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22 LGBT Advances That (Probably) Will Disappear Under A President Romney

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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 president won’t 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:

Regulations

The Administrative Procedures Act provides safeguards against politically motivated policy switches. 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. 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.  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.
  •  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 — and subject to the will of — 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, launched stopbullyingnow.com.
  • The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency recently released new 2011 Performance Based National Detention Standards.  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 individual’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 “members of a family residing in one household” 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 employee’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 partner’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 administration’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.

SOURCE: HRC

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'BAD FAITH ACTOR'

“She is the Worst”: AZ Senator Kyrsten Sinema Leaves the Democratic Party

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After causing years of obstruction within her own party, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has announced she’s leaving the Democratic Party to register as an Independent.

“I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but actually, I think it makes a lot of sense,” she said in a Thursday CNN interview.

“I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to,” she continued. “Removing myself from the partisan structure… [is] true to who I am and how I operate. I also think it’ll provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country, who also are tired of the partisanship.”

The move will make her the third Independent Senator in addition to Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME). It also means that if she runs for re-election, she will face a Democratic and Republican opponent,

Contrary to her belief, Sinema’s move isn’t even a little bit surprising. Over the last two years, she has consistently alienated herself from her Democratic colleagues by obstructing votes on key Democratic legislative priorities.

She has given speeches on why it’s important to uphold Jim Crow-era filibuster rules in the Senate, even though the rules helped block important voting rights legislation and more.

She also gained infamy when she playfully gave a thumbs down in the Senate to opposed a $15 an hour minimum wage, and was captured on camera ignoring her own constituent.

Her antics, and her refusal to help stump for Democratic candidates during the latest midterm election cycle, have led to her being censured by the Arizona Democratic Party and low approval ratings amongst state Democratic voters. Top Democratic donor groups had also pulled their endorsements and funding from Sinema.

Twitter users were unimpressed with Sinema’s announcement.

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‘The Hypocrisy Is Just Absolutely Insane’: Morning Joe Slams GOP ‘Idiots’ for Criticizing Brittney Griner Release

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough bashed Donald Trump and other Republicans for their “absolutely insane” hypocrisy on the prisoner swap that returned WNBA star Brittney Griner from a Russian penal colony.

GOP lawmakers and conservative media attacked President Joe Biden for agreeing to free Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner, who had been convicted of possessing cannabis oil, and not former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was convicted of spying. The “Morning Joe” host ripped their complaints.

“The hypocrisy is just absolutely insane,” Scarborough said. “I mean, the same Republicans that were criticizing Joe Biden for not bringing Paul Whelan home failed to place blame on the man who was actually in the White House when Whelan was arrested illegally, jailed illegally. Why didn’t Donald Trump do anything in 2018 to get Paul Whelan home? Why didn’t he do anything in 2019 to get Paul Whelan home? Why didn’t Donald Trump do anything in 2020 to get Paul Whelan home? He was praising Vladimir Putin the entire time, why not actually call his buddy and ask him to release an American? I guess because he just didn’t give a damn.”

“Despite celebrating the releases of other Americans imprisoned while he was in office, Donald Trump didn’t publicly utter Whelan’s name even once as president,” Scarborough continued. “This is according to a review of public remarks and tweets, carried out by The Independent. Trump clearly had the power to negotiate a prisoner swap deal, however, never was this evident in 2020, when he negotiated with, get this, not with his friend Putin to get Paul Whelan home. He didn’t give a damn that Putin arrested Whelan and let him rot in jail. Instead, no, he was negotiating with the Taliban, and he freed up 5,000 Taliban terrorists. What did he get in exchange? Nothing, he got nothing in exchange and he wanted to actually invite the Taliban, the people who actually allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen, to be launched from their country, he invited them on Sept. 11 to Camp David.”

“When these idiot, and they are total idiots, when these idiots going around talking about Joe Biden being a bad negotiator, they are literally talking in defense of with Donald Trump — the biggest loser, the worst negotiator we have ever had,” Scarborough added. “He falls in love with dictators in North Korea, he completely kowtows to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and he doesn’t even give a damn about Paul Whelan, lets him rot in jail for three years while Biden and [secretary of state Tony] Blinken and this administration are working their tails off to try to get him home.”

Watch the segment below or at this link.

 

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‘Don’t Say Gay’ Florida GOP Lawmaker Quits One Day After Pleading Not Guilty to Federal Felony Fraud Charges

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Joe Harding, the Florida Republican state representative who authored the highly-controversial and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law has just resigned, one day after pleading “not guilty” and assuring his constituents on social media he is working “for a fair and just resolution” to federal felony fraud and money laundering charges.

Harding’s resignation also comes one day after he was stripped of his committee assignments, and is effective immediately, Florida Politics reports.

The charges involve a COVID-related Small Business Administration loan for $150,000, according to the Dept. of Justice, which notes if convicted on all charges he could get 35 years in prison.

READ MORE: Worse Than It Looks: On the Same-Sex Marriage Bill Many More Republicans This Time Really Showed Up – to Vote No

“I want the public and my constituents to know that I fully repaid the loan and cooperated with investigators as requested,” Harding told his constituents via Facebook on Wednesday. “On advice from counsel, I will be unable to say anything more specific about the legal proceedings until a later date and refer any questions or concerns related to this matter to my attorney. I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers as we work for a fair and just resolution. Thank you, and may God bless you.”

Also on Wednesday Harding shuttered his Twitter account.

In another statement Harding wrote: “To my many colleagues that have reached out to me, including many I have deep policy disagreements with, thank you. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside you for the past two years.”

Florida Politics notes Harding ended his statement with a bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11-12. That verse can have several different meanings depending on the version of the Bible.

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Biblical Conservative’ Republican Likens Bestiality and Polygamy to Same-Sex Marriage in Angry Speech Against Bill

Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, responded to news of Harding’s resignation via social media: “So much harm to students, parents and teachers because of his raw political ambitions. He slandered entire communities and trafficked in lie after lie that has emboldened violent bigotry. He will have his day in court but his legacy is already a despicable one.”

Harding is not the only family member accused of criminal acts.

“Harding’s indictment follows a September guilty plea from his brother-in-law, Patrick Walsh,” Florida Politics notes. “As reported by Fresh Take Florida, Walsh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges connected to his receipt of nearly $8 million in disaster relief loans.”

 

 

 

 

 

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