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New Federal Lawsuit Is Potentially Bigger Than Obergefell For Gay Rights

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Ex-FAA Worker Seeks Court Ruling Saying Anti-Gay Job Bias Prohibited Under Existing Civil Rights Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality was among the most significant legal victories in the history of the LGBT civil rights movement. 

But another lawsuit filed last week has the potential to eclipse Obergefell v. Hodges in terms of overall impact because it would affect more people, according to an attorney for the plaintiff. 

In the face of Congress’ longtime failure to pass explicit LGBT job protections, former Federal Aviation Administration employee David Baldwin’s lawsuit is aimed at obtaining a federal decision —  and eventually from the high court itself — saying anti-gay job bias is already illegal under existing civil rights laws. 

“Mr. Baldwin’s case has the ability to affect more people than the [Supreme] Court’s Obergefell [marriage] case because there are more gay men and women who have jobs than same sex couples who want to get married,” Baldwin’s lawyer, Lowell Kuvin, told BuzzFeed News.

In 2012, Baldwin filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging he was denied a promotion and suffered harassment based on his sexual orientation while working as a temporary frontline manager at Miami International Airport. This July, the EEOC ruled in Baldwin’s favor, saying anti-gay bias qualifies as sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC’s decision came two years after it ruled that transgender people are protected against job discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. And although both decisions were historic, they are binding only on federal agencies and don’t necessarily protect non-governmental employees. Since the EEOC’s decision in his case, Baldwin has sought to resolve the case with the FAA, but the agency never responded, prompting his lawsuit.

Baldwin’s lawsuit, which names transportation secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta as defendants, alleges he was passed over for a promotion to permanent front line manager in favor of less qualified people on three separate occasions. In addition, Baldwin’s supervisors repeatedly made disparaging remarks about his sexual orientation, the suit states. 

For example, when Baldwin mentioned that he and his partner had attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans, one of his supervisors, Mark Scott, responded that “we don’t need to hear about all that gay stuff.” Baldwin was also repeatedly told he was “a distraction in the radar room” when he discussed his partner. When Baldwin mentioned that his partner prepared him lunch each day, he was told the “comment was inappropriate” and to “get out of the radar room with that kind of talk.” 

“The fact that Plaintiff is male and gay was a motivating factor in the decision to not promote Plaintiff,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff was singled out due to his sexual orientation and treated differently than heterosexual co-workers.”

Baldwin’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, reinstatement of front pay, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees. But above all, Baldwin hopes his case will help lead to employment protections for gay workers throughout the U.S. Currently, only 22 states ban anti-gay job discrimination, and the Equality Act, which would establish comprehensive federal civil rights protections, remains stalled in Congress.  

“I am confident that this decision will be the deciding factor in saving countless jobs,” Baldwin told The Washington Blade following the EEOC’s decision in July. “That anyone would lose their job simply because of whom they are is a travesty. The LGBT community was never looking for ANY special consideration. We simply want the exact same protections as every other American citizen under already existing laws. Nothing more, nothing less.” 

Since the EEOC’s decision, LGBT advocates have strongly encouraged people who suffer anti-gay job discrimination to file complaints with the commission alleging sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. 

According to the Blade, Baldwin is a 57-year-old Navy veteran who met his partner, Keith George, seven years ago at a Metropolitan Community Church. They’ve since relocated to New Orleans, where they’re renovating a health club that had recently closed. 

Read Baldwin’s full complaint here. 

 

Image by David Baldwin, used with permission
Hat tip: BuzzFeed News

   

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News

Trump Is Privately Admitting Dr. Oz Will ‘F–king Lose’: Report

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Donald Trump has a long list more than 200 hand-picked candidates he’s endorsed, and he’s very proud of his record – for the most part.

Dr. Oz is going to “fucking lose” his race for a U.S. Senate seat “unless something drastically changes, Trump has said privately of his chosen man in the Keystone State, according to two sources who’ve discussed the midterm election with the ex-president,” Rolling Stone reports.

The magazine adds, “the former president is coming to the same conclusion that numerous party consultants and conservative bigwigs arrived at earlier this summer: Oz is very likely doomed.”

Trump seems to be taking this projected loss personally, given the Pennsylvania GOP nominee, like himself, has wide name-recognition thanks to his TV show.

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

“In recent weeks, some Trump allies have repeatedly flagged polling for the former president showing Dr. Oz down, at times by wide or double-digit margins, to his Democratic opponent. Trump has sometimes responded by asking advisers how it’s possible that someone who was that popular on TV for so long is doing so poorly in the polls. When Trump has inquired if the polling has been ‘phony’ or skewed, multiple people close to him have assured him that — as one of the sources describes to Rolling Stone — ‘this is not a matter of the polls being ‘rigged,’ there are major problems with this campaign and, more specifically, this candidate.'”

Indeed, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke just days before winning the Democratic primary for that Senate seat, is beating Oz in polls by double digits. One recent GOP insider poll showed Fetterman beating Oz by 18 points. The latest Fox News poll shows Fetterman beating Oz by 11 points.

The Fetterman team is displaying massive political savvy with its mocking memes of the celebrity TV doctor, mostly around his “crudité” video from April. They’ve resurfaced it, making a mockery of the man they already claim doesn’t actually live in Pennsylvania, but is a carpetbagger from New Jersey.

