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CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT

LGBT Americans cannot risk a Trump administration

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Hillary Clinton, gay news, Washington Blade

Hillary Clinton (Photo by Gino Santa Maria; courtesy Bigstock)

Sen. Bernie Sanders has done the country a great service by shining a bright (if shrill) light on the entrenched problem of income inequality but his message failed to produce the revolution he sought and now it’s time for practicality to prevail.

While the Republicans have burned through 16 losing candidates and turned their party over to a racist, sexist bully with zero experience in elected office, the Democrats are still slugging it out — in May. This should be a time for Hillary Clinton’s victory lap, not a time for enduring more misguided attacks on her fitness for office from fellow Democrats.

Sanders deserves credit for running an effective campaign that caught the imagination of a younger generation tired of the status quo. His presence in the primaries has forced Clinton to up her game and sharpen her economic message. We owe him a big “thank you” for that.

But he has been mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination with pledged delegates. There simply is no credible path to victory. And the specter of what comes next should scare all voters into realizing the responsible thing for Sanders to do is to withdraw, endorse Clinton and start planning a national tour of college campuses to rally young voters to her side.

With Trump waiting in the wings, there is too much at stake to risk further damaging Clinton in the eyes of Sanders’s supporters, 25 percent of whom in a recent poll foolishly and naively said they would not vote for Clinton. Sanders must disabuse his followers of such self-destructive nonsense. Ralph Nader’s causes didn’t fare so well under George W. Bush. We mustn’t repeat the mistakes of third-party folly or pouty stay-at-home stubbornness.

The notion that Clinton is unqualified for the presidency, as Sanders has intimated, is absurd; Trump’s claims that she’d be soft on terrorism is at odds with her sometimes hawkish record.

On LGBT rights, Clinton was late to the marriage party but she has arrived — and there’s no turning back now. The time has come to forgive the many Democratic Party leaders who paid lip service to our issues for so long and move forward in this radically changed political environment in which anything but full-throated support for LGBT rights will not fly for any Democrat seeking the presidency. Clinton has pledged her full support for a range of LGBT causes. She even hired a gay campaign manager. Our progress is not only safe in her hands, it will continue.

Clinton has pledged to support the Equality Act, to allow transgender people to serve openly in the U.S. military and to end widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for minors. In addition, she has said she would expand access to HIV prevention and treatment; confront disproportionate violence facing transgender people, especially trans women of color; and continue her work as former secretary of state on international LGBT rights. She has consistently raised LGBT issues during the primary season, making them a centerpiece of her campaign.

At risk of playing the “woman’s card,” we should also seize this historic opportunity to elect the nation’s first female president. I want my 11 nieces and nephews to grow up in a country where electing an African American or female president is no big deal. We’re halfway there.

Perhaps most importantly, we can trust her judgment in making at least one — and possibly multiple — Supreme Court picks. With Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat vacant amid unprecedented, reckless GOP obstructionism, and three more justices aged 77 or older, it is imperative that Trump not be allowed to put his stamp of ignorance and bigotry on the high court.

We’ve made stunning progress thanks to President Obama, but make no mistake that Trump can and would turn back the clock on our equality in myriad ways. First, Trump has pledged to immediately revoke President Obama’s executive orders, which would certainly include the order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors. That order covers about 20 percent of the entire American workforce and our advocates fought hard to get it implemented. The thrice-married Trump has also promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Obergefell ruling and end marriage equality.

He has endorsed the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal version of the so-called “religious freedom” bills that have emerged in North Carolina and elsewhere that would legalize discrimination against LGBT Americans from coast to coast.

The LGBT community cannot risk a Trump presidency.

Hillary Clinton has promised to continue President Obama’s fierce advocacy on LGBT issues. And she’s backed up those words with specific, detailed policy proposals. Further, she has a record now of advocating for LGBT people around the world as secretary of state. The Blade has interviewed scores of overseas activists and they routinely cite her Geneva speech in which she famously said, “gay rights are human rights” as a game changer. Make no mistake that her public stand in defense of gay rights abroad has saved lives.

The time has come to move past divisive fights of the past and rally around an ally who has pledged to put the full weight of her administration and bully pulpit into maintaining and advancing LGBT equality. Hillary Clinton is that ally and has earned LGBT support in November.

Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at [email protected].

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53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. uhhuhh

    May 10, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    “Younger generation tired of the status quo.”

    I’ve heard enough of this preposterous nonsense about how toddlers who are voting in their first election have epic ennui about the status quo they’ve been enduring for sheer hours.

