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Election Results: LGBT Leadership Orgs Need To Be Asking, “What Now?”

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series today of articles titled, “Election Results.” Stay tuned.

Four of the LGBT community’s leadership organizations, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The Victory Fund, The Human Rights Campaign, and GetEQUAL issued the following statements in the wake of a massive Republican election win last night.

The question they, and we, need to be asking is, “What now?”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

“While political winds and players may shift, the fundamental needs of the people do not. No matter who is in office, people need jobs, protection from discrimination, a roof over their heads, a way to feed their families, a fair shake. No one should settle for less — we won’t.”
— Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to the projected shift in the balance of power on Capitol Hill, with Republicans poised to regain control of the U.S. House.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“We’ll cut to the chase: The shift in the balance of power will very likely slow advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights legislation in Congress. Does this mean a blockade on LGBT rights? Not if we can help it. Fact is, our community has always had to fight — and fight hard — for equality. This is nothing new to us. But here’s another fact: There are Americans, from every part of the country, from every background, from every political leaning and of every faith, who support equality for LGBT people — and those numbers grow bigger every day.

“No matter what the political breakdown is in Washington, the Task Force will continue to identify and work with all fair-minded members of Congress who are willing to support and defend equality for LGBT people. Through our New Beginning Initiative, we will continue to push for the administration and its agencies to make tangible changes that benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our families — changes that can be done without Congress. We will continue working with local partners in communities across the country to secure equality. Bottom line: While political winds and players may shift, the fundamental needs of the people do not. No matter who is in office, people need jobs, protection from discrimination, a roof over their heads, a way to feed their families, a fair shake. No one should settle for less — we won’t.”

The Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced that more openly LGBT candidates won election to public office in the U.S. in 2010 than in any year in America’s history.

Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement about the group’s success:

“There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress, but we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America. Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality.  Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America’s politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone.  We will continue to focus on training committed, qualified candidates, and we will work hard to get them elected to public office.”

Human Rights Campaign

The initial results of Election Day indicate new challenges as well as some opportunities ahead for moving forward on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, said the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.  The loss of the House of Representatives to an anti-equality leadership, along with the loss of some fair-minded Senators, will certainly impede federal legislative efforts.  Perhaps most strikingly though, candidates who were the most vociferous opponents of LGBT equality did not fare well against fair-minded candidates.

“Social justice movements always experience steps forward and steps back and this election turned out to be a mix of both,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Even though we will face greater challenges in moving federal legislation forward, nothing will stop us from using every tool to advance LGBT equality at every level.  Attempts to hold back the tide of the equality movement will surely put anti-LGBT leaders on the wrong side of history.”

The loss of the House to anti-equality leaders is a serious blow to the LGBT community.  The presumptive leadership team of Reps. Boehner, Cantor and Pence all score zeros on the HRC scorecard and many soon-to-be committee chairs have long anti-LGBT records.  The past four years of Democratic leadership stopped anti-equality lawmakers from being able to move the most damaging legislation and amendments forward, however, the 110th and 111th Congresses did not hold pro-equality majorities on every issue.  The 112th Congress will prove even more challenging in rounding up the votes needed to advance pro-LGBT legislation.  A particular disappointment is the loss of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal champion Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House.

“We will be prepared to fight attempts to turn back the clock on equality as well as highlight how far this new leadership is outside the mainstream of public opinion,” said Solmonese.  “We need not look any further than their decade of House control that brought us attempts to pass a federal marriage amendment, strip courts of jurisdiction to hear LGBT rights claims, cut HIV/AIDS funding and vilify openly LGBT appointees.”

In assessing the impact of LGBT issues on the election, most races were primarily focused on economic woes creating a difficult environment for incumbents.  Polls show that LGBT issues were not decisive in these losses, and in fact, anti-LGBT candidates did not fare well – particularly the efforts of the National Organization for Marriage that poured millions of dollars into this election with only a mixed bag to show for it.  Their effort to unseat New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch was fruitless, as was their full throated support for Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California, as well as Carl Paladino in New York.  Additionally, a record number of openly LGBT candidates won elections across the country including Rep.-elect David Cicilline as a new openly gay member of Congress.

“No doubt anti-equality forces will try to trumpet this election as a validation for their divisive politics, but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Solmonese.  “The victories of Mark Dayton over rabidly anti-gay Tom Emmer and Lincoln Chafee over NOM-endorsed John Robitaille clearly demonstrate voters choosing equality over extremism.”

The outlook in the states remains more hopeful for moving LGBT issues forward.  In New York voters chose marriage equality supporter Andrew Cuomo along several new state senators who support equal marriage.  In Minnesota, voters rejected Tom Emmer and instead chose Mark Dayton who has pledged to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law.  In other states like Maryland, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Colorado, the coming year may see additional opportunities to advance relationship recognition laws.

HRC committed significant resources to the 2010 elections including contributing more than $850,000 through HRC’s federal PAC to pro-equality Congressional candidates and political committees as well as contributing nearly $400,000 to support pro-equality state and local candidates.  HRC deployed 39 staff to 17 states to work for pro-equality candidates and mobilize HRC members.  The organization sent more than 3.3 million election-related action alert e-mails to HRC members and supporters, recruited more than 4,500 volunteers to support pro-equality candidates and made more than 85,000 phone calls to HRC members through staff in the field and weekly phone banks at HRC headquarters.

