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Bernie Sanders cancels meeting with HIV activists

2016 hopeful agreed to meeting days before N.Y. primary

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Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade
Bernie Sanders, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has cancelled a meeting with HIV activists. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Bernie Sanders has cancelled a meeting with HIV advocates his campaign affirmed days before the crucial New York Democratic primary he would attend, according to the activists who sought to arrange the meeting.

The 30-minute meeting between Sanders and HIV advocates was set for May 13 in Indianapolis. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton also agreed to meet the activists, who say they’re are still on track to meet with her Thursday for one hour in New York City.

Hilary McQuie, director of U.S. policy and grassroots mobilization for the HIV/AIDS group Health GAP, told the Blade the Sanders campaign cancelled the meeting without explanation.

“He did cancel — no reason given and they have not rescheduled,” McQuie said. “We feel a bit burned by the bern, and hope they will answer our emails now.”

Peter Staley, a New York-based gay rights and HIV advocate, told the Blade HIV advocates before the unexpected cancellation were in daily contact with the Sanders campaign.

“They sent a ‘need to reschedule’ email last Sunday (for our Tuesday meeting), and then bizarrely stopped communications completely after that,” Staley said. “We’ve been emailing and calling every day since then, including warning them days ago about our intent to go public.”

According to a statement announcing the cancellation from the Brooklyn-based HIV and homeless advocacy group Housing Works, attendees were informed on April 30 the Sanders meeting was cancelled, which was two days after many of them purchased expensive, last-minute plane ticket to attend the event. Although the Sanders campaign promised to “reschedule” as soon as possible, it has yet to propose a new date, time or city, the statement says.

The Sanders campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment late Sunday to confirm the meeting with HIV advocates was cancelled or to explain why the event would be nixed.

Both Clinton and Sanders agreed in April, days before the New York primary, to meet separately with HIV advocates. The primary, which Clinton won by 16 points, was considered crucial in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination and ended up delivering a decisive victory for the frontrunner.

The agreement to meet was a result of letters sent to each of the presidential candidates requesting a meeting in the aftermath of Clinton’s controversial remarks earlier this year — for which she has apologized twice — praising President and Nancy Reagan for their efforts on HIV/AIDS.

In the letter to Clinton seeking a meeting, HIV advocates called on her to appoint an HIV adviser, meet with HIV community leadership and declare a commitment to end the AIDS epidemic nationally by 2025.

Among the more than 70 signers of the letter were the New York-based Gay Men’s Health Crisis, ACT UP New York, the National Black Justice Coalition, NMAC, Human Rights Campaign, the New York-based health agency Amida Care and the D.C.-based HIV/AIDS advocacy group Housing Works.

McQuie said the HIV advocates have also now heard from the campaign for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The HIV advocates were told he’s finalizing his policy team, but will get back to them once that occurs, McQuie says.

According to a statement from Housing Works, the Clinton and Sanders campaigns each proposed before the New York primary to meet with HIV community leaders, but confirmations never materialized. Only after threatening demonstrations at the Clinton and Sanders headquarters on the day before the New York primary did both campaigns promise May meetings.

Charles King, CEO of Housing Works, said in the statement he’s among Sanders’ supporters, but the candidate’s decision to cancel the meeting is “incredibly disappointing.”

“I have been a supporter of Bernie Sanders, and was proud to vote for him in the New York primary,” King said. “It is disheartening to see the ‘revolutionary’ candidate who claims to value grassroots organizing and visionary politics not make time in his schedule to meet with us. He is supposed to be the guy who walks the walk, but all we’ve heard the past six weeks is talk—and fairly tepid, reactive talk at that.”

Ramon Gardenhire, vice president of policy and advocacy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, said Sanders should remain true to his word to meet HIV advocates.

“AIDS activists have learned the hard way that patience costs lives,” Gardenhire said. “‘SILENCE=DEATH’ was a reality in the 1980s, not just a slogan, with thousands of Americans dying while President Reagan ignored the new epidemic. As the AIDS crisis grew, politicians often said supportive things and then did nothing. True leadership requires action, not just empty words. Time and again, Sen. Sanders has publicly vowed to show up and not back down even when a fight is an uphill battle. Now is the time for him to demonstrate that to the HIV community.”

Although Trump hasn’t made comments on HIV/AIDS over the course of the 2016 campaign, both Clinton and Sanders have made confronting HIV/AIDS, which affects an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States, a component of their campaigns.

After apologizing for praising Nancy Reagan on HIV/AIDS, Clinton wrote an op-ed outlining a plan to confront the disease, which includes increased HIV and AIDS research and investment; expanding access to PrEP, especially for at-risk populations; reforming state HIV criminalization laws and encouraging Republican governors to accept Medicaid expansion.

Sanders unveiled a similar plan the day after that left out PrEP, but included a goal for “virtually universal access” to low-cost AIDS medications as soon as they’re approved and pushing for legislation to bar discrimination against LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS.

According to media reports, winning the Democratic presidential nomination through pledged delegates alone is now mathematically impossible for Sanders. The candidate has based continuing his campaign on calling on unpledged superdelegates to back the candidate whom their state supported at the Democratic National Convention, which he says gives him a path to victory.

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169 Comments

169 Comments

  1. lnm3921

    May 8, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    So much for Bernie being so much better than Hillary on our issues! Not even the courtesy of giving a phony excuse!

    • Timothy Nite

      May 8, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      Who do you think you are that you think you are more important than anyone else in the country? Get over yourselves.

      • lnm3921

        May 8, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        wtf are you babbling about? I can say whatever I please and don’t care if you like it or not. Get over your own self! Bernie is your sacred cow not mine!

        • Timothy Nite

          May 8, 2016 at 11:34 pm

          Then wtf would you care if he comes to visit? LOL You can smear all day long now. Nobody gives a f about NY. You made your bed now lay with her.

