Editor’s note: We are proud and excited that GetEQUAL’s new Chair is Tanya Domi, a tireless LGBT and civil rights activist, Columbia University professor, and the Deputy Editor ofÂ The New Civil Rights Movement. She honors us and our community daily.
Today I have the honor to assume the position of chair of the Board of Directors of GetEQUAL, taking over from my colleague Dr. Jillian Weiss, who has served faithfully, with wisdom and skill in this position during the past two years of GetEQUAL’s ascendency to the national stage.
This is a challenging moment for the LGBT civil rights movement, with President Barack Obama — considered to be the most gay-friendly and to have done more for the LGBT community than any other president in U.S. history — seeking re-election.Â But that bar is quite low. Despite his support, we are far from equal. And for GetEQUAL supporters we simply can’t wait–our lives matter and the consequences of injustice affect us and our families everyday of our lives in America.
Our marriages remain banned and unrecognized under federal law. In the states where we can marry, those marriages do not qualify our foreign national partners for legal immigration. Not withstanding a Glee sequel each week or the daily Ellen DeGeneres talk show on television, we can be fired for being LGBT from our jobs in a majority of states. We have no federal protection from job discrimination. We have tenuous claims to housing discrimination protections based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the revocation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, lesbian, gay and bi-sexual service members can be discriminated against legally, while transgender service members were wholly excluded. Health care benefits for partners can be out of reach or become a financial burden when we are forced to pay taxes for compensation for benefits because we are not married or unable to marry.
Recently, Valerie Jarrett, friend and adviser to President Obama, held a two-hour meetingÂ to tell the LGBT community that the president would not be signing an Executive Order banning discrimination among federal contractors, and instead he would be supporting passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by Congress. (GetQUAL strongly supports a fully-inclusive ENDA.)
Some LGBT commentators called the meeting a two-hour train wreck, but no doubt, I would call it a disasterous beginning to the re-elect Obama for America campaign with the LGBT community. Â The New York Times and The Washington PostÂ in staff editorials strongly condemned the White House decision and urged Mr. Obama to sign the Executive Order expeditiously.
National Democratic Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias, who is gay, recently wrote in The Advocate that this is not the time to demand Obama’s signature on the Executive Order for federal contractors. Â We can wait, Tobias said, because our demands put the election at risk, including the Supreme Court. Â He forgot to include some important facts according to Jonathan Lewis (disclaimer, Lewis is a major donor to GetEQUAL) that the American public already believes that LGBT workers are protected from discrimination in the workplace and this is an issue of fairness. Indeed, according to Lewis, President Obama said in 2008 he would sign the executive order acknowledging it would be difficult to pass ENDA in Congress. President Obama has signed more than 100 other executive orders to date.
GetEQUAL views its role during the campaign period in the run-up to the election as that of accountability of both parties (and any third parties if they are competing). Thus, we take President Obama at his word that he will fulfill his promise to sign an executive order during his first administration that would require contractors to honor LGBT nondiscrimination practices in hiring and firing. Â Our activists have been making the rounds of Obama for America campaign offices all across the country, dropping off writing pens and engaging in conversations with campaign staff members, many of whom are not aware of the Obama 2008 promise or knowledgeable about the insurmountable problems LGBT persons face in unprotected workplaces.
GetEQUAL will remain engaged throughout the campaign period through election day as only GetEQUAL can–by illuminating bigorty, discrimination and basic unfairness that are antithetical to American values and principles. All of us in the LGBT community are deserving of what is best about America too.
I hope you’ll sign the GetEQUAL petitionÂ urging President Obama to reconsider his decision and to sign the Executive Order to ban LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. You can learn more aboutÂ the federal contractor executive order by reading Jillian Weiss’s informativeÂ blog.
I want to thank Dr. Jillian Weiss for her outstanding leadership during the past two years. She has worked tirelessly with the Robin McGehee, Heather Cronk, and the members of the Board of Directors, movingÂ the organization from a small but dedicated group, to a much larger group of trained activists around the country who have played a major role in both national and local efforts to secure full equality now. While we have many organizations dedicated to LGBT civil rights, Â GetEQUAL plays a vital role as the only LGBT organization dedicated to an “outside” strategy that works to put pressure on reluctant politicians and to hold accountable those who stand in the way, through our direct nonviolent action.
GetEQUAL, I’m proud to point out to our readers and audience,Â is one of the few national organizations — if not the only one — which has had a transgender person, Dr. Jillian Weiss,Â as a Board chair. GetEQUAL has put the capital “T” in the LGBT acronym, by including trans activists and trans issues in actions around the country. Autumn Sandeen, also a member of GetEQUAL’s Board of Directors, and a Navy veteran, was arrested during the White House DADT protest action by GetEQUAL in November 2010.
We are grateful Jill Weiss will remain active with our Board of Directors where I know she will continue to make a vital contribution. She is one of the country’s leading Â authorities on transgender issues in the workplace and a regular contributor at the Bilerico Project, where she reports and opines on LGBT issues. Go there and read her work, you will learn a lot!