    • TBR78

      May 11, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      I wish there was a way to super-upvote this post.

    • NotYou

      May 11, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      I’ve heard enough of this preposterous narrative that Bernie supporters are young white males. Stop propagating myths created by the Hilary camp. The Bernie Bro narrative was created by her social media agency that hires people to comment for her to explain why their attempts have failed. It’s really sad. The majority of Hawaii is old and non-white and they absolutely love Bernie so umm… yeah please stop with the false narrative that only babies like Bernie. In fact, on the top 10 contributors to Bernie Sanders is the US Army: http://vetsforbernie.org/2016/03/military-supports-bernie-sanders/

      • Tom Edwards

        May 12, 2016 at 12:17 am

        .

        What in the world are you attempting to illustrate with a citation of one of the smallest states in the union (ranked 40th by population), which is 40% Asian, barely 10% Latino, and a teeny-tiny 2% black?

        Furthermore, Hawaii conducted a caucus, not a primary.

        You picked the most UN-representative, atypical state possible.

        Are you are laboring under the delusion that your citation proves Mr. Sanders does not have an inordinate share of young white men as supporters? That is his single biggest group, for pity sake.

        And to cap off this joke you’re telling, you give a link to a military vets organization?

        Ummmm, dude: The U.S. military is 70% white, and 85% male.

        http://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/2012_Demographics_Report.pdf

        .

        • NotYou

          May 12, 2016 at 12:40 am

          Bernie has won 54% of the popular vote since Super Tuesday (After all of the election fraud stealing Bernie votes and giving them to Clinton).

          These are not the young white males the media is telling you they are and if you look at the crowds you will see old people as well!

          • Tom Edwards

            May 12, 2016 at 12:49 am

            .

            >> Bernie has won 54% of the popular vote since Super Tuesday <<

            Where are you getting this stuff from, buddy?

            Your claim is totally, demonstrably, WILDLY incorrect:

            http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/democratic_vote_count.html

            .

          • Kev

            May 12, 2016 at 9:23 am

            At this point, you’re just making crap up. Stop. You look dumb.

          • sheilam22

            May 12, 2016 at 5:43 pm

            oh sweetie honey, you are just stupid – she is ahead by 3million POPULAR votes- get a clue

        • SkeeterVT

          May 12, 2016 at 6:07 pm

          Actually, Hawaii has a MAJORITY Asian population, with Japanese-Americans alone comprising 54 percent of the Aloha State’s residents.

          • Tom Edwards

            May 12, 2016 at 6:45 pm

            .

            All right then, 54 percent Asian. That doesn’t alter the fact that Ms. Clinton’s two largest bastions of minority community support are Blacks and Latinos. To refer to these groups as “non-white” then point to Asian-Hawaiians was a complete nonsequitur.

            .

          • NotYou

            May 13, 2016 at 9:28 pm

            Lmfaoo her support is BS. She’s only won the south because of name recognition, her support among those groups has TANKED since hence why she lost the last 8 of 10 primaries and the 2 she won are under investigation for election fraud. She didn’t even win a SINGLE county in West Virginia. That SPEAKS VOLUMES.

          • NotYou

            May 13, 2016 at 9:30 pm

            Lmfaoo her support is BS. She’s only won the south because of name recognition, her support among those groups has TANKED since hence why she lost the last 8 of 10 primaries and the 2 she won are under investigation for election fraud. She didn’t even win a SINGLE county in West Virginia. That SPEAKS VOLUMES. More than the BS establishment rhetoric you fools keep regurgitating.

          • Tom Edwards

            May 14, 2016 at 6:19 am

            .

            >> She didn’t even win a SINGLE county in West Virginia. That SPEAKS VOLUMES. <<

            Oh, it speaks volumes, all right. In 2008, with a black man for an opponent, she won by 41 points, 66 to 25, because she's white. This time around, because she has embraced Mr. Obama so closely, they turned on her. West Virginia is one of, if not "the" most racist states in the union.

            As far as "election fraud," the Sanders campaign has not filed a single protest anywhere — obviously, because there's nothing to protest.

            It's about time you shut up and learned something, you know-nothing, insolent little brat.

            .

            .

          • NotYou

            May 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

            Way to completely skip my point. I don’t care what happened 7 years ago and it isn’t relevant to this election.

            Also, with respect to election fraud, I don’t care if you claim it doesn’t exist because I know for a FACT it exists because of MATHEMATICS.