          • lnm3921

            May 8, 2016 at 11:37 pm

            Obviously you care. Just bend over for your daddy then!

          • Timothy Nite

            May 8, 2016 at 11:47 pm

            Cmon you’ve got better than that. F amateur.

        • Gracie Bean

          May 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

          I’m thinking Timothy forgot to take his bipolar meds today… Shhh Timothy shhh. All will be ok.

    • Matt

      May 8, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      He’s a real monster, rescheduling a thirty minute meeting while you are touring an entire country to campaign for the nations highest office! Hes been advocating for gay rights for more than 20 years people and he’s running against someone who opposed gay marriage as recently as 2013 and credits Nancy Reagan for hiv visibility.Give me a break with this pathetic hit peace, Bernie owes no explanation to these self righteous gay advocacy groups

      • lnm3921

        May 8, 2016 at 10:13 pm

        You already posted the same exact thing before. Doesn’t make it anymore relevant a second time!

        • Matt

          May 8, 2016 at 10:14 pm

          Yep, that was an accident. Doesn’t mean I’m not correct, why exactly wouldn’t it be relevant? You know what relevant means right?

          • lnm3921

            May 8, 2016 at 10:19 pm

            How is cutting and pasting the same lame response to a different post result from an accident?

            We care what people are doing for us now and tomorrow. Yeah relevant means the opposite of what you said!

            You people claim Bernie has done so much for us yet until this election I never heard of him and I’ve been following out issues for decades!

          • Timothy Nite

            May 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

            Just shut up already. You picked Hillary. Go get your asspats from her.

          • lnm3921

            May 8, 2016 at 11:41 pm

            Why don’t you stfu? go ask Bernie to wipe your stinky butt! Your smell makes the nation gag!

          • Timothy Nite

            May 8, 2016 at 11:49 pm

            That’s a bit better. Still a little childish. Raise the bar a little more.

          • lnm3921

            May 9, 2016 at 6:31 am

            Your level can’t go any higher!

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 12:41 am

            And for years I’ve been saying that the most important thing to understand in American politics is the corporatist/progressive divide, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus with a third of Democrats in the House – which Bernie co-founded – and that Bernie is my favorite member of Congress.

            Bernie has been the leading progressive in the country for decades. Some of us were very aware of him.

          • lnm3921

            May 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

            Your leading progressive has then been largely invisible for decades in the mainstream because the few don’t outweigh the many who see him as nothing more than a Johnny come lately who doesn’t know when it’s time to concede!

            The most important thing to understand in this election is that we do not need another Ralph Nader effect in what could be a tight election!

            There is too much at stake for our community. The SCOTUS is in play and could tilt to the right with the wrong appointments following a Trump victory.

            We don’t need a bunch of idealist with no clue of the dire consequences that can follow wasting time siphoning votes to a candidate that doesn’t realistically have a chance of winning. This isn’t an academic game! It’s real life and real life has harsh realities. Wake up!

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 10:55 pm

            Lot of ignorance in those comments.
            Johnny come lately? Idiotic. he co-founded the Progressive Caucus and has been the top progressive in the country, in my opinion, for decades, fighting the good fight while the Clintons triangulated and adopted right-wing policies.
            There is zero issue with ‘another Ralph Nader’. Bernie is committed to the Democrat winning, and will not split the vote as a third candidate in the general election – unlike Ralph Nader.
            You are arguing how important it is we not elect a Republican by arguing to put up our far weaker candidate, Hillary, against him. Every poll shows Bernie doing better than Hillary. Bernie draws from Republicans and centrists because of his honesty and fighting for the average American

            Hillary has stronger support in the Democratic Party – after being in its most famous family for 25 years.
            But Bernie is clearly stronger in the general. Hillary is the most disliked nominee in decades besides trump.
            We DO need an idealist, when an idealist is someone who doesn’t think our democracy being owned by the wealthy is the right thing and will fight to change that – since when is that an attack for a progressive?
            The idealist chose to chair the veterans committee and got the biggest veterans benefit bill in modern history passed in this obstructionist environment that can’t pass anything.
            You are the one fighting for the wrong things and hurting your own cause because you’re ignorant.

          • lnm3921

            May 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

            If the race was for leading progressive the i guess he’s qualified but it’s for President so pull it together.

            What counts is who has the delegates to win. You don’t win otherwise. As such, Sanders incessant insistence on running is pointless. It’s time to rally around the likely candidate and drop out.

            The GOP wannabes got the clue and dropped out. Continuing to bash Hillary as unfit does not show Bernie as anything more than a spoiler like Nader. Enough already surrender Dorothy!

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 11:17 pm

            He’s the best qualified for president as well.

            By far.

            trump has the nomination locked up. Hillary does not.

            A poll shows Democrats disagree with you: zero percent of Bernie supporters said he should leave the race now, and only 16% of Democrats said he should.

            He’s said and he’s right that he’s letting every state have a say.

            Running a primary race is not the same as Nader.

            You are awfully anxious for us to put the bad one up.

          • lnm3921

            May 10, 2016 at 11:26 pm

            You’re in denial. Everyone says Bernie has no path to win the delegates for the nomination so unless you want a contested convention you are wasting time. Essentially you are only helping trump.

          • Craig234

            May 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm

            Wrong. But the followers of the frontrunner who have blind on always attack the challenger for helping the Repubs.

          • lnm3921

            May 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm

            You’re attacked because you arrogantly think you know better when in reality you know zilch! Just because you won’t accept reality won’t change it!

            You’re in for a rude awakening! But we won’t stand by and let you drag ius down with you!

            Your incessant support for Bernie really is a vote for trump but you’re too blind to see it! Sad.

            That loud crash you about to hear is your bubble popping!

          • Craig234

            May 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

            Clueless idiocy. You are quite ignorant about a lot of things, especially our democracy. Go cheer corruption.

