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Democrats In Congress To Introduce New Comprehensive LGBT Rights Bill – 7 Ways It Could Help You



Democrats are introducing a comprehensive LGBT rights bill in Congress this week. Here are 7 ways it could positively impact you.

We’ve seen monumental progress in the fight for LGBT equality over the past few weeks. The Supreme Court of the United States gave us marriage equality on June 26, and last Thursday the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that GLB workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, just as it did for transgender workers last year.

UPDATE: July 23 12:40 PM EDT –
Watch Live NOW: Democrats Introduce Historic, Expansive LGBT Civil Rights Bill

Hoping to use this momentum and take LGBT equality another giant step forward, Democrats in Congress plan to introduce broad legislation this week to protect LGBT people from discrimination.

On Monday, in a “dear colleagues” letter, Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline requested co-sponsors for his Equality Act bill that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in areas such as housing, workplaces, schools, and public accommodations. BuzzFeed reports that Rep. Cicilline plans to introduce the measure at the same time Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon files a companion bill in the Senate.

Here are seven reasons why this bill is important to you:

1.) CREDIT: Currently, creditworthy people can be refused loans, leases, and/or credit cards if a lender wants to discriminate against the applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), passed in 1974, prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or because a person receives public assistance. It does not, however, explicitly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed Equality Act would rectify this.

2.) EDUCATION: Currently, federal law prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, and disability; however there are no explicit federal protections for students based on sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 35 states offer little or no explicit protections for LGBT students, but this discrimination affects more than just students. It impacts every taxpaying American citizen. How, you might ask? Well, the Column reports that eight colleges and universities in Minnesota alone took in more than $15 million in federal taxpayer money in 2014 while barring openly LGBT students from attending or prohibiting LGBT people in employment. The new bill would stop schools that discriminate against the LGBT community from receiving million-dollar tax credits from the federal government.

3.) EMPLOYMENT: “In most states, a same-sex couple can get married on Saturday, post pictures on Facebook on Sunday, and then risk being fired from their job or kicked out of their apartment on Monday,” Cicilline said in his “dear colleagues” letter. In fact, there are 29 states that don’t have laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 32 states don’t have laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. As a result, LGBT people can be harassed, denied a promotion, and even fired for something that is not even related to their work performance. This bill would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

4.) HOUSING: The Fair Housing Act (FHA) currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability in the sale or rental of housing. This applies to both public and private housing including single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, etc. The HRC reports that in 2011, heterosexual couples were favored over gay male or lesbian couples by 15.9 and 15.6 percent, respectively. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that one in five transgender people have been refused a home or apartment because of their gender identity or expression. This new bill would ban discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

5.) JURY SERVICE: It’s hard to imagine how an LGBT person could have a fair trial when the jury selection process allows for discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s one of the reasons this bill is so important. There are currently no explicit federal protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity for jury discrimination. In 2012, a lawyer used his first peremptory challenge to strike a prospective juror in an HIV related case because the prospective juror was a gay man. The Ninth Circuit Court ruled that the removal of a juror due to sexual orientation was prohibited by the 14th Amendment, but the Supreme Court of the United States has not yet addressed this issue.

6.) FEDERAL FUNDING: The majority of federal programs do not have explicit prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Examples of a few of the federally funded programs that would be impacted include, but are not limited to job training programs run by welfare benefit providers, hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid, foster care and adoption agencies, police and justice programs, and more.  

7.) PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION: You’ve heard about this one a gazillion times by now. Whether it’s a baker that doesn’t want to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex couple, or a florist that doesn’t want to make the couple’s bouquet, companies are using religion as an excuse to refuse service to LGBT people. The HRC reports that 23 percent of LGBT people had received poor service in a restaurant, hotel or place of business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and 53 percent of transgender people reported experiencing verbal harassment and bullying in public spaces. It’s time to remove this legal discrimination once and for all.

The Equality Act could significantly impact the lives of many LGBT Americans. Ironically, its introduction coincides with a committee vote on a Republican-backed bill to “protect” people and organizations that disagree with same-sex marriage.

Will it be possible to pass the Equality Act in a Republican dominated House and Senate? Get your dialing finger ready. It’s going to be time to call your representatives soon. 


Image by JBrazito via Flickr and a CC license

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Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting



Governor Bill Lee quickly drew tremendous outrage in the wake of a school mass shooting where six people including three young children were shot to death. Social media users criticized the Tennessee Republican, who had signed a permit-less gun carry law, for declaring he was “praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community,” without posting any mention of the mass shooting.

