Connect with us

homepage news

Sanders on Clinton HIV gaffe: ‘Don’t know what she was talking about’

2016 hopeful issues plan to assist 1.2 million Americans with disease

Published

on

Bernie Sanders, New Hampshire primary, gay news, Washington Blade

Bernie Sanders, New Hampshire primary, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he doesn’t why Clinton praised the Reagans for HIV/AIDS. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

In the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s gaffe praising the Reagans for their HIV efforts, her rival for the Democratic nomination Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) has chimed to reject the remarks, saying he’s glad she apologized. Additionally, Sanders took the opportunity to issue own his plan to confront HIV/AIDS in the United States.

Sanders expressed confusion about Clinton’s comments on Sunday during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” in which he said, “I just don’t know what she was talking about.”

“In fact, that was a very tragic moment in modern American history,” Sanders continued. “There were many, many people who were dying of AIDS and, in fact, there was demand all over this country for President Reagan to start talking about this terrible tragedy, and yet he refused to talk about it while the AIDS epidemic was sweeping this country, so I’m not quite sure where Secretary Clinton got her information.”

Sanders added he’s “glad” Clinton apologized for saying President Reagan and Nancy Reagan started a “national conversation” on HIV/AIDS. They instead, Sanders said, “refused to allow that discussion to take place.”

“They didn’t get involved in it while so many fellow Americans were getting sick and dying,” Sanders said.

Watch Sanders’s comments here (begins at 7:55)

On Friday, Clinton said on MSNBC during Nancy Reagan’s funeral in California the late first lady and President Reagan started a “national conversation” on HIV/AIDS — a recollection deemed untrue and offensive to who remember the height of the epidemic. Within hours, Clinton apologized on Twitter, saying she “misspoke.” The next day, the candidate published an op-ed saying she “made a mistake” and renewing her call for an “AIDS-free generation.” However, Clinton hasn’t explained why she made the remarks in the first place.

On the same day Sanders during the CNN interview rejected Clinton’s initial remarks, the Sanders campaign made public a plan to confront HIV/AIDS, which afflicts an estimated 1.2 million in the United States.

“One of the great moral issues of our day is that people with HIV and AIDS are suffering and, in some cases, dying in America because they can’t afford to pay the outrageous prices being charged for the medicine they need to live,” Sanders said in a statement. “We must do everything possible to end the greed of the pharmaceutical companies and get people the medicine they need at a price they can afford.”

The multi-pronged plan would, according to his campaign, include “virtually universal access” to low cost AIDS medications as soon as they’re approved for sale and a push for legislation to bar discrimination against LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS. But, as outlined by the campaign, the plan has many components:

Sanders’ proposal would provide virtually universal access to lower-cost lifesaving medicines for HIV/AIDS as soon as they are approved for sale. As president, he would create a $3 billion a year prize fund to incentivize drug development. Instead of a system where the market is manipulated to keep out all competition, companies would be rewarded with a cash prize for medical innovations and patients would have access to all treatments at generic prices. This proposal would also be much cheaper than the current system, reducing the costs of drugs to employers, taxpayers and patients by billions of dollars per year.

Sanders would also direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and reduce barriers to the importation of lower-cost drugs from Canada and other countries.

Globally, Sanders would fight to end the AIDS epidemic by expanding the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and doubling the number of people on HIV treatment worldwide by 2020.

A major reason why Sanders is leading the fight against the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership is because it would significantly increase prices for HIV/AIDS drugs for some of the most desperate people in the world. More than half of AIDS patients in Vietnam alone could lose access to their medications, according to Oxfam.

In addition to lowering drug prices, Sanders would significantly expand access to mental health and substance use disorder services by protecting and expanding community health centers. Sanders would ensure that all substance abuse treatment centers provide on-site HIV/AIDS testing and that federal agencies, state and local health departments, and mental health agencies have the resources to provide screening and referral services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and who are at risk for HIV.

Sanders would also push for legislation to expand civil rights protections to all LGBTQ individuals and those living with HIV/AIDS.

“In the year 2016, it is unacceptable that a person can be fired or denied housing in many states based on sexual orientation, gender identity or health status,” Sanders said. “We have come a long way since our political leaders refused to recognize the thousands of people dying at the height of the AIDS epidemic. We must finish the fight by providing everyone living with HIV access to affordable drugs, by passing legislation to protect against discrimination and by expanding support and prevention services.”

Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, was unimpressed with Sanders’ HIV/AIDS plan, calling it unrealistic after he had previously praised Clinton for her plan to achieve an “AIDS-free generation.”

“While we greatly appreciate Sen. Sanders’ past and current support in the fight against AIDS, and many elements of this platform, we do not believe his approach to providing innovative medications is meritorious or realistic,” Schmid said.