          • lnm3921

            May 13, 2016 at 8:11 am

            Clueless idealism. Democracy has nothing to do with it. It’s about what it takes to win and getting the best out of the lesser of two evils!

            You are a low it all that lows squat and in for a rude awakening!

          • Linda Be

            May 14, 2016 at 6:04 am

            No. He wasnt the leading progressive. He was the leading Independent, who founded a little group of people. they got nothing accomplished. The leading Progressives were Ted Kennedy, Bella Azbug, .Shirley Chisholm, and Barney Frank and others.

            The case against Bernie Sanders, according to Barney Frank https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/04/06/the-case-against-bernie-sanders-according-to-barney-frank/

          • dhodge

            May 11, 2016 at 1:15 am

            Your’e wrong about Bernie, and you’re extemely wrong about Hillary. You’re voting against your own best interest. Don’t say I didnt warn you. She cares nothing about the people and only her personal interests. She’s also an opportunist. js

          • lnm3921

            May 11, 2016 at 7:41 pm

            You’re the one that will be sorry if the GOP gets the White House due to this infighting between Hillary and Bernie.

            Whoever wins the nomination should get our vote. Not voting because it’s Hillary or voting for Bernie as a third party candidate likely could give the edge to the GOP!

            You’re still better off with Hillary in the White House doing nothing for us than Trump in office doing everything against us!

            Trump already said he wants to appoint judges that will reverse Roe v Wade despite it being settled law over 40 years ago.

            What therefore would you expect with marriage equality let alone the right to use the bathroom of your choice as transgender or religious freedom laws trumping glbt freedoms and rights?

      • pragDem

        May 9, 2016 at 1:25 am

        you’re right, he really doesn’t need to explain.

        i mean, even he knows the race is over so there’s no point now.

        • John Skelly

          May 9, 2016 at 11:07 am

          True but the entire Republican party is going to vote for him in these primaries now. He might use that as an excuse to whine all summer long for superdelegates hes not going to get!

          • Gracie Bean

            May 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

            Um…um… I dont even know how to respond to that. There is only one semi-open primary left. So the ALL the republicans cant vote for him.

          • John Skelly

            May 9, 2016 at 11:18 pm

            There is more than that California you can do it 15 days away,but their switching party registration. Testosterone finds a way. 84,000Republicans just switched to Democrat in Oregon for example. If they really were for Sanders they would of done it a long time ago not just right after Cruz dropped out and Trump clinched.

        • LAguy323

          May 11, 2016 at 1:03 am

          Then don’t bother thanking him for this.

          Senator Sanders Endorses CA Drug Price Relief Act May 10
          “U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his support for AHF’s California Drug Price Relief Act. Read the press release and Sanders’ statement”
          http://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/26792

          • Linda Be

            May 14, 2016 at 5:28 am

            Senator Sanders Endorses CA Drug Price Relief Act
            Posted May 10, 2016 He only put that up to pander to the Gay Vote. Sounds good, but where has he been all this time?

      • Arturo Sierra

        May 9, 2016 at 1:40 am

        How do you and the rest of the bern-out-bots sleep at night? FU$%&*G FOOLS!!!

        • Scott T Scott

          May 9, 2016 at 7:44 am

          Paid shill trolls of the Internet unite!!!

          • Gracie Bean

            May 9, 2016 at 4:57 pm

            Actually – I am thinking you might be a paid troll. Deflect much?

          • John Skelly

            May 10, 2016 at 6:20 am

            No one here is a paid troll. Your all morons. If every single person on here isn’t for Sanders you think their a troll.

          • iresonancei

            May 10, 2016 at 4:32 pm

            I sincerely think it has more to do with his rhetoric than if he criticized Berinie. If you go back and read what Arturo said, it pretty much speaks for itself.

        • stevelittle

          May 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm

          And that is exactly how you get people that support another candidate to come over to your side. Guess instead you’ll have to do a little crawling and begging when it comes down to her being trounced by Trump, not because of Sanders but because Hillary’s supporters can’t show a lick of respect or decency.

        • LAguy323

          May 11, 2016 at 1:11 am

          While catty queens like you were complaining about a non-issue, this happened:
          Senator Sanders Endorses CA Drug Price Relief Act May 10, 2016
          “U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his support for AHF’s California Drug Price Relief Act. Read the press release and Sanders’ statement”

          http://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/26792

          • John Michael Di Spirito

            May 12, 2016 at 1:55 am

            Hey, LAguy323 (aka “Brian Hamilton”), you need to start getting smarter about your copying and pasting skills when you’re working for Shillary. Here you are on the Huffington Post’s article about the same topic

          • John Michael Di Spirito

            May 12, 2016 at 1:57 am

            Hey, LAguy323 (aka “Brian Hamilton”):

            You need to start getting smarter about your copying and pasting skills when you’re working for Shillary.

            Here you are on the Huffington Post’s article about the same topic with the exact same comment.

            Just more tricks. More games. And you’re making Hillary look REALLY bad.

            Shut it down, for your own sake.

            Whoops! :-X

          • LAguy323

            May 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm

            Working for Shillery? You are one delusional queen. Call the doctor and schedule a check up.

          • John Michael Di Spirito

            May 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm

            Nice try boo! Shut it down. You lost this one. Bwahahahaha!

          • LAguy323

            May 12, 2016 at 7:33 pm

            Put the crack pipe down, girl.

          • John Michael Di Spirito

            May 12, 2016 at 7:41 pm

            Congratulations! You found me on Facebook? Want a cookie too…? I wasn’t exactly hiding boo.

          • LAguy323

            May 12, 2016 at 7:33 pm

          • LAguy323

            May 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm

            What gives you the paranoid delusional fantasy that i am a shill for Hillary? Turn in your detective’s licence, Jessica Fletcher.

      • raebzan

        May 9, 2016 at 7:07 am

        You can’t be serious, Matt. “Self-righteous”? What’s self-righteous about wanting to save lives? About reminding people AIDS was around before Zika?

