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Will Obama endorse marriage equality in SOTU?

Carney won’t rule ‘in or out’ endorsement of gay nuptials Tuesday

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Friday he wouldn’t rule “in or out” the possibility of President Obama endorsing same-sex marriage in the upcoming State of the Union address.

Carney made the remarks on whether Obama would announce support for marriage equality during the State of the Union address, which is set to take place Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, in response to a question from the Washington Blade.

“I will not rule anything in or out,” Carney said. “I’m just not going to talk about — beyond pointing at his words — his personal views on this. I think his administration’s policies on related issues are there for people to judge.”

Obama doesn’t support same-sex marriage, but since October 2010 he’s suggested his views could “evolve” in favor of same-sex marriage, However, he hasn’t yet made an endorsement in support of marriage rights for gay couples.

However, in 1996, Obama, during his bid to become an Illinois state senator, said in a questionnaire response to the Windy City Times, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Carney commented on the possibility of marriage equality in the State of the Union address after CNN’s Dan Lothian asked for an update on Obama’s evolving views on marriage. Among CNN’s questions were whether Obama talks with people about marriage or reads books as part of this evolution process.

The White House spokesperson said he doesn’t “have an update” on Obama’s position on marriage, but articulated accomplishments that Obama has achieved on LGBT issues in his response.

“I think it is important as part of my answer here to just remind you about the president’s record on these issues,” Carney said. “Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and on marriage in particular, having the federal government stand down from, or his administration stand down from defending DOMA, believing that it’s unconstitutional and working to have it repealed.”

Carney said he’d leave it to the president to describe his “personal views,” but reiterated his administration’s record on “these issues that are very important” is clear.

A transcript between media outlets and Carney on the marriage issue follows:

CNN: Can you give us a status update on same-sex marriage — where the president is on that? That evolution process. And what is he doing to assist that evolution? Does he talk with people? Does he read books? What is he doing?

Jay Carney: Dan, I appreciate the question. I don’t have an update for you on that. I think it is important as part of my answer here to just remind you about the president’s record on these issues. Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and on marriage in particular, having the federal government stand down from, or his administration stand down from defending DOMA, believing that it’s unconstitutional and working to have it repealed.

The president’s personal views I will leave for him to describe, but this administration, his administration’a record on these issues that are very important, I think are pretty clear.

CNN: No movement?

Carney: Again, I’ll leave it to him to describe. It’s the same answer I have given in the past to Chris, for example, who has his hand raised. And I think you deprived him of the opportunity to ask it today.

Washington Blade: I want to follow up. Can I jump in?

Carney: Sure. Chris, how are you?

Blade: I’m doing good. How are you?

Carney: Very well.

Blade: A number of state legislatures in the coming weeks — including those in Washington State, New Jersey and Maryland — are going to try to push for same-sex marriage legislation in the coming weeks. I know you said you don’t want to talk specifics about the State of the Union address, but I was just wondering if you could rule out the possibility of the president completing his evolution and endorsing marriage equality next week?

Carney: Again, I will not rule anything in or out. I’m just not going to talk about — beyond pointing at his words — his personal views on this. I think his administration’s policies on related issues are there for people to judge.

Watch the video here (via Think Progress)

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National

DOJ urged to investigate threats against providers of transition-related care

Boston-area hospital forced to evacuate in August

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A coalition of major health organizations are calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigation threats against providers of gender transition-related medical care for youth, asserting ongoing hostility, including bomb threats and threats of personal violence.

The letter, dated Oct. 3, says medical providers are facing threats for providing “evidence-based health care” to youth, which has meant care for gender transitions, such as hormones, puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgery. The targets of these threats, the letter says, are children’s hospitals, academic health systems and physicians across the country.

“These coordinated attacks threaten federally protected rights to health care for patients and their families,” the letter says. “The attacks are rooted in an intentional campaign of disinformation, where a few high-profile users on social media share false and misleading information targeting individual physicians and hospitals, resulting in a rapid escalation of threats, harassment and disruption of care across multiple jurisdictions.”

The letter has an organizational signature from American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and Children’s Hospital Association, listing no names as representatives. According to the letter, the group represent 270,000 physicians and medical students and CHA represents more than 220 children’s hospitals across the country.

Major health organizations call on the U.S. Justice Department to take action weeks after Boston Children’s Hospital was forced to evacuate over a bomb threat. Authorities later arrested a woman charged with making the after she reportedly phoned in the threat and called the staff “sickos.”

The threats, the letter says, have had significant impact on providers and services to patients, including a new mother being prevented from being with her preterm infant because of a bomb threat; the need for increased security at children’s hospitals; and staffers facing “increased threats via social media – including to their personal accounts.”

A statement from organizations accompanying the letter urges social media companies — including Twitter, TikTok and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram — to “do more to prevent coordinated campaigns of disinformation.”

Jack Resneck, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement accompanying the letter “individuals in all workplaces have the right to a safe environment, out of harm’s way and free of intimidation or reprisal.”

“As physicians, we condemn groups that promote hate-motivated intolerance and toxic misinformation that can lead to grave real-world violence and extremism and jeopardize patients’ health outcomes,” Resneck said.

The Washington Blade has placed a call in with the Justice Department seeking comment on the letter and the American Medical Association seeking comment on why the letter has organizational signatures as opposed to signatures from any of their representatives.

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Virginia

Youngkin makes additional appointments to Va. LGBTQ+ Advisory Board

Governor plans to revise transgender, nonbinary student guidelines

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday announced the appointment of three people to the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

Youngkin named Kerry Flynn, Jason Geske and Collin J. Hite to the board.

Casey Flores, the president of Log Cabin Republicans of Richmond, in July resigned from the board before his tenure was to begin. The resignation came amid growing criticism over a series of anti-LGBTQ and misogynist comments he made against Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), among others.

Youngkin last month announced he plans to revise the Virginia Department of Education’s guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students. Thousands of high school students across Virginia on Sept. 27 walked out of class in protest of the planned revision.

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National

Survey shows 72% of Utah residents back same-sex marriage

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah said he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality

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The results of a poll run by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and the Desert News found 72% of Utah’s residents agree that marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized by law as valid, with the same rights as cis-gender marriages.

“For a state that less than 20 years ago passed laws and a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, there has been a seismic shift in opinion,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics survey also found that 23% of those surveyed disagreed, while 5% expressed that they don’t know.

The poll shows Utahns are aligned with the nation as a whole on the issue. A Gallup poll in May found 71% of Americans say they support legal same-sex marriage, a new high.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, told the Desert News that he’s not surprised to see that a majority of Utahns now support marriage equality.

“Utah is a pro-family state, and we recognize that families come in all shapes and sizes. When we see loving, committed couples joining in matrimony, our natural impulse is to support and encourage that love. This gives me great hope for the future,” he said.

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