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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



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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  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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Threats of violence and death shuts down Nebraska drag queen story hour

After discussions and consultations with Lincoln Police, the museum and the LGBTQ+ group citing safety concerns cancelled the event.



Screenshot of the Lincoln Children’s Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska. ABC News affiliate coverage

LINCOLN – A private LGBTQ+ event scheduled for after hours this past Saturday at the Lincoln Children’s Museum in Nebraska’s capital city was cancelled after the museum and the event’s organizers received a torrent of abusive violent threats including ones that were simply death threats.

Longtime local drag performer Waylon Werner-Bassen, who is the president of the board of directors of LGBTQ advocacy group OUTNebraska had organized the event alongside Drag Queen Story Hour Nebraska.

Bassen told the Lincoln Star-Journal in an interview last week on Tuesday that the scheduled RSVP only two-hour event, which was accessible through Eventbrite, had garnered a conformed attendee list of approximately 50 people.

Mandy Haase-Thomas, director of operations and engagement for the Lincoln Children’s Museum in an email the Star-Journal confirmed the event was invitation-only private, not sponsored by the museum and to be held after museum’s open-to-the-public hours.

According to Bassen, immediately after the event was announced the threats commenced, some of which included death threats. After discussions and consultations with officials from the Lincoln Police Department, the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Bassen’s group citing safety concerns cancelled the event.

Officer Luke Bonkiewicz, a spokesperson for the LPD said that the matter was under investigation and as such would not comment other than to acknowledge that the threats were found to be credible.

In an Instagram post the museum expressed its dismay over the event’s cancellation.

Community reaction was swift and uniformly in support of OutNebraska and the dreg queen story hour event with the city’s Mayor weighing in along with a supervisor with the Lincoln Police Department.

The ACLU of Nebraska along with other supporters which included state lawmakers Senator Adam Morfeld and Senator Tony Vargas also weighed in.

OutNebraska and the museum have both stated that they will reschedule the event. In a Facebook post Out Nebraska noted: “We look forward to working with Lincoln Children’s Museum to reschedule this as an entirely private event. It’s so sad when hate threatens families with children. All parents want their children to be safe. Because we could not be certain that it would be safe we will cancel this weekend and reschedule for another time — this time without a public portion of the invitation. We will be in touch with the families who have already registered with more information about when we are rescheduling.”

In related news the LPD not only recently celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month, but the designated person nominated at the end of June by the Mayor to be the department’s new Chief, is SFPD Commander Teresa Ewins, the San Francisco California Police Department’s highest-ranking LGBTQ member.

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Harsh anti-LGBTQ bill introduced in Ghana

Measure would criminalize LGBTQ identity, allyship



Ghana flag (Public domain photo by Jorono from Pixabay)

A bill that would criminalize LGBTQ identity and allyship in Ghana was officially introduced in the country’s Parliament on Monday.

The “Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill” went to the Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee after its first reading.

Eight conservative lawmakers who are from the opposition and ruling parties sponsored the bill. Thomson Reuters Foundation News reports Samuel Nartey George, a member of the National Democratic Congress party, is the lead sponsor. 

The bill, if passed, would outlaw LGBTQ identity and subject anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community or as an ally with up to 10 years in prison. 

A draft of the bill that was leaked online last week listed some of the punishable offenses that include “gross indecency,” which is defined as “the public show of amorous relations between or among persons of the same sex.” This act, labeled a misdemeanor, can result in “a term of imprisonment no less than six months and not more than one year.”

Activists in Ghana and across the world have sought to raise awareness of the bill on social media with the hashtags #KillTheBill and #GhanaIsEnoughForUsAll. A petition that urges Ghanaian lawmakers to oppose the measure has been created.

Critics say the measure would violate human rights and would make LGBTQ people more vulnerable to persecution and violence. The Coalition of Muslim Groups in Ghana and other religious organizations have welcomed the bill, with Thomson Reuters reporting they say it is needed to “prevent the dilution of cultural values and beliefs in Ghanaian society.”

Naa Seidu Fuseini Pelpuo, the overlord of the Waala Traditional Area, and other traditional leaders have condemned the LGBTQ+ community as “unnatural and [perverted].” Pelpuo has also banned activities between LGBTQ individuals in the Waala Traditional Area and warned of “firm and swift” punishment if found engaging in “such acts,” according to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

The bill’s introduction comes after the May arrest of 21 activists and paralegals who attended a conference on how to advocate for LGBTQ rights.

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Hundreds participate in first-ever Cayman Islands Pride parade

Territory’s governor, premier among marchers



Upwards of 600 people attended the first-ever Pride parade in the Cayman Islands on July 31, 2021. (Photo courtesy of the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation)

Upwards of 600 people participated in the first-ever Pride parade in the Cayman Islands that took place on Saturday.

Caymanian Gov. Martyn Roper, Premier Wayne Panton and opposition MP Barbara Conolly are among those who participated in the parade that the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, a local advocacy group, organized.

Caymanian authorities required that all participants were vaccinated against COVID-19. Noel Cayasso-Smith, founder and president of the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, on Monday told the Washington Blade on Monday during a WhatsApp interview that his group did not allow alcohol in the parade and “discouraged” public displays of affections “in order to maintain a respectful event.”

“This is the first time in history the Cayman Islands has ever been able to put on a Pride,” said Cayasso-Smith. “I’m excited because we had no protesters. We had no negativity throughout the entire parade.”

Cayasso-Smith said he and members of the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation decided to organize the parade, in part, because the pandemic has drastically reduced travel to and from the Cayman Islands. Cayasso-Smith noted hotels, condominium associations, restaurants, bars and local businesses all supported the event.

“Pride month came in and you know for every year I got really tired of seeing our Cayman people leaving to go to Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Canada to enjoy themselves for Pride,” he said, while noting the travel restrictions that remain in place because of the pandemic. “We thought it would be great to have our Pride here since we’re in our own little bubble.”

The Cayman Islands is a British territory that is located in the western Caribbean Sea between Jamaica and Cuba.

The Caymanian government in 1998 refused to allow a gay cruise ship with 900 passengers to dock. Religious officials in the British territories pressured authorities to prohibit an Atlantic Events vessel from visiting the territory.

Cayasso-Smith, who was born in the Cayman Islands, told the Blade that “growing up here has been very difficult for me as a gay person.” Cayasso-Smith lived in the U.K. for 13 years until he returned to the Cayman Islands to help his family rebuild their home after Hurricane Ivan devastated the British territory in 2004.

“I decided to stay because I thought, you know, I should be able to live in my country as a free gay man where there’s no laws restricting me from being who I am,” said Cayasso-Smith. “I feel that as a gay man contributing to the island I should have the right to live free.”

Caymanian Grand Court Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in 2019 struck down the territory’s same-sex marriage ban. The Caymanian Court of Appeal a few months later overturned the ruling.

The territory’s Civil Partnership Law took effect last September.

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