HRC endorsed 202 candidates for the U.S House of Representatives, 21 candidates for the U.S. Senate and 16 candidates for Governor.  Of the 164 races where a winner has been called, 80% of HRC endorsed candidates have won.

GetEQUAL’s Director Robin McGehee

Last night was hard to watch.

Though we have spent seven months insisting that Democrats make good on promises to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, they have continued to run from legislation such as DADT and ENDA that are supported by a vast majority of American voters. After choosing to remain in a political closet, rather than coming out and showing political courage that we can believe in, we hope that Democrats have learned the dangers of political cowardice.

Have no doubt, though — while Democrats are licking their wounds, we will continue our work over the next two months to push unrelentingly to end both military discrimination and employment discrimination.

Back in July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised our community that he would fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year — even accepting Lt. Dan Choi’s West Point ring, promising to return it to him when this piece of legislation is repealed. And now is the time to push harder than we ever have before.

As we move away from Election Day and to the end of this Congressional session, it’s important that we tell Senator Reid that we expect him to make good on his promise to end DADT this year.

Harry Reid escaped a challenge for his seat last night, and must now turn his attention to scheduling votes for the lame-duck session — it’s down to the wire to end DADT once and for all, so we’ve got to keep up the pressure.

We’ll be reaching out to you later this week to let you know about some upcoming organizing opportunities across the country to continue applying pressure for repeal by taking to the streets. In the meantime, please pass this email around far and wide — we’ll deliver these signatures to Senator Reid in DC and let him know that we expect for him to get this done by the end of the year!

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Charlie Kirk, Purveyor of ‘Rigged’ Election Lie, Complains GOP Lost ‘Because a Lot of People Do Not Trust the System’

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Far right wing activist Charlie Kirk complained on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show Tuesday that many Republicans in Arizona lost their elections earlier this month because they “do not trust” the election system. Kirk is a purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” and has repeatedly promoted the false claim that U.S. elections are “rigged.”

“400,000 people that showed up for Donald Trump or voted for Donald Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election,” Kirk told his audience. (NCRM has not verified these numbers and could find nothing to support the claim.)

“Now, I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system,” Kirk claimed.

Why does Charlie Kirk believe “a lot of people do not trust the system”?

Because he told them not to. Over and over and over again.

READ MORE: Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’

In January on his show Kirk hosted Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of The Federalist, a right wing website founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis. The Federalist has been a purveyor of false election claims, according to Reuters, which reports the claims “are presented inaccurately.” Twitter had to append a “cautionary label” to a Federalist tweet after The Federalist wrongly stated, “Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Michigan, Wisconsin, And Pennsylvania,” according to The Daily Beast.

Hemingway is also the author of the book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.”

The title of that episode of The Charlie Kirk Show? “Why Conservatives Can’t Turn Our Backs on Rigged Elections with Mollie Hemingway.”

(The Federalist was also cited by The New England Journal of Medicine for belong create a “superspreader” event of false information about the effectiveness of masks in the fight against COVID-19.)

In April Kirk hosted right wing activist David Bossie, president of the political lobbying group Citizens United, and a former Trump 2016 campaign official.

READ MORE: Watch: Charlie Kirk Calls for Texans to Be ‘Deputized’ to Protect ‘White Demographics in America’

The title of that episode?

‘RIGGED’ — An In-Depth Examination of the 2020 Election with David Bossie

Kirk likes the word “rigged.” On Twitter he’s used it a lot to suggest that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”

“The same people who spent the last 4 years falsely saying Russians rigged our elections are now saying there’s no way an election could be rigged by illegal ballots and voter fraud. How does that work?” (Nov 6, 2020)

“BREAKING: A mail carrier was just charged with attempted election fraud after changing party affiliations on mail-in ballots Still think there aren’t any issues with rigged elections due to mail-in voting? RT so the media has to report on the DANGERS of mail-in voter FRAUD!” (Apr 16, 2020)

READ MORE: ‘When Do We Get to Use the Guns?’: TP USA Audience Member Asks Charlie Kirk When Can ‘We Kill’ Democrats? (Video)

“Democrats should be livid. This is a rigged game to protect the ruling class Thank goodness the GOP is a true grassroots party where ANY voice or person can win Democrats corruption will not allow fair or free elections” (Feb 4, 2020)

Or this tweet from 2019.

On November 9, this was the opening of a New York Times article.

“On the morning of Election Day, Charlie Kirk, the conservative talk show host from Arizona, shared a video on Twitter about broken voting machines in Maricopa County, followed by a series of posts suggesting that the problems were intentional,” The Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers wrote. “’This is manufactured chaos,’ he wrote, calling for those responsible to be arrested.”

