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Rubio says same-sex marriage ‘not settled law’

GOP candidate says ‘we’re endeavoring’ to fight the ruling

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Marco Rubio, Values Voter Summit, Republican Party, United States Senate, U.S. Congress, Washington Blade, gay news
Marco Rubio, Values Voter Summit, Republican Party, United States Senate, U.S. Congress, Washington Blade, gay news

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says same-sex marriage is “not settled law.” (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Despite his previous assertion the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage is the law of the land, Marco Rubio now says he’s committed to efforts to reverse the decision and it’s “not settled law.”

The Republican presidential candidate made the comments Tuesday in an interview with David Brody of the social conservative Christian Broadcasting Network.

“It is current law; it is not settled law,” Rubio said. “No law is settled law.”

Rubio compared the marriage ruling to Roe v. Wade, saying just because the decision is current law “doesn’t mean that we don’t aspire to fix it because we think it’s wrong.”

The Florida senator said biblical teachings compel followers to adhere to civil authorities, but also God’s rules.

“When those two come in conflict, God’s rules always win,” Rubio said. “In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin, violate God’s law and sin, if we’re ordered to stop preaching the gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that. We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

When Brody brought up the case of Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who was jailed for disobeying courts on same-sex marriage, Rubio said other action is appropriate.

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called on to participate in that process to try to change it, not ignoring it, but trying to change the law,” Rubio said.

Rubio said changing the law is what “we’re endeavoring to do,” reiterating his position states should be able to ban same-sex marriage.

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman, and that the proper place for that to be decided is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated, not by the U.S. Supreme Court, and not by the federal government,” Rubio said.

It’s unclear what action Rubio would like to see against the Supreme Court marriage decision. The candidate has said he doesn’t support a U.S. constitutional amendment against the ruling. His campaign didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on what his approach would look like.

Rubio makes the comment days after his campaign hired as faith outreach director Eric Teetsel, who called same-sex marriage a “cultural sin” and led a coalition of religious groups in calling for civil disobedience over laws that don’t conform to their beliefs. At the same time, Rubio has been endorsed by billionaire GOP philanthropist Paul Singer, who supports same-sex marriage and has contributed to LGBT rights causes.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said Rubio is correct people are free to change the law even as “they must obey what he calls ‘current’ law.”

“The freedom to marry is the law of the land — and not just because we persuaded the Supreme Court, but because, through much work, we also persuaded a majority of the American people that ending marriage discrimination and affirming the love and commitment of same-sex couples was the right thing to do,” Wolfson added. “We must continue to engage the marriage conversation in parts of the country where it has only just arrived, harnessing its power to change hearts and minds to the ongoing work of also ending discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations and promoting inclusion and acceptance.”

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/david.brody.35/videos/10153730656743486/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”1″]

 

h/t The New Civil Rights Movement

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71 Comments

71 Comments

  1. VeggieTart

    November 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    “When those two come in conflict, God’s rules always win”–not in a secular nation, they don’t, Marco.

    • bayhuntr

      November 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Besides, when they say god, they mean what ever that televangelist they listen to told them. Not one of these people have ever had a to way conversation with a god, only other men who claim to have.

      • daniwitz13

        November 26, 2015 at 12:05 am

        You must be the type that is logical and need proof for what one says or claim, right? Well that sounds good on the surface of you mind. But, can you prove there is Homosexuality in a Person? Can you look out into the masses and pick out all or even one Homosexual? For every 50 People, there are about two Homosexuals, can you definitely pick out that two? If one does not come “out” of the ‘closet’, can you pick one out? If your answer is NO, then as a logical Person, you must also reject Homosexuality. As a side note, even one Gay cannot recognize another. Even the “Queerty” site, cannot recognize one until they come “out”. Pity

        • Terri Geer

          November 26, 2015 at 11:58 am

          None of your questions are pertinent to the post.

          The question is: Is it legally, or Constitutionally, ok to treat one group of people as less than equal simply because 1) your religion tells you that it is wrong; and/or 2) you don’t like what they are doing with their Constitutional rights?

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 7:37 pm

            When one CANNOT answer, they use the none of your questions are pertinent. Why would unknown Homosexuals be pertinent to Homosexual Marriage anyway? Yes by all means keep them out of the discussion. Religion has nothing to do with this issue. You want to bring it in so you can knock it down. The Constitution can protect Individuals, it cannot protect “classes of People”. Our Constitution cannot recognize “classes” “Orientations” “Homosexuality” What part can’t you understand? Pity

          • rubellapox2

            November 26, 2015 at 9:15 pm

            Wow, that was a really stupid comment..

          • JMax

            November 27, 2015 at 12:23 pm

            It may come as a shock to you, but the the courts, including the Supreme Court have decades of case law have been laying out classes and protected classes based on criteria that they have set over the years. Age, race, creed, ethnicity, gender. etc. These classes can be identified and protected based on many factors including their ability or inability as a group to affect legislation to protect themselves. The courts relied on the Constitution including the 14th Amendment to establish this case law. They didn’t just invent it. BFD

        • bayhuntr

          November 26, 2015 at 9:09 pm

          By your inept definition, there are no left handed people… let’s take a look…

          “You must be the type that is logical and need proof for what one says or claim, right? Well that sounds good on the surface of you mind. But, can you prove there is Left Handedness in a Person? Can you look out into the masses and pick out all or even one left Handed? For every 50 People, there are about two Left Handed, can you definitely pick out that two? If one does not come “out” of the ‘closet’, can you pick one out? If your answer is NO, then as a logical Person, you must also reject Left Handedness. As a side note, even one lefty cannot recognize another. Even the “Lefty” site, cannot recognize one until they come “out”. Pity”

          You are one ignorant freak.

          Brings us back to what John Cleese said…
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvVPdyYeaQU

  2. David Cohen

    November 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    The issue before the courts was as follows: Does the state have the authority to refuse to recognize a marriage between two consenting adults for no other reason than the sex of the participants? If so, where does the state get that authority from? Until some one comes up with a legally valid answer for that second question, the issue of states recognizing same sex marriages is effectively settled.

