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LGBT group cancels conference reception with Israeli activists

A Wider Bridge event will now take place at hotel



Jerusalem, gay news, Washington Blade

The National LGBTQ Task Force has cancelled a reception with two Israeli LGBT rights advocates that was to have taken place at its annual conference on Jan. 22. (Photo by Wayne McLean; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The National LGBTQ Task Force has cancelled a reception at its upcoming conference that was to have featured two advocates from Israel.

Sarah Kala-Meir and Tom Canning of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance were scheduled to speak at the reception that was to have taken place at the Creating Change Conference in Chicago on Friday.

A Wider Bridge, an organization that describes its mission as building “LGBTQ connections with Israel,” sponsored the reception.

Dean Spade, founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization that serves transgender people and others who are gender non-conforming, in a Jan. 15 blog post criticized the National LGBTQ Task Force over the reception.

Spade, who is also an associate professor at the Seattle University School of Law, described A Wider Bridge as “an Israel advocacy organization.” Spade also accused the organization of “pinkwashing,” promoting the country’s LGBT rights record in an attempt to deflect attention away from its treatment of the Palestinians.

“It is not an organization focused on LGBT Jews, or an organization focused on LGBT Israelis,” wrote Spade. “It is an organization focused on linking LGBT people in the US to Israel, the settler colonial nation engaged in apartheid, condemned by the world.”

“It is an organization whose promotion of Israel is designed to make people think of Israel as a site of liberation and freedom rather than a regime producing colonization and genocide,” added Spade. “As a Jewish trans activist who has sometimes attended Creating Change over the years, I like the idea of having a Shabbat service at the conference, but I do not want Creating Change to invite any Israel advocacy organization to lead it or host programming focused on promoting propaganda about Israel.”

Dark Matter, which describes itself on its website as a “trans south Asian performance art duo,” also criticized the National LGBTQ Task Force over the reception.

National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Russell Roybal on Sunday issued a short statement that acknowledged the reception’s cancellation.

“We cancelled the event as we were concerned about the possibility of this reception becoming intensely divisive rather than a casual and fun social event,” he said.

The National LGBTQ Task Force cancelled the reception less than a week after it announced a panel at the Creating Change Conference that was to have included officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would no longer take place because of “concerns from our community.”

A Wider Bridge Deputy Director Tyler Gregory told the Washington Blade on Sunday that Sue Hyde, director of the Creating Change Conference, on Jan. 14 called Laurie Grauer, his organization’s Midwest manager.

“Sue recommended we either cancel A Wider Bridge’s event, or ensure that our event speakers condemn the Israeli government in their remarks,” Gregory told the Blade.

Gregory said that Grauer “declined both recommendations.”

Gregory told the Blade that Hyde called himself and A Wider Bridge Executive Director Arthur Slepian “to inform us the event was cancelled, citing ‘safety and security concerns.’” Gregory said the National LGBTQ Task Force provided his organization with “no evidence” that backed up their claims.

Gregory said the National LGBTQ Task Force told his organization that the decision to cancel the reception “was final.” He told the Blade that Hyde did not provide A Wider Bridge the names of those he described as “Israel detractors.”

“We are saddened by what appears to be capitulation to the intimidation of a small number of anti-Israel extremists who want to shut down the voices of those who don’t adhere to their rigid and exclusive party line,” said Slepian in a statement.

Slepian announced the reception will now take place at a Chicago hotel on Friday.

“As LGBTQ people, we are all too familiar with being oppressed through shaming, the closet, and imposed silence,” he said. “We see great danger in allowing this kind of censorship and blatant double standard to become the norm in our community.”

Kala-Meir, who is the executive director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, agreed.

“We will be participating in Creating Change regardless of developments and are looking forward to engaging with LGBT leaders in the U.S,” she told the Blade on Monday in a statement.

“Jerusalem is an ethnically and religiously diverse city, so we are no strangers to disagreements and debates, but we try to talk things through as a community,” added Kala-Meir. “Usually it is only when interacting with Israeli government institutions and religious institution that we get blocked.”

