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DISCRIMINATION

Trump Preparing to Discharge HIV Positive Military Service Members – Literally for No Reason

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‘Deploy or Get Out’ Is Trump Administration Military Policy

President Donald Trump is preparing to discharge U.S. Military service members living with HIV.

“A person’s HIV status wasn’t always an obstacle to service,” Matt Baume writes at Condé Nast’s Them. But, “a new Trump-administration policy would aim to clear the military of anyone living with HIV.”

How?

On Valentine’s Day Trump instituted a new policy for the military. Instead of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it’s called, “Deploy or Get Out.”

Under the new policy, approved by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, military personnel who are medically unable to deploy, according to the Military Times, must be discharged after 12 months. Troops who are pregnant are exempt from the policy.

Baume reports that “due to an antiquated policy dating back to the early days of the epidemic, HIV+ servicemembers are considered undeployable.” President Barack Obama did not discharge HIV-positive troops.

According to Lambda Legal senior counsel Scott Schoettes, about 1200 service members are living with HIV.

“There are lots of qualified people who serve in positions that doesn’t require them to deploy. It seems foolish to get rid of those people,” Schoettes says.

Foolish especially since for many treatment for HIV can be just a pill a day and occasional blood tests, Baume says.

“Living with HIV today is much different than it was 25 years ago,” said Carlos del Rio, MD, an Emory University medical professor and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research, in a statement provided by Lambda Legal. “Today, with appropriate treatment, there is no reason a person living with HIV shouldn’t be able to serve in any capacity in the military.”

A federal lawsuit to block the Pentagon from discharging HIV-positive service members was “filed in May by Nicholas Harrison, a 41-year-old Oklahoman whose National Guard unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2006 and Kuwait in 2011, according to the complaint,” Bloomberg reports. “Under the new policy, HIV-positive service members are already being discharged and having their duties restricted, according to his suit.”

The “Deploy or Get Out” policy will, depending on the outcome of court cases, also be used by Trump and Mattis to discharge transgender service members. It goes into mandatory effect October 1.

Image: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan C. Mains via Flickr and a CC license

 

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DISCRIMINATION

Georgetown Law Professor: Top Broadcaster ‘Likely’ Killed Interview Because Buttigieg Is Gay

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A prominent Georgetown Law professor says Cumulus Media likely blocked an interview one of its country music station hosts had conducted with Pete Buttigieg from airing because the Democratic presidential candidate is gay.

After Huffpost reported that Blair Garner had been told by Cumulus Media he could not air any part of his interview with Buttigieg, Cumulus – the number three broadcaster in the nation of AM and FM radio stations – claimed the decision was based on the “equal time rule.”

Many quickly blasted Cumulus online.

But Talking Points Memo reached out to an expert, Georgetown Law Professor Andrew Schwartzman, who details his explanation but sums it up by saying Cumulus “likely” blocked the interview because Buttigieg is gay.

Schwartzman, a noted media attorney, told TPM the “equal time rule” does not apply to legitimate interviews.

“This was almost certainly a bona fide news interview,” Schwartzman says. “If another candidate asked for equal opportunity, equal time, the station could say no.”

TPM says Cumulus blocked the interview “under false pretenses.”

“This is much more likely to be about Cumulus not wanting to be seen as promoting a candidate who may not be particularly consonant with the proclivities of country station listeners since he is — how should we put this — gay,” Prof. Schwartzman concludes.

If there are any questions about Schwartzman’s bona fides, his stellar bio at Georgetown should put those to rest. It includes this:

From 1978 through 2012, Schwartzman headed Media Access Project (MAP). MAP was a non-profit public interest telecommunications law firm which represented the public in promoting the First Amendment rights to speak and to hear. It sought to promote creation of a well informed electorate by insuring vigorous debate in a free marketplace of ideas. It was the chief legal strategist in efforts to oppose major media mergers and preserve policies promoting media diversity.

 

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DISCRIMINATION

WATCH: Minnesota Mayor Angrily Chastises LGBTQ Locals After She Refuses to Sign Gay Pride Proclamation

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Columbia Heights, Minnesota Mayor Donna Schmitt has signed proclamations for Arbor Day, National Library Week, Polish American Heritage Month, and even for a local pastor. She recently supported the “second annual Peace Fest, put on by the Science of Spirituality,” but she steadfastly is refusing to sign a gay pride proclamation, and the local LGBTQ community is speaking out.

During Monday’s city council meeting Mayor Schmitt angrily chastised LGBTQ citizens, banging and waving her gavel at them and threatening to “ask some of you to leave,” as video from Fox 9 (below) shows.

“You don’t need a piece of paper from me,” Mayor Schmitt told LGBTQ residents Monday.

The Columbia Heights Pride Organization and other groups tried for weeks to get the mayor to recognize this upcoming Saturday’s LGBTQ Awareness Day and Pride festival. It wasn’t until last week that they finally got to talk with her, and her answer was no.

The mayor claims the group did not follow proper guidelines, and as a result she was unable to sign a proclamation for them.

But Mayor Schmitt admitted to a local news station that those guidelines were developed the same week that the LGBTQ groups began asking for the proclamation.

“It is not about a group, it’s about, let’s follow the guidelines,” Schmitt told ABC 5. “They can go out and celebrate, they are more than welcome to rent our parks and have a family friendly event as they have requested.”

And after Monday’s city council meeting Mayor Schmitt went after the LGBTQ citizens.

“I just hope they realize, they don’t represent everyone in the city either,” she said.

 

Watch:

 

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DISCRIMINATION

Federally-Funded Catholic Adoption Agency Blocks Same-Sex Couple From Fostering Migrant Children, Because Jesus

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A Texas adoption agency that receives federal taxpayer funds is refusing to allow a lesbian couple to become foster parents, and they’re citing their religious beliefs to support their discriminatory decision.

Bryn Esplin and Fatma Marouf, who are married and are both professors at Texas A&M University, were told by the agency because they’re a same-sex couple they don’t “mirror the holy family,” and thus would not allow them to foster some of the thousands of migrant and refugee children the federal government is detaining.

The women pressed, saying that surely some of the 700 children under the agency’s care were LGBT and would benefit from being placed with a married lesbian couple, as The Daily Beast reports.

Catholic Charities told them not a single child, out of 700, were LGBT.

Statistically, that’s impossible.

Lambda Legal, which is representing the couple, Esplin and Marouf, called the claim by Catholic Charities “astounding,” and added that “means that the LGBT kids in the program are being discriminated against on a daily basis.”

After months of trying, they decided to sue the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which runs the agency, Catholic Charities of Fort Worth. The couple just won an important initial victory. The court says they have standing. They are suing charging violations of their First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as Metro Weekly reports.

Related: US Justice Dept. Tells Court Migrant Children in Federal Concentration Camps Don’t Need Soap or Toothbrushes

“We were really open in terms of taking in a sibling set, in terms of age of the child—we didn’t really have any specific thing we were looking for,” Marouf told The Daily Beast. “We just felt like we could provide a good home, and there were hundreds of kids needing it in this area, so it just seemed like something we could do.”

President Donald Trump and his administration have worked to grant religious entities and people of faith increasingly greater rights to discriminate, especially against LGBT people. HHS’s Office of Civil Rights, headed by Roger Severino, is working on a plan to rescind Obama-era regulations that ban this exact type of discrimination by adoption agencies.

RELATED STORIES:

GOVERNOR SIGNS ‘RELIGIOUS FREEDOM’ LAW ALLOWING ADOPTION AGENCIES TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAY COUPLES

TRUMP USES NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST SPEECH TO UNDERMINE CIVIL RIGHTS OF LGBT PEOPLE

NEW ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILLS PROTECTING LGBTQ PEOPLE WILL ‘BAN CHRISTIANITY’ SAY FEAR-MONGERING CONSERVATIVES

 

Image: Lambda Legal

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