    Please note that popular vote does not give the states that authority because voters cannot arbitrarily vote away other voter’s civil rights. Saying “but God says…” will not work either, in part because the courts have no jurisdiction about the wishes of deities, and in part because the the sate has an established obligation to protect people from having their rights restricted by religious dogma. That second point is the one wise people should have taken away from the Kim Davis debacle.

    The thing is, if you take those arguments away, the opponents of same-sex marriage appear to have nothing else.

    • daniwitz13

      November 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Every State under the Constitution has the Right and power to make Laws. It can ‘ban’ anything like smoking and drinking. It can make Laws to License anything it wants, business or otherwise. For every License, it can have requirements and qualifications. This is part and partial to Govt. They have the authority to refuse you to smoke or drink at specific locations, and refuse you entrance one is not authorized to be. What exactly do think (?) Govt. is for? One does not need a License from Govt. to love someone. You have the Right and Freedom to do so without the Govt. One has that equality to do so at any time without Govt. Everything is equal in that Dept. What you want is for Govt. to give you what someone else has. This is like: You already have love, now you want money. If one does not qualify for Social Security, one cannot ask Govt. to give it to them. Govt. is not a free for all. Pity

      • David Cohen

        November 25, 2015 at 6:27 pm

        “Every State under the Constitution has the Right and power to make Laws.”
        – Except where such a law might deprive individuals of rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

        “It can ‘ban’ anything like smoking and drinking.”
        – Neither of which involve civil rights. And, yes, marriage among consenting adults IS a civil rights, as at least 11 court rulings have maintained.

        “It can make Laws to License anything it wants, business or otherwise.”
        – Yes, and it cannot deny access to licenses for arbitrary reasons, That is the point for which the laws against same sex marriage were struck down.

        “For every License, it can have requirements and qualifications.”
        – Not arbitrary requirements though. Again, that was the problem with the laws against recognizing same sex marriage.

        “This is part and partial to Govt. They have the authority to refuse you to smoke or drink at specific locations, and refuse you entrance one is not authorized to be.”
        – Still pushing that false analogy I see. Well, I guess you have to work with whats available to you.

        “What exactly do think (?) Govt. is for?”
        – Among other things guaranteeing that the rights of citizens are not obstructed arbitrarily.

        “One does not need a License from Govt. to love someone.”
        – Your point here being…?

        “You have the Right and Freedom to do so without the Govt.”
        – And…?

        “One has that equality to do so at any time without Govt.”
        – Okay, anytime you want to come to a point would be just fine with me.

        “Everything is equal in that Dept. What you want
        is for Govt. to give you what someone else has.”
        – As a straight man I lose nothing when people of the same sex marry. My marriage to my wife is as solid as ever.

        “This is like: You already have love, now you want money.”
        – Huh? Is someone paying people for getting money now?

        “If one does not qualify for Social Security, one cannot ask Govt. to give it to them.”
        – Another false analogy.

        “Govt. is not a free for all. Pity”
        – And another cryptic statement without a point. Wow, you’re on a role here, aren’t you?

        • bayhuntr

          November 25, 2015 at 7:23 pm

          Dave, well put, although it’s not that hard to understand if you have a sincere respects for American and its constitution.

          • daniwitz13

            November 25, 2015 at 11:41 pm

            You don’t even understand your own Constitution, and listening to another that doesn’t either. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 12:09 am

            “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

            – Quoted from the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which you evidently do not understand. Pity.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 12:35 am

            You only quote the 14th, but you do NOT understand it. States make Laws every day of the week. The State can deprive any person their life, liberty or property in many of our Laws with due process. They have a Law to put one to death (life) jail time (liberty) or confiscate one’s property in forfeiture, or eminent domain. Are you saying that they can’t? Try rape someone and the 14th will come down on you. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 8:49 am

            The 14th amendment figured prominently in the case against the laws regarding same sex marriage. Declaring that it does not apply to the issue might make you feel better, but your opinion seems to be rather far removed from reality. Your views of the powers of the state tend to bear out your distance from reality.

            Yes, the states have the ability to exercise due process. However, no state has the authority to implement arbitrary laws favoring certain groups. Your attempts to connect same sex marriage to laws regarding property and violence are another example of the false analogies you adore so much. A better analogy would be the laws in some states regarding people marrying members of different ethnicities. Those laws too were struck down by the supreme court because they were indefensible: simply saying “but we don’t WANT those people to marry” was insufficient.

            So let’s review, first you grossly overestimate your knowledge of Constitutional law. Second, you rely on false analogies to make a point. Third, demonstrate almost no knowledge of the actual powers of the state. Fourth, you consistently demonstrate a very patronizing tone, in spite of your repeatedly demonstrated ignorance.

            I would say “pity,” but watching you spout off about things you clearly do not understand, without even realizing how little you understand, isn’t pitiful. Its pathetic.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 5:57 pm

            If I were to ask any Govt. official or agency to pick out a Homosexual in a crowd, they CANNOT, and neither can anyone. If the Govt. can’t recognize one, how can they make Laws concerning them. They are in error to do so. Basically Homosexuality is a fraud to gain from it. Why, because they CANNOT prove that “claim”. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 6:11 pm

            Your point is irrelevant. If you were to ask any government official or agency to pick a person with dyslexia out of a crowd, they could not do it either. However, a law forbidding people with dyslexia from marrying would be struck down, as well it should. It seems that once again you are without an argument to support your position. Pathetic.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 8:03 pm

            You are to say the least, clueless. Dyslexia People are not asking for Rights and Benefits from Govt. and are not asking for a Right to Marry, not suing People for it. Govt. is NOT saying as a Law, to not discriminate against dyslexia type of People. Like you admit, they are unrecognizable. But so is Homosexuality, unrecognizable, therefore a fraud and complicit by Govt. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

            “You are to say the least, clueless.”
            – And yet I have countered you point for point. If I am clueless, you must be catatonic.

            “Dyslexia People are not asking for
            Rights and Benefits from Govt. and are not asking for a Right to Marry,
            not suing People for it.”
            – Of course not. No one has proposed a law forbidding people with dyslexia from marrying. Such a law would be struck down as unconstitutional because it arbitrarily restricts peoples’ civil rights. The laws against same sex marriage were struck down for the same reason.

