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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Supreme Court Sides with Trump on Weakening Obama-Era Contraceptive Mandate
In a blow to progressives Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) paved the way for the Trump administration to expand exemptions for employers who have religious or moral objections to complying with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate. Currently, the law requires employer-provided health plans to cover the cost of birth control.
The question of whether or not employers who opposed birth control would have to pay for their workers’ contraceptive measures stemmed back to 2010.
The case, Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (19-431), yielded a 7-2 decision Wednesday.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “It is clear from the face of the statute that the contraceptive mandate is capable of violating [the religious freedom laws].”
Thomas also said, “We hold that the departments had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections.”
BREAKING: The Supreme Court ruled the Trump admin can allow employers to deny free birth control coverage to workers on religious and moral grounds — reversing an Obamacare mandate.
The ruling means up to 126,000 women could lose contraception coverage. pic.twitter.com/2wlc9TvANj
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 8, 2020
This will deprive over 100K women from getting contraceptive care.
Notably, the Supreme Court did not say that the Constitution forbids the federal govt from providing contraceptive care–Alito said that but not the Court. So a new Administration can reverse it.
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) July 8, 2020
Our health insurance should not be tied to our place of work, and we don't need our bosses to be involved in decisions made between us and our doctors.
This pandemic is overwhelming proof that the right wing never has, and never will be, "pro-life."https://t.co/CDWsn61FAF
— Ana Kasparian (@AnaKasparian) July 8, 2020
Pay attention: The Supreme Court just ruled that your boss or your university can, based on their own objections, take away your birth control coverage. #SCOTUS #HandsOffMyBC pic.twitter.com/VfLdC330yi
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) July 8, 2020
During the worst pandemic in modern history, Trump not only withdraws America from the World Health Organization but also asks the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. He tells us to take hydroxychloroquine and inject bleach into our blood. Maybe he wants us to die.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) July 7, 2020
Today would be a great day for the Supreme Court to order Deutsche Bank and Mazars USA to release Donald Trump’s financial records.
— A Worried Citizen (@ThePubliusUSA) July 8, 2020
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
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