Spade on Monday applauded the National LGBTQ Task Force for canceling both the reception with the Israeli LGBT rights advocates and the ICE panel.

“Over the last five years as LGBT activists in a variety of contexts have exposed pinkwashing events and gotten them canceled once organizers understood the nature of the propaganda, Israel advocacy organization charge ‘censorship,’” Spade told the Blade in an email. “Creating Change’s programming staff are not censoring A Wider Bridge or ICE by canceling their programmed activities. The conference is curated—they decide what programming to include or not include and that is not censorship, it is discernment.”

“They are responding to community concerns about hosting programing that promotes institutions and governments that are harming LGBT people but promoting an image of ‘gay friendliness’ for PR purposes,” added Spade.

Jerusalem Pride march attacked day before West Bank arson

Israeli advocates and their supporters are quick to note the country is the most LGBT-friendly nation in the Middle East.

Israel bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and allows same-sex couples to jointly adopt children. The country also recognizes the marriages of gays and lesbians that were legally performed abroad.

May Peleg, a prominent trans rights advocate who once chaired Jerusalem Open House, last November took her own life.

Peleg’s mother challenged the advocate’s final wishes that she be cremated. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected the challenge to Peleg’s will.

Yishai Schlissel, an Orthodox Jewish man, on July 30, 2015, stabbed Shira Banki, a 16-year-old girl, to death and injured five others during an attack on a Jerusalem pride march that Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance organized.

He had served a 10-year prison sentence in connection with a 2005 attack on a Jerusalem pride march that left three people injured. Authorities released Schlissel three weeks before the July 30 attack.

Shira Banki, Jerusalem Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Shira Banki was stabbed to death at a Jerusalem Pride parade in July 2015. (Photo courtesy of Jerusalem Open House)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro are among the officials who condemned last July’s attack on the Jerusalem Pride march. The incident took place a day before two men who grew up in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank allegedly killed a Palestinian toddler and his parents when they set fire to their home in the village of Duma.

“The violence at the Jerusalem Pride march just six months ago, was shocking and has left our community deeply traumatized,” Kala-Meir told the Blade. “It is only one expression of the intolerance that exists in Jerusalem, and has encouraged us to expand our work within religious communities.”

Spade continued to defend the National LGBTQ Task Force.

“I was happy to see Creating Change cancel the ICE workshop and the A Wider Bridge reception,” Spade told the Blade. “It is clear that the liberation of queer and trans people everywhere requires that we oppose the brutal racism of U.S. border enforcement and the colonial violence faced by Palestinians.”

Editor’s note: National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey on Monday issued the following statement in response to the controversy surrounding the decision to cancel the reception.

“Last week, we decided to cancel a Friday night reception at the Creating Change Conference entitled ‘Beyond the Bridge.’ We cancelled the reception when it became clear to us it would be intensely divisive rather than the community-building, social atmosphere which is the norm for Friday night at the conference. While we welcome robust discourse and political action, given the complexity and deep passions on all sides, we concluded the event wouldn’t be productive or meet the stated goals of its organizers. We also have the overarching responsibility to ensure that Creating Change is a safe space for attendees. Since the cancellation, we have been accused of being many things including being anti-Jewish, or anti-Semitic — which are wrong and deeply painful to those of us in the National LGBTQ Task Force family. We believe in the self-determination of all people, no matter where they call home, the right of LGBTQ people to live in peace and safety, and in constructive dialogue that moves the work for social justice forward. We are an organization dedicated to LGBTQ freedom, justice and equality for all.”

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  1. scottrose

    January 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    The U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 was a two-state plan that foresaw an Arab state, a Jewish state and Jerusalem as an international protectorate with no one religion dominating another.
    Middle Eastern Jews accepted that two state plan; Arabs rejected it.
    Had the Arabs like the Jews accepted that two-state plan, there would have been no wars and no refugees.
    Israel bashers are either Jew haters — though sometimes Jews with internalized antisemitism — or ignorant.
    If Hamas, Fatah, Iran or any of the other Islamic entities committed to Israel’s destruction have their way, what will become of LGBTers currently living in Israel?
    Don’t look for Israel-bashers to give a damn about them.