            “Govt. is NOT saying as a Law, to not
            discriminate against dyslexia type of People.”
            – You seem to know as little about grammar as you do about the law.

            “Like you admit, they are
            unrecognizable. But so is Homosexuality, unrecognizable, therefore a
            fraud and complicit by Govt.”
            – You acknowledge that dyslexia is invisible, yet you also acknowledge that it is real. You then say that homosexuality isn’t real because it is invisible. You’ve just demolished your own point.

            “Pity”
            – yes, I am starting to pity you

          • jc

            November 26, 2015 at 10:01 am

            Each state can make their own laws, under due process, regarding the rights of their citizens (i.e. drinking, smoking, marriage, etc.).

            What they cannot do is favor certain groups over others pertaining to these rights (i.e. only males can drink, only whites can smoke or only same-sex couples can marry). If a state wants to do away with the marriage business altogether, they may vote for that. That is how it works.

            There was a time when states passed laws limiting the freedoms of women and minorities. It took a while, but they were eventually overturned due to their being unconstitutional. That’s what’s happening with LGBT rights now.

            The only point of contention is whether or not LGBT is a civil right. That’s now a foregone conclusion. Game over.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 5:49 pm

            Our Constitution CANNOT protect groups or “classes of People”. There are hundreds of groups or classes. Do the Constitution know which one to protect? Protect them all and keep on adding more as they come along? Logic clearly says that this cannot be. There are hundreds of Orientations, not only sexual. It protects all Orientations then? You and most all do NOT understand the Constitution, but think they do. The Constitution protects Individually, one Male and one Female. The ONLY two Genders we have. You would not be able to find one expert to explain why Homosexuality is necessary in our Society. It is only one Generation. No past and no Future. Can our Society survive without Homosexuality? YES. Pity

          • Terri Geer

            November 26, 2015 at 12:14 pm

            Yes, the States can make those decisions. Unless they violate the US Constitution. The US Constitution overrides all of the States Laws and Constitutions.

            Did you take a Civic Class in school? And did you pass it?

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

            How can it violate the Constitution, when it does not say what you want it to say. There’s nothing about SSM in the Constitution to violate. That the Constitution actually says to protect Homosexuals? That Homosexuals are a protected class? What class did you say teaches this? Pity

          • bayhuntr

            November 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm

            daniwitz – I read on thorough your other comments, you can best be described by John Cleese…

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvVPdyYeaQU

        • daniwitz13

          November 25, 2015 at 11:38 pm

          All you are saying is “and” “what’s your point” “huh” “wow” Keep up with yourself. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 12:06 am

            Actually, I said quite a bit more than that. I noted that marriage has been upheld by the courts as a civil right. I noted that states cannot place arbitrary restrictions on cannot place arbitrary restrictions on civil rights. And I heavily implied that the laws against same sex marriage were arbitrary. I notice that you made no counter to any of those points. To be fair, none of the opponents of same sex marriage did. That is why they lost when the issue came before the supreme court.

            The areas where I noted your lack of a point was when you whined that same sex couples wanted the legal benefits that come with marriage. Well, duh, opposite sex couples want those benefits too. Now for the big question (the one you have yet to address), why should opposite sex couples get those benefits and same sex couples should not? Until you, or someone else, has a legally valid answer for that question, same sex marriage will remain on the books.

            As you can see, I have no need of your pity. People who know what is going on around them rarely do. Feel free to join us sometime.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 12:46 am

            States do NOT need to have Marriage Laws. The Constitution does NOT say that it does. Are you saying that there always were Marriage Laws? As soon as the Nation was formed, they had Marriage Laws? Consider, if there were NO Marriage Laws, one Couple CANNOT be asking for anything that the other has. This is only common sense, of which…….. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 8:55 am

            The Constitution does not, and could not articulate every right which the people possess. Furthermore, it was never meant to. The Constitution exists to define the limits of the powers of the government.

            The question of whether there have always been marriage laws is moot: the fact is marriage is recognized as a legal contract now. Your statement that “one Couple CANNOT be asking for anything that the other has,” is legally absurd. You have yet to define what heterosexual couples lose if couples of the same sex marry. Don’t sweat it though: none of the opponents of same sex marriage were able to do so. That is why the argument did not help them.

            Oh, one more thing, if you really appreciated common sense, you would not be so patronizing when speaking to some one who obviously understands the issue better than you do.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 7:06 pm

            You are clueless to ask what would it do to my Marriage if you were to Marry. You can Marry a horse and you think I would care or that it would affect my Marriage? I could care less what you marry. My Wife and Kids would not care or be affected one iota. Pity

          • rubellapox2

            November 26, 2015 at 9:02 pm

            Well, there you have it…we should have no problems then since it won’t affect your marriage “one iota.”

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:24 pm

            So you acknowledge that same sex marriage does not effect you in any way. I accept your surrender.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm

            The Male and Female Formula has made our Mankind. It has made billions of People for our Society. It even makes the Homosexuals. Homosexual and Homosexuality has not made ONE SINGLE PERSON, ZERO. It is plain logic to reward the one that gives everything versus the one that gives nothing. You have no logic to understand this, only your Agenda, which is on the nothing side. It is plain logic to me, that you would take that side. Pity

          • rubellapox2

            November 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm

            “The male and female formula..”‘lol what the hell are you talking about? First off gay people do have children, biological and adopted, so that nonsense about us “giving” nothing is just that, nonsense.. And Gay people marrying is not going to end straight people getting married or having children..your post are very silly and immature..The arguments of a child…

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:18 pm

            Once again you are staking your position on a legally irrelevant point. Fertility has no bearing on the legal validity of a marriage, and never has. As for logic, well I know that false analogies are a logical fallacy, that irrelevant points do not advance an argument and that a legal issue requires legal arguments. That’s why I’m making you look so pitiful.

          • JMax

            November 27, 2015 at 12:02 pm

            Homosexuality in homo sapiens has existed for millenia and yet the species has not died out. Hey wait! Maybe that’s what happened to the Neanderthals and the Dinesovans. Gay pride parades.

