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CPAC accepts Log Cabin as conference sponsor

‘Watershed’ development at D.C. chapter meeting

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Gregory T. Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans, CPAC, gay news, Washington Blade
Gregory Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

‘I’m honored to say that this morning Log Cabin Republicans was accepted as formal sponsors at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference,’ said Gregory Angelo. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

After years of being turned away, the national LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans received notice on Wednesday that its application to become a sponsor of the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, has been approved, according to Log Cabin President Gregory Angelo.

Angelo announced what he called a “watershed moment” in Log Cabin’s history at the regularly scheduled meeting of the group’s D.C. chapter on Wednesday night.

“I couldn’t wait to share this news with all of you as so many of you have been asking me about this for probably a better part of a year now,” Angelo told the gathering, which included Jose Cunningham, the gay chair of the D.C. Republican Party.

“I’m happy to say, I’m pleased to say, I’m honored to say that this morning Log Cabin Republicans was accepted as formal sponsors at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference,” Angelo said.

His jubilant announcement came one year after Angelo and LGBT conservatives criticized the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual CPAC event, for rejecting Log Cabin’s request to become a sponsor on grounds that it wasn’t conservative enough and didn’t submit a proper application.

Last year’s rejection followed similar rejections of Log Cabin’s request to become a CPAC sponsor over the past several years. CPAC officials in past years had also refused to accept as a sponsor the conservative LGBT group GOProud.

Matt Schlapp, the ACU chair, has denied that his organization, which is considered the nation’s preeminent conservative advocacy group, turned down Log Cabin’s application in previous years because of anti-gay bias. Schlapp noted that many prominent conservative advocates who are gay have attended and participated in CPAC for many years.

A representative of the ACU and CPAC couldn’t immediately be reached by the Blade for comment.

At the D.C. Log Cabin meeting Wednesday night, Angelo said this year’s decision by CPAC to approve Log Cabin’s role as a sponsor – which enables the gay GOP group to set up an official booth at the event – came after nearly a year of negotiations.

“These negotiations with the American Conservative Union and CPAC were long,” he said. “They were challenging. They were often intense. But ultimately I think this is a watershed moment in Log Cabin Republicans’ history.”

In an interview with the Washington Blade following his announcement Wednesday night, Angelo said he isn’t sure of the internal process the ACU and CPAC officials used to approve the Log Cabin application. He said Log Cabin received CPAC’s notice of acceptance by email.

“After last year’s CPAC debacle, Log Cabin Republicans and myself personally had been in regular communication with the organization’s chairman, Matt Schlapp, and Executive Director Dan Schneider as well as with other members of the American Conservative Union staff,” Angelo said.

In what appeared to be a gesture of conciliation, Angelo said ACU officials attended Log Cabin’s national dinner last year.

“I think what we’re seeing here is two organizations that made a commitment a year ago to work together in good faith to an end that not only will ultimately benefit the American Conservative Union, Log Cabin Republicans, and CPAC but also the greater conservative movement – that we can move beyond this perennial fight between the two organizations every year and present a united front as we head toward CPAC and as we head toward the 2016 election,” Angelo said.

Angelo declined to disclose the cost of Log Cabin’s sponsorship for the CPAC event, but the CPAC website shows that the cost of the level of sponsorship that Angelo appeared to be describing Wednesday night is $7,500.

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. oikos

    February 18, 2016 at 10:01 am

    These Log Cabinette quislings are pathetic grovelers, supporting groups that would undo all gains for gay people if they could.

    • timhulsey

      February 19, 2016 at 1:26 am

      LCR’s lawsuit helped force the Obama administration’s hand on lifting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” They do good work for LGBT equality.

      But even more than that, they need to maintain a presence in the GOP. One reason gains for LGBT equality have come so slowly is that we’ve tried to make them a strictly partisan issue. The GOP, like it or not, is one of our two major American political parties. If the GOP doesn’t have an LGBT presence, then there’s no one to put the brakes on the GOP’s worst anti-gay impulses — and also no one to hold Democrats accountable. Placing all our eggs in the Democrats’ basket isn’t a wise strategy.

      • THEBEARCUB

        February 19, 2016 at 2:47 am

        That’s the only damn thing they’ve done….WHOOPI!