“The video was shared nearly 20,000 times and liked by more than 30,000 users, including many prominent accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. The post and others like it on a dozen online platforms kindled a false narrative of widespread voting shenanigans among those predisposed to believe that the country’s elections are rigged.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

In addition to hosting his talk show, Kirk is also the founder of right wing student activist group Turning Point USA, and he is a member of the highly-secretive far Christian right organization, Council for National Policy (CNP).

Fast forward to Tuesday.

Here’s Kirk complaining to Steve Bannon that Republicans didn’t vote in the November, 2022 election several weeks ago, “because a lot of people do not trust the system.”

Watch Kirk’s video above or at this link.

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Marco Rubio Lashes Out Against Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Bill After His Attempt to Create Special Religious Rights Fails

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lashed out with a Bible verse Wednesday morning, after the Senate passed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, while rejecting his attempt to infuse special religious rights through an amendment that even some Republicans refused to support.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed in a 61-36 vote Tuesday evening, will return to the House for a final vote before heading to President Joe Biden, who promised to sign it into law. Not included in the bill the Senate passed is Senator Rubio’s amendment, which he claimed was necessary despite the clear religious protections included in the legislation.

The bill goes to great lengths to state it will have no impact on current religious liberty protections. Section 6 is actually titled, “No Impact on Religious Liberty and Conscience.”

READ MORE: Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate

It states: “Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.”

It goes even further.

“Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage,” it reads. “Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio Recorded an ‘Emergency Video’ After Pete Buttigieg Responded to His Anti-LGBTQ Attack. It Didn’t Go Well.

Senator Rubio has been actively opposed to the bill from the start. In July he called it a “stupid waste of time,” suggesting he does not think the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the 2015 Obergefell ruling that made same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional – despite actively calling for the court to do so.

In addition to the video above, Florida Democrats this summer tweeted a video of a local news report showing Rubio preaching to campaign supporters that same-sex marriage is “sinful.”

Last week in a press release Sen. Rubio called the bill “the insanity,” and falsely claimed the Respect for Marriage Act does not have religious protections.

“This bill does not protect religious liberty,” Rubio said in a statement last week. “Nuns running orphanages will find themselves in court if it becomes law. That’s outrageous. No faith-based organization will be immune from the insanity. Christian. Jewish. Muslim. Everyone. Removing this private right of action is the only way to truly protect people and organizations of faith.”

His amendment to create additional, special religious protections failed Tuesday evening, as did amendments from Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

READ MORE: ‘Punditry, Not Leadership’: McConnell Slammed for Refusing to Say if He Would Support Trump in 2024

Sen. Rubio, a frequently vocal opponent of LGBTQ people and their civil rights, has attacked people who opposed Florida Governor DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” legislation as “ridiculous.”

During his failed 2016 White House run Sen. Rubio repeatedly promised he would not run for re-election. He used the Pulse Massacre, one of the worst and deadliest anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, to declare that the LGBTQ community needed him and launched a re-election campaign on the back of those massacred LGBTQ people.

Rubio, who is known for posting passages from the Bible on many mornings, on Wednesday used Christian verse to lash out at the Respect for Marriage Act.

“The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,giving wisdom to the simple,” he tweeted.

His tweet did not go over well. While some responded with a simple, “Amen,” others explained to the Senator who took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” that the Christian Bible is not the law of the land.

“The ‘law of the lord’ was deliberately excluded from the US Constitution,” wrote one social media user. “There is only one law in the US and it’s not the law of the lord, it’s the law of the people.”

READ MORE: RNC Taps Right Wing Extremists to Head Group Designed to Expand GOP Appeal in Wake of Midterm Losses

History professor and author Douglas M. Charles noted Rubio’s tweet had a small typo, and accused him of having a staffer do his work.

“More empty-suitness from the epitome of empty suit senators,” Charles wrote. “These copy-paste BS tweets of his always have a spacing typo, which is how you know a staffer copy-pasted it rather than his being serious about it.”

 

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News

Five Engines of Secret Service Rental Vehicles for the President’s Thanksgiving Break Catch Fire

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The Nantucket Current reported that five of the vehicles rented by the U.S. Secret Service caught fire at the local airport during President Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving break. Biden’s family has met in Nantucket for Thanksgiving for decades but this is the first time a cache of vehicles looked like their engines exploded.

The report identified that the five vehicles were all different types, a Chevy Suburban, Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX80, Ford Expedition and Jeep Gladiator. The Ford Expedition did have a recall on it for the connections to the battery, indicating that fires have been caused by the problem. The car had not been taken in for repairs, sources told the Current. It’s unclear if that single car caused the fire or if each of the cars simultaneously caught fire.

The front of the white Ford Expedition and the one across from it looks to be considerably more damaged than the other cars.

“At approximately 5:22 am Airport shift staff observed an active fire in the rental car overflow area through the Airport’s Closed Circuit Television System,” the airport said in a statement. “Staff activated the Alert system and responded to the fire in Airport-3, where they were met by responding units from Nantucket Fire Department and Nantucket Police Department. Combined fire resources responded and contained the fire. Several vehicles were damaged. The Airport is currently coordinating with rental car agencies and agency partners to ensure scene safety. There is no longer an active fire at this time: the Airport is open, and aeronautical operations are not affected.”

See the video from the Current below:

 

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