            It may come as a surprise to you that homosexuals are quite capable of bringing biological children to their marriage as well as adopting or through surogacy. And they are quite capable of raising and nurturing those children as well. And that’s why married couples are given financial benefits by the government. BFD

          • Richard Caywood

            December 1, 2015 at 11:15 am

            I see your trolling the gay news feeds again, Pity you just can’t come out of the closet already.

      • Terri Geer

        November 25, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        What is so difficult to understand that everyone, even those you do not like or agree with, has the right to be treated equally?

        • daniwitz13

          November 25, 2015 at 11:50 pm

          Do you by chance know how many Genders that we have in our mankind and Society? Just have a look out into Society. How many Genders do you see? If you see more than two, there is no sense to go any further. You do realize that our Mankind, you and me, after millions of yrs. and Billions of People, that only two Genders did it all. If you don’t believe this, again, there is no sense to go any further. I sense from your comment, you don’t understand, therefore, full STOP. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 12:10 am

            Uh, yeah, if you get anywhere near a legal argument let us know, seeing as this is a legal issue and all.

          • Terri Geer

            November 26, 2015 at 12:02 pm

            You still didn’t answer my question.

          • Terri Geer

            November 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm

            No, in making legal decisions I rely on the law, not religion. In fact, religion has to be kept out of it. That’s the way that our US Constitution was set up.

          • daniwitz13

            November 26, 2015 at 7:21 pm

            I do NOT use Religion in any of my Arguments. Our Govt. does not respect Religion, and it is never cited for a Marriage License. Our Constitution is NOT set-up to protect Orientations. There are hundreds. Which one? A License does not ask or require an Orientation, the requirements are very simple and very equal, one Male and one Female. The ONLY two Genders in our Society. No Gender will be denied. Isn’t this perfect equality? This, the Constitution can handle, not what you propose.

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm

            “They did put Religion into the Constitution, therefore recognized with merit.”

            – Quoted from daniwitz13, elsewhere in this thread.

            I don’t blame you for forgetting what you said. It was a really stupid comment, even for you.

          • JMax

            November 27, 2015 at 12:08 pm

            “No Gender will be denied. Isn’t this perfect equality?”

            There you go. A person of the female gender will not be denied the right to marry another person of the female gender. BFD

      • Terri Geer

        November 26, 2015 at 12:23 pm

        “Every State under the Constitution has the Right and power to make Laws.”

        Of course they do. Unless the laws they make violate the US Constitution.

        • daniwitz13

          November 26, 2015 at 7:25 pm

          That is why our Marriage Laws have survived all these yrs. because it is Constitutional. SSM is on its face, Unconstitutional. It is discrimination in its makeup. You are clueless to understand this. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:25 pm

            And yet, you have proven to be unable to back up that assertion with a single legally valid argument. But then, no one on your side can. That is why you lost.

  3. Terri Geer

    November 25, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    The US has a secular Government and laws (which is why Sharia laws will never be instituted here). The 1st Amendment says that the government cannot recognize, officially, religious views. IOW, the Government cannot interfere with religion and religion cannot interfere with the Government. This has been upheld by SCOTUS many times. IOW, this is settled law.

    • daniwitz13

      November 26, 2015 at 12:20 am

      Why don’t you use the written words: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.” You choose “interfere” to serve your own agenda. They did put Religion into the Constitution, therefore recognized with merit. Homosexuality or Orientations are NOT in our Constitution, so no recognition or merit. Courts and Constitutionalism should wonder why our Govt. cannot respect Religion, that is in the Constitution, and yet respect an Orientation, that is NOT in our Constitution. This needs correction. Pity

      • David Cohen

        November 26, 2015 at 9:10 am

        You clearly have not bothered to research how religion is referenced in the Constitution. The 1st Amendment essentially says that there will be no national religion. Furthermore, Article VI declares that there will be no religious test to hold public office. Clearly the Constitution is not making a case for the merit of religion,. Rather it is saying that religion is a private matter which the state neither supports nor condemns in and of itself. That is why trying to justify laws against same sex marriage by saying “but my god says…” will not work.

        It is true that homosexuality is not mentioned in the Constitution. Neither is heterosexuality. The issue is marriage, and at least 11 court cases have established marriage as a civil right. And as I have noted to you repeatedly, states cannot whimsically and arbitrarily restrict civil rights. And yet, despite my best effort, you remain as ignorant and arrogant was when you stated this conversation. Pity.

        No, not pitiful, pathetic.

        • daniwitz13

          November 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm

          You do NOT understand that Heterosexuality, is NOT an Orientation, like Homosexuality is. The word Heterosexual only denotes a Male and Female. They are not Oriented to the opposite Gender, they are fundamentally ‘attracted’ to the opposite Gender. It is inherent and immutable. Like the Male spermatozoa inherently and immutably seek the Female. Everyone is ‘born’ with this “Right”. Otherwise, we are not all ‘born’ equal. You are clueless to these nuances of our Humanity. Pity

          • rubellapox2

            November 26, 2015 at 9:16 pm

            Lol, damn dumb and dumber…

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:21 pm

            And this opinion of yours is legally relevant…how exactly?

          • JMax

            November 27, 2015 at 12:36 pm

            This may be the stupidest argument ever made on the subject. Homosexuality and masturbation denied in one swell foop. BFD

      • Fairy Larry

        November 26, 2015 at 10:34 am

        Whats a pity is that that brite white heterosexual cis-gender male dominated reality you live in is evaporating & you rage…..like you said what a pity for you

      • Terri Geer

        November 26, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        Why should I when it means the same thing? Being picky about the exact phrase or wording of something simply means that you do not a valid answer regarding it.

        • daniwitz13

          November 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm

          Religion IS in the 1st Amendment of our Constitution. Where have you been. Pity

          • David Cohen

            November 26, 2015 at 9:19 pm

            Yes, the amendment specifically ensures that there will be no “Church of America.” That is why simply saying “but god says…” does not make an argument legally valid. Dang, don’t you know anything about this issue?

  4. Terri Geer

    November 25, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Apparently, Rubio doesn’t know much about our laws or our Constitution.

