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Boehner tells LGBT caucus ‘no way’ ENDA will pass

Speaker holds first-ever meeting with group seeking to advance LGBT rights

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John Boehner, Ohio, Republican Party, GOP, United States House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, State of the Union, 2014, gay news, Washington Blade
John Boehner, Ohio, Republican Party, GOP, United States House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, State of the Union, 2014, gay news, Washington Blade

For the first time ever, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met with the LGBT Equality Caucus. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told attendees last week at his first-ever meeting with the LGBT Equality Caucus there was “no way” the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would pass this year, according to a gay lawmaker who attended the meeting.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who’s gay and one of the caucus co-chairs, volunteered information Tuesday night about the meeting in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol when the Washington Blade asked him about his views on the absence of the ENDA from the State of the Union address.

“A number of us did meet with, actually the caucus met with Speaker Boehner,” Takano said. “He said no way was it going to get done in this session.”

Calling the discussion between Boehner and the lawmakers “a historic sort of meeting,” Takano later clarified he was referring to the LGBT Equality Caucus, a 113-member group of lawmakers committed to advancing LGBT rights, and said the meeting took place “a few days ago” or last week.

A “session” of Congress is equivalent to one of the two years in which a particular Congress meets before a new Congress is seated, so Takano’s account of the meeting indicates ENDA won’t see a House vote in 2014.

Asked to clarify whether he meant that ENDA won’t come up this year, Takano said, “Yeah. He said it wasn’t going to happen in this session.”

Despite his account of the meeting, Takano remained optimistic about the passage of ENDA at a later time, perhaps after Election Day this year, saying “it’s still a huge priority for me to get that done.”

“There’s obviously differences between the two parties on ENDA, but, you know, who knows what can happen in a lame duck Congress?” Takano said.

Others with knowledge of the meeting declined to divulge on the record significant information, saying the meeting wasn’t open to staffers and not meant to be public. No one would disclose the exact date of the meeting or identify who participated.

But House aides did confirm the historic nature of the meeting, saying Boehner has never before met with the LGBT Equality Caucus and the discussion took place within the speaker’s office. Aides said Boehner has also met with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, but discussions in meetings like these are private.

Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesperson, responded to the Blade’s inquiries about the meeting by saying the speaker meets all the time with various groups on Capitol Hill.

“John Boehner is the speaker of the whole House, and often meets with groups of members from both sides of the aisle,” Steel said.

One aide said the entire 113-member caucus didn’t attend the meeting, although it was attended by more lawmakers than just the six co-chairs of the group, who consist of openly LGB members of the U.S. House. The co-chairs are Takano as well as Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Brad Jacklin, executive director of the LGBT Equality Caucus, confirmed a meeting took place, but offered only a few details.

“A number of members asked to meet with the speaker, who tries to accommodate such requests,” Jacklin said. “It was a members-only meeting and was off the record. The Equality Caucus and its leadership continues to work together to educate members of the House on LGBT issues and build bipartisan support for legislation like ENDA.”

Jacklin took note that just this week, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) signed on as the sixth House Republican to co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Immediately after the announcement, he received significant attention in the media for physically threatening a reporter from New York-affiliate NY1 who asked him about the current investigation into his potential violation of campaign finance law.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Scott Bitcon

    January 30, 2014 at 1:50 am

    This useless piece of shit has the power to bring it to the floor for a vote. If he does it will pass and he knows it. If all of my Republican and conservative friends who are pissing themselves about Executive Orders would have the integrity to call out this obstruction of the will of the american people and the congress perhaps the talk of executive orders would go away.

    If this overgrown oompa loompa would do his job, then there wouldn't be a need for executive orders to enact the will of the people.

    If you don't want executive orders but won't demand John Boehner do his job, then kindly have big heaping cup of STFU!

  2. Lloyd Shipley

    January 30, 2014 at 2:20 am

    not shocked by the biggest queen, in the closet wote , say no, i can't wait to this worthy piece of trash gets outed.