        Hillary’s keeping her appointment. Bernie’s a coward for canceling, and I voted for him. Guess I’m with her now if the arrogance of his campaign and supporters like you are more interested in fighting losing battles than paying attention.

        • Gracie Bean

          May 9, 2016 at 4:56 pm

          This is his arrogance.

        • C Law

          May 10, 2016 at 6:46 pm

          So, you want to read into it that he is a coward instead of possible scheduling conflicts?

        • stevelittle

          May 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

          Sad.

      • Luna Maya

        May 9, 2016 at 9:05 am

        Advocating gay right for 20 years? hahah, i that including the resolution he signed to reaffirmed marriage between husband and wife in 1982?

        • Anthony Canney

          May 9, 2016 at 10:10 am

          you realize “20 years ago” would be 1996 right? So…. no that wouldn’t include the 1982 resolution…. unless you are REALLY poor at math.

          • Dot Beech

            May 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

            To quote Addison DeWitt, “You have a point, my dear. An idiotic point, but a point nonetheless.”

            It is irrelevant whether he signed that resolution 20 years ago, or 40 years ago. Whenever it was signed, it was discriminatory and oppressive and bigoted. 1982 was 13 years after Stonewall, giving Sanders PLENTY of time to think through the basics of equality and respect, if he wasn’t already committed to such things. Which, clearly, he was not. And that’s all the context anyone needs for this current affront to people living with HIV and AIDS.

            Sanders pushes everything through his limited, albeit important, filter of income inequality. Not all issues are economic. And when they are not, as in foreign policy, Sanders is useless. He’s just another thin-skinned straight man with a sense of entitlement and a bad hair cut. And haven’t we as a community suffered enough of those?

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 12:31 am

            I’d say the ‘idiotic’ point is yours – for 20 years means for 20 years, and you leave out the comparison with his opponent – was Hillary sooner or later than Bernie on supporting gay marriage?

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 12:38 am

            Just got to your second point.

            Actually, pretty much every progressive issue is hugely affected by the issue of money.

            The inequality makes the small wealthy class the only voice that matters in our government – a study found that the non-donating public now has zero influence on votes by Congress.

            And that affects every vote, every issue, as money puts people representing the wealthy in office.

            Sanders’ foreignpolicy is far better than Hillary’s poor, hawk, Kissinger-like warmongering.

            Just this morning I was watching her and Bernie speaking on the Iraq war resolution – and I’m nicer than most to Hillary on that, cutting her some slack for Bush’s deceit, but Bernie in comparison was right on target, talking about things like how it could lead to radical groups gaining power, how it threatened to cost a huge amount unlike the administration predictions, and so on. Useless? That’s Hillary, not Bernie.

            And later, in a debate a Democratic candidate next to Hillary on stage made a passionate statement praising the candidates on the stage who had oppose the vote, and said how horribly disappointed he was in Hillary’s choice.

            She just laughed like it was hilarious.

          • Linda Be

            May 14, 2016 at 5:32 am

            Oh, yes…his “War” vote

        • Mike Rogers

          May 10, 2016 at 8:46 am

          You clearly did not read the resolution.

          • Luna Maya

            May 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm

            Resolution is to affirmed marriage between Husband and Wife.

          • LAguy323

            May 11, 2016 at 1:08 am

            I don’t think she’s interested in the truth.

        • stevelittle

          May 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm

          Hillary didn’t flip flop on Gay Marriage rights until 2013. What is your argument?

          • Luna Maya

            May 10, 2016 at 5:05 pm

            At least Hillary attended Gay Pride twice in NYC, she also met the HIV Activist, she responded personally to a Transgender who was attacked on NYC Subway.
            Sanders claimed to be better on this issue, but all he care is just Rally and win the nomination and collecting as much donation as he can.

          • stevelittle

            May 10, 2016 at 6:19 pm

            Oh wow! A politician attends a Gay Pride in her district. In NYC. Wow! Cutting edge. What a yuge political risk… Look Hunty, we can go down this slippery slope forever. No Demo politician running for President has been all that good about gay rights. But hopefully, Bernie can get you some free remedial English college courses….

          • Luna Maya

            May 10, 2016 at 6:21 pm

            Bernie has been in the Senate for 25 years, did he ever attends Vermont Gay Pride? I don’t think so, he doesn’t give a damn about it, he was against Federal Gay Marriage in 2006. And he claimed to be long time LGBT supporter.. that is laughable!

          • stevelittle

            May 10, 2016 at 6:38 pm

            Ha ha, you are just being silly.

          • Luna Maya

            May 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm

            Ha ha, you are in denial, I hope Sanders will give you free college.

          • stevelittle

            May 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

            Ah, how sweet. I guess you actually CAN see a better future for our country and aren’t completely existing in the Hillary bubble.

          • LAguy323

            May 11, 2016 at 1:08 am

            I think you’re in denial, dear.

          • Iikka Keränen

            May 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm

            Sanders backed one of the first Gay Pride parades when he was the mayor of Burlington in 1983. This was a very courageous thing to do at the time.

          • LAguy323

            May 11, 2016 at 1:06 am

            That’s correct, he did.

          • LAguy323

            May 11, 2016 at 1:05 am

            Bernie created the first Gay Pride Day in Vermont, in 1983. You need to STFU and learn history before you type another negative word, Queen.

        • truthy

          May 11, 2016 at 8:45 am

          That was 34 years ago

      • Ninja0980

        May 9, 2016 at 10:51 am

        Bernie didn’t support full equality until 2009, when just happened to be when Vermont passed marriage equality.
        Funny how that works.

        • stevelittle

          May 10, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          Oh come on now. Don’t be intentionally dense. Hillary was definitely anti-gay marriage until 2013. This really can’t be an argument for one or the other.

          Of course there is that fantastic speech defending Gay soldiers in the military before the full Senate in 1995. A speech that he really had no political reason for making.

