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Exclusive: GetEQUAL’s New Chair Discusses 2012 Focus – ‘We Can’t Wait!’

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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 of 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. 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.

GetEQUAL Activists in Los Angeles

Recently, Valerie Jarrett, friend and adviser to President Obama, held a two-hour meeting 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.  The New York Times and The Washington Post 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.  We can wait, Tobias said, because our demands put the election at risk, including the Supreme Court.  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 Activist in Columbus, Ohio

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.  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 petition urging President Obama to reconsider his decision and to sign the Executive Order to ban LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. You can learn more about the federal contractor executive order by reading Jillian Weiss’s informative 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, moving 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,  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, is one of the few national organizations — if not the only one — which has had a transgender person, Dr. Jillian Weiss, 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  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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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Fox News Host Claims ‘Whites Are a Minority in California’ So Dems Want ‘On-Ramp’ for Undocumented Immigrants to Vote

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Fox News personality Jesse Watters is making undocumented claims about undocumented immigrants and voting in California, the nation’s most-populous state, along with false claims about voter ID and precisely which race is the majority in the Golden State.

“Didn’t Democrats say that Blacks were incapable of handling an ID to vote?” Media Matters reports Watters, who has been criticized numerous times for racism. said Monday on Fox News’ “The Five.”

That’s false.

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“Many Americans do not have one of the forms of identification states acceptable for voting,” the ACLU says. “These voters are disproportionately low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and people with disabilities.  Such voters more frequently have difficulty obtaining ID, because they cannot afford or cannot obtain the underlying documents that are a prerequisite to obtaining government-issued photo ID card.”

That’s very different from falsely claiming Black Americans are “incapable of handling an ID.”

Watters went on to say, “But, I guess illegal aliens are perfectly capable of having a state-issued ID to use it for welfare.”

That too is false.

Undocumented immigrants are almost exclusively ineligible for federal government welfare programs.

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“What I think is going on here is, right now, whites are a minority in California. Hispanics are the majority race in that state,” Watters claims.

Depending on your definition, that’s false, according to the U.S. Government.

Those who reported being “white alone or in combination” with another race is listed as 54.6% for California for the actual 2020 Census. “White alone” is listed as 41.2%.

“Hispanic or Latino” is listed as 39.4% of the population in California. “Not Hispanic or Latino” is listed at 60.6%.

“And white Democrat politicians like Gavin Newsom see the writing on the wall and they’ll do anything they can to cling to the political machine,” Watters claimed. “Now, this looks like an on-ramp to voting, if I was just being suspicious. But, being suspicious has made me very, very successful.”

The segment began with “Judge’ Jeanine Pirro saying “Liberal states and cities from coast to coast putting illegal immigrants over their own residents.” Pirro was lamenting a bill Newsom signed into law she says that will allow “illegal immigrants to acquire a government-issued state ID.”

Just before the 2016 election Watters did a man-on-the-street segment in New York City’s Chinatown and for nearly five minutes engaged in racist, anti-Asian, and downright offensive behavior. Vox’s Libby Nelson put it this way: “Fox News fit an impressive number of offensive Asian stereotypes into 5 minutes.”

Watch below or at this link.

 

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News

No ‘Semblance of a Campaign’: Five of Trump’s Candidates for Governor Air Zero TV Ads Combined

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Former President Donald Trump’s picks for governor in five states are facing media scrutiny after failing to air a single television advertisement since winning their primaries.

In a report on Monday, The New York Times revealed that Pennsylvania candidate Doug Mastriano “is being heavily outspent by his Democratic rival, has had no television ads on the air since May.”

“There’s no sign of cavalry coming to his aid, either: The Republican Governors Association, which is helping the party’s nominees in Arizona, Michigan and six other states, has no current plans to assist Mr. Mastriano, according to people with knowledge of its deliberations,” the paper added.

Matt Brouillette, the president of a conservative advocacy group, slammed Mastriano in remarks to the Times.

“I can’t even assess things because I don’t see a campaign,” Brouillette said. “I’ve not seen anything that is even a semblance of a campaign.”