  3. Gene Clark

    January 30, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Hey Scott. I think 1 lie mmmm ok but LIE after LIE…from obama,clinton Reid….I care about Benghazi were 2 of my Navy Brothers were murdered, while obama was playing with himself and clinton DA…How about that 3am call. Blood is on both there hands. Never forget! U.S.Navy Vet.

  4. Gene Clark

    January 30, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Hey Scott. I think 1 lie mmmm ok but LIE after LIE…from obama,clinton Reid….I care about Benghazi were 2 of my Navy Brothers were murdered, while obama was playing with himself and clinton DA…How about that 3am call. Blood is on both there hands. Never forget! U.S.Navy Vet.

    • Chris

      January 31, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Totally agree Gene. Whether it was a “war for oil” or not, the fact of the matter was that Hussein was a tyrant that was murdering his own people on the genocide scale. Putting an end to that should have been a priority either way. Not saying “well that isn’t our problem” and allowing an entire culture to be tortured. Convenient that most opponents of that war forget he was committing war crimes w/ or w/o WMD’s. Burying women in sand to their heads, covering them in honey and allowing them to be eaten alive… that would like something you want to let happen? The United States IS the world’s police force whether we like it or not. If we don’t do something about these things, nobody will. I for one don’t want the blood on my hands by standing by and allowing rape, murder, slavery to knowingly happen.

      Semper Fi
      Chris Rager, Sgt USMC

      • Chris

        January 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        PS: Gene, I hope you read my comments as support of yours, because I 100% agree with you.

  5. Gene Clark

    January 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

    oh yea,,65% of the American People DO NOT TRUST obama! Let me be Clear!

  6. Gene Clark

    January 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

    oh yea,,65% of the American People DO NOT TRUST obama! Let me be Clear!

  7. Gene Clark

    January 30, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I am Shocked,I thought Republicans were the Homophobs. Lloyed u are an ASS!

  8. Lloyd Shipley

    January 30, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Gene Clark at least i'm not in the closet, nor am i afraid to show my face, i guess you're a bitch in heat that can type

  9. Lloyd Shipley

    January 30, 2014 at 4:39 am

    first off, that just depends on who does the pool, however 70 5 of American will vote for Hillary in 2016

  10. Jennifer Lane

    January 30, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Boehner, You will never understand us LGBT people.

  11. Ross Ostrander

    January 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    John Boehner is a nut case and a drunk who needs to get the hell out of office and shut his fat mouth. ENDA is the will of the American people and he just will not get it on the floor for a vote because he realizes that it will pass. The last few congress' have not worked with the President on a damn thing and they all need to be voted out of office as far I am concerned.

  12. Dieter Michaels

    January 31, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Gene Clark ..yeah and I bet you are equally feeling just as bad about the ten times as many who died in similar attacks under bush 1 and bush 2. Oh wait.. you guys pretend that shit don't count.

  13. Jamae Ellison

    January 31, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Gene Clark you failed to say anything about Bush saying lie after lie,he lied his whole term,took us to war on a lie he knew wasn't true.Does it not bother you that thousands of troops were killed because of his lies.You assholes always excuse Mr Bush lies to this country every fucking day for 8 years.

  14. Matthew Carter

    January 31, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    And 90% do NOT Trust Congress. So I will take the person with 35% of teh people's trust well before someone with only 10% and falling.

  15. Dustin Huntsman

    February 1, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Benghazi, the GOP conspiracy theory.

  16. John Williams

    February 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Gene Clark do you moan "Benghazi" every time you jerk off?

  17. Scott Bitcon

    February 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    John Williams I am stealing that line. :)

  18. Bok Choy

    February 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Why should he? I do understand you and know that you and yours are the bigots demanding acceptance. Nobody has to accept or vote on anything except their own beliefs. John Boehner doesn't have to accept you either! Go stuff it!

  19. Bok Choy

    February 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Now you are getting a taste of the Obama/Reid also pieces of shit as you say! Territory Manager? where in the park and bar systems?

  20. Bok Choy

    February 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    It is no such thing stupid. If it were a vote by the people your trite statement would be valid. Are you really being discriminated against because you are gay?? Or, is it a subterfuge for your being otherwise undesirable for a real reason! Better spend a little more time in your college!