          • Ninja0980

            May 11, 2016 at 1:10 am

            Indeed he did and he deserves kudos for that.
            Doesn’t change the fact that in 06, he wanted LGBT folks to take a back seat to his political ambitions.

          • Linda Be

            May 14, 2016 at 5:40 am

            Bernie was no fan.

        • LAguy323

          May 11, 2016 at 1:02 am

          Put a sock in it.

      • Bob Conti

        May 9, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        Rescheduling a meeting that people from non-profits were flying in to attend. You know, airfare, rescheduling appointments, dog sitters… This isn’t rescheduling lunch with somebody you work with. I just booked a ticket from LA to IND for a work meeting. It wasn’t cheap and would cost at least $200 to change, plus any change in airfare. Which there will be. If it ever happens. It isn’t just that simple.

        • Craig234

          May 10, 2016 at 12:43 am

          It’s very unfortunate the trouble the group was put to.

          But don’t confuse that bad thing with the far more important issues and policies of the candidates.

          It’s a reason to be upset over the meeting but not to base support for the candidate on.

      • Kiki Bc

        May 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm

        Wow your ridiculous to say that they deserve the same respect

      • Michael Soule

        May 9, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        Self righteous? Its a fricken epidemic that affects ALL walks of life! I know it may be hard to wrap your narrow mind around, but yes, heterosexuals can contract HIV and AIDS as well you low life piece of garbage. These are all human lives, not “just gay ones”…

      • Linda Be

        May 14, 2016 at 5:50 am

        Bernie opposed many things, including marriage.

    • LAguy323

      May 11, 2016 at 1:01 am

      Senator Sanders Endorses CA Drug Price Relief Act May 10th 2016
      “U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his support for AHF’s California Drug Price Relief Act. Read the press release and Sanders’ statement”
      http://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/26792

      • lnm3921

        May 11, 2016 at 7:31 pm

        So what? Who can get elected by the current rules which is the most electoral votes is what matters. All this banter over Bernie is a waste of time.

        Put him to bed so we can move ahead. Enough said!

  2. Timothy Nite

    May 8, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Why don’t you meet with Bloomberg or perhaps Goldman Sachs or try Lehman Brothers….DiBlasio? How about you contact the DNC directly. I’m sure they will listen. After all, It’s the party of Hillary Clinton and she really cares. Isn’t that what she told you?

  3. Matt

    May 8, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    He’s a real monster, rescheduling a thirty minute meeting while you are touring an entire country to campaign for the nations highest office! Hes been advocating for gay rights for more than 20 years people and he’s running against someone who opposed gay marriage as recently as 2013 and credits Nancy Reagan for hiv visibility.Give me a break with this pathetic hit peace, Bernie owes no explanation to these self righteous gay advocacy groups.

    • lnm3921

      May 8, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Bernie needs to get over his ego and go to bed. So what if Hillary opposed marriage equality before so did pretty much every politician including Obama!! Yet look all Obama has done for us since then!

      • Timothy Nite

        May 8, 2016 at 11:36 pm

        you need to quit playing victim.

        • lnm3921

          May 9, 2016 at 6:28 am

          You need to quit. Period!

      • Timothy Nite

        May 8, 2016 at 11:50 pm

        next?

        • lnm3921

          May 9, 2016 at 6:32 am

          Obviously your life is this blog and Bernie. Pathetic!

          • Timothy Nite

            May 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm

            Pathetic is you thinking that winning a pissing match with a stranger on the internet gives you any kind of self esteem, integrity, or anything positive at all. Do the world a favor and hit Hillary up for your AIDS Medication. I’m sure she will help you.

          • lnm3921

            May 10, 2016 at 10:04 pm

            Then you describe yourself as you started this with me and don’t know when to quit! I made a comment to this article not you directly! Who is really trying to win this pissing match me or you? You picked the wrong sistah to mess with! I thrive on this!

            If you can’t handle it then put a muzzle on your mouth and get back into your cage! Heal boy! You’re so petty. You’re the last person to talk about taking the high ground hypocrite.

            An open forum will include things you don’t like hearing, grow a pair and stop whining and taking tantrums like a spoiled arrogant child! It’s not about you!

            As for AIDS, no one ever said that was a personal issue! Just because you don’t have compassion and are selfish doesn’t mean everyone else is!

        • lnm3921

          May 9, 2016 at 6:41 am

          Bottom line you’re a loser backing a loser! Get over it!

          • Timothy Nite

            May 10, 2016 at 8:03 pm

            Nah I’m someone who is voting against Hillary. Get it RIGHT!

          • lnm3921

            May 10, 2016 at 9:48 pm

            No one said eveyone able to vote has common sense let alone a clue! That’s why the founders thought we needed an electoral college to elect president not a popular vote!

            You and Dorothy’s scarecrow have a lot in common.

            All you’re ready voting for is trump! You may just as well put a gun to your head as you’re essentially supporting the empowerment of people dedicated to stripping you of your civil rights and dignity as a glbt American.

            You’re hurting yourself and are too arrogant to realize it!

      • Wolfstarking

        May 9, 2016 at 3:08 am

        Every politician? You know Bernie has been for marriage equality since pretty much always? He was even for transgender rights in the 70’s. So no not every “politician”

        • lnm3921

          May 9, 2016 at 6:35 am

          Yeah whatever. Never heard of him until this election. Some big impact He’s made!

        • Ninja0980

          May 9, 2016 at 10:53 am

          He wasn’t for marriage equality during his Senate run in 06, telling our side that civil unions should be sufficient and that fighting for anything more would be too much.
          So while his stance on many issues were ahead of his time, marriage equality wasn’t one of them.

        • Mawm

          May 9, 2016 at 12:59 pm

          he said Marriage was a states issue and did not support federal marriage equality in his 2006 senate bid. Stop deifying him

  4. Gale Abernathy

    May 8, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    No, that doesn’t give Sanders a path to victory. If that happened, Hillary would still win.