  2. MRMSN

    January 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    As LGBT people we have a commonality in purpose and we should never be divided, ever, least of all by our own leadership. I have lost all respect for The Task Force and believe they owe A Wider bridge and the Jewish LGBT community an apology. What they have done is no different to what Trump is suggesting we do – that we paint all Muslims as terrorists and hence let none into the USA. Task Force is painting all Jews and all Israelis with a single over-simplistic taint and worse yet at the behest of a threatening handful of anti Israel activists.

    Many Activists have come out against this move by Task Force. See their comment here.

  3. Joseph Singer

    January 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    While I understand there were concerns it might be a divisive action, italso concerns me that the group wasn’t willing to risk controversy in the name of dialogue.

    • scottrose

      January 18, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      The Task Force alleges that there were “safety concerns,” meaning that the Israel-bashers said something to the Task Force like “Cancel the Israeli LGBT group’s participation or we will mess up your event.”

      Caving to THAT is despicable.

      How did Task Force leaders know that “safety” would be a “concern” if it hadn’t received threats of violence from the Israel bashers?

  4. Suzan Cooke

    January 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    If the NGLTF decides to join the rabidly antisemitic BDS Movement they can forget ever getting another penny from me in the way of support.

  5. zionist&proud

    January 19, 2016 at 2:39 am

    I realise how inconvenient it is is for some in the American community that Israel is the most progressive country in a thousand mile radius when it comes to LGBT issues. For those who don’t like the reality that we exist, I have one thing to say:

    We’re Queer! We’re Here! Get used to it!

  6. alex

    January 19, 2016 at 8:25 am

    So if the task force is not anti Israel or Anti Jewish…it is at the very least made of a bunch of pathologically bullied chicken-sh –ts. Shame on you all for targeting the only liberal democracy (warts and all) in the middle east that protects the rights of the LGBT community. Shame shame shame and I say it again for emphsis ….. SHAME!!!!!!!!!!

  7. David Feinberg

    January 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I read nothing in the report to show that the Wider Bridge reception was serving to promote Israeli government policies in the West Bank. I am therefore left to conclude that this is not a case of pinkwashing, but just the opposite: exploiting an LGBT rights forum to advance an anti-Israel agenda. Furthermore, Spade’s over-the-top characterization of Israeli policy as “genocidal” makes me wonder about his ability to engage in level-headed discussion regarding the advancement of transgender rights.

  8. jim jim

    January 19, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    ONLY evil people would attack Israel on this point.

    The benefit of being gay in ANY Sharia Country…….(please feel free to comment as I can find NONE)

    The benefit of being gay in Isreal – (from

    There are over 18,000 gay and lesbian households in Israel and over 3,000 children are raised by two fathers or mothers.

    Tel Aviv has been named the world’s number one gay city, outranking even New York City. The survey carried out by American Airlines and shows that the most popular destination for gay travelers – with 43 % of the votes, is the eternal White City.

    The option of registering yourself as a couple with your boyfriend/girlfriend will give you identical rights to a straight couple with the same legal status. Even happier news: according to a recent poll, almost two thirds of Israel’s population supports equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

    Same-sex marriages performed abroad are legally recognized in Israel

    The left have the following opinions though;

    When is it perfectly acceptable to beat a gay person for being gay with a stick – when you hold a quran in your free hand.

    When is it perfectly acceptable to stone a gay person for being gay with a rock- when you hold a quran in your free hand.

    When is it perfectly acceptable to hang a gay person for being gay with a rope – when you hold a quran in your free hand.

    When is it perfectly acceptable to push a gay person for being gay off a tall building – when you hold a quran in your free hand.

  9. Leedynamo

    January 21, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Some of the comments here are deeply discouraging. We do not need more propaganda. Given the intolerance and brutality present in Israeli society, it seems fair to expect inclusiveness rather than propagandizing.

    EVERY commenter here should address themselves to the murder of Shira Banki reported in the second article. Instead of covering up its faults Israel should deal with them.

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

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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