  21. Bok Choy

    February 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Now Now girls! LOL

  22. Bok Choy

    February 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    This is the way everyone feels about both Congress and Obama with his pimp Reid.

  23. Lloyd Shipley

    February 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    MY son did 2 tours of Iraq and 1 tour of Afghanistan.when i ask him what his toughts were on the wars, he responded, " i fought so that Americans could live a life of freedom, i was proud of fighting for my country, but my country denies my fathers right to achieve equal right's

  24. Cheryl Labbe

    February 7, 2014 at 12:27 am

    What a ASS!!!!

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World

Jamaica man attacked after using gay dating app

Victim’s penis partially severed before he was set on fire

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A Jamaican and Pride flag fly on the beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Oct. 15, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Maurice Tomlinson's Facebook page)

An 18-year-old man in Jamaica remains hospitalized in critical condition after he was targeted on a gay dating app.

The Jamaica Gleaner reports the victim on Oct. 11 went to a neighborhood in Montego Bay, a resort city that is the capital of Jamaica’s St. James Parish, to meet the man with whom he was speaking.

The newspaper reports the man and two other men abducted the victim, robbed him and partially severed his penis before they set him on fire. Officials said the three men took his cell phone and used his bank card to withdraw money from his account.

“He is a very lucky young man because although they left him in a critical condition, he managed to make his way to a security checkpoint in the community where they assisted him to the hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition,” a local police officer told the Jamaica Gleaner.

The Jamaica Gleaner reported a 43-year-old man in St. James Parish disappeared in January 2020 after he went to meet someone with whom he had spoken on a gay dating website. Authorities later found the man’s body, and two men have been charged with his murder.

Violence against LGBTQ Jamaicans remains commonplace. Consensual same-sex sexual relations also remain criminalized in the country.

J-FLAG, a Jamaican LGBTQ rights group, has condemned the latest attack.

“Like all well-thinking Jamaicans at this time, JFLAG is outraged at the recent attack on an 18-year-old man in St. James,” tweeted J-FLAG on Sunday. “His attackers must be brought to justice.”

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National

Colin Powell, leaving mixed legacy on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ dies at 84

Key figure once opposed gays in military, then backed review

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gay news, Washington Blade, Colin Powell, gay marriage
Colin Powell leaves behind a mixed legacy on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Colin Powell, the first ever Black secretary of state who served in top diplomatic and military roles in U.S. administrations, died Monday of coronavirus at age 84, leaving behind a mixed record on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The world continues to grapple with the pandemic and the public grows increasingly frustrated with its persistence as many remain unvaccinated despite the wide availability of vaccines. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to a statement released upon his death. Powell reportedly suffered from multiple myeloma, a condition that hampers an individual’s ability to combat blood infections.

Rising to the top of the military as chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell supported in 1993 Congress moving forward with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that barred openly gay people from serving in the U.S. military.

During a key moment congressional testimony, Powell and other top military officials were asked whether or not allowing gay people in the military would be compatible with military readiness. Each official, including Powell,” responded “incompatible.” Congress would enact “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that year.

Things changed when President Obama took office 15 years later and advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” were eager to claim Powell’s voice among their ranks. After all, Powell was highly respected as a bipartisan voice after having served as secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush and endorsing Obama in the 2008 election.

After the Obama administration in 2010 announced it would conduct a review of the idea of allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, Powell came out in support of that process. Advocates of repeal called that a declaration of reversal, although the statement fell short of a full support for gay people serving openly in the military.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office, adding, “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

Congress acted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the policy was lifted in 2011. At the time, Powell was widely considered a supporter of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and publicly counted among supporters of repeal, although the Blade couldn’t immediately find any statements from him to that effect.

In 2012, Powell had similar vaguely supportive words on same-sex marriage, saying he had “no problem with it” when asked about the issue.