      • oikos

        February 19, 2016 at 7:43 am

        They’ve (Log Cabinettes) been in existence since 1977 and the GOP has become ever more extreme. Since their failure is compete in bringing about any change whatsoever, they have no reason to continue to exist and since they support these ever more extreme GOP policies that call for our deaths, imprisonment, stripping of all civil rights, etc, your point is BS. The GOP doesn’t want an LGBT presence. The GOP doesn’t want LGBT people to exist at all.

        • BigGaySteve

          February 21, 2016 at 6:21 pm

          All the dancing on Scalia’s grave people did certainly didn’t help matters.

          • oikos

            February 22, 2016 at 7:08 am

            Wholly irrelevant to the topic at hand. Pay attention.

      • JohnInCA

        February 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm

        “tried to make them a strictly partisan issue”?

        Dude, it used to be non-partisan. Both parties hated us. But gay Democrats did the hard work of turning their party around. Gay Republicans did not.

        Blaming the GOP’s continued (and at times growing) disdain for gay people on gay Democrats is simply dishonest.

    • Steve Karper

      February 21, 2016 at 1:37 am

      expect tony perkins of the hate group FRC to be there

      here is the scene re the founder of FRC

      http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/how-george-alan-rekers-and-his-rent-boy-got-busted-by-new-times-6366835

      • blfdjlj

        February 23, 2016 at 4:19 pm

        What if LCR actually received a booth next to NOM?

    • BigGaySteve

      February 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Importing moslems and str8 people from 3rd world nations were killing gays is acceptable is a democrat platform. That myth that you can only be a gay republican if you have a hot tub bigger than most NYC apartments ended on 911

      • Brooks Austin

        February 22, 2016 at 12:44 am

        Maybe you should learn how to spell Muslim and straight correctly before you start lecturing gay Democrats.

        • BigGaySteve

          September 27, 2016 at 6:39 pm

          What an idiot moslem is what moslems have been spelled by English speakers for most of its 1400 years. Changing the name is like illegal aliens becoming something else so people cant look up solutions from before.

      • oikos

        February 22, 2016 at 7:07 am

        Your Breitbart (is still dead) talking point totally reinforces the abject failure of the Log Cabinettes and all gay republicans to bring about any meaningful change within the GOP. They still hate all gay people. Just like LCR, you fail.

  2. medaka

    February 18, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Oh Gregory, you just love it when they let up with the abuse for a minute or two….

  3. David F.

    February 18, 2016 at 10:09 am

    No matter what you quislings do, they will never accept you. They will never consider you as equals. They will always consider you their inferiors at best. You’re like beaten dogs that still come when called to lick they boots of your masters. You’re pathetic and I have no sympathy for you.

    • oikos

      February 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

      CPAC must be short on funds this year so they will take Log Cabinette money but I’ll bet they are barred from setting up a booth.

  4. Rebecca Gardner

    February 18, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Log Cabin Republicans are like Chickens for Col. Sanders. I don’t understand supporting a group of people that have openly advocated for your incarceration and/or execution.

    In other news…
    The NAACP has agreed to sponsor the KKK’s annual Cross Burnin’ and Lynchin’ Jamboree and the Jewish Defense League has offered the assistance of it’s legal teams to any StormFront members currently facing charges.

    • BigGaySteve

      February 21, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      I think you are confusing Republicans with Moslems.

    • Todd20036

      February 18, 2016 at 10:17 am

      I saw the above once… in Blazing Saddles.

  5. XbonzHD

    February 18, 2016 at 10:15 am

    LOL. Total joke.

  6. Todd20036

    February 18, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Jews for Nazis! Yay. Make no mistake, the goobs would see us in camps if they could.

    And if Trump or Cruz or Rubio get the presidency, you can bet they will start making anti gay laws, covered under the guise of “religious liberty”

    These stupid quislings deserve our ridicule.

    • Patti King

      February 18, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      I know FOR A FACT CRUZ HAS SEVERAL GAY FRIENDS. Stop putting conservatives in a box. leftists have a motive for dividing conservatives and gays. think about it – who has more to gain than to keep division festering?

