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Log Cabin close to decision on Romney endorsement

Gay GOP group seeks meeting with campaign, support for ENDA



Log Cabin Republicans are seeking to meet with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign.  (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Leaders of the Log Cabin Republicans are inching closer to a decision on endorsing Mitt Romney for president and a final announcement could come this week pending the outcome of a meeting Log Cabin is seeking to have with the Romney campaign, according to a source familiar with the process.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Log Cabin wants to talk to the campaign about Romney’s views on LGBT issues and to seek his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in particular.

The source said the Romney campaign “has expressed a lot of interest” in sitting down with Log Cabin to address these issues, although the meeting remains unscheduled. According to the source, the endorsement decision process should be “all wrapped up in the next week or so.”

“We do think that once there’s that conversation that we will be able to move forward with the endorsement and actually feel good about it,” the source said, adding that if the board were to vote today, its members would likely support Romney for president.

R. Clarke Cooper, the group’s executive director, acknowledged in an email to the Washington Blade on Monday that his organization seeks “clarity on workplace non-discrimination” from the Romney campaign.

It’s not a secret Log Cabin has been asking Romney to come out in favor of ENDA. In an Aug. 13 op-ed for the Daily Caller,  Cooper called on Romney to voice support for ENDA as well as commit to signing an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people.

“Romney has said that he opposes workplace discrimination,” Cooper wrote. “By vowing to sign an executive order preventing federal contractors from firing people for being LGBT, and joining Paul Ryan in support for ENDA, Romney can draw a favorable contrast between himself and the president.”

While running as a U.S. Senate candidate against the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, Romney pledged in a letter to the Massachusetts chapter of the organization to co-sponsor ENDA “and if possible broaden to include housing and credit.” But in later years, Romney abandoned that position. He’s said he no longer supports ENDA, but hasn’t yet addressed the legislation during the 2012 campaign — largely because mainstream media reporters haven’t questioned him about the legislation.

The Romney campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the Washington Blade on the candidate’s position on ENDA.

The “Mitt Gets Worse” campaign against Romney  — co-founded by Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign, and David Brock, founder of American Bridge 21st Century — have called on Log Cabin to withhold the endorsement. However, some gay Republicans — including D.C. Chair of the Republican Party Bob Kabel and former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, have said they’d like to see the organization back Romney.

In 2004, Log Cabin withheld its endorsement from then-President George W. Bush because of his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment — a position that’s shared by Romney. But the organization in 2008 backed Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who voted against the amendment in the U.S. Senate.

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  1. Scott Stevenson

    October 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Dear Log Cabin Repubs and GOProud members,

    Mitt is only going to give you the same lip service that he gave the entire country during the debates. He does not like you, get over it. You're doing more harm to the LGBT cause than helping. Please return your Gay Cards to your local recruiting office ASAP. You may geek your free toaster oven as our gift to you.

    Thank you,
    The LGBT Community

  2. Doug Gonzales

    October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Republicans will lie for a vote, they have to to get elected, just stay away from busses.

  3. Judy Peluso

    October 10, 2012 at 12:18 am

    What more "clarity" can they possibly need?

  4. Marc Paige

    October 10, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Mitt will replace liberal Justice Ginsburg with another Scalia. This will leave our nation with a Supreme Court completely hostile to equality, for decades. If Romney becomes president, we can say goodbye to federal rights for gay couples for a generation. Shame on LCR!

  5. Hal Weiner

    October 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    As the Founding General Counsel of the Gay Activists Alliance, Inc. and the legal advisor to the STONEWALL Veterans Association, I only have one question to ask you people….. How is it that even an earthworm knows that the robin is its natural enemy, but you haven't figured out the Republican party by now, just because you have a well paying job or a few bucks in the bank? Is it the DNA, or the water?

  6. Polly Liberale

    October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I guess Log Cabiners are just going to have to wait until Mitt's in office to find out his position just like everyone will have to wait until he's in office to find out what's in his tax plan. (OW! My eyes just rolled completely out of my head.) Take it from a Baystater, LC – Mitt Romney does not care about you.

  7. Robert P. Bowles

    October 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Good luck getting any "clarity," especially on this topic, from Uncle Mitt.

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Federal Government

Veterans can now identify as transgender, nonbinary on their VA medical records

About 80 percent of trans veterans have encountered a hurtful or rejecting experience in the military because of their gender identity



Graphic via U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced Wednesday that his department added the options of transgender male, transgender female, nonbinary and other, when veterans select their gender, in medical records and healthcare documentation.

“All veterans, all people, have a basic right to be identified as they define themselves,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “This is essential for their general well-being and overall health. Knowing the gender identity of transgender and gender-diverse veterans helps us better serve them.”

The statement also noted that the change allows health-care providers to better understand and meet the medical needs of their patients. The information also could help providers identify any stigma or discrimination that a veteran has faced that might be affecting their health.