            Exit polling data is used to detect election fraud and since you don’t seem to know ANY statistics or how a MARKOV BOUND works to figure out the probability that exit polls in NY were outside the margin of error by over 11% then I’ll just tell you the probability: 1/265,000.

            That is the probability that there WASN’T election fraud (0.00000377358% chance)

            Unlike you I went to a great school and have an education. I know how to read through your bullshit and you’re not going to fool any millennials because WE’RE NOT STUPID LIKE YOU.

      • Ken Cozier

        May 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

        Millennials are stupid and lazy.. all they want is a free ride… And as for the Army being in favor of Bernie and contributors…… that’s pure bullshit…Enlisteds don’t have the money or time to get involved and the officers are waaaay smarter than to support a Communist..

        • NotYou

          May 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm

          Lol I posted a link with FACTS showing that the Army is a top contributor. Why are there so many paid $hillary trolls like you saying the same thing over and over again now? Like, you’re not even trying to address my argument you’re just injecting your narrative that “everyone under 35 is stupid and lazy”.

    • NotYou

      May 11, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Lmao moderator keeps deleting comments here guys. Don’t even bother trying to inform these brainwashed commenters propagating the false narrative that Bernie’s supporters are young and white. Wake up. Only 30% of Democrats, 0% of independents and 0% of Republicans support Hilary.

  2. CPT_Doom

    May 10, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Agree wholeheartedly and compliment Mr. Naff for the correct use of “myriad.”

    • lnm3921

      May 10, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Good Lord why do queers always rant on about correctly using grammar or spelling? Getting your message across clearly and making a good point counts a lot more! The rest is petty.

      • CPT_Doom

        May 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

        For the record – it was also a “Heathers” reference.

        • lnm3921

          May 11, 2016 at 7:48 pm

          Didn’t see it.

      • DrDespicable

        May 11, 2016 at 11:26 pm

        Because grammar and spelling are important to getting the message across clearly and making a good point?

        • lnm3921

          May 11, 2016 at 11:41 pm

          Our being petty and focusing on such minutiae is perhaps a way to assert some air of knowing better when you have no real point and your responses fall falt!

          • DrDespicable

            May 11, 2016 at 11:57 pm

            Well, I don’t do it because I’m gay (which I am) or because I’m petty (which I’m not) – I do it because I’m not the only person (gay OR straight) who questions the point of people who can’t demonstrate basic literacy. If I have a point to make, I make it – if the point doesn’t sit well with someone, It’s not because I don’t know how to say it grammatically or spell it properly. If you’re comfortable with our society/culture dumbing itself down through sheer intellectual laziness, fine – I am not.

      • Tom Edwards

        May 11, 2016 at 11:34 pm

        .

        >> Getting your message across clearly and making a good point counts a lot more! <<

        Umm, yes, well……

        Plural subject usage requires plural verb. "This and this COUNT" a lot more, not "counts."

        :-P

        .

        • lnm3921

          May 11, 2016 at 11:44 pm

          Thanks pointdextet but I’m not publishing. That’s what editors are for but don’t quit your day job that is assuming you have one let alone can keep one!

          • Tom Edwards

            May 11, 2016 at 11:49 pm

            .

            My, my, my.

            Your intelligence is surpassed only by your sense of humor.

            .

          • lnm3921

            May 12, 2016 at 12:08 am

            So gratifying to know I got a passing grade. You make a nice school marm.

            You’re such a sharp pencil yourself.

          • Tom Edwards

            May 12, 2016 at 12:19 am

            .
            No, you did not get a passing grade.

            Even the most casual Internet user is aware of the function of little improvised “emoticons.”

            You either ignored it, or you’re about half-plastered and didn’t see it; but in either case, you groused like a scalded dog.

            Grow up.

            .

          • lnm3921

            May 12, 2016 at 12:54 am

            Well I givr myself a passing grade and will put you out to pasture with the other cows. Growing up is dull . Just get over it.

  3. Kyle

    May 10, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    It’s very clear: whoever becomes president will appoint the supreme court justices to fill the upcoming vacancies. That person’s choices for SCOTUS could affect a generation. A hard right court could decimate all the gains LGBT people have made over the last 20+ years. And it’s a documented fact that with an increase in anti-LGBT legislation and rulings, there’s an increase in suicides of LGBT youth. No matter Hillary’s negatives, it is absolutely imperative for the safety of a generation that a Democrat occupy the White House. Even if you can’t stand her, please for the love of LGBT youth, hold your nose and vote for her this fall. If you have a shred of decency, you’ll vote for the Democratic nominee.