Tweeting he was “closely monitoring the tragic situation at Covenant,” Gov. Lee said, “As we continue to respond, please join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community.”

There was no mention of any loss of life, and, as Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts passionately noted, the “situation” was a mass shooting.

“If thoughts and prayers alone worked to stop gun violence, there wouldn’t have been a shooting at a Christian elementary school. It’s your actions – including weakening the state’s gun laws – that’s killing kids in Tennessee,” Watts also tweeted. “SHAME ON YOU.”

Gov. Lee signed a permit-less carry bill into law in 2021, at a Beretta gun manufacturing plant.

According to the CDC, as of 2020 – one year before the permit-less carry bill was signed into law – Tennessee ranked tenth in the nation in per-capita firearm mortality.

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

Meanwhile, others took notice of the gun culture Gov. Lee has fostered in “The Volunteer State.”

MSNBC analyst and Bulwark writer Tim Miller commented, “Tennessee governor Bill Lee issued a statement recently about how the drag ban in Tennessee ‘protects children.’ If only he would have instead focused on laws that might have prevented the mass murder of children in his state today.”

Historian Kevin Kruse pointed to an article from last year, after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, titled: “Rep. Clemmons Seeks Renewed Gun Laws, Gov. Lee Requests Prayer.”

“You chose prayer over gun reforms last year after the Uvalde massacre,” Kruse wrote. “And now here we are.”

The progressive website Tennessee Holler pointed out that Gov. Lee, along with GOP lawmakers, “just appointed Jordan Mollenhour to the [state] board of education— whose company was sued for selling ammo to an underage mass killer (SANTA FE) and sold ammo to at least one more (AURORA) He has ZERO education experience.”

Let’s Give a Damn founder Nick Laparra tweeted, “We are 86 days into 2023. So far, 9859 people have died by gun violence and there have been 128 mass shootings. Meanwhile, @GovBillLee spends his days being outraged over drag queens and CRT and book bans. This is Bill Lee’s and the GOP’s fault.”

See the tweets and video above or at this link.

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies




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Mystery Grand Jury Witness in Trump Hush Money Probe Is Former ‘Enquirer’ Publisher and Trump Ally



Avid followers of the Manhattan District Attorney’s moves noted the grand jury had been called into service for Monday, and soon news leaked that yet another witness would be testifying in the probe into Donald Trump’s alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Monday afternoon, NBC News’ Garrett Haake reported live on MSNBC that the mystery witness was David Pecker, the former tabloid publisher of the “National Enquirer,” who reportedly had been looking for stories in 2016 to protect Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Haake notes Monday was Pecker’s second appearance before the grand jury in the hush money case.

The New York Times also reported David Pecker as the grand jury witness, calling Pecker “a key player in the hush-money matter. He and the tabloid’s top editor helped broker the deal between the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s fixer at the time.”

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

“While the focus of Mr. Pecker’s testimony is unclear, he could provide valuable information for prosecutors. A longtime ally of Mr. Trump, he agreed to keep an eye out for potentially damaging stories about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign,” The Times reports. “For a brief time in October 2016, Ms. Daniels appeared to have just that kind of story. Her agent and lawyer discussed the possibility of selling exclusive rights to her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump to The National Enquirer, which would then promise to never publish it, a practice known as ‘catch and kill.'”

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman weighed in, noting, “nothing about that decision [to have Pecker testify] suggests any change of heart on Bragg’s part to indict Trump.”

Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU professor of law, notes that Pecker’s “testimony can show the [hush money] scheme was designed to affect outcome of election.”

“He reportedly communicated directly with Trump on payment,” Goodman adds.

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‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting



First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, speaking Monday afternoon at a National League of Cities conference, told attendees, “Our children deserve better,” as she broke the news of the Nashville school mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian School where three children and three adults were shot dead.

“You know,” Dr. Biden, herself an educator and clearly pained by the news, began her remarks by saying, “I hate to say what I’m gonna say next because you know you’re so enthusiastic and with so much energy and hope and I feel it.”

“But while you’ve been in this room, I don’t know whether you’ve been on your phones but we just learned about another shooting in Tennessee, a school shooting and I am truly without words and our children deserve better, and we stand – all of us – we stand with Nashville in prayer.”

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

The First Lady, a former public high school English teacher and currently a professor of English at a community college, was speaking at the organization’s Congressional City Conference.

Watch Dr. Biden below or at this link.

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