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Stein Club won’t endorse Bowser in mayor’s race

Gay Democratic group instead announces support for the ‘ticket’



Angela Peoples, gay news, Washington Blade
Angela Peoples, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, gay news, Washington Blade

‘It is important for Stein Club … to do what we can to increase our ranks and turn out our community to win Democratic victories,’ said Stein Club President Angela Peoples.(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political group, has decided not to schedule a vote from its members to formally endorse Democratic mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser.

In an action that has puzzled some of the city’s LGBT Democrats, the club announced in a press release on May 12 that it is supporting the “Democratic ticket” in the Nov. 4 general election in which Bowser and six Democratic City Council candidates will appear on the ballot. The press release doesn’t mention Bowser or the Council candidates by name.

Other Democratic candidates running that the club is supporting are D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and shadow Senate and House nominees Paul Strauss and Franklin Garcia.

“The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club is proud to support a Democratic ticket of experienced leaders and new voices ready to move our party and our city forward,” the press release states.

“As the D.C. LGBT community grows it is important for Stein Club and our members to do what we can to increase our ranks and turn out our community to win Democratic victories,” the press release quotes the club’s president, Angela Peoples, as saying.

Peoples and the club’s Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs Martin Garcia told members attending the club’s regular monthly meeting on May 12 that a formal endorsement vote was unnecessary because it was “presumed” and expected that a Democratic club would support all Democratic nominees in a city election, according to members who attended the meeting.

Gay Democratic activist and Stein Club member Lane Hudson, who’s backing gay D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) in the mayor’s race, introduced a motion at the meeting calling for the club to withhold any support for Bowser and other candidates until at least September, when the board of elections certifies all candidates for the ballot.

Hudson’s motion was defeated by a wide margin, a development considered to be a vote of confidence in the officers’ proposals for backing Bowser and the other Democratic candidates.

But at least two club members who spoke on condition that they not be identified said they believe the club’s officers chose not to schedule an endorsement vote out of fear that Bowser would not win the required 60 percent majority to secure the endorsement.

According to the two club members and several other members who spoke to the Blade, an unknown but potentially significant number of Stein Club members are supporting Catania over Bowser in the November election. Although the club’s bylaws don’t allow the club to endorse a non-Democrat in a race in which a Democrat is on the ballot, Catania supporters would have the option of voting for “no endorsement” in a club endorsement election.

If enough Catania supporters voted for “no endorsement,” several club members said, they could block Bowser from receiving the 60 percent super majority required under the club’s bylaws for an endorsement. Such a development would be highly embarrassing for the club, the members told the Blade, and this is most likely the reason that the officers have decided not to hold an endorsement vote.

Peoples disputes that claim, saying the officers were following a club precedent established in recent years in which the club doesn’t schedule a membership vote on endorsements in a general election for Democratic candidates that have not been endorsed in the primary.

“There was no intention on my part to prevent an up or down vote on an endorsement for fear that one candidate or another may not get an endorsement or any Democratic candidate might not get the endorsement,” Peoples said.

“I simply would not jeopardize the opportunity for the club to vote simply because I was afraid of the outcome,” she said.

One possible consequence of not formally endorsing Bowser and the three Democratic Council candidates that didn’t win the club’s endorsement in the primary is that the club may not be allowed to make a campaign contribution to those candidates under the club’s bylaws.

“The vote to make a financial contribution to an endorsed candidate’s campaign must be voted as a separate question from the vote to endorse,” the bylaws state on the issue of campaign contributions.

Peoples said she isn’t sure if that provision actually bans the club from making contributions to Bowser and the non-endorsed Council candidates. But she said a separate section of the bylaws allows the club to take out “newspaper” ads in support of non-endorsed candidates. Peoples said the officers plan to submit a proposal to the members at the June meeting to purchase one or more media ads on behalf of Bowser and the other non-endorsed candidates. She said the members will likely vote on whether to approve the proposal.

The club’s officers talked to former Stein officers, including former president Jeffrey Richardson, on the issue of whether an endorsement vote was necessary for the club to support candidates in a general election, Peoples said. She said the consensus among former officers was that a clear “precedent” exists for not taking a formal endorsement vote in a general election for Democratic nominees not endorsed in the primary.