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches about human rights in East Central Europe and the former Yugoslavia. She is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi also worked internationally in a dozen countries for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom. She is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.
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Pelosi Strikes Back After New House GOP Leadership, in Act of ‘Revenge’ Immediately Targets Top Democrats
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi is sending a strong message to House Republican Leadership after now-former Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s hand-picked acting replacement, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), evicted her and Steny Hoyer, the former Democratic House Majority Leader, from their Capitol Offices, in what reportedly is an act of “revenge.”
McHenry, a hard-core conservative, made clear his outrage over McCarthy’s ouster when he angrily gaveled out the House on Tuesday.
The Rep. Patrick McHenry gavel slam …. pic.twitter.com/TV1VGbkT7Y
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) October 3, 2023
In one of his first acts as “Speaker Pro Tempore,” McHenry, the longtime McCarthy ally who worked behind the scenes in January to help McCarthy get enough votes to become Speaker on the fifteenth try, ordered Pelosi late Tuesday night to vacate her office immediately.
“Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,” an aide to McHenry directed Pelosi.
Overnight, McHenry made the same demand of Hoyer.
Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reports the evictions are “revenge for Democrats voting with @mattgaetz to boot @SpeakerMcCarthy from the speakership.”
“Expect more of this, GOP sources tell us,” he adds.
Tuesday night, before the Hoyer eviction, Pelosi had responded with a brutal, damning statement, explaining that she had remained in California, mourning her longtime friend and colleague, the late Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Politico reported that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”
In a scratching rebuke, Pelosi said in her public statement, “With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol.”
“Office space doesn’t matter to me,” she added, “but it seems important to them.”
“Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”
Pelosi, in California, had not voted on removing McCarthy. She had not indicated how she would have voted, possibly out of respect for the office of Speaker of the House.
But after Hoyer was targeted for eviction, the Speaker Emerita issued an official announcement to be placed in the Congressional Record. As C-Span’s Craig Caplan reported Wednesday, Pelosi announced she would have voted to oust McCarthy.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in California yesterday for the late Senator Dianne Feinstein’s memorial services, announced in the Congressional Record she would have voted No against tabling Matt Gaetz’s effort to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker & Yes to oust him. pic.twitter.com/FFNbmqj9xP
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) October 4, 2023
Watch the video clip of McHenry above or at this link.
Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately
Within hours of Kevin McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House late Tuesday afternoon, his hand-picked acting successor, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ordered Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol Hill offices “by tomorrow.”
McHenry, whose title technically now is “Speaker Pro Tempore,” is a staunch McCarthy ally who worked diligently behind the scenes in January to help the now-former Speaker get elected on the fifteenth attempt, had an aide issue the order.
“‘Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,’ wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee,” Politico reported Tuesday night. “The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker ‘for speaker office use,’ the email said.”
Politico adds that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”
Pelosi, who was honored with the title “Speaker Emerita” in 2022 by the House Steering and Policy Committee in an effort to help unite the House, did not vote for or against McCarthy’s ouster. She remained in California to attend the funeral of her friend and colleague, the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
But Pelosi, the first and only woman Speaker of the House, who served from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023, did not take McHenry’s order lying down.
“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”
“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished,” She noted.
“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems important to them,” Pelosi added. “Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”
‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order
Just hours after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order and directed Donald Trump to remove his social media post targeting and attacking, by name, the judge’s law clerk, the ex-president Tuesday evening issued an attack targeting the legal system, and apparently, by extension, Attorney General Letitia James.
Judge Engoron’s Tuesday order barred Trump from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” as Politico reported. The judge’s gag order did not extend to any officer of the court, witnesses, or anyone else involved in Attorney General James’ $250 million civil fraud case against Trump.
“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said Tuesday afternoon. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”
Judge Engoron had announced in court: “This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.”
“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron added.
Politico described Trump’s social media post as “a message alleging [the law clerk] ‘is running this case against me.’ The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.”
“’How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!’ Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend.'”
And while the judge ordered the social media post taken down, there’s nothing that can be done about the email blast Trump sent to “millions” of his supporters that included the post, as The New York Times reported.
Tuesday evening, despite having already been given one gag order, Trump appeared to tear into the legal system and Attorney General Letitia James in a series of false claims.
After claiming James’ civil lawsuit against him was unconstitutional and election interference, Trump wrote the decision to apply that statute to him “was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know.”
“It is so unfair that I am being tried under Section 63(12), which is unconstitutionally being used to punish me because I am substantially leading Crooked Joe Biden in the polls,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “It is a Consumer Protection Statute, and not meant, at all, for Election Interference purposes, which is what this is all about! Under this Section of the law, I am not even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).This was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
As The New Yorker reported last week, the law Trump is referring to was “passed at the behest of one of” James’ “Republican predecessors, Jacob Javits.”
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