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High hopes for LGBT inclusion in 2016 party platforms

GOP campaign seeks to drop anti-gay language

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Advocates are seeking more LGBT inclusion in the Democratic and Republican platforms.

Advocates are seeking LGBT inclusion in the Democratic and Republican party platforms.

 

The 2016 conventions for Democrats and Republicans are seven months away, but LGBT advocates are already calling for new language to boost LGBT inclusion in the party platforms compared to years past.

The most organized of these efforts is a Republican campaign newly dubbed as simply the “Platform Reform,” which was first launched last year in an attempt to remove the opposition to same-sex marriage from the 2016 GOP platform in favor of more inclusive language.

Jerri Ann Henry, campaign manager for Platform Reform, said the efforts of the campaign since its launch energized Republicans who disagree with the existing platform language not only opposing same-sex marriage, but also endorsing a U.S. constitutional amendment against it.

“A lot of people don’t read the platform, so it’s great to show them this is what it actually says and this is what it could say,” Henry said. “We’ve met with overwhelming support as we’ve met with people in the states. People, regardless of where they stood on this issue, they didn’t approve of the language in the platform. It’s very hateful and it goes to extremes that aren’t necessary in the Republican platform.”

Henry said the 2012 platform includes anti-LGBT language in five places, including support for the now-defunct gay ban in the Boy Scouts. Much of this language, Henry said, is out of date because of changing laws, such as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

“We believe it’s not consistent with Republican values,” Henry said. “We’re pro-limited government, we’re very pro-family. Having more families is a big deal in our community and makes for a more stable society. We would like to replace the hateful language with inclusive language that reinforces our commitment to the values of limited government, individual freedom and family, but is inclusive of all those views.”

Outreach efforts of the campaign, Henry said, have consisted of media trips to eight states: New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and Colorado. They were chosen, Henry said, because they’re either early primary states, critical to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in favor of same-sex marriage or will have a lot of delegates at the upcoming Republican convention in Cleveland.

The three-paragraph plank the campaign proposes emphasizes the Republican Party’s belief in marriage as an institution that strengthens freedom and families, but also includes language recognizing the debate on same-sex marriage within the Republican Party without articulating an objection to it.

“We recognize that there are diverse and sincerely held views on civil marriage within the Party, and that support for allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry has grown substantially in our own Party,” the plank concludes. “Given this journey that so many Americans, including Republicans, are on, we encourage and welcome a thoughtful conversation among Republicans about the meaning and importance of marriage, and commit our Party to respect for all families and fairness and freedom for all Americans.”

Although the Republican Party has a reputation for opposition to same-sex marriage, recent polls indicate differing views of the party and most younger Republicans support same-sex marriage. A 2014 New York Times/CBS News poll found that 56 percent of Republicans under the age of 45 support marriage rights for gay couples.

Upon its launch, the campaign was under the umbrella of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a project of the New York-based LGBT group Freedom to Marry. With the larger organization closing its doors in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality, the campaign has found a new home with the American Unity Fund, a pro-LGBT Republican group founded by billionaire philanthropist Paul Singer.

Henry said the shift represents a change in the nature of the campaign, which now will focus on the “real brass tacks” of getting the proposed language in the platform.

“If the first part of this campaign was about raising awareness and bringing attention to the needs to raise the platform, now we’re in the actual boots-on-the-ground, recruiting delegates in all 50 states and meeting with RNC committee members … and working on actually placing people on the platform committee and actually changing the language,” Henry said.

The Republican platform committee, Henry said, is put together during an election year and mostly consists of delegates chosen at state conventions. The committee usually meets in the days before the convention, Henry said, which this year takes place July 18-21.

Although the platform isn’t binding on Republicans, Henry said the document matters because it’s crafted by state delegates “to determine what policies best represent our party and their conservative values.” Additionally, she said many members of the Republican Party in many states based their state platforms on the national platform, such as Massachusetts, which enacted language against same-sex marriage last year.

The new campaign is modeled off a 2012 campaign led by Freedom to Marry that sought to encourage the Democrats for the first time to endorse same-sex marriage as part of that year’s platform. The proposed language, or the idea same-sex marriage should be included in the document, was endorsed by high-profile Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 22 U.S. senators and others. The result was language in the platform endorsing same-sex marriage shortly before voters went to the polls in four states — Minnesota, Maryland, Washington and Maine — to decide the issue.

Meanwhile, Log Cabin Republicans, which was credentialed to attend the platform committee, sought to keep out language in the 2012 Republican platform endorsing a U.S. constitutional amendment agains same-sex marriage. That effort proved unsuccessful. The 2012 Republican platform was against same-sex marriage and supported an anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment.

Henry said she’s light on endorsements for the proposed language, saying many Republicans are bound to support the existing anti-gay language in the 2012 platform. Henry added a couple RNC members are supportive, but she wasn’t immediately comfortable naming them.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, was initially hesitant about the language when it was first proposed in 2014, but now says he supports the proposed plank.

“Log Cabin Republicans is committed to expunging anti-gay language from the Republican Party platform, and we support the work our allies at American Unity Fund and Platform Reform are doing to achieve that end. I’ve long said that with platforms, less is always more,” Angelo said. “Removing any mention of a quixotic and politically divisive Federal Marriage Amendment from the GOP platform would be a welcome development at the convention.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who’s considered the strongest Republican supporter of LGBT rights, wouldn’t explicitly endorse the proposed language, but said the Republican Party platform should take into account the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for same-sex marriage.