    • Timothy Nite

      May 8, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      As someone who contributes to Sanders I would say that would be irresponsible of him to fly all the way back to a place that doesnt matter in the first place. Get over yourself.

      • MImi

        May 9, 2016 at 1:24 am

        That just makes you childish.

        • Dao

          May 9, 2016 at 2:26 am

          Or just a person that feels that a hateful pompous poo flinging orangutan wearing a $1000 suit would make a better president than Clinton.

          Take that as you will.

        • Timothy Nite

          May 10, 2016 at 8:05 pm

          No it makes me a voter. You don’t like who I cast for…you don’t have to. You don’t like who I cast against? SO what…it’s not your vote. Who’s being childish here?

          • MImi

            May 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm

            No to go to the extreme because you are pouting makes you childish. I am a Hillary supporter but if Bernie gets the nomination I will vote for Bernie because I will stand with my party.

      • Ninja0980

        May 9, 2016 at 10:54 am

        Which means you aren’t a progressive in the first place and never were.

        • Timothy Nite

          May 10, 2016 at 8:03 pm

          don’t worry about what I am. Hillary is no progressive in the first place. There is no movement. Just Sanders supporters and HIllary supporters…and you shitstain.

  5. Lin Flow

    May 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    … because he know that the gay vote is going to Hillary no matter what, so why waste the energy?

    • Timothy Nite

      May 8, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Why would he come all the way back to new york for your bullshit when hes busy trying to win an election? You aint nobody special.

    • Tituba Gonzalez

      May 9, 2016 at 12:25 am

      Yeah, maybe the stupid gay men who thought legalizing gay marriage was the most important issue that queer people faced. I’m out here in California and the only gay people supporting Clinton are the “YASSSS” white men in West Hollywood.

  6. positivechat.COM

    May 8, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    People should know more about HIV/AIDs to prevent the spreading of this virus.

    • Timothy Nite

      May 8, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      they can google it

  7. Timothy Nite

    May 8, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    New York already said their peace about Sanders. Now STFU.

  8. Timothy Nite

    May 8, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    All you Hillary supporters who count on Sanders supporters to throw away their vote on a write in ballot think again. We are all going to vote for Trump.

  9. Timothy Nite

    May 8, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    It’s not about Bernie anymore. It’s about making Hillary lose.

  10. Timothy Nite

    May 8, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    No wonder New Yorkers like Hillary so much. They are all retarded.

  11. Arturo Sierra

    May 9, 2016 at 1:39 am

    I have said this time and time again… bern-out only cares about getting fools to send money to his campaign to keep family members on his pay roll…He has never cared about the L.G.B.T. community, Latinos, African-Americans or other groups…Let’s NOT forget this OLD FART has been in congress 20 plus years and has nothing to show for it…still voting for b.s? Only a TRUE Progressive Democrat for me…Hillary 2016!!

    • Wolfstarking

      May 9, 2016 at 3:10 am

      Hillary a progressive democrat? Hahahahahahaha very funny. Since when neoliberals are progressives? ???

      • Moonbeam_Song

        May 9, 2016 at 9:07 am

        Well… given that during their time in the Senate together Clinton and Sanders voting records aligned more than 90% of the time, either she’s more progressive than you are willing to admit, or he’s less progressive in practice than he claims.

        Acting as if these two are light-years apart has never made sense to me, throughout this campaign.

        • Essus

          May 9, 2016 at 1:34 pm

          Those aligned votes for post offices etc (which make up so much of the 90%) had nothing to do with policy. The differences are when there were policy oriented votes (like the war vote).

          • Moonbeam_Song

            May 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm

            And still only a small portion of their overall record. Look at their stances on the whole spectrum of political issues — they are not that far apart. There are differences, yes, but they are differences of degree, of strategy, most of the time. They are absolutely closer to each other than either of them are to conservatives, and there’s a significant amount of overlap to their goals.

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 12:54 am

            You have to look at a lot more than votes, but rather what they advocate.

            Look at Bernie’s filibuster, made into a book called “The Speech”, and compare it to Hillary’s speeches, which were legalized bribery by groups like Goldman-Sachs, enriching her by $153 million.

          • Moonbeam_Song

            May 10, 2016 at 8:29 am

            I have looked at what they both advocate, and what they have both advocated throughout the decades. Both have their pluses and minuses, but both overlap significantly more than you are crediting. And Sanders has some negatives in his past as well.

            They’re both politicians. Neither of them is Gandhi or Mother Theresa. They are both flawed human beings, but they’re for more of the same things than any other realistically-possible candidate of any party right now.

            Seriously, the overlap in their positions is significant.

          • Craig234

            May 10, 2016 at 10:58 pm

            Actually the difference between them is HUGE.

            Yes, they overlap on some things, meaning Hillary has lesser versions of Bernie’s policies.

            But Hillary will continue our corporate takeover of our government while Bernie will not.

            You undercredit the huge differences.

            And just wait until Hllary gets out of ‘say anything to beat Bernie’ mode.

            She already reversed her position on coal.

            She’s going to Bush donors saying she represents their interests for a reason. Bernie’s not.

          • Moonbeam_Song

            May 11, 2016 at 8:33 am

            It’s absolutely NOT huge, and this “corporate takeover” thing is all scurrilous rumor-mongering, not fact. I realize that election season brings out the “we have to hate our competitor” mindset, but it does a huge disservice to Clinton’s overall record to keep repeating this kind of falsehood.

            She’s a moderate and a pragmatist, but her end goals are VERY similar to Sanders. The difference is more of approach and nuance than end result.

            She’s not “say anything to beat Bernie” by any stretch — she’s got a boatload of materials which she could bury him with (his past is filled with statements and positions that absolutely will turn off many voters) but she has chosen not to. But the GOP won’t go so softly on him.