“As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children,” Powell said. “And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”

The Blade also couldn’t immediately find any statement from Powell on transgender people serving in the military. After the Obama administration in 2016 lifted decades-old regulations against transgender service, former President Trump issued a ban by tweet the following year. President Biden reversed that ban and allowed transgender people to serve and enlist in the military in his first year in office.

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World

Botswana attorney general seeks to recriminalize homosexuality

High Court heard case on Oct. 12

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(Public domain photo)

GABORONE, Botswana — On June 11, 2019, Botswana moved toward being a state that no longer held some of its citizens (and, by extension, visitors) as criminals if they identified within the LGBTQ spectrum. However, the government didn’t take too long before it declared its intention to appeal the High Court judgment that asserted that consensual same-sex sexual activity in private was not to be a criminal act.

The appeal hearing took place on Oct. 12.

There are some key things to understand about what the High Court did for people in Botswana. The judgment, written and delivered by Justice Leburu, not only put a clear delineation between the state’s powers to intrude in people’s private sexual lives, but it also stated that laws that served no purpose in the governance of the people they oversaw were most likely worthy of “a museum peg” more than being active laws of the land.

In the hearing on Oct. 9, a full bench of five judges of the Court of Appeal was treated to the government’s case—as presented by advocate Sydney Pilane of the Attorney General’s Chambers—along with hearing the rebuttals from the legal counsel representing Letsweletse Motshidiemang, who brought the original case against the government, and LEGABIBO, an NGO admitted as amicus curiae, a friend of the court. The appeal, two years in the making, would have been expected to be based on facts rather than opinions of what could and could not be accepted by hypothetical Batswana. Pilane even went so far as to contest that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s utterances about how people in same-sex relationships were “suffering in silence” were taken out of context as he was talking about gender-based violence and not endorsing their relationships.

The 2019 ruling of the High Court, the most supreme court of incidence in the country, not only declared people who were or had interest in engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity not criminals, but it also allowed non-queer people to engage in sex acts that would otherwise be considered “against the order of nature” freely. The latter clause had often been interpreted as being solely about non-heterosexuals but on greater interrogation one realizes that any sex act that doesn’t result in the creation of a child was considered against this ‘order of nature’ and that nullified much of heterosexual sexual exploration—further painting these clauses as out of touch with contemporary Botswana as Leburu expressed.

In some of his appeal arguments, Pilane stated that Batswana “do not have a problem with gay people”, yet he based his contention on the fact that Batswana “respect the courts’ decisions;” as such they would not take up arms at the court’s decision to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity. Pilane maintained that the decision to decriminalize should be left to the Parliament on the recommendation of the courts. The bench was swift to query whether a body of politicians elected by a majority would be the best representatives of a minority that was oppressed by laws that the very politicians benefitted from.

Botswana’s legal system allows for the High Court ruling to remain the law of the land until such a point as it’s struck down. The Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Batswana’s sexual liberties will be a nail in the proverbial coffin of residual colonial sex-related laws plaguing Botswana. This will not be the end by any means though. Where the attorney general can form a case stating that decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations could be likened to people locking themselves in their houses with animals and having their way with them, we know that mindset changes need to be prioritized to ensure that all Batswana understand their constitutionally protected rights to privacy, expression, and freedom of association as relates to their personal and sexual lives.

The 2010 Employment Act of Botswana already protects people from being discriminated against based on their sex or gender identity. The nation’s sexual violence laws were made gender neutral, thus covering non-consensual sex (rape) in all its possibilities. In upholding the ruling of the High Court, the Court of Appeal will allow the LGBTQ and SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics) movements in Botswana some respite as attention is then channeled toward other pressing matters such as name changes, access to healthcare, and other culturally pertinent issues.

The Court of Appeal is expected to hand down a judgement following their deliberations in 4-6 weeks (mid to late November), however, this remains at their discretion. As it stands, since the High Court ruling in 2019, Botswana has experienced increased social accommodation for LGBTQ matters and figures—however, this is not to say there have not been any negative instances. With the continued sensitization, the expectation is that the courts, the government and NGO players will all contribute to a broad, national, culturing of LGBTQ rights in Botswana devoid of colonial residues.

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