Peoples noted that the club’s press release focuses mostly on the club’s plans for increasing the turnout of the LGBT vote in the general election following a disappointingly low overall voter turnout for the April 1 primary.

At least one former club president, Kurt Vorndran, disputes Peoples’ assessment that a longstanding precedent exists for not voting to endorse candidates in the general election. According to Vorndran, in past years the club has almost always voted to endorse Democratic nominees that the club didn’t endorse in the primary at the first regularly scheduled club meeting following the primary.

“There has always been an affirmative vote and it’s usually done with all of the fanfare of the approval of the minutes,” he said.

Vorndran called the club’s decision not to vote to endorse Bowser a “mistake,” saying he believes Bowser supporters have enough support among club members to secure the endorsement for her.

“I think whatever plans are being developed may be very well intentioned,” he said. “But I think the way the public will perceive it is that the Stein Club, a Democratic organization, is not coming out 100 percent for the Democratic nominee and it will be perceived as a statement of a lack of confidence in her,” he said.

“And I don’t think that’s justified. Muriel Bowser has been a great friend of our community,” he said.

Gay Democratic activist Paul Kuntzler, a founder of the Stein Club who is backing Catania, said Vorndran’s account of the club’s practices of voting to endorse Democratic nominees in a general election is correct. However, Kuntzler said the current situation is unprecedented because Catania has emerged as one of the strongest non-Democratic contenders ever to run for mayor in a D.C. general election.

“We have never had a division like this in the LGBT community in a general election,” Kuntzler told the Blade.

Catania, who holds one of two at-large Council seats that are reserved under the City Charter for a non-majority party candidate, has received strong support from Democratic voters, including LGBT Democrats, in his past Council races. His supporters predict his long record as a reform politician will prompt large numbers of Democrats to vote for him for mayor.

In the case of Bowser, Stein members were divided in the primary between Bowser and her primary opponents, including Mayor Vincent Gray and Council members Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), and Vincent Orange (D-At-Large). Businessman Andy Shallal also garnered support among some of the club’s members during the primary campaign.

At a club endorsement forum in March, Gray came in first but fell short of obtaining the required 60 percent threshold, resulting in the club not endorsing anyone in the Democratic mayoral primary.

A similar no-endorsement outcome emerged in the at-large City Council race and the Council races in Wards 1 and 6.

Bowser beat Gray in the primary by a wide margin and emerged as the winner in most voter precincts with high concentrations of LGBT residents.

Incumbent Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large) won the primary as did Ward 1 challenger Brianne Nadeau, who defeated gay Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Ward 6 contender Charles Allen also won the nomination in his race for the seat being vacated by Wells, who gave up the seat to run for mayor.

D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and incumbent Council members Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) won the Stein Club’s endorsement prior to the primary, which the three easily won against token opposition. The three are longtime strong supporters of the LGBT community.

Peoples told the Blade that similar to Bowser, the Stein Club will be supporting Bonds, Nadeau and Allen in the general election without formally endorsing them through a vote of the membership. All three have expressed strong support for LGBT rights, with Bonds having voted in support of LGBT-related legislation during her tenure on the Council.

Bonds also serves as chair of the D.C. Democratic Party for which the Stein Club is a recognized entity with two seats on the Democratic State Committee reserved for the club. Thus its decision not to formally endorse Bonds will likely raise eyebrows among some party officials.

Gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein and transgender activist Jeri Hughes, who supported Gray in the primary, are among Stein Club members who say the club should strongly support Bowser in the general election. Hughes said the club should formally endorse Bowser, even though she personally is undecided over whether to vote for Bowser or Catania.

Gay Democratic activist Everett Hamilton, who serves as a campaign consultant for Bowser, said he isn’t sure why the Stein Club isn’t officially endorsing Bowser. But he said he’s pleased that the club has pledged to support Bowser and looks forward to working with its members on Bowser’s behalf.

“The Democratic nominee is always happy to receive support from Democrats,” he said.

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  1. Lane Hudson

    May 22, 2014 at 11:42 am

    The current position of the Stein Club in the mayor’s race is “No Endorsement” and that won’t change until a vote is taken with the membership. Since the bylaws don’t prescribe a process for changing from “No Endorsement” to an endorsement, it would require a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules. Any statement by Angela or other officers that the Stein Club “supports” Bowser is incorrect. The Club’s official position is one of non-support.