  5. daniwitz13

    November 27, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Homosexuality by our Govt. is a fraud. Homosexuality is an Orientation. All Orientations are intangible and abstract. Even Religion is a form of Orientation. But it is in our Constitution, therefore recognized. Not so for Homosexuality. No one can detect it in or on a Person by sight. Orientations are only in their mind, in emotions and feelings. One could be right next to you and you would not know it. Even one Gay cannot recognize one of their kind until they come “out”. Society and our Courts will have to come to the conclusion at one point and say, How can anyone recognize what cannot be recognized? How can we give Rights and Benefits to the unknown? One has to realize that even if one lies about it, no one will know or be sure. Can you look out and recognize which one loves dogs, cats or birds? No. The same thing with Homosexuals, impossible to recognize. This is not to say that it does not exist in their individual mind. Ask yourself a simple question: Do our Society “need” Homosexuality? No. Can Society do without them? Yes. No expert can explain why they exist in our Society. They do not come from other Homosexual couples, and will not add to our Future. They live for one generation, and “depend” on the Male and Female for their existence and a Mate. Pity

    • David Cohen

      November 27, 2015 at 9:13 am

      “How can we give Rights and Benefits to the unknown?”
      – This is the one passage form your senseless little screed which deserves response. Your point seems to be that, because a homosexual orientation is not immediately obvious, people are going to claim to be homosexual just so they can get the legal benefits of marriage. Pray tell, what makes you think that is a problem? Have you seen any indications that straight people are claiming to be gay just so they can marry people of the same sex and get a break on their taxes? The very idea is ridiculous, and yet you have been pushing this idea to the moon (presumably because you have nothing left to offer).

      The fundamental mistake you are making is the assumption that the government is creating gay rights. What is really going on is that the government is recognizing the human rights of gay citizens. Just because one cannot see homosexuality does not mean it isn’t real. You conceded that point by acknowledging dyslexia as a reality, even though it is also invisible. Indeed, the fact that one cannot tell if another person is gay by sight emphasizes the fact that gay people are far more like straight people than they are different. The striking down of the laws against same sex marriage is an official recognition of that fact, a fact which you have just conceded.

      Does our society “need” homosexuality? That question is irrelevant: homosexuality exists whether one likes it or not. What can be said is that gay people contribute to society in the same ways that straight people do. As another poster noted, that includes creating children and raising adopted children. So one has to ask, why shouldn’t they have the same rights as straight people? You yourself acknowledged that same sex marriage takes nothing away from you. You are like the dog in the manager from the old fable: taking away what others need when you cannot even use it yourself.

      In short, this latest post of yours does nothing to support your position. It is just a rehashing of irrelevancies and previously discredited points (in some cases discredited by you.) If anything you have only illustrated how flimsy and arbitrary the case against same sex marriage was and why it was inevitably struck down.

      Folks, I think this particular troll as been fed quite enough. It is time to let him toddle off back to his meaningless little life, to dream of the next time he can con people to paying attention to him. The rest of us can continue on our respective ways, secure in the knowledge that same sex marriage is not being threatened by any legally valid arguments; not from Marco Rubio and certainly not from daniwitz13.

  6. daniwitz13

    November 27, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Anyone reading this can judge for yourself. I conclude, easily, that Homosexuals are an unknown. Did any of you know that a certain Person was Gay, before they came “out”? And wonder who is going to come “out” next? Why is that? Because it is an unknown. Many Parents, friends, bosses, workers, teammates, even another “gay” CANNOT recognize or know that the Person is Gay. Why do they have to come “out” if it can be known? Ever wonder how to discriminate or not to discriminate what one cannot recognize? Even your Govt. CANNOT recognize a Gay without being “told”. How would you like to be sued by someone that “claims” to be Gay? Are you only going to take their “word” that they truly are Gay? How would anyone know for sure. Most People don’t know that there are no known methods to prove that a Person is Homosexual. Ask them for proof and they will never produce it. Do you always take only the “word” of someone that approach you? Even a Policeman has to show proof. Does this make sense to you to deal with the unknown? One could be right next to you and you would never know. Do you think that it is right for your Govt. to give the the Unknown your tax dollars in Rights and Benefits? Does not fraud come to mind? Pity

  7. lnm3921

    November 27, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I’m glad they brought up Roe V. Wade. I’ve made the argument all along that social conservatives haven’t stopped trying to undermine abortion rights despite a decision made by the SCOTUS back in 1973. For GLBT people to think they won’t try to undermine and reverse the marriage equality decision is simply living in a bubble of denial.

    Rubio is a flip flopper and has shown himself to be untrustworthy and no ally of our community. Stop listening to brain-dead gay republicans that would have you believe otherwise.

    Obviously being GBLT still matters in America and our struggle is far from over. Stop taking your rights for granted. A conservative shakeup of the SCOTUS once you have vacancies can have a negative impact. That’s why who becomes President is important as he or she will appoint who fills those vacancies. Most of our victories have been from the courts not the legislatures or ballot boxes so be vigilant. We can’t afford to have activist conservative judges get in that will try and change that! We one marriage equality by one vote with several conservatives issuing many arguments against the right!

    • David Cohen

      November 28, 2015 at 11:16 am

      I must, respectfully, disagree. It is true that the cases against safe and legal abortion and marriage equality are almost entirely based on emotion rather than reason, but from there the similarities end. The main difference lies in the huge number of unknowns revolving around abortion. No one knows what the experience of a fetus is or what the potential of an aborted fetus might have been. Add into that rhetoric about baby-killing and shadowy, wicked doctors doing unspeakable things to desperate women in hidden labs and you’ve got some truly immortal propaganda to work with.

      Marriage equality, by contrast, is an issue which is more similar to the integration of schools. The horror it inspires relies mostly on its novelty among the targets of the propaganda. That horror will only last as long as the novelty does. Thus, while marriage equality is stirring some people up a great deal right now, within a few years the shock will have worn off and most people will see it as old news. Indeed, if history repeats itself, within a few decades conservatives will be re-writing history to disavow themselves of the fight against marriage equality, just as they are currently trying to re-write history to disavow themselves of their role in maintaining segregation.

      It is true that conservatives have thrown out a lot of arguments against marriage equality. However, as daniwitz13 has cheerfully shown us, any fool can do that. In legal disputes, it is not the quantity of arguments which make the case, but rather the quality of the arguments.