Schmid declined to elaborate on what makes Sanders’ plan lack merit or realism.

In the plan that Clinton articulated to achieve an “AIDS-free generation” the day after her gaffe, she came out against state HIV criminalization laws penalizing perceived transfer of the disease. Although his plan doesn’t address them, a Sanders spokesperson said he’s “absolutely opposed” to those laws.

Sanders has previously taken action on behalf of HIV/AIDS over the course of his campaign when he denounced Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli for raising the price of AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. The candidate rejected Shkreli’s $2,000 donation and gave it to the Whitman-Walker Clinic in D.C.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. John Franklin

    March 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Sanders plan is unrealistic for the same reason as the rest of his pipe-dream plans: he can’t get it through a Republican Congress.

    • concerned1

      March 13, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      So someone as hated by the Republicans as HRC is WILL be able to “get things through”? I WILL TAKE MY CHANCES WITH BERNIE

      • John Franklin

        March 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm

        You’ve got to do what you think is right, but IMO, Hillary isn’t promising very much. Basically, all she’s promising is that she will defend what we’ve got. That much, she can deliver. Underpromise, and at minimum, deliver.

        Bernie is promising a complete political and social revolution. That’s the epitome of overpromise, underdeliver, because there’s no way he’s going to reverse the fact that the GOP has gerrymandered 2/3 of the states. It’s going to take us a long, long time, and it’s going to require a lot of work to fix that. In the meantime, people are going to be so disillusioned by Bernie’s inability to deliver that the GOP will resurge in 2018.

        So long story short: being able to deliver matters.

        • Brooks Austin

          March 14, 2016 at 1:18 am

          So you’re voting for a do nothing candidate?

          • Brian's Ions

            March 14, 2016 at 4:55 am

            That’s laughable on its face.

            Assuming HRC is elected president, in the last 100 years, you can’t name even a single American president who came to office with greater high-level government experience, across-the-board, than Hillary has.

            Not Wilson, not FDR, nor Truman, nor JFK, nor even Nixon. LBJ and Bush 41 probably comes closest, But Hillary’s 8 years in the Senate and 4 years as Secretary of State — plus 8 years as First Lady (de facto chief advisor to the president) edges even LBJ and B41, arguably.

          • customartist

            March 14, 2016 at 9:25 am

            Experience without a good message.
            I prefer the candidate with the best message, and that is Bernie Sanders.

          • Ryan Corke

            March 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm

            You also cannot name a single assumed presidency with a higher possible level of inherent obstructionism than you could with clinton, they (the republicans in congress) think she is a federal criminal, and a murderer. Regardless of how illogical their reasoning is, even the most moderate policies will be blocked out of spite and hatred, even more so than obamas are now. It will be a complete waste of a presidency.

            At least, even if all of Bernies proposals are blocked, he can incite a revolution to oust the republicans out of congress, and make nationwide change on ideals and morals alone. Hillary cannot, she’s far too moderate on all issues to incite anything or anyone to even get off the toilet to answer the door for her.

          • Princeandrey

            March 14, 2016 at 10:15 pm

            But it’s bad experience. She was a warmonger as Sec of State. She was a supporter of the revised, pro-Credit Card Bankruptcy Law and she supported the Iraq War. She was also a wife. That’s not “experience,” but it was collusion in his neo-liberal “reforms”!

          • John Franklin

            March 14, 2016 at 9:48 am

            “Forward” is not the only direction we can go, and progress is not inevitable. We can backslide–we can lose what we have now. Given the fact that the Republicans have locked in a Republican Congress and Republican legislatures and Republican governorships at least until the 2020 redistricting, we need to focus on defense. Hillary can do that.

            Sanders can’t do that, because he promised so much during the campaign that he can’t possibly get through of Congress. Single payer, free college, AIDS programs, etc… These policies couldn’t get through the Democratic supermajority Congress of 2009-2011. How are they going to get through a Tea Party Congress in 2017?

            Sanders has promised too much. When he can’t get it done, the voters will be disillusioned and a few will reflexively turn to the GOP. Many more will just not bother to vote in 2018, which is what happened in 2010. Obama has been fighting a rear guard action ever since.

            This is reality.

        • customartist

          March 14, 2016 at 9:24 am

          I could not disagree more.

        • Princeandrey

          March 14, 2016 at 10:12 pm

          She not only won’t deliver, she’ll collude. Watch how quickly she’ll give in on Social Security. She has the contempt for her constituency, as well she might if they support her.

    • Princeandrey

      March 14, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      Oh right. Don’t fight any battles and let the Republicans win by default. That’s realism for you!

  2. Brian's Ions

    March 13, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Political priorities matter. This week… THIS very weekend, in fact… Trump unmistakably crossed a line into an openly racist and fascist campaign.