READ MORE: ‘Grifter’ Dr. Oz Mocked for Video Blaming Biden for $6 Salsa as New Disclosure Puts His Wealth at Up to $400 Million

Oz calling Redner’s, a local grocery store chain, “Wegner’s” in the video while complaining about the high cost of vegetables to make “crudité” has not helped the celebrity physician known for selling “diet scams” and “false and baseless medical claims,” and the Fetterman team has milked it for all it’s worth – even creating a parody account for the non-existent supermarket.

37% of respondents in that Fox News poll added they are “extremely” concerned that Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz) “may not be familiar enough with the state of Pennsylvania to carry out the job of senator effectively.” Just 13% of respondents said they were “extremely” concerned that John Fetterman “may not be healthy enough to carry out the job of senator effectively.”

 

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News

Fulton County DA Slams Lindsey Graham’s Efforts to Avoid Testifying: Causing ‘Substantial Injury’ to Grand Jury

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Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is punching back hard at U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s efforts to avoid testifying to the Special Purpose Grand Jury (SPGJ) investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney points to a new court filing in which Willis urges the judge to not indulge Graham’s efforts to delay.

A stay would “significantly harm” and “result in substantial injury to the Special Purpose Grand Jury,” Willis warns. She calls Graham’s testimony “crucial,” and notes that Graham has already delayed the grand jury’s work by six weeks by filing motions in “three separate jurisdictions.”

READ MORE: Georgia DA Says ‘Possible’ Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Lindsey Graham ‘Doesn’t Understand Seriousness’ of Investigation

Granting Graham’s request “will ensure that the Senator’s involvement with the SPGJ will not be resolved for months.”

She notes on Monday U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied Graham’s attempt to delay his testimony, but on Wednesday Graham filed an emergency motion to get the court to grant his request.

In her conclusion she eloquently reminds Sen. Graham and the judge what the law is about.

“Senator Graham insists that he seeks to delay his appearance before the Special Purpose Grand Jury not just for his own sake, but also for the sake of the separation of powers, federalism, and ‘for the People,'” Willis writes. “The Special Purpose Grand Jury, however, is the People: a collection of citizens called together to perform their civic duty on behalf of their neighbors and families. They have sacrificed their time, effort, energy, and attention for months in order to investigate matters that affect themselves, their community, and the nation as a whole. The District Attorney asks that this Court deny Senator Graham’s motion in order that he, for a single day, can assist them in that great task without further delay. The People have requested Senator Graham’s testimony and stand ready to receive it. All that is left is for the Senator to meet them.”

READ MORE: ‘Should Expect to Be Indicted’: Giuliani Now Target of Georgia DA Investigation Into Efforts to Overturn Election – Report

Willis also explains exactly why the grand jury needs his testimony.

“As this Court recognized in its Order, Senator Graham’s testimony is sought by the SPGJ not simply because he possesses necessary and material information but also because he is expected to provide information regarding additional sources of relevant information,” Willis tells the court. “As a result, delaying the Senator’s testimony would not simply postpone his appearance; it would also delay the revelation of an entire category of relevant witnesses or information, each of whom would require additional time and resources to secure on behalf of the SPGJ.”

On Monday, Judge May wrote: “Senator Graham has direct personal knowledge of conversations with Georgia election officials which have been the subject of public dispute as to the nature of his inquiries and requests, including any implicit or overt suggestions to discard ballots or otherwise alter the election results.”

Judge May added, “the District Attorney described Senator Graham as a ‘necessary and material witness in [the Special Purpose Grand Jury] investigation’ not only because of his personal knowledge of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, but also because he possesses ‘unique knowledge’ concerning ‘the Trump Campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.’”

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ANALYSIS

George Conway Exposes Three Games Trump’s Lawyers Are Playing With FBI Affidavit

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Attorney George Conway revealed the games Donald Trump’s lawyers are playing after the FBI search of Mar-A-Lago.

Multiple media outlets have asked a judge to unseal the affidavit that justified the search, and Trump and his lawyers have publicly called for that evidence to be revealed — but Conway told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that it’s telling that they haven’t joined the request in court.

“Chances are good that while they would like to know the names of now two, possibly two people inside calling, you know — the call coming from inside the house,” said host Joe Scarborough. “Maybe there are two people now inside of Mar-A-Lago or inside of Trumpworld informing on him.”

“Donald Trump will do what Rudy does outside of courthouses and howl and make a scene,” Scarborough added. “But go inside the courtroom and stay silent. What Republicans in Washington, D.C. know, and I had friends tell me a couple days ago, it’s one of the reasons this IRS conspiracy theory started, is when they figured out how bad this is going to be for Trump. They’re trying to change the subject.”

READ MORE: Former Trump official warns GOP can’t win if it’s the party of ‘indictments, subpoenas and investigations’

Conway said Trump’s attorneys were essentially juggling three balls in the air.

“They’re trying to have it three ways,” he said. “They’re being mendaciously three-faced about it. First of all, they themselves would like to see the affidavit because, you know, Tony Soprano wants to know who is the rat. They want to see who is finking on them. That’s one. Two is, they don’t want us to see the affidavit because it’s bad. It’s a long affidavit, and it is going to have a lot of information about a lot of people saying a lot of bad things about the bad things that the president, the former president of the United States, did and how he squirrelled away these documents and refused to give them back when he was repeatedly told he had to give them back and was subpoenaed to return them. Then, third, they want an issue, a B.S. issue, so they can send out the fundraising grift emails to raise money by saying, ‘Oh, they’re hiding the affidavit from us.'”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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