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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McConnell Refuses to Commit to Confirming a Biden Supreme Court Nominee if GOP Takes Back the Senate
Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not “mount a blockade” against a possible Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Joe Biden, should the opportunity arise, if Republicans take back the Senate after the 2022 elections.
McConnell, as Majority Leader, infamously refused to even allow then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to have any confirmation hearings, keeping the seat open if a Republican won the White House in 2016, which Donald Trump did.
In an interview with Politico’s Burgess Everett, the Kentucky Republican who has been in the U.S. Senate since 1984 was asked if he would again “mount a blockade.”
“Cross those bridges when I get there, we are focusing on ‘22,” McConnell said, Everett reports. “I don’t rule anything in or out about how to handle nominations if I’m in the majority position.”
Politico’s Anthony Adragna opines that “progressives will freak”over McConnell’s remarks.
“Liberal groups have ratcheted up the pressure on Justice Stephen Breyer to consider retirement, fearing McConnell would simply keep the seat open if he regains power in the midterms…. These comments will only add fuel to those fears.”
The U.S. Supreme Court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority, with three of those six justices being placed on the Court by Donald Trump. Many Democrats believe it’s time to expand the court to 11 or 13 justices to better represent the American people. The Court has had nine justices since 1869. The 1870 census reported the population of the United States at just 38 million people. Today, the total U.S. population is 332 million, nearly nine times that number.
Fox News Goes Full White Supremacist With Republican Who Says ‘Hope and Change’ Means ‘Replace the American Electorate’
Fox News has gone full white supremacist. The right wing cable network’s top primetime host, Tucker Carlson, has been promoting the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory since April, doubling down on it this week. But now Fox News’ daytime programming is totally on board, embracing that racist rhetoric.
On Friday “Fox & Friends” hosted U.S. Rep Brian Babin, who spewed the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, adding a new racist twist.
According to the Texas Republican, former President Barack Obama’s “Hope and Change” slogan means “change America” by replacing “the electorate with third-world immigrants that are coming in illegally, many of them COVID-positive.”
Babin repeatedly said “change America,” honing in on the white supremacist conspiracy theory of “replacement,” a concept seared into the minds of many Americans who saw the tiki-torch wielding neo-Nazis marching through Charlotte chanting, “You will not replace us.”
“We know what the grand strategy of the Democratic Party is,” Congressman Babin declared. “They want to change America, ‘hope and change,’ and it started under Obama and now it’s really going to just racehorse speed.”
“They want to change America, they want to they want to replace the American electorate with third-world immigrants that are coming in illegally, many of them COVID-positive, drug resistant tuberculosis, I’m a health care provider, I can tell you it’s a disaster down there from a public health standpoint, and they are just want to change the electorate and put these people on a path to citizenship and franchise them with a vote and have a permanent majority. On every phase we can see every aspect the Democrats are trying to change America, from what we know what we love and what we have enjoyed for 244 years, right, it’s despicable.”
Fox News, largely through Tucker Carlson, has turned the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory into Republican orthodoxy.
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) September 24, 2021
‘It’s a War’: Trump Pleads With Employees as NY Prosecutors Look to Crack ‘Mob-Like Code of Silence’ – Report
New York prosecutors are attempting to exploit a “Shakespearean” internal conflict at the Trump Organization between two rival dynasties, as they aim to crack the company’s “mob-like code of silence,” according to a new report from the Daily Beast.
Former president Donald Trump, aware of prosecutors’ strategy, has been reminding employees to “stick together” and stay strong, according to the report.
The internal conflict pits the Weisselberg family — whose patriarch, Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, has been indicted in a 15-year tax-fraud scheme — and the Calamari family, led by Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari Sr.
“They hate each other. It’s a war,” Allen Weisselberg’s daughter, Jennifer, who has become a witness for New York prosecutors, recently told the Daily Beast.
Trump himself has always seemed to be New York prosecutors’ chief target in the ongoing probe, but in order to get him, they’ll need his right-hand finance man, Weisselberg, to flip, according to the report.
In order to get Weisselberg to flip, prosecutors are attempting to leverage the CFO’s assistant, company controller and accountant Jeffrey S. McConney. So investigators have been trying to get Calamari’s son, Matty Jr., to provide damning information about McConney, who prepared his individual taxes.
According to the report, it has become “common knowledge” in the upper echelon of Trump’s business and personal circles that prosecutors are attempting to exploit the rivalry between the two families.
“It’s gotten so apparent that, in multiple meetings and phone calls since the spring, Donald Trump has reminded business associates and other members of his inner orbit about the need for Trump Organization staff to ‘stick together’ and stay strong, according to two other people familiar with the matter,” the Daily Beast reported. “The enmity between the Weisselbergs and Calamaris dates back decades, and it centers on their unwavering love of Trump. Two longtime associates described a Shakespearean conflict of rival dynasties, with dukes competing for the king’s favor.”
Earlier this week, Weisselberg’s attorney said in court that he has “strong reason to believe there could be other indictments coming” in the investigation — which prosecutors have been aggressively pursuing.
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