            Sanders seems to think he can make radical changes quickly; Clinton believes these changes have to be made through compromise and more incremental steps.

            There are excellent reasons to support either candidate, but to think they are light-years apart is just not credible.

    • Essus

      May 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      You are mendacious at best and a paid troll at best. Off with you. Your reply is cut and paste from other users on other sites.

    • Craig234

      May 10, 2016 at 12:52 am

      You’re simply a liar.
      Bernie is the one who DOES care about those groups.

      Hillary is the most phony so-called ‘progressive’ we might have ever seen – HERSELF saying last year she is a “centrist”, not a progressive.

      Until competing with Bernie made it useful to say the opposite – but now she is off telling Bush donors SHE represents their interests.

    • TheDistrict

      May 10, 2016 at 8:50 am

      A true progressive… you know, the kind that earns millions from Goldman Sachs and refuses to tell us what she said to them. Real progressive.

  12. Wolfstarking

    May 9, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Lol look at this pathetic comments. “He cancelled he’s the worst” lol pathetic.

  13. Scott T Scott

    May 9, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Hey, this reminds me of that hatchet job that atlanta’s mayor had going. Written by shill’s super pac. Give me a break. Bernie has stood with the lgbt community for decades. His Medicare for all healthcare plan would significantly improve the lives of the sick. This story is a complete paid shill propaganda piece. Don’t be fooled.

  14. Luna Maya

    May 9, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Sanders knows he is not going to win, so he just not interested meeting really people, he just want to get as much as fame as possible by doing big rally.

  15. Jeffrey

    May 9, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Bernie is probably a good guy, but voters have rightly concluded that he is not the right guy. Not sure what there is left to argue about. So his canceling appearances and meetings is just a precursor to his “campaign on hold” announcement. How much more money he can pull out of donors is the only thing keeping him in the race at this point.

    • Ray Taylor

      May 9, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Bernie is simply ‘winding down’ his campaign as necessary.

    • Craig234

      May 10, 2016 at 12:49 am

      No, voters have WRONGLY made that decision, by a relatively small margin, and I suspect almost entirely on ignorance.
      Hillary has 25 years of fame as the best known Democratic family in politics that whole period.
      Bernie was unknown to most.
      It’s incredible what he has done this campaign – 3% to 50% support.
      Basically the only issue has been how many people the campaign can inform – the more that are exposed the more votes he gets.

      Hillary has never gone up in her ratings in any election.
      Bernie, on the other hand, is the #1 rated out of all hundred Senators for the most support from his state’s voters.
      He not only dominates the Democratic vote in Vermont, but gets 20%-25% of the REPUBLICAN vote.
      It’s why he won HIS state by 84% while Hillary won hers by a far smaller margin.
      She is the second least liked candidate in modern history after trump – Bernie tops the favorability ratings.
      But many Democrats are clueless about him and pulled the lever for Hillary because they know the name, in my opinion.

      • DonnaKuykendallStebbins

        May 10, 2016 at 1:04 am

        He won his very small state by 84% because Vermont is a very far-left Democratic voting state. If you had any knowledge of politics, you would never compare Vermont to Arkansas. *smh

        • Craig234

          May 10, 2016 at 3:05 am

          No, Donna, your post is badly lacking in reading comprehension.

          First, the size of the state is irrelevant to the percent of people who have an opinion.

          And Bernie has the highest percent supporting him of any Senator.

          Second, Vermont is a ‘very far-left Democratic voting state’ largely BECAUSE Bernie made it that way. He had an incredible influence on the state’s political culture, shifting it from a more apolitical state to the progressive state it is.

          When he became mayor he did all kinds of things that built that progressive culture, and the next election had double the voter turnout because of how energized he got people. That’s progressive leadership.

          Bill Clinton’s coattails couldn’t even get a future Nobel Prize winner who led the creation of the internet able to defeat George W. Bush, the incompetent and corrupt son of a former one-term president.

          Leadership, not so much.

          Thirdly I was comparing Bernie’s home state of Vermont to Hillary’s home state of New York – which she represented in the Senate, not Arkansas – but take your pick.

  16. Brooke

    May 9, 2016 at 10:23 am

    This seems like kind of a non- story, there was obviously miscommunication involved somewhere along the pipeline, Bernie just downsized his campaign staff.

  17. iresonancei

    May 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I wish people wouldn’t jump to conclusions. Bernie sanders often has to set up impromptu rallies and town halls, after all, he is still competing in a primary. So you can imagine how his schedule must change from day to day and week, and how many other meetings he may have had to reschedule. I seriously doubt he would intentionally rebuff the HIV advocacy group, when it probably comes down to just not knowing what his primary schedule is looking like. With that said, it is in Sanders best interest to reach out to the advocacy group and give them the consideration of some sort of explanation.

    • Dot Beech

      May 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

      That’s fine enough, if his campaign reimburses the non-profit employers of the scheduled attendees for the money they have spent to travel, in reliance on his broken commitment.

      • iresonancei

        May 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

        Which should be a private matter rather than airing out their grievances in public. This issue is such a non-issue…

        • Jaegers

          May 9, 2016 at 1:40 pm

          God forbid, someone criticize Saint Bernie in public.

          • iresonancei

            May 9, 2016 at 2:07 pm

            Please feel free to criticize Bernie. I’ll definitely be the first to do it. For instance, I think he should have gone a bit further to help PROGRESSIVES, not establishment candidates down ballot. He could have gone a bit further on breaking up banks though I interpreted the NY Daily News article as he wanted to leave the process up to the banks themselves. But for those who didn’t have the mental capacity to understand that, he could have spelled it out for them.

            I could go on if you like? So please spare me your condescension.

        • Michael Soule

          May 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm

          So HIV/AIDS is a “non-issue” to you? Apparently you nor anyone you know or have known has been infected or died as a result. Must be nice to be one of the privileged ones.