    • KyleVPirate

      May 12, 2016 at 6:42 am

      If one had a shred of deceny they would not vote for Hillary or even any Democrat including Republican that are corrupt and non-representative of the people. For the love of the LGBT youth, it is time for change in this country for their sake and ours. A new and more prosperous nation with a government of representatives for the people by the people. As a Princeton study showed, we are an Oligarchy and it does not matter if you’re Gay or Straight, identify as a Helicoper or a Dog, electing the same aristocracy will do them or us any good in the future. Plus most LGBT youth actually support Sanders and not Hillary who is as disliked as Trump in some cases.

      • Kyle

        May 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

        Your pursuit of a pure candidate who reflects your idealism perfectly is no different from the Evangelical Right. The Evangelical Left is just as destructive, just as scary. You’d risk sacrificing the lives of LGBT youth to pursue your vision of a pure country (or is it just free college you want?). You learned no lessons from the election of 2000. When the Democratic vote splits, the Republicans win, and make things worse. It is always about the SCOTUS; all else is secondary. We can have incremental change for the good or drastic changes for the worse. Those are the two options available to us, because that’s how the world works.

      • Kev

        May 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

        Here is a fact for you, Kyle. You’re not going to get an ideologically pure president. Sanders cannot even win his own nomination let alone a presidency. You might have ideas. You might have goals. But here’s one thing you don’t have: common sense. If you’re willing to sacrifice an entire generation of LGBT+ freedom, then by all means, pull a Nader. I’m sure Susan Sarandon and Bernie Sanders will be there to bail you out when your gay son or daughter are beaten to within an inch of his life simply for existing. Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the party Bernie Sanders decided to run as president under. He lost. You either vote for her or you throw away your vote. No third party candidate is ever going to get enough of the vote to win. The only thing you will accomplish by not voting for Hillary Clinton is handing the presidency and therefore the Supreme Court to Donald Trump. It might be a tough pill for you to swallow and you might just be shaking your head in stubborn, naive certainty. But them’s the facts. Sorry if you’re being too obtuse to see them.

      • sheilam22

        May 12, 2016 at 5:46 pm

        you REALLY are misguided – won’t go into the SLEW of things that are WRONG with burnie $CAMders – just this one Re Gay rights – http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/10/05/bernie_sanders_on_marriage_equality_he_s_no_longtime_champion.html

        Sanders is not quite the gay rights visionary his defenders would like us to believe. Sanders did oppose DOMA—but purely on states’ rights grounds. And as recently as 2006, Sanders opposed marriage equality for his adopted home state of Vermont. The senator may have evolved earlier than his primary opponents. But the fact remains that, in the critical early days of the modern marriage equality movement, Sanders was neutral at best and hostile at worst. in his statements to the press at the time, SANDERS DEFENDED STATES’ RIGHTS AND MADE NO MENTION OF GAY AMERICANS’ DIGNITY.

        Earlier in his political career, Sanders was even more indifferent toward gay rights, which W.J. Conroy recounts in his book Challenging the Boundaries of Reform: Socialism in Burlington. When serving as mayor of Burlington, Sanders told an interviewer that LGBT rights were not a “major priority” for him. Asked if he would SUPPORT A BILL TO PROTECT GAYS FROM JOB DISCRIMINATION, SANDERS RESPONDED, “PROBABLY NOT.”

  4. LesbianTippingHabits

    May 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I just hope that Hillary’s staff learns a tough lesson. When under the spotlight, please don’t forget to tip generously for good service. Thank you.

    • lnm3921

      May 10, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      If we tip you generously will you go away and stop interjecting this non sequitur into every article? It’s not just about your income babe!

  5. lnm3921

    May 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Naff has assessed the situation pretty well. The SCOTUS could have several vacancies under the next administration and most of all our civil rights gains have been through the courts. The question of transgender bathroom rights will likely be settled there as well as the question of whether invoking faith in the secular trump the rights of GLBT Americans!

    It’s not unprecedented that the SCOTUS can reverse itself given the makeup of the court. When it was highly conservatives in the eighties, it ruled that there was no constitutional right to sodomy only to reverse itself a generation later when a more balanced court was in place. Our marriage equality win was a narrow victory with 4 very vociferous dissents!

    We cannot take it for granted that Hillary will win a slam dunk victory simply because Trump seems relatively worse. It could easily become a tight election. Trump is a showman and voters like that. Remember Ronald Reagan an actor was successful in winning office.