    Also, since Angela was unclear on the advertising piece, I’m pasting below the relevant part of the bylaws that address that question:

    In races where the Club’s position is “No Endorsement,” a motion to consider indicating support for more than one candidate in advertisements paid for by the Club, may be approved with a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.

  2. Dwayne Bensing

    May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am

    This article confuses Stein Bylaws and misrepresents the club’s current position in the Mayoral race. The Bylaws clearly state that “If, after a second ballot, a candidate has not received a supermajority vote, the Club’s official position in that race will be ‘No Endorsement.'” As the article mentions, that vote took place, no candidate received the requisite 60%, and therefore the Club’s official position for mayor MUST BE, according to the Bylaws (not based on ad hoc decision by the Board), “No Endorsement.” What was discussed at the meeting was how the club would support all Democratic candidates in the General Election (in which the Club ONLY supports Democrats). The Bylaws state “In races where the Club’s position is ‘No Endorsement,’ a motion to consider indicating support for more than one candidate in advertisements paid for by the Club, may be approved with a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.” Therefore, in the Mayoral race, where there is “No Endorsement,” the Club must vote, by a two-thirds majority of those present, to “support” Bowser. Whether Bowser (and other non-endorsed Democratic candidates) will garner that two-thirds vote will be decided at the next meeting by members attending that meeting. Until then, there is no news.

  3. Dwayne J. Bensing

    May 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    This article confuses Stein Bylaws and misrepresents the Club’s current position in the Mayoral race. The Bylaws clearly state that “If, after a second ballot, a candidate has not received a supermajority vote, the Club’s official position in that race will be ‘No Endorsement.’” As the article mentions, that vote took place, no candidate received the requisite 60%, and therefore the Club’s official position for mayor MUST BE, according to the Bylaws (not based on ad hoc decision by the Board), “No Endorsement.” What was discussed at the meeting was how the Club would support all Democratic candidates in the General Election (in which the Club ONLY supports Democrats if a Democrat is in the race). The Bylaws state “In races where the Club’s position is ‘No Endorsement,’ a motion to consider indicating support for more than one candidate in advertisements paid for by the Club, may be approved with a two-thirds vote of those present and voting.” Therefore, in the Mayoral race, where there is “No Endorsement,” the Club must vote, by a two-thirds majority of those present, to “support” Bowser. Whether Bowser (and other non-endorsed Democratic candidates) will garner that two-thirds vote will be decided at the next meeting by members attending that meeting. Until then, there is no news.

  4. Andy Marcus

    May 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    David clearly is the better qualfied candidate, and his bonne fides on ALL issues that matter to the LGBT community and to Democrats are unimpeachable. Plus, he knows what he is doing. The District just cannot afford somebody lacking in experience, such as Ms. Bowser. I don't even really see how this is a close call.

  5. Peter Rosenstein

    May 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Muriel Bowser is the Democratic candidate and clearly the LGBT Democratic club will support the Democratic candidate. The vote to not endorse a particular candidate occurred only for the primary and that vote is now irrelevant.

    Some members of the club can try to play games and interpret the bylaws in different ways but if the bylaws aren’t clear then they need to be changed to state clearly that unless the Democratic candidate is not fully supportive of LGBT human rights then they are the candidate endorsed by the club in the general election.

    Muriel Bowser has strongly supported LGBT rights and has restated that position recently. She has always voted that way during her time on the Council. She is as competent and able to be Mayor as David Catania any day. People confuse the role of a legislator with the role of Mayor. Passing legislation is good it doesn’t necessarily make for a good administrator. I believe strongly that Muriel Bowser will make the better administrator and is better able to bring people together. She will be a Mayor that will make all the people of the District proud.

    • Lane Hudson

      May 23, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Peter, there is no provision of the Stein Club’s bylaws that make support for a Democratic candidate automatic. In the past, the Democratic nominee has been endorsed by the Club by a cursory vote following the Primary. That has not been done in this race. It is against the rules for the Club leadership to say the Club supports Bowser when an endorsement vote has not been taken. That is plain and simple. The fact that they will not seek an endorsement vote speaks volumes.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise



Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots



New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011



shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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