      An examination of Rubio’s case reveals that, in terms of quality, his arguments could best be described as “piffle.” Its the kind of sentimental twaddle that inspires uncritical people to sign donation checks, but not the kind of thing that would make any headway in a court of law. Should the issue somehow come before the supreme court again, the opponents of marriage equality will have to answer the question “what harm is marriage equality doing.” The unknown factors in the abortion issue might give them an answer on that issue, but I strongly doubt they will have a similar avenue with regards to marriage equality.

      I will agree with you though that this success must NOT lead to complacency. Marriage equality will not end homophobia anymore than integration ended racism. What we can expect though is a shifting of the battle grounds to a forum that might be more fashionable.

      We are, in fact, seeing that now with the rise of so-called religious freedom rhetoric. On the surface, that rhetoric is saying “okay, you won, now let us negotiate terms of settlement.” Under the surface though, the religious freedom rhetoric is a call for regrouping to renew the fight on a new battleground. And, yes, the battleground will have to be new, in spite of the insistence of Rubio and other demagogues that the battle will be on the old grounds.

      • lnm3921

        November 28, 2015 at 10:18 pm

        You are deceiving yourself if you think marriage equality isn’t as much an issue to social conservatives as abortion. They think it’s wrong, a sin, and that marriage is only between one man and one woman and such marriages are against God’s plan. Kim Davies isn’t is just the tip of the ice-berg.

        The family Research Council stated after the SCOTUS decision that they will never accept it and they will continue to bring the issue up in future elections. They have no intention of letting it go or accepting it. They don’t see it as a civil rights issue. They also don’t care how history will perceive them.

        They think they are on the right side of history not us. It rallies their base and it bring money into their coffers to oppose it.
        Just because the SCOTUS said we can marry, a narrow decision with strong decent from conservative judges, doesn’t mean people who think it’s wrong give up and accept it. Roe V. Wade has taught us that. The religious liberty argument is now evolving into one of conscientious and the government not forcing people to go against their religious beliefs. We know there are judges out there that may affirm this over GLBT equality.

        The marriage equality concept has been around a good twenty years. The shock factor is really not in play anymore. Most people accept abortion rights as given but we still have a vociferous opposition always looking for innovative ways to undermine it.

        • David Cohen

          November 28, 2015 at 10:50 pm

          Oh I don’t deny that marriage equality isn’t as big of an issue to social conservatives as abortion. My point is that it will not always be so. Despite being an issue that dates back to the 70’s, marriage equality has made its dramatic leaps in social consciousness only within the past few years, The increasing visibility of the LBGT community has forced people to confront the question “what, exactly, are we afraid of?” That abortion issue has a personal dimension which favors the position of social conservatives (“what if I had been aborted?”) The personal dimension of the marriage equality issue, by contrast, tends to work against the agenda of the social conservatives (“Those two guys next door are gay, but they seem to be okay as people.”)

          Kim Davis was not the tip of an iceberg, but rather the whole of a rather insignificant ice cube. Her case was obviously a set up by the Liberty Counsel in order to scare people into giving them donations (which slacked off significantly when the Obergefell ruling was handed down). Notice that, despite their efforts, same sex marriage is still the law of the land. Indeed, polling shows that even most of the people of Kentucky feel that Davis should either do her job or resign. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/10/01/poll-ky-voters-say-kim-davis-job/73173522/

          Yes it is true the fight will go on. Yes it is true that the opponents of marriage equality falsely believe that they are on the right side of history. My point is that the defenders of LBGT rights must not be misled by our opponents’ propaganda. The battlefields have moved, the fight is in our favor. We do ourselves no favors by pretending that old fights are still going on. By doing so we let our opponents distract us and set the terms for the debate.

          • lnm3921

            November 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm

            Marriage Equality may have made dramatic leaps but I still see many of the same old homophobic attitudes and often from younger people which you wouldn’t expect if people were dramatically changing. I still get dirty looks on the street, if not body language threats and they’ve all been from younger men. People still look at me as if I was a freak when they learn about me. This despite all the media exposure, having ourselves depicted on TV and legal advances.

            When an internet news services showed a picture of two men kissing, many left comments that it was disgusting and they wanted to puke. They didn’t want to see it. So having legal rights doesn’t mean having acceptance! Try kissing your boyfriend anywhere you want and see. Bring children into the mix of seeing it and you get more anger and potential violent reaction. Will that change in a few generations. That remains to be seen but I don’t see younger people having better attitudes so far.

            Many people claim to be open minded until they are confronted personally with the issue. I wouldn’t be so smug about it. I’ve experienced that first hand. They claim to have gay friends but bash them for seeking their rights or getting them!

            You think there is no personal dimension to marriage equality for social conservatives like abortion? They are scared to death their children will think it’s acceptable behavior and get involved in such relationships. They don’t think it’s genetic or biological after all but rather something they learn.

            Marriage equality is the law of the land. Does that mean it’s cast in stone and can NEVER change? Never take anything for granted. Like I said, it was a court decision and decisions can be reversed if you have a conservative majority saying the decision was decided incorrectly. We had that happen in reverse for Sodomy laws!

          • David Cohen

            November 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm

            I acknowledged in my initial response that homophobia was still a problem, and would continue to be a problem. After all, ending the laws against “race-mixing,” as they called it when I was young, did not end racism. The fight will go on, as well it should.

            The point I am making is that the LBGT community must not allow their enemies to determine the conditions of the fight. To continue my analogy, there are certainly individual, and probably some politicians, who would like to see the laws against “race-mixing” reinstated. However, the politicians at least will have to grudgingly admit that there is no way they could build a valid legal case under current conditions. And, even if they did, the outcry against such laws would be huge.

            By the same token, while repealing the Obergefell decision will involve much more than simply maneuvering more conservatives judges to the bench, legally speaking. Plus, by the time conservatives could pack the supreme court as they wished, the nightmare scenario you described will have come to pass. That is to say, marriage equality will have become a familiar part of reality, and even those who don’t exactly applaud same sex marriages will be more than a little nervous to see heir fellow citizens being stripped of their rights.

