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National news in brief: April 13

Tammy Baldwin shines in fundraising, GLAAD & Miss Universe agree on trans inclusion, Lambda Legal sues Ohio school over t-shirt, and more

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Tammy Baldwin, gay news, gay politics dc

Rep. Tammy Baldwin Tweeted (D-Wisc.) this week the results of her first-quarter fundraising. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Baldwin raises $2 million in 1st quarter

MADISON — In a message via Twitter on Wednesday, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) announced she secured $2 million in the first quarter of 2012 from 24,260 supporters in her bid to become the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate.

“The support for our campaign to fight for the middle class and stand up to the powerful special interests is humbling and invigorating,” Baldwin wrote in a subsequent tweet.

Baldwin — who is seeking to replace Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) — says she’s in a “strong position” with $2.7 million in cash on hand and more than 40,000 individual supporters for her campaign, and has in previous cycles outraised her closest Republican rival, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, by a factor of four.

GLAAD, Miss Universe agree on trans inclusion

NEW YORK — After initially barring Jenna Talackova from competing for the Canadian Miss Universe title, the organization behind the pageant has reinstated the trans beauty queen and said it will no longer bar trans contestants from participating, according to GLAAD.

“For more than two weeks, the Miss Universe Organization and Mr. Trump made it clear to GLAAD that they were open to making a policy change to include women who are transgender,” said GLAAD spokesperson Herndon Graddick. “We appreciate that he and his team responded swiftly and appropriately”

“Jenna and all of the LGBT advocates who have called for this change and spoken out in support of transgender women are to be commended,” Graddick continued. “At a time when transgender people are still routinely denied equal opportunities in housing, employment and medical care, today’s decision is in line with the growing levels of public support for transgender people across the country.”

Pro-Prop 8 witness opposes N.C. amendment

RALEIGH — A central witness for the proponents of Proposition 8 in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger federal case has used a News & Observer editorial to advocate against North Carolina’s proposed constitutional amendment banning state recognition of same-sex couples.

David Blankenhorn and Elizabeth Marquart began the piece by asserting their opposition to same-sex marriage, but go on to say the proposed amendment goes too far and could have far-reaching legal consequences not yet known.

“For one thing, it means that North Carolina could not, now or ever, take any step or devise any policy to extend legal recognition and protection to same-sex couples,” the pair write. “No domestic partnership laws. No civil unions. Nothing.”

Polling for the amendment has been mixed recently, and some advocates are optimistic that this could be the first such ballot measure defeated since such a measure was voted down in Arizona in 2006, before a less stringent version passed two years later.

Lambda Legal sues Ohio school over T-shirt

WAYNESVILLE, Ohio — When Maverick Couch wore a T-shirt to school reading, “Jesus is not a Homophobe” on the 2011 National Day of Silence, the school threatened him with suspension.

Couch, however, researched his free speech rights and came to the conclusion the school could not bar him from wearing the shirt, so the high school student challenged the school.

A year later, Lambda Legal announced it would represent Couch as he sues the Waynesville school district for the right to wear the shirt.

“Schools should be in the business of educating students about First Amendment freedoms, not trampling on their right to express themselves,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal.

Earlier this week, the school agreed to allow Couch to wear the shirt as the case proceeds through the courts.

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Virginia

Va. Senate committee kills six anti-transgender bills

Democrats control chamber by 22-18 margin

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Virginia Senate Education Committee on Thursday killed six anti-transgender bills.

The committee rejected state Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg)’s Senate Bill 960, state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Colonial Heights)’s Senate Bill 791 and state Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania County)’s Senate Bill 1203. All three measures would have banned transition-related health care for minors in Virginia.

The committee also killed state Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake)’s Senate Bill 911, Reeves’ Senate Bill 1186 and Peake’s Senate Bill 962. The measures would have banned transgender athletes from school teams corresponding with their gender identity.

Equality Virginia in a tweet said committee members received more than 3,000 emails “in opposition” to the bills. The statewide advocacy group further noted 10 out of 12 anti-trans bills introduced during this year’s legislative session have been defeated.

“Thank you to everyone who has spoken up against these bills,” said Equality Virginia. “Virginia is remaining a better, more inclusive state because of your efforts.”

“The fight isn’t over,” added the advocacy group. “But we know Virginians will show up for trans youth, day after day.”

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Virginia

Va. Senate subcommittee essentially kills three anti-transgender bills

Measures would ban transition-related health care for minors

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia Senate subcommittee on Tuesday essentially killed three bills that would have banned transition-related health care for minors in the state.

Equality Virginia in a tweet noted the Senate Health Subcommittee “recommended killing” state Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg)’s Senate Bill 960, state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Colonial Heights)’s Senate Bill 791 and state Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania County)’s Senate Bill 1203. 

“We expect these bills to be officially dead after the full committee meets on Thursday,” said Equality Virginia.

Democrats have a 22-18 majority in the state Senate, and they have said they will block any anti-LGBTQ bill that reaches their chamber. State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas), who is the first openly transgender woman seated in a state legislature in the U.S., on Tuesday reiterated this point.

“With the defeat of these bills in the Senate, our (Virginia Senate Democrats) made it clear that *any* bills in the House targeting trans kids during the final week before crossover will not become law if they make it to the Senate,” she tweeted. “Let’s focus on feeding kids, not singling them out.”

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The White House

Doug Emhoff visits monument to gay victims of the Nazis in Berlin

Second gentleman marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day at Auschwitz

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The Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted under Nazism in Berlin on July 23, 2022. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff visited the memorial on Jan. 31, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff on Tuesday visited a monument to gay victims of the Nazis in Berlin.

A readout from Emhoff’s office notes he visited the Memorial to the Persecuted Homosexuals under National Socialism with Philipp Braun of the Lesbian and Gay Federation of Germany, a German LGBTQ and intersex rights group. Christopher Schreiber and Alexander Scheld of the Berlin-Brandenburg Lesbian and Gay Federation were also with Emhoff.

“The Memorial to the Persecuted Homosexuals under Nazi Socialism is intended to honor the homosexual victims of National Socialism and at the same time ‘set a constant sign against intolerance, hostility and exclusion towards gays and lesbians,'” notes the readout.

Emhoff on Tuesday visited other memorials that honor the Sinti and Roma and people with disabilities who the Nazis killed. The second gentleman also visited Berlin’s Holocaust memorial before he met with five people who survived it.

The second gentleman earlier in the day participated in a roundtable with Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders and met with Ukrainian refugees at Berlin’s New Synagogue. Emhoff on Monday participated in a meeting at the city’s Topography of Terror Museum that focused on antisemitism.

International Holocaust Memorial Day, which commemorates the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland in 1945, took place on Jan. 27. 

Emhoff, who is Jewish, traveled to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial and Museum and participated in ceremonies that commemorated the camp’s liberation. He later attended a Shabbat dinner with members of the Jewish community in Krakow, visited Oscar Schindler’s factory and met with Ukrainian refugees at a U.N. Refugee Agency community center before he traveled to Germany.

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