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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‘None Whatsoever’: US Diplomat Burns to the Ground Trump Lie That Joe Biden’s Actions Are ‘Corrupt’
President Donald Trump’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, in bombshell testimony Wednesday destroyed the president’s lie that Joe Biden’s actions, especially toward Ukraine, are “corrupt.”
Asked if there any factual basis to support Trump’s allegations, Kent replied: “None whatsoever.”
Kent debunks Trumpworld’s argument that Joe Biden’s dealings in Ukraine were somehow corrupt pic.twitter.com/B3NDloJWIO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 13, 2019
Taylor Staffer Overheard Trump Impatiently Asking Sondland About ‘The Investigations’ Day After Infamous July 25 Call
The acting ambassador to Ukraine said he has learned since his closed-door testimony that President Donald Trump appeared keenly interested in the status of an investigation into Joe Biden by Ukraine.
Bill Taylor, the president’s top diplomat in Ukraine, testified Wednesday that he learned last week from a staffer, after he was deposed in a closed-door hearing, about an incident that took place a day after Trump’s call to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26,” Taylor testified.
Taylor was visiting the front of Ukraine’s war with Russia at the time with Kurt Volker, then a special envoy to the country, and a member of the ambassador’s staff accompanied EU ambassador Gordon Sondland to a meeting with Andrey Yermak, an aide to Zelensky.
“Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv,” Taylor testified. “The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’”
“Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward,” Taylor added.
Taylor’s staff member asked Sondland what the president thought about Ukraine, and the acting ambassador was troubled by his State Department colleague’s response.
“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified. “At the time I gave my deposition on October 22, I was not aware of this information. I am including it here for completeness.”
Taylor said he first reported that new information through the State Department’s legal adviser, and then through attorneys for both House Republicans and Democrats.
Nunes Promotes Debunked Conspiracy Theories: Democrats Colluded With Russia and Are ‘Culpable’ of ‘Malfeasance’ in Ukraine
Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) in his opening remarks on the first day of public witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, charged House Democrats with wholly debunked conspiracy theories. Among them, that Democrats – not Donald Trump – colluded with Russia, and Ukraine, not Russia, attacked the 2016 U.S. elections. Also, that Democrats, not President Trump, committed wrongdoing against Ukraine.
So, Nunes is claiming (falsely) that Democrats both colluded with Ukraine and attacked Ukraine (video below.)
“Democrats have a long habit of accusing Republicans of offenses they, themselves, are committing,” Nunes claimed. “For years they accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia when they themselves were colluding with Russia by funding and spreading the Steele Dossier that relied on Russian sources. And now they accuse President Trump of malfeasance in Ukraine, when they, themselves, are culpable. The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling,” Nunes charged.
Literally every word is a lie.
Remember that the U.S. Intelligence Community unanimously decreed that Russia attacked the 2016 U.S elections. That fact was once again proven during the Mueller investigation, and in the Mueller Report. There is literally zero proof of Nunes’ claims.
Nunes, who may be best remembered for his dramatic dark of night visit to the White House in 2017, where he was given information by the Trump administration only to claim it was from a secret source. That information was falsely framed to suggest (wrongly) the Obama administration had illegally investigated the Trump campaign.
Nunes: Democrats colluded with Russia, not Trump. pic.twitter.com/SFy53dL2MC
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 13, 2019
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