    We don’t need Bernie’s ego siphoning off votes away to give us another Ralph Nader effect where we ended up with George W. Bush instead of Al Gore as President. This isn’t an academic exercise for idealist. This is real and reality can have harsh consequences for people who treat this as a game! Be very concerned.

    Pay particular attention to the fact that Trump is taking advice from many who oppose our rights in selecting a vice president and setting his policies including Ben Carson. He’s reached out to Pat Robertson. In his victory speech when he became the presumptive nominee after Cruz dropped out he thanked Jerry Fallwell, Jr. and Liberty University. He thanked women and racial minorities but made no mention of GLBT Americans. Who he chooses as his VP and that person’s record on our rights will say volumes on what we can expect. Pay close attention.

    Just because he’s come out in support of Caitlyn Jenner using his bathroom at Trump tower doesn’t make him trustworthy nor signify anything more than he seems to be a chronic flip flopper who keeps changing his message to suit his audience much like Mitt Romney. I’d say a backstab could well be expected.

    • trixietimez

      May 11, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      The worst thing about a Trump presidency (shudder!) is that he will be a puppet, just as Bush was. He will nominate who they tell him to nominate, in return for embracing him as a candidate. It’s always quid pro quo with that guy.

      • lnm3921

        May 11, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        Yeah and to emphasize the threat to our court gains trump today said he will appoint judges who oppose roe v wade to reverse it. Judges like that would also revese marriage equalty that was approved by a much narrower margin than roe v wade!

        Another Cheney was bush’s brain nightmare regarding the vp!

  6. Hip Byroads

    May 11, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Oh please, Kevin. You supported her in 2008. She was a loser then. She is a loser now. You support a loser. And a war criminal to boot.

    Here she is consoling with a kindred spirit, at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, Nancy Reagan, the one who opened the debate about AIDS in the 1980s, according to Clinton’s obituary of her.

  7. trixietimez

    May 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Love this! Agree on every point. It’s time to rally behind Clinton, and make sure Trump does not get into the White House. I can’t believe that any “progressive” in America would actually consider doing anything that could help Trump. Sanders is quickly becoming that “spoiler” candidate, which could be disastrous for all Americans, but especially those that were helped under President Obama’s tenure. For every progressive that says that there’s no difference between Clinton and the GOP, is either being deliberately obtuse, or operating in a reddit sound chamber. The contributions Hillary Clinton made to the LGBT community as Secretary of State, alone, should be enough to squash that kind of thinking.

  8. beachcombert

    May 11, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    On the gay rights record, don’t forget that Bill Clinton (with Hillary’s support) caved and signed DOMA and DADT into law. Nor did they do much to push ENDA. But I would add the election is about more than gay and transgender rights. Hillary’s hawkish policies have resulted in more Americans getting killed in other nations’ civil wars. Her promises to get tough on Wall Street lack credibility. She has flip-flopped once on trade and may flip back when it suits. Her incrementalism in areas like healthcare, student debt and minimum wage signals she already is giving up on getting anything significant through a Republican Congress. I say stick with Bernie through the convention. Don’t let yourself be taken for granted by the Democratic establishment.

  9. David Reid

    May 11, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Hillary Clinton 2008 did not drop out until June 7th. There is no reason for Bernie to drop out yet. We must look deep and ask ourselves if our prejudices keep us from even considering Sanders. He is beating Clinton after everybody has called the match for Clinton. Why? And if we truly want to trump Trump look at the match up polls. The negatives on Hillary are part of the mathematics as well. It is important to stay united against Trump . But let California vote.

    • Tom Edwards

      May 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      .

      Unless California breaks the 85% threshold for Mr. Sanders, he cannot possibly win the nomination. That is simply the cold, hard, mathematical fact of it.

      And the odds of that big of a win for him are about equal to the earth detaching from its orbit and turning somersaults toward Andromeda.

      .

      • KyleVPirate

        May 12, 2016 at 6:31 am

        Fraud? There is no fraud. Delusional? Sounds like a typical Hillary supporter to think she will be a representative of the people for the people.

        • Tom Edwards

          May 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

          .

          Let’s analyze in more detail what I said:

          If Mr. Sanders does comprehend that he cannot possibly win the nomination, but keeps soliciting donations anyway, then he is taking peoples’ money under false pretenses.

          What is another name for that action?

          .

    • DtotheInfinitePower

      May 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Hillary was far closer to Obama in June than Bernie is to Hillary. The two situations are not identical. And no, he’s not beating Hillary.

  10. KyleVPirate

    May