            The call for ending same sex marriage is, as far as I can see, more bark than bite. It makes a great point for rallying the troops and getting them to donate their money, but I don’t see a clear path to bring it about. Therefore, rather than taking their cue from their opponents’, propaganda, I believe that the LBGT community needs to focus on the battles that are still to be fought: ending discrimination with regards to custody and adoption, securing employment and housing rights, and stemming the tide of LBGT hate-fueled violence.

          • lnm3921

            November 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm

            Ending interracial marriage is really not on anyone’s agenda except maybe the KKK and Neo-Nazis like reversing marriage equality is for today’s social conservatives. After all, many conservatives have interracial marriages. They still see such marriages as between a man and a woman. They don’t equate them with same sex marriages.

            You go by the premise that people play fair. They’ve said they didn’t expect to end legalized gay marriages but rather prevent the legalization of new ones. Stacking the SCOTUS with conservatives that don’t see a constitutional right to marriage equality may not immediately do harm but you can be sure it sets the stage to do so later. We only won the case because Kennedy voted in our favor after all. Roe V. Wade had a wider majority vote in favor of it. When he leaves the court someday, we have to wonder who will be our champion for justice then?

            I never said that we should not focus on issues like ending employment and housing discrimination, or fighting religious freedom laws, but we can’t chew gum and walk at the same time? There is nothing we need to do now on marriage equality. I’m simply stating that assuming the war on marriage equality is over is shortsighted.

            History shows waves of liberalism and conservatism. The pendulum is constantly swinging. We had liberalism in the sixties and seventies followed by extreme conservativeness over the Reagan years. If the GOP takes control of both the Congress and Presidency at some point, our causes may come to a halt and face onslaught while conservatives have the power to do so.

            Right now, much of the self-appointed leadership speaks of spending resources overseas to help others that haven’t advanced as far as we have. A noble cause, but until we achieve our goals at home, I don’t think we have the resources to squander.

            Even with Hate Crimes legislation that protects us federally, we still haven’t ended violence against us anymore than similar legislation had ended racism. I had one heterosexual tell me once that he sees gay rights causes in the same light of seeing race where Blacks are pitted against Whites. He didn’t see us ever being completely accepted or welcomed more tolerated to a certain extent.

            Meanwhile, we see our community deteriorating through such issues as gentrification that destroy gay neighborhoods and result in less gay bars or gay specific outlets. These were the bedrock of a strong community and building a support network. GLBT are becoming less visible in general. I don’t even know where to find other gay people anymore. Virtual connections through social media will NEVER replace being in touch with other human beings face-to-face.

          • David Cohen

            November 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm

            “Ending interracial marriage is really not on anyone’s agenda except maybe the KKK and Neo-Nazis like reversing marriage equality is for today’s social conservatives.” – That’s exactly my point. Restoring the miscegenation laws was an important goal for social conservatives when I was young. Now those same social conservatives are trying to re-write history to make it seem like ending those laws was their victory. Even the conservatism of the 80’s did not bring back the miscegenation laws once they were struck down.

            “I never said that we should not focus on issues like ending employment and housing discrimination, or fighting religious freedom laws, but we can’t chew gum and walk at the same time?” – Social activism is difficult and draining work. Battles need to be chosen carefully, and layering every victory with dire cautions is not going to help. Besides, reflecting on the victory of marriage equality and saying ‘but it could be taken away…somehow’ makes as much sense as when social conservatives say the marriage equality ‘just has to lead to people marrying children/siblings/animals/whatever…somehow.’ Without a legally valid argument to explain how the ‘somehow’ could come about, it is just fear-mongering.

            “These were the bedrock of a strong community and building a support network. GLBT are becoming less visible in general.” – The entire country is in transition, and that includes the LBGT community. I know others who feel the same way you do. It will be people who share that view who will create new outlets. And if I may say so, you seem to have what it takes to be a creator of new traditions.

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Top 10 Blade news stories by web traffic

COVID breakthroughs, Equality Act, and anti-trans attacks

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Elliot Page created excitement by posting his first photo in swim trunks back in May.

Each year our staff gathers in late December to review the highest trafficked stories of the year and there’s more than a little bit of competitive spirit as we review the results. Here are the top 10 stories by web traffic at  HYPERLINK “http://washingtonblade.com”washingtonblade.com for 2021.

#10: Mark Glaze, gun reform advocate, dies at 51

The sad, tragic story of Glaze’s death captivated readers in November. 

#9: COVID breakthrough infections strike summer tourists visiting Provincetown

This one went viral in July after a COVID outbreak was blamed on gay tourists.

#8: Thank you, Kordell Stewart, for thoughtful response to ‘the rumor’

This opinion piece thanked the former NFL quarterback for writing a personal essay addressing gay rumors. 

#7: Elliot Page tweets; trans bb’s first swim trunks #transjoy #transisbeautiful

The actor created excitement by posting his first photo in swim trunks back in May.

#6: Romney declares opposition to LGBTQ Equality Act

Mitt Romney disappointed activists with his announcement; the Equality Act passed the House but never saw a vote in the Senate.

#5: White House warns state legislatures that passing anti-trans bills is illegal

The year 2021 saw a disturbing trend of GOP-led legislatures attacking trans people.

#4: Lincoln Project’s avowed ignorance of Weaver texts undercut by leaked communications

The Lincoln Project’s leaders, amid a scandal of co-founder John Weaver soliciting sexual favors from young men, have asserted they were unaware of his indiscretions until the Blade obtained electronic communications that called that claim into question.

#3: FOX 5’s McCoy suspended over offensive Tweet

Blake McCoy tweeted that obese people shouldn’t get priority for the COVID vaccine. 

#2: Transgender USAF veteran trapped in Taliban takeover of Kabul

Among the Americans trapped in the suburban areas of Kabul under Taliban control was a transgender government contractor for the U.S. State Department and former U.S. Air Force Sergeant. She was later safely evacuated.

#1: Amid coup chaos, Trump quietly erases LGBTQ protections in adoption, health services

And our most popular story of 2021 was about the Trump administration nixing regulations barring federal grantees in the Department of Health & Human Services from discriminating against LGBTQ people, including in adoption services.