McDonough speaking at a Pride Month event last June at the Orlando VA Healthcare System, emphasized his support for Trans and LGBQ+ vets.

McDonough said that he pledged to overcome a “dark history” of discrimination and take steps to expand access to care for transgender veterans.

With this commitment McDonough said he seeks to allow “transgender vets to go through the full gender confirmation process with VA by their side,” McDonough said. “We’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do, but because they can save lives,” he added.

In a survey of transgender veterans and transgender active-duty service members, transgender veterans reported several mental health diagnoses, including depression (65%), anxiety (41%), PTSD (31%), and substance abuse (16%).  In a study examining VHA patient records from 2000 to 2011 (before the 2011 VHA directive), the rate of suicide-related events among veterans with a gender identity disorder (GID) diagnoses was found to be 20 times higher than that of the general VHA patient population.

McDonough acknowledged the VA research pointing out that in addition to psychological distress, trans veterans also may experience prejudice and stigma. About 80 percent of trans veterans have encountered a hurtful or rejecting experience in the military because of their gender identity.

“LGBTQ+ veterans experience mental illness and suicidal thoughts at far higher rates than those outside their community,” McDonough said. “But they are significantly less likely to seek routine care, largely because they fear discrimination.

“At VA, we’re doing everything in our power to show veterans of all sexual orientations and gender identities that they can talk openly, honestly and comfortably with their health care providers about any issues they may be experiencing,” he added.

All VA facilities have had a local LGBTQ Veteran Care Coordinator responsible for helping those veterans connect to available services since 2016.

“We’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do but because they can save lives,” McDonough said. He added that the VA would also change the name of the Veterans Health Administration’s LGBT health program to the LGBTQ+ Health Program to reflect greater inclusiveness.

Much of the push for better access to healthcare and for recognition of the trans community is a result of the polices of President Joe Biden, who reversed the ban on Trans military enacted under former President Trump, expanding protections for transgender students and revived anti-bias safeguards in health care for transgender Americans.

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Prominent LGBTQ+ activist found dead in Florida landfill

Diaz-Johnston was the brother of former Miami mayor and Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz & he led the fight for marriage equality



Photo courtesy of Don Diaz Johnston

Police in Florida’s capital city confirmed that the body of Jorge Diaz-Johnston, 54, who had been reported missing was found in a Jackson County landfill Saturday morning.

Diaz-Johnston was last seen alive Jan. 3 in Tallahassee, more than an hour from where his body was found, according to a missing person notice released by police. Detectives are investigating his death as a homicide, a police spokesperson said.

Diaz-Johnston, was the brother of former Miami mayor and Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz. As an LGBTQ advocate he led the fight for marriage equality, he and his husband were plaintiffs in an historic 2014 lawsuit that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Miami-Dade County.

ABC News reported at the time that a South Florida circuit court judge sided with Diaz-Johnston and five couples suing the Miami-Dade County Clerk’s Office for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Florida dropped its ban on same-sex marriage in 2015.

His husband wrote in a poignant Facebook post; “There are just no words for the loss of my beloved husband Jorge Isaias Diaz-Johnston. I can’t stop crying as I try and write this. But he meant so much to all of you as he did to me. So I am fighting through the tears to share with you our loss of him.”

“We are heartbroken to learn of the death of Jorge. He and his husband Don were two of the brave plaintiffs who took on Florida’s anti-gay marriage ban and helped win marriage equality for all Floridians,” Equality Florida said adding, “Our deepest condolences to Don and Jorge’s extended family.”

Detectives urge anyone who may have information to call 850-891-4200, or make an anonymous tip to Big Bend Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS.

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Bill prohibiting ‘gay panic defense’ clears New Hampshire House

New Hampshire could soon join over a dozen other states which ban the use of ‘gay panic’ as a defense



New Hampshire State House (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Legislation prohibiting defendants accused of manslaughter from using the victim’s gender, gender identity or sexual orientation as a defense, which had died in committee during the 2021 regular session of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, was reintroduced this session and passed with a 223-118 vote last week.

House Bill 238, stirred up controversary from opponents who claimed that state statues already covered murder and manslaughter. During a Criminal Justice committee hearing last Spring, Rep. Dick Marston, a Manchester Republican, voiced opposition, saying that the laws already cover murder and manslaughter and that “there’s no way in heck that you’re going to be able to say ‘Well because he or she was some deviant sexuality that I’m not–‘”

Marston was cut off by committee chairman Daryl Abbas, a Salem Republican, who gaveled him down and rebuked him for the derogatory language the Concord-Monitor reported

Later, the committee Republicans blocked an effort to move the bill out of committee alleging it needed more work and was not necessary because a jury could already strike down a similar attempted defense. The bill was then stalled in the committee, effectively killing it from being pushed further in last year’s session.

As the measure now heads to the state Senate, New Hampshire could soon join over a dozen other states which ban the use of the ‘gay panic’ as a defense.

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