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Norton vows to fight efforts to
 kill LGBT bill

Measure seeks to protect students at religious schools

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Eleanor Holmes Norton, gay news, Washington Blade, Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (Washington Blade file photo by Jeff Surprenant)

D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) told representatives of LGBT groups on Monday that she will vigorously fight attempts by members of Congress to kill a city-approved bill aimed at protecting LGBT students from discrimination at D.C.-based religious schools.

She also told representatives of reproductive rights groups that she and her allies on Capitol Hill would strongly oppose attempts by Congress to kill a separate D.C. bill that would prohibit city employers from discriminating against employees based on reproductive rights choices, including a decision to have an abortion.

The LGBT-related bill, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014, repeals a 1989 law passed by Congress known as the Armstrong Amendment. The amendment exempts religious educational institutions in the city from having to comply with the D.C. Human Rights Act’s provision banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Language in the Armstrong Amendment, which is part of the D.C. Human Rights Act, allows religious schools such as Catholic University to deny meeting space or privileges offered to other student clubs for any organization that engages in “promoting, encouraging, or condoning any homosexual act, lifestyle orientation, or belief.”

The D.C. Council approved the repeal legislation in the form of the Human Rights Amendment Act in December. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed it earlier this month.

An official with the City Council’s Office of the Secretary said on Tuesday that due to a backlog of bills passed by the Council in December, the Council wasn’t expected to send the bill to Congress to begin the required 30 legislative day review of the measure for at least another two weeks.

The official, who spoke on condition of not being identified, said the holdup was strictly administrative in nature and unrelated to the bill’s content.

Last week, a religious-oriented conservative group called Heritage Action released a statement calling on its members and supporters to urge their congressional representatives to support a disapproval resolution to kill the Human Rights Amendment Act. Under the city’s Home Rule Charter, a majority vote of both the House and Senate and the signature of the president of a “disapproval” resolution can kill any D.C.-passed bill. Most lawmakers expect President Obama would refuse to sign such a resolution.

For that reason, opponents of D.C. bills have resorted to blocking such bills through riders attached to the city’s annual budget bill, which Congress must pass.

“We have been preparing for anti-Democrats to use the Republican Congress to try to interfere with the local laws of the District of Columbia,” Norton said in a statement last week. “Just as my colleagues insist that the laws of their constituents be respected by Washington, you better bet that we will insist on that same American principle and will target members who dare to disrespect the people of the District of Columbia by trying to overturn our local laws.”

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Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

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A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

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Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Delaware

Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27

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Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link (https://www.stdcheck.com/std-test-center.php). Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit sussexpride.org/posts/testing/ and for more information on HIV visit CDC.gov/hiv.

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