      • Katrina Rose

        February 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm

        “Just because many of us believe in marriage between a man/woman doesn’t mean we hate anyone”

        You just hate people having equal rights.

        Nice try.

      • JackNasty

        February 18, 2016 at 7:41 pm

        The buzzwords of bigotry, “Some of my his (my) best friends are __________.”

        The smug, small, feeble minds who use those buzz words imagine that saying they are friends with the target of their bigotry will somehow makes it all right. The rest of us know the bigots don’t actually have any friends who are ______.

        • timhulsey

          February 19, 2016 at 1:29 am

          Whenever I hear “Some of my best friends are black,” I think, “Wow, they must be INCREDIBLY tolerant people.”

        • BigGaySteve

          February 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm

          Those gay friends ended up getting banned from gay bars because they admitted they had Cruz in their home for a dinner party. So much for tolerance.

      • dzerres

        February 18, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        you haven’t been reading the conservative news blogs. Lots of wonderful right wing “christians” calling to “kill the gays”. Kevin Swanson, Scott Lively, Theodore Shoebat and Phil Robertson come immediately to mind. What also comes to mind is that you’re an ignorant idiot choosing to remaining blissfully stupid in the face of overwhelming fact. Why do right wing christians always violate the 9th Commandment?

      • I'm Just Sayin'

        February 18, 2016 at 10:32 pm

        Patti, I don’t really care if Ted Cruz as “you know for a fact” is just a misunderstood conservative. What I do care about is Cruz’s unequivocal promise to roll back advances in gay equality. Yet what makes Ted Cruz’s views threatening is not that he holds them but that thousands of people like you would put him in a position to bring them to fruition. So no Patti, I don’t think that you’re a hater. You’re worse. You’re an enabler of hate.

      • Foodahz

        February 20, 2016 at 4:05 am

        Your “faith” is a pile of man-made bullcrap. Stop using superstition to harm your fellow man.

      • Steve Karper

        February 21, 2016 at 1:42 am

        then he has stupid gay friends there are jerks and fools in every group

      • BigGaySteve

        February 21, 2016 at 6:32 pm

        The people that banned Cruz’s gay friends from gay bars for sharing on social media they had him over for a dinner party are gay gold diggers hoping for gay alimony.

    • BigGaySteve

      February 21, 2016 at 6:33 pm

      Both Pink Pistols, and Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership will take my money.

  7. Dramphooey

    February 18, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Pay them money to like you. They ACU is probably asking for cash because very soon the other groups will demand your removal.

  8. Dick-Ray Schliep

    February 18, 2016 at 10:50 am

    If they ate trying to impress their fellow Republicans, they fail as their straight buddies hate them in their hearts.
    Log Cabin Republicans must have acceptance issues with their dads.JMO

    • Patti King

      February 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      B.S. Dick-Ray! YOU HAVE NO FRIGGIN WAY TO KNOW WHAT IS IN ANYONES HEART. TRY WORKING ON YOUR OWN FIRST!

      • dzerres

        February 18, 2016 at 8:50 pm

        We know what in a right wing christians heart: a brick.

      • JohnInCA

        February 19, 2016 at 2:05 pm

        Cruz became the Attorney General of Texas in time to oversee Texas’s defense in Lawrence V. Texas in front of the SCOTUS. He didn’t argue it himself, but it was still under his purview. During his time as AG of Texas, he consistently fought every bit of progress on gay rights in the state, even going so far as to overturn a gay divorce. He also supported Texas’s Prop 2 that banned gay marriage and civil unions and everything else.

        Rubio defended his state’s ban on gays adopting, supported the state’s Amendment 2 banning gay marriage, civil unions, and everything else.

        This is literally the first year that CPAC has allowed the LCR to set up a booth.

        The GOP Platform in 2012 calls gay marriage a threat to society, gay troops a threat to security, and so-on.

        So you’re right. You can’t know what’s in someone’s heart. But you can look at their actions and judge them based on that.

  9. Dont.Back.Down.

    February 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I bet they’re xtains….you know the whole guilt trip buybull stuff. LCR you really come across as pathetic please go back in the closet.

    Once you come to the realization that gawd’s not real you’ll feel better knowing no one is “watching”

  10. Patti King

    February 18, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Welcome! These are great people, we differ on a couple issues but liberty means you live your life, i live mine, help/love each other and let God do the judging.