“This convention is taking place in 2016, not 1916, so I sincerely hope our party platform includes language that is inclusive and accepting of all people,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “Marriage equality is now the law of the land and the GOP should reflect the changes in our society instead of wishing them away.”

Neither the anti-LGBT Family Research Council nor the National Organization for Marriage responded to the Blade’s request for comment on whether they object to the proposed language in the platform.

Henry said she doesn’t think there’s a specific concerted effort to offset the platform campaign, but acknowledged Republicans designated to the platform committee in years past “will be dedicated to keeping the language as it is.”

One major obstacle to the reform is the Republican presidential nominee, whose views are typically reflected in the platform. Each of the 2016 candidates is opposed to same-sex marriage. Some candidates high in the polls, like Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, have publicly backed a U.S. constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

Henry was undaunted by the prospects of those candidates becoming the Republican nominee, saying many of their supporters disagree with them on marriage and she’s working with every presidential campaign.

“In some states, there are Ted Cruz supporters who may disagree with him on this issue, but agree with him because of his stance on ethanol, taxes and other things,” Henry said. “And if that’s the case, we want to make sure those people are on his delegate slate. That’s where, I think, really working on the ground in each of the different states with the people who want to be delegates for the campaign is critical. We’ll have delegates from every campaign.”

A spokesperson for the Republican National Committee told the Blade that platform discussions won’t begin “until well into 2016.”

Advocates want Equality Act in platforms

Other LGBT advocates had proposals for LGBT language they wanted in both the Republican and Democratic party platforms, but weren’t as specific in terms of language.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said the platforms provide an opportunity for the parties to step up their support for LGBT rights and support for marriage equality isn’t enough.

“A party platform that includes anything less than a call for full federal non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people and their families will be seen as weak, behind the times and not honoring the contributions that LGBTQ people make to society,” Carey said.

Carey also had a litany of legislative priorities she wants in the platforms, including support for the Equality Act, in the name of “freedom, justice and equality to everyone in the U.S.”

“The parties should include explicit support for the Equality Act, comprehensive immigration reform, reproductive rights, wage and workplace reforms, criminal justice reform, the restoration of voting rights, and policing reform,” Carey said. “We also urge parties not to play to the opponents of equality. There are millions of LGBTQ and ally votes out there — enough votes to swing elections at every level and our support should not be taken for granted.”

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said platforms are “symbolic and dull tools for policy change,” but have worth in shedding light on issues important to communities, including transgender people.

“All policy areas are trans policy areas, but of particular interest to NCTE would be making sure that parties do not include negative mentions, scapegoating or fear mongering of trans people,” Keisling said. “On the proactive policy side, we would love to see a commitment to advancing, solidifying and enforcing civil rights laws such as supporting the passage of the Equality Act.”

JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of the Human Rights Campaign for policy and political affairs, enumerated a variety of LGBT issues her organization would like to see addressed in the platforms.

“We plan to urge both parties to include language in their platforms that address the patchwork of laws, the discrimination, and the violence that LGBT Americans continue to encounter in their daily lives,” Winterhof said. “It should be meaningful and specific on a range of key issues from full federal non-discrimination protections in the form of the Equality Act, to addressing the scourge of violence against transgender Americans to making progress in the fight against HIV and more.”

Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, was more general about the kind of LGBT inclusion he said his organization seeks in the party platforms.

“Democrats and Republicans alike should support the American values of building stable families and protecting freedom, both of which are strengthened when all hardworking Americans can live and work without fear of discrimination,” McTighe said. “Taking steps to ensure explicit protections for gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout the country is good for our country’s well-being and prosperity. Both the Democratic and Republican presidential platforms should move towards a place of fairness and freedom for all people under the law.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the Blade in September she expects inclusion of the Equality Act in the 2016 platform, saying, “I would expect so. I can’t envision our platform not including that.”

(The DNC is now pushing back on that characterization, saying Wasserman Schultz isn’t responsible for the platform and that she didn’t say she’s expecting language on the Equality Act, but instead that she would be surprised if it isn’t in there. The Blade stands by its reporting.)

TJ Helmstetter, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said the process for drafting the platform changes each cycle and is still underway. Each state has to elect its participants to the convention by June 26, including for the platform committee, which will initiate the drafting process, he said.

“I think as the chairwoman said to you when you interviewed her, I think we’d be surprised if there weren’t that kind of inclusion in the platform in terms of the Equality Act specifically given the support the Equality Act has from our three presidential candidates, and the president and the vice president and 80 percent of Democratic members of Congress,” Helmstetter said. “But again, that really is dependent on the platform process.”

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Peter Rosenstein

    December 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    With regard to the Republican plaform this is mostly wishful thinking. Not one Republican candidate supports the comprehensive LGBT human and civill rights bill so thinking that the Republican platform will be good for the LGBT community isn’t really in the cards.

  2. Mark Cichewicz

    December 3, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Republicansare the worst

  3. lnm3921

    December 3, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    The GOP endorsing our issues is unlikely. Too many social conservatives still pull the strings of the GOP leadership especially when they expect the party to endorse religious liberty which they feel trumps GLBT equality!

    Besides, there are many social and economic policies the GOP advocates that I disagree with despite their stance on our rights.

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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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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

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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

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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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