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

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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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News

Fox News Host Suggests Trump ‘Force’ Court to Throw Him in Jail – by Quoting Him

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The Fox News host who targeted a juror serving on Donald Trump’s criminal New York trial is now suggesting the ex-president should violate his gag order and “force” the court to throw him in jail, by quoting the Fox News host.

Jesse Watters came under fire earlier this week for profiling juror number two, sharing possibly identifying information published by a myriad of reporters but then using that information to pass judgment on her ability to serve.

“I’m not so sure about juror number two,” Watters concluded on Fox News.

Jurors, at the judge’s direction, were to remain anonymous, for their protection and the protection of the trial.

The judge excused her, after she said she felt she was not able to be impartial because friends and family were calling her asking if she had been chosen to serve on the Trump trial, after the media blitz.

New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan admonished the press for reporting the information, but some news outlets appeared to ignore his warning.

Watters on Wednesday “did a segment with a jury consultant, revealing details about people who had been seated on the jury and questioning whether some were ‘stealth liberals’ who would be out to convict Trump,” the Associated Press reported.

READ MORE: Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

Trump later posted Watters’ quote on his Truth Social platform, leading some, including New York prosecutors, to ask the judge to cite him for allegedly breaking his gag order.

Judge Merchan ordered Trump to not mention witnesses, jurors, prosecutors, court staff, or the family members of prosecutors and court staff, CNN has reported.

New York prosecutors told Juge Merchan Trump has violated the gag order at least ten times.

“Prosecutor Christopher Conroy described the ‘most disturbing’ example as a social media message Trump posted on Wednesday evening quoting a Fox News host as saying, ‘They are catching undercover Liberal Activists lying to the Judge in order to get on the Trump Jury,'” Politico reports.

That host was Jesse Watters.

RELATED: ‘Afraid and Intimidated’: Trump Trial Juror Targeted by Fox News Dismissed

Friday afternoon, Watters appeared to egg Trump on, urging the ex-president to violate the gag order.

“I would make them put me in jail,” Watters said on Fox News. “I would have a tweet about something perhaps I said on ‘The Five’ or ‘Jesse Watters Primetime,’ and I would force them to throw me in jail.”

Watch Watters’ remark below or at this link.

 

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News

Gaetz: ‘Corrupt’ Republicans Could ‘Take a Bribe’ and Throw House to Dems, Blocking Trump Run

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says some of his fellow House Republicans would “take a bribe” to throw the razor-thin GOP majority to the Democrats if a far-right faction calls up a motion to oust Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, allowing Democrats to hand the gavel to the Minority Leader, Hakeem Jeffries. he warned if that happens, Democrats would immediately declare Trump ineligible to be President, pack the U.S. Supreme Court, and pass numerous laws like the American Rescue Plan.

“I do believe in a one seat majority there could be one or two or three of my colleagues who would take a bribe in one form or another in order to deprive the Republicans of a majority at all,” Gaetz said Friday on his podcast (video below.)

He added, “the risk that one or two of my corrupt Republican colleagues might take a bribe, take a walk, feign an ailment and flip this thing to the Democrats is a risk that is too high for me at this time.”

Gaetz’s fellow far-right Florida Republican member of Congress, Anna Paulina Luna, told listeners, “I heard that when, if and when the motion vacate is introduced, that there will be immediate resignations of a couple of more moderate members of Congress. And in the event that that happens, that ultimately means it does go to a Democrat speaker.”

RELATED: Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) last month filed a “motion to vacate,” which she can use at any time to force a vote to oust the GOP Speaker, Mike Johnson. U.S. Rep. Tim Massie (R-KY) and just today, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has signed on as co-sponsors.

Congressman Gaetz told listeners if Democrats do take the House through a force vote to remove Johnson, Democrats would “be declaring Donald Trump an insurrectionist and setting up a barrier to him being able to become the president United States.”

“That’ll be their leadoff hitter, and then the chaser to that shot will be a massive spending package that looks a lot more like the American Rescue Plan. They will blow past every concept of every cap ever imagined. You’ll be looking at Universal Basic Income, you could be looking at packing the Supreme Court.”

Watch a short clip of Gaetz’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

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Jeffries Vows Democrats Will Ensure Ukraine Aid Passes as Johnson Defectors Grow

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Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries vowed Friday the majority of Democrats will support Republicans’ Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and Gaza foreign aid legislation as Republican Speaker Mike Johnson lost support of another member of his conference to a faction determined to oust him.

“Democrats will provide a majority of our majority as it relates to funding Israel, humanitarian assistance, Ukraine, and our allies in the Indo Pacific,” Minority Leader Jeffries said. “It remains to be seen what Republicans will do in terms of meeting the national security needs of the American people, but it was important for House Democrats to ensure that the national security bills are going to be considered.”

Despite Republicans having a one-vote majority, more Democrats on Friday voted to move the critical and long-awaited foreign aid bills forward than did Republicans.

READ MORE: ‘Stop Bringing Up Nazis and Hitler’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Smacked Down by Democrats

The 316-94 vote included 165 Democrats and 151 Republicans voting yes, and 55 Republicans and 39 Democrats voting no.

Axios’ Juliegrace Brufke posted the list of Republicans voting against their party’s legislation.

Calling it a “rare” moment in modern congressional history to have to rely on opposition party votes to pass legislation, BBC News reports Speaker Johnson’s “hold on power is tenuous, and the legislators who oppose him – and his bid to provide aid to Ukraine – occupy some key positions within the House’s power structure.”

Amid the procedural vote to move the foreign aid funding bills forward, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican of Arizona, announced he is joining Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Congressman Tim Massie (R-KY) in formally announcing their will vote to oust Speaker Johnson.

Gosar, like Greene, is reportedly a Christian nationalist. In 2022 CNN reported his “lengthy ties to White nationalists, [a] pro-Nazi blogger and far-right fringe received little pushback for years.”

RELATED: ‘Repercussions’: Democrats and Republicans Stand Against ‘Pro-Putin’ House GOP Faction

“We’ve been very honest in our assessment of the situation from the beginning,” Jeffries on Friday also declared. “At the appropriate time as House Democrats, we will have a conversation about how to deal with any hypothetical motion to vacate.”

“Moscow Marjorie Taylor Greene, Massie, and Gosar are quite a group. But central to our conversation is to make sure that the national security legislation in totality is passed by the House of Representatives.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

 

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