          • iresonancei

            May 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm

            Are you dense? If you CAREFULLY read the thread, I said it would be in Bernie’s best interest to reach out to the advocacy group… You’re just grasping at straws.

  18. Sandra

    May 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

    If he won’t offer an explanation of why he canceled the meeting, you can let him know at the ballot box how you feel…

  19. Mawm

    May 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I doubt you were as active then as you said, because if you were, then you would acknowledge that Bill and Hillary campaigned on funding the AIDS crisis in 1992. They were the first national politicians to do so, and when Clinton got into office he immediately kept his promise and started funding research and care through the federal govt.

  20. NGC

    May 9, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Mixups happen. What isn’t a mixup is how HRC supporters will use anything against the American Candidate Bernie Sanders. I forgot to mention the HRC trolls are live and well using others pain for their perverted end.

  21. sam

    May 9, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    People using the term “mathematically impossible” must not understand what it means. Jesus.

  22. John Carl O'Neil

    May 9, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    His campaign said they had to reschedule, and they replied by sending emails threatening to go public–sounds like a move intended to antagonize the campaign rather than come to any genuine understanding. It’s only been a week–I’m sure something could have been worked out before this declaration of war against Bernie Sanders.

    • Floyd

      May 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      They had been in daily communication with the campaign from the time the meeting was initially set up until it was cancelled. Now the campaign will not return phone calls at all. Why?

  23. Bobs_Vendetta

    May 9, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Those of you who use this as an excuse to attack Bernie Sanders with character assassination only demonstrate why many of us say “no way, no how” to the idea of supporting Hilary Clinton. And with the way the DNC (an extension of the Clinton political machine) is treating Sanders, I think it’s time for him to bail on the Democratic Party and run with the Green Party. They are on the ballot in the majority of states. Sanders can run as the Green candidate and make turning the Green Party into a viable third party a part of this legacy. It’s evident the Democratic Party establishment is intent that Bernie’s political revolution wil be dead and gone before the Democratic Party convention.

    • DonnaKuykendallStebbins

      May 10, 2016 at 1:07 am

      *smh

  24. Gracie Bean

    May 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Would you be cutting Hillary slack if she cancelled and never rescheduled?

    • linked1

      May 9, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Given Hillary’s record of opposing gay marriage until only very recently – when it became politically expediently to do, I wouldn’t cut her slack on anything related to gay rights.

  25. Kiki Bc

    May 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Bernie Sanders only meets when it benefits him I bet if they were to have media he would show up he only cares about his legacy and not the people

  26. TLCTugger

    May 10, 2016 at 12:08 am

    How do we know these are THE activists worth talking to on this issue? Maybe Bernie heard something about how lame they are but was too nice to say that out loud. There are 300 million Americans and only one Bernie; not everyone is going to get F2F with him. Sucks that they spring into action and incurred costs to make it to the doomed meeting.

    • Greg Pearson

      May 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      You might want to make your page private for safety and practical reasons. Some people follow where you made comments and reply to the people you replied to.

  27. Craig234

    May 10, 2016 at 3:08 am

    You’re insane Jeff.

  28. Carlos D Wilson

    May 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Have your voice heard by the candidates!! American affected by HIV? Take our survey at
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/56M28ZN
    The candidates are listening.

  29. Timothy Nite

    May 10, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    HAHAHA TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP

  30. Timothy Nite

    May 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    a proud gun owner and a member of the NRA shitheal

    • lnm3921

      May 10, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Since when does Bernie support the NRA or s right to carry a gun? Hello?

  31. LAguy323

    May 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Well said.

  32. LAguy323

    May 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    you like number 69 beef with brocaree?

  33. Jennifer Joe

    May 22, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Hello! friends my name is jennifer joe from Florida USA, I’m indeed very happy for the great help that DR.zubia rendered to me, I am here to give my testimony about Dr.zubia who helped me in my life. I had HIV AIDS last 2 months ago, I went to many hospitals for treatment but there was no solution, on till one faithful day , we saw a blog whereby DR.zubia cured a woman who also had HIV and AIDS, me and My Husband decided to contact him which we did, He cast the spell and asked me to go for check-up after three days of casting the spell, Luckily for us we were tested HIV negative, if you are going through the same problem or you have any problem at all and you need help you can contact the great Herbalist and a spell caster on email:[email protected]

  34. Richard La France

    May 26, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Don’t jump the gun, people. Bernie has support the LGBT community since the early 1960s when he was governor of Vermont. There had to be a very good reason for him to cancel. For instance, the issue of voter fraud that has caused him to lose thousands, if not millions of votes across the nation.

    This is not a joke. You can research the phenomenon all all over the internet. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have been committing voter fraud for decades and it is just now coming out into the open.

    The digital voting machines are rigged to flip votes or not recognize them at all. Secretaries of States are purging millions of voters’ names from the registries across the nation. Polling places, such as in Arizona where they closed down all but 60 of their 200 polling places so that people would stand in line all day until the polls closed and they were unable to vote.

    For those purged from the registries, polling places hand out provisional ballots which are not counted and are thrown away. And there are still more ways voters are being disenfranchised. Delegates supporting Bernie were taken from the list in Nevada, giving Hillary Clinton a means to grab them for herself, as if she doesn’t already have more than enough. They endorsed her before Bernie even announced he was running.

    Because of all this, the Bernie Sanders campaign is having to file lawsuits in many of the states where there is proof that his votes were stolen, including New York, Iowa, Rhode Island, and others.

    As a Bernie supporter, I’m sorry this meeting was cancelled. If you haven’t been answered, hold his campaign manager responsible, not Bernie Sanders. He is currently here in California trying to beat Hillary Clinton (also here) in a race that he should have been winning to begin with. I will see if I can reach his management team and make an issue of this and get a rescheduling for you.

    Please don’t give up on Bernie, people. His heart is still in this but his time is limited.

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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

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.

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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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