    But some LGBTs are finding the time to make a big deal about Hillary’s mistaken memory of a Nancy Reagan– THIRTY years ago???

    • concerned1

      March 13, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Greetings Brian,
      Are you old enough to have gone through the Aids Epidemic? How many friends did you, lose because of it? Did you witness years of the Reagan Administration, turning its back on them; including the Reagan’s “friend” Rock Hudson?

      I will always “find the time” to “make a big deal” about the inhumanity of those who helped kill some of the finest of our proud, gay society. Remember Brian a society that forgets, will make the same mistakes again. This “mistaken memory” is NEITHER.

      • Brian's Ions

        March 14, 2016 at 12:55 am

        Sure. You paraphrase Santayana. And I reference the danger of racism and fascism– not as a distant history, but with currency and political priority.

        We’re not that far apart, Concerned.

        Past and present are two sides of the same coin. So it is not really a matter of how old any of us are, nor of what we personally recall. Surely, ‘current’ generations — from the ‘Greatest’ to ‘Z’ — can unite against the common enemies of our species.

        We are, each of us, just reminding fellow travelers of previous agonies borne of public apathy and negligence, occurring on two different journeys, and in two different eras.

        “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
        –George Santayana
        ———————
        Remember Brian a society that forgets, will make the same mistakes again.

      • TAG

        March 14, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Are you equally outraged about the Clinton funding cuts? The Clinton’s cut AIDS funding in order to increase campaigned promised increases to cancer (breast). In the mid 90’s the money was especially needed.

        RR should have been more vocal …. but they did fund the NIH .. gave them as much $$ as they needed and CE Koop was protected and took a lot of crap.

        I could go on … Please .. don’t think I’m fighting with you.

        I was around at the time and remember how important that early research money was.

      • RichardMcCarthy

        March 14, 2016 at 8:47 pm

        I will gladly accept any truth. However, Hillary is not in the habit of offering it and everything she does is calculated in her favor regardless of truth.

    • customartist

      March 14, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Brian,
      Government actively turned a blind eye and people died. It was a big deal.

      • RichardMcCarthy

        March 14, 2016 at 8:48 pm

        Help all victims of gov’t.

      • Brian's Ions

        March 15, 2016 at 10:06 am

        You are implying that I believe something I do not, and that I wrote something I did not. That is flatly untruthful and unfair, Artist.

        Read it again more carefully, please.

        • customartist

          March 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

          No.
          Out.

    • Princeandrey

      March 14, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Yes, why indeed hold the “lesser of two evils” candidate for her own callous lie? No mistaken memory that: pure pathology. And pure betrayal.

  3. customartist

    March 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

    A Republican President, if elected, would likewise ignore the reality that LGBT’s today suffer from a lack of workplace and housing protections.

    Hillary too supported traditional marriage just 8years ago.

    Vote Bernie Sanders.

  4. ShadrachSmith

    March 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Nancy Reagan was a good person, so was her husband. Requiring all people to hate them is evil, so don’t do that.

    • Princeandrey

      March 14, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      No they were not “good.” She was not good. They were mediocre, silly, uneducated Hollywood people and they pulled the wool over the American public, the same American public that Mencken said nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of. They were not “good.” In fact, they were bad.

  5. Double Helix

    March 14, 2016 at 11:28 am

    This articule illustrates how Democratic establishment politicians like Clinton and their establishment hangers-on in non-governmental groups, like Carl Schmid of the AIDS Institute, really betray their own core constituencies. In this case the betrayed constituency is those infected with HIV (and by association, gays, who were the hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic in the Reagan years — their sexual orientation having much to do with Reagan’s refusal to publicly recognize the epidemic). On other occasions it is black and white workers, betrayed first by Clinton with her pro-Wall Street, pro-deregulation and pro-free trade stances — and then betrayed again by union leaders and black politicians and ministers in her amen corner.

  6. Ryan Corke

    March 14, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Obama is not progressive either, he is like Hillary, a moderate in progressive clothing.

  7. RichardMcCarthy

    March 14, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Bernie is a bit myopic in his staunch socialism.
    That can lead to his extra gentle handling of Hillary.

    • Princeandrey

      March 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      “Staunch socialism”? You mean his mild New Deal ideas. Foolish statement and historically ignorant, sorry to say.

      • RichardMcCarthy

        March 15, 2016 at 1:06 am

        Most history is ignorant, biased, full of myth and legend. Beware of academia as well as politics and science as Man (and some Women) can corrupt anything.

        • Princeandrey

          March 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

          That may be, but you’re not the one to set the record straight, obviously.

          • RichardMcCarthy

            March 15, 2016 at 6:01 pm

            Argue and fight whatever battle you want (and maybe miss a lot of points other than what you care about)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

homepage news

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

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

homepage news

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

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

homepage news

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

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular