimed.
Watch below or at this link.
Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks (wrongly) that Twitter broke the law by suspending her account for violating the terms of service pic.twitter.com/xKugHRHZ1F
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 8, 2023
‘Let’s Be Blunt’: Bannon Blasts Huckabee Sanders as ‘Not Intellectually Capable’ After ‘Insulting’ SOTU Response
Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered the Republican Party’s official response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address and was panned from all sides.
Many on the left were angered and outraged as she attacked LGBTQ and Black Americans in a lengthy speech that was tall on culture war rhetoric and extremism and short on policy or vision.
But even those on the right seems exasperated with her remarks.
Lou Dobbs, the far-right-wing culture warrior and former Fox Business anchor, told former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon that Huckabee Sanders’ speech was “unacceptable,” and, “an insult to President Trump” for “not mentioning his name,” as Media Matters reports.
“Sarah Huckabee went to Iraq with the President,” Dobbs recalled, which the former White House press secretary spent an unusually large portion of her remarks discussing, “and the First Lady in the dark of night, for Christmas, with our troops.”
“To not mention is name, to talk about ‘new leadership’ – it looked like the Governor’s Association had written much of that speech, and aligned themselves with Ron DeSantis,” Dobbs lamented, calling it a “lack of respect to POTUS.”
Bannon, convicted on two federal criminal contempt charges, agreed that her remarks were “an insult to Trump.”
“She does not exist, politically, if it’s not for President Trump,” Bannon continued. “I thought the speech was terrible.”
“If you’re going to give a counter speech, you’ve got to talk about important issues. Don’t get me wrong, the wokeism is very important. But it’s not quite the heart of the matter right now, right? It’s not the heart of the matter. She is not — the reason is she’s just not — she’s not intellectually capable of going to the heart of the matter, right? Let’s be blunt.”
“This was like written by Ron DeSantis and the entire RGA,” Bannon said, referring to the Republican Governors’ Association.
Watch below or at this link.
Yes, the GOP Has Repeatedly Said It Wants to Gut Social Security and Medicare Before Calling Biden a ‘Liar’ – Here’s Proof
Many across the nation were likely horrified but not surprised Tuesday night when Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and several other House and Senate Republicans lashed out at President Joe Biden as he delivered the State of the Union Address, falsely branding him a “liar” for telling the truth: The GOP has consistently called to gut, sunset, or otherwise dramatically alter or dismantle the critical, life-saving social safety nets of Social Security and Medicare.
But it’s no secret Republicans for years, including recently, have wanted to take an ax to these programs, and other “entitlements,” despite proof they literally save lives.
Just Monday, Bloomberg reported, “House Republican committee and caucus chairs are pushing to create panels to study extending Social Security and Medicare solvency as part of any debt limit deal.”
“The discussion about creating commissions indicates some policy proposals floated by Republicans on entitlements — such as increasing the eligibility age or adding means-testing measures — are a possibility, even as GOP leaders say they’re not negotiating policy changes directly as part of a debt-limit vote,” Bloomberg added.
Cutting, gutting, altering, or otherwise tampering with “entitlements” (which also include federal and state programs paid for by workers via their paychecks) has been a core policy of the Republican Party for years.
Donald Trump repeatedly called for gutting Social Security and Medicare, a fact that appears to have been conveniently forgotten by some of his staunchest supporters.
Numerous House and Senate Republicans have either attacked or outright called for gutting, “sunsetting,” or otherwise dramatically altering Social Security and Medicare in the past year, including U.S. Senators Rick Scott (FL), Mike Lee (UT), Lindsey Graham (SC), Ted Cruz (TX), Ron Johnson (WI), Ted Budd (NC), and U.S. Reps. Rick Allen (GA), Mike Waltz (NC), Kevin Hern (OK), and others.
Here’s Rep. Greene and most of the Republican caucus Tuesday night heckling the President, with some including Greene calling him a “liar.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene calls Biden a liar as he accurately states that some Republicans want to sunset Social Security and Medicare. Republicans say no, so Biden responds, “So we all agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books.” pic.twitter.com/N83YSFc7eN
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) February 8, 2023
Proud of her disruption of centuries of decorum, after the State of the Union Greene told reporters, “I don’t clap for liars.”
Manu Raju asked Marge Greene about her behavior yelling at Biden during the SOTU: “He got exactly what he deserved, and I’m not sorry one bit. What am I gonna do, stand up and give golf claps? pic.twitter.com/UL6uMfEPP9
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) February 8, 2023
Greene then recorded video after shouting “You’re lying!” and “Liar!” at President Biden, defending her antics — by lying.
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) February 8, 2023
Greene may have led the charge but she was far from the only culprit lying about the President of the United States in a nationally-televised speech that was seen in several parts of the world.
Here’s U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), once floated as a Trump Supreme Court nominee, “feigning outrage” at President Biden’s truthful claim, and video of him calling to gut Social Security and Medicare. In fact, he says in the video the reason he was running for Senate was to pull up “by the roots” Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
MORE RECEIPTS: @MeidasTouch
shows how fake the Republican outrage during the State of the Union was.
They screamed when Biden said they want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid BECAUSE IT’S TRUE👇🏽pic.twitter.com/AlPjgylQ4u
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 8, 2023
And U.S. Senator Rick Scott, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), getting called out by Fox News for wanting to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare.
Here is Rick Scott (R) being called out on Fox News for calling to sunset Social Security and Medicare. pic.twitter.com/qfJTVJkLyx
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) February 8, 2023
U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, Republican of Georgia, claiming people are telling him they “want to work longer,” as he says he wants to raise the retirement age, which would dramatically alter Social Security and Medicare.
Here is a top Republican, Rick Allen (R-GA), recorded on camera saying his party is going after Social Security because people “want to work longer.” pic.twitter.com/gQln56a4A2
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) February 8, 2023
Or an apparently younger U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme:
— Will Ragland (@citizenwillis) February 8, 2023
Center for American Progress Action’s research director, Will Ragland, in October pointed out Trump has repeatedly promised to gut Social Security and Medicare:
Reminder… Trump proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security in every budget and straight up said he will cut entitlements in 2020. Why are folks still acting like his broken promises in 2016 amount to anything now? pic.twitter.com/CiKDyFdphP
— Will Ragland (@citizenwillis) October 24, 2022
“Every single budget Trump proposed would’ve cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid,” Ragland says.
And video of Trump saying it as recently as 2020:
Trump committed to cutting Social Security and Medicare 3 times in 2020 before the pandemic took hold.
1. Davos: Asked in an interview if cuts to entitlements would ever be on his plate, Mr. Trump said yes.
2. Released proposed budget w/ $875 billion in cuts to SS & Medicare. https://t.co/n9AVyyL1Ua
— Will Ragland (@citizenwillis) February 8, 2023
Literally dozens of Republicans back in October called for gutting, sunsetting, or killing Social Security and Medicare. This was the GOP playbook just a few months ago.
And over the last week, Republican leaders have outlined their legislative playbook to get this done… Either Dems make these cuts or they’ll manufacture an economic meltdown and have the country default on its debt. https://t.co/fsUuHmYedy pic.twitter.com/7G8VxM6H2i
— Will Ragland (@citizenwillis) October 25, 2022
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in June: “entitlement reform is a must.”
WATCH >> Lindsey Graham is promising Republicans are coming for your Medicare and Social Security. pic.twitter.com/WMm9nOaKWU
— Ammar Moussa (@ammarmufasa) June 13, 2022
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) in August saying he wants to “fix” “broken” Social Security and Medicare by turning them into “discretionary” spending:
NEW: On the The Regular Joe Show, Sen. Ron. Johnson (R-WI) argues for eliminating entitlements: “Social Security and Medicare, if you qualify, you just get it no matter what the cost… We ought to turn everything into discretionary spending so it’s all evaluated.” pic.twitter.com/bE1KUb6uJ5
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) August 2, 2022
U.S. Senator Ted Budd (R-NC), as a candidate, agreed with the “major points’ of Sen. Rick Scott’s 11-point plan which included sunsetting all federal programs, which would include Social Security and Medicare. (Sen. Scott just hours ago “doubled down” on his call to die just that.)
#NCSen GOP candidate @TedBuddNC is aligning himself with NRSC Chair @SenRickScott’s policy roadmap that calls for a tax hike on half of Americans and risks “sunsetting” Social Security, Medicare, and coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions. pic.twitter.com/CA6pPL8RU2
— American Bridge 21st Century (@American_Bridge) April 19, 2022
U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz (R-NC) just one month ago called for “big reforms,” and said: “if we really want to talk about the debt and spending, it’s the entitlements program.”
Rep. Michael Waltz on the possibility of military spending cuts: “I agree with Jim Jordan that we are going to carve out woke policies out of the military … [but] if we really want to talk about the debt and spending, it’s the entitlements program.” pic.twitter.com/5Nhv5fel0i
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 9, 2023
Mike Pence, likely a 2024 presidential candidate, just days ago talked about dramatically altering Social Security, Medicare, and all “entitlements.”
VIDEO: As first reported by @CNN, former VP Mike Pence (R) discussed one of his first policy proposals for a potential 2024 campaign at a closed-door event on Thursday: privatization of Social Security.
PENCE: “We could replace the New Deal with a better deal.” pic.twitter.com/ZwChMgDwVD
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) February 5, 2023
Many of those who have been trying to gut Social Security belong to the far-right Republican Study Committee.
Last summer NBC News reported: “The Republican Study Committee, a large group of House conservatives, proposed a budget in June that would incrementally raise the retirement age to collect Social Security, based on changing life spans, and lower benefits over the long term by using a new formula.”
This article has been updated to include the portion on Mike Pence.
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