According to the report, Mastriano’s lackluster campaign is not unusual among Trump’s preferred candidates.

“Along with Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed candidates for governor in five other states — Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan — have combined to air zero television advertisements since winning their primaries,” the report said.

Over the weekend, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) vowed to campaign against Mastriano and other Trump-endorsed candidates who push lies about the 2020 presidential election.

“I think we have to do everything we can in ’22 to make sure those people don’t get elected,” she told the Texas Tribune Festival. “We have to make sure [Doug] Mastriano doesn’t win.”

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘We Need to Go All the Way’: GOP Lawmaker Brags Her ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill ‘Goes Further’ Than Florida’s But Not Far Enough

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A far right Republican state lawmaker in Pennsylvania who has worked to get prayer into schools is pushing a “Don’t Say Gay” bill and bragging that it goes even “further” than Florida’s, but wants it to be even broader.

Republican state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz denies her legislation is a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but as PennLive reports it states public and charter schools “may not offer instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to a student in kindergarten through fifth grade.”

Rep. Borowicz admits that although her bill expands on Florida’s which technically bans discussion of LGBTQ issues until after third grade, she wants it to be even more broad.

“It is patterned after the Florida bill, but mine goes further,” she said. “It really needs to be protected up through 12th grade, we need to go all the way.”

She does not state what “it” is.

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PennLive reports Borowicz supports similar legislation, Senate Bill 1278, “which would allow schools to be sued for material that is ‘not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate’ at any grade level.”

The Pennsylvania Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee, Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, also supports the “Don’t Say Gay” bills.

Like other state’s bills, the language is intentionally broad and undefined, which experts say is intentional to create fear among teachers to steer clear away from any issue that might come near to the ban.

“Asked what sort of communication would constitute ‘instruction’ under the bill, Borowicz said, ‘I’m not going to get into the details of all that.'”

Last week when announcing her new anti-LGBTQ bill, Rep. Borowicz called for the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education to resign, “because LGBTQ-inclusive curricula and other resources were featured on the Pennsylvania Department of Education site,” WITF reports.

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“Everything from gender neutral days and classrooms, from 3rd to 12th grade to a tutorial on gender pronouns and instructions for teachers to ask before making false assumptions about someone’s gender identity,” Borowicz said.

Borowicz, who was first elected in 2018, she is the first woman and only the second Republican to hold that seat.

“The mission of keeping my word to the people of the 76th Legislative District starts immediately,” she said upon being sworn in.

Borowicz’s bio frequently mentions she was the “president of a nonprofit organization,” while rarely explaining what that nonprofit was.

In 2018 Borowicz “said it was for Make A Stand USA, an organization she and her sister created to get prayer gatherings at schools in 2010. She said it was her sister who paid for it and no money was made for the one event it sponsored. Two years later, she said, it was disbanded,” The Record Online reported.

Rep. Borowicz is a big fan of prayer, but the ways she has used it has caused outrage, even among her follow House colleagues.

Months after she was sworn in, an newly elected state representative, who is Muslim, was sworn in.

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Borowicz delivered the House’s invocation that day, and by the time it was over she had mentioned “Jesus” thirteen times. She was accused of weaponizing pray and Islamophobia and antisemitism.

“God forgive us — Jesus — we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us, Jesus,”Borowicz said, as HuffPost reported.

“She also prayed for President Donald Trump and thanked the president for ‘unequivocally’ supporting Israel.”

“I claim all these things in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus, the one who, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord, in Jesus’ name,” she also proclaimed.

Think Biblically reports she also said, “thank you for this honor, Jesus. God, for those who came before us like George Washington at Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln who sought after you at Gettysburg, Jesus, and the founding fathers in Independence Hall, Jesus, that sought after you and fasted and prayed for this nation to be founded on your principles and your words and your truths.”

“Jesus, I thank you for this privilege, Lord, of letting me pray, God, that I Jesus am your ambassador here today. Standing here, representing you — the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, the one who is coming back again, the one who came died and rose again on the third day,” she prayed.

Watch Rep. Borowicz’s prayer below or at this link.

 

 

 

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