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CDC still falling short on LGBTQ data collection for COVID patients: expert

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COVID-19 vaccine, gay news, Washington Blade
The CDC is still not issuing guidance to states on LGBTQ data collection among COVID patients.

Despite requests since the start of the COVID pandemic for the U.S. government to enhance data collection for patients who are LGBTQ, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is still falling short on issuing nationwide guidance to states on the issue, a leading expert health on the issue told the Blade.

With a renewed focus on COVID infections reaching new heights just before the start of the holidays amid the emergence of Omicron, the absence of any LGBTQ data collection — now across both the Trump and Biden administrations — remains a sore point for health experts who say that information could be used for public outreach.

Sean Cahill, director of Health Policy Research at the Boston-based Fenway Institute, said Wednesday major federal entities and hospitals have been collecting data on whether patients identify as LGBTQ for years — such as the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey, which has been collecting sexual orientation data since the 1990s — but the CDC hasn’t duplicated that effort for COVID even though the pandemic has been underway for two years.

“It’s not like this is a new idea,” Cahill said. “But for some reason, the pandemic hit, and all of a sudden, we realize how little systematic data we were collecting in our health system. And it’s a real problem because we’re two years into the pandemic almost, and we still don’t know how it’s affecting this vulnerable population that experiences health disparities in other areas.”

The Blade was among the first outlets to report on the lack of efforts by the states to collect data on whether a COVID patient identifies as LGBTQ, reporting in April 2020 on the absence of data even in places with influential LGBTQ communities. The CDC hasn’t responded to the Blade’s requests for nearly two years on why it doesn’t instruct states to collect this data, nor did it respond this week to a request for comment on this article.

Cahill, who has published articles in the American Journal of Public Health on the importance of LGBTQ data collection and reporting in COVID-19 testing, care, and vaccination — said he’s been making the case to the CDC to issue guidance to states on whether COVID patients identify as LGBTQ since June 2020.

Among those efforts, he said, were to include two comments he delivered to the Biden COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force in spring 2021, a letter a coalition of groups sent to the Association of State & Territorial Health Officers asking for states to collect and report SOGI in COVID in December 2020 as well as letters to HHS leadership and congressional leadership in spring and summer 2020 asking for them to take steps to encourage or require SOGI data collection in COVID.

Asked what CDC officials had to say in response when he brought this issue to their attention, Cahill said, “They listen, but they don’t really tell me anything.”

“We’ve been making that case, and to date, as of December 22, 2021, they have not issued guidance, they have not changed the case report form. I hope that they’re in the process of doing that, and maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised in January, and they’ll come up with something…I really hope that’s true, but right now they’re not doing anything to promote SOGI data collection and reporting in surveillance data.”

Cahill, in an email to the Blade after the initial publication of this article, clarified CDC has indicated guidance on LGBTQ data collection for COVID patients may come in the near future.

“HHS leaders told us this fall that CDC is working on an initiative to expand SOGI data collection,” Cahill said. “We are hopeful that we will see guidance early in 2022. Key people at CDC, including Director Walensky, understand the importance of SOGI data collection given their long history of working on HIV prevention.”

In other issues related to LGBTQ data collection, there has been a history of states resisting federal mandates. The Trump administration, for example, rescinded guidance calling on states to collect information on whether foster youth identified as LGBTQ after complaints from states on the Obama-era process, much to the consternation of LGBTQ advocates who said the data was helpful.

The White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force has at least recognized the potential for enhancing LGBTQ data collection efforts. Last month, it published an implementation plan, calling for “an equity-centered approach to data collection, including sufficient funding to collect data for groups that are often left out of data collection (e.g….LGBTQIA+ people).”

The plan also calls for “fund[ing] activities to improve data collection…including tracking COVID-19 related outcomes for people of color and other underserved populations,” and specifically calls for the collection of LGBTQ data.

The importance of collecting LGBTQ data, Cahill said, is based on its potential use in public outreach, including efforts to recognize disparities in health population and to create messaging for outreach, including for populations that may be reluctant to take the vaccine.

“If we see a disparity, we can say: Why is that?” Cahill said. “We could do focus groups of the population — try to understand and then what kind of messages would reassure you and make you feel comfortable getting a vaccine, and we could push those messages out through public education campaigns led by state local health departments led by the federal government.”

The LGBTQ data, Cahill said, could be broken down further to determine if racial and ethnic disparities exist within the LGBTQ population, or whether LGBTQ people are likely to suffer from the disease in certain regions, such as the South.

“We have data showing that lesbian or bisexual women, and transgender people are less likely to be in preventive regular routine care for their health,” Cahill said. “And so if that’s true, there’s a good chance that they’re less likely to know where to get a vaccine, to have a medical professional they trust to talk to about it today.”

Among the leaders who are supportive, Cahill said, is Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health and the first openly transgender person confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a presidential appointment. Cahill said he raised the issue with her along with other officials at the Department of Health & Human Services three times in the last year.

In her previous role as Pennsylvania secretary of health, Levine led the way and made her state the first in the nation to set up an LGBTQ data collection system for COVID patients.

“So she definitely gets it, and I know she’s supportive of it, but we really need the CDC to act,” Cahill said.

Although the federal government has remained intransigent in taking action, Cahill said the situation has improved among states and counted five states — California, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Nevada and Oregon — in addition to D.C. as among those that have elected to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity of COVID patients.

However, Cahill said even those data collection efforts are falling short because those jurisdictions have merely been public about collecting the data, but haven’t reported back anything yet.

“Only California has reported data publicly, and the data that they’re reporting is really just the completeness of the data,” Cahill said. “They’re not reporting the data itself…And they’re also just asking people who tests positive. So, if somebody says positive COVID in California, a contact tracer follows up with that individual and asks them a battery of questions, and among the questions that are asked are SOGI questions.”

As a result of these efforts, Cahill said, California has data on the LGBTQ status of COVID patients, but the data is overwhelmingly more complete for the gender identity of these patients rather than their sexual orientation. As of May 2021, California reported that they had sexual orientation data for 9.5 percent of individuals who had died from COVID and 16 percent of people who tested positive, but for gender identity, the data were 99.5 percent.

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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

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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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