    • THEBEARCUB

      February 19, 2016 at 2:48 am

      Really? They’re the ones who are judging!

      • Steve Karper

        February 21, 2016 at 1:52 am

        Judging is a religious word show it where the sun doesnt shine pls

    • I'm Just Sayin'

      February 19, 2016 at 7:25 am

      Really, that’s what you believe? Yet you seem to align with a political mindset that at its core would impose restrictions, interfere in the most intimate aspects of people’s lives and advance the wellbeing of some while denying rights and basic services to others. No matter how hard you try to rationalize it away, the moment you cast your ballot for one of “those great people” you are totally aligned with their views.

      • BigGaySteve

        February 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm

        The only restrictions the right gives is to what taxpayer’s money gets handed out on. Before whites & asians built up civilization white privilege was peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot 5 days old, while non Asian minorities ate low hanging tropical fruit all year. There is a former African King of Rwanda is living in VA on welfare getting better free healthcare than you could buy in his homeland

    • Steve Karper

      February 21, 2016 at 1:47 am

      maybe wee dont believe in your god. BTW the bible justifed slavery – a slave shall obey his master

    • Steve Karper

      February 21, 2016 at 1:51 am

      let us know when you will campaign for gays having full equal rights and the end to the BS of bad xtians trying to ever more discriminate against gays

      of course nothing will change your mind and similar backward folks like you
      1. youre proud of your hatreds, even if you dont realzse it

      also your induced hatreds live in your subconscious as a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. they control your mind and you dont even realize it

      same with many people, most in the bibble belt south

      • BigGaySteve

        February 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

        What rights are you missing? The right to pay alimony? Every hospital in the US has at least one surgeon whose wife divorced him because she can enjoy 1/2 of his money better without dealing with his schedule. I would rather get a gay cake from bakers that advertised in gay media than someone that didn’t support me.
        If you think importing moslems and people from the 3rd world into the US will be good for gays you better fill sandbags with that “magic dirt”. Only Bernie and Trump want to stop the 3rd world invasion. You see that article on this site about the Chilean gay killed for being gay, moslem nations execute gays by the dozen.

  11. Patti King

    February 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    wow! look at the hate coming from liberals & gay activists! because Log Cabin members don’t tow the line? haters on both sides, but i find the hate mostly comes from the left especially when someone or a group “gets out line”. leftists seem to have more in common w marxists who expect all people fall in line and “do and think like I/gov.says”. Very sad.

    • medaka

      February 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      ….

      • BigGaySteve

        February 21, 2016 at 6:43 pm

        I want the govt out of my wallet, bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, hot tub, cars, garage & closets. You will have to take my high flow showerheads from my cold dead hands after I run out of ammo, as we still use less water than Latrina’s 21 crack babies.

    • JohnInCA

      February 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Not because LCR members “don’t tow the line”.

      Because the LCR, despite being around for decades, has been entirely unsuccessful at moving the Republicans on gay rights issues, continues to support vehemently anti-gay Republicans anyway, and then attacks Democrats for not being gay-friendly enough.

      Seriously, a few weeks ago the LCR put out an anti-Hillary ad attacking her for not coming around on gay marriage soon enough. None of the Republican candidates have come around on gay marriage at *all*. But they don’t care about that part.

      And that is why the LCR invokes a lot of eye-rolls and sarcastic expressiosn. Because, based on their history, they have more of an interest in attacking Democrats then in changing their own party. Meanwhile, in the same time frame, gay Democrats actually turned their party around such that today it’s hard to find a Democrat that doesn’t give full-throated support for gay rights.

      That’s not some petty “they don’t tow the line” complaint. It’s a substantive, evidence-based complaint.

    • Steve Karper

      February 21, 2016 at 1:46 am

      smae old right wing clap trap, ur all over the web with it

      Basic thing you say is defending hate – was your daddy in the kkk??

  12. Jonathon115

    February 18, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    This is only happening because it’s an election year. Next year at this time they will again be shunned by what’s left of the G.O.P.

  13. blfdjlj

    February 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    They also defended “kill the gays” laws passed by African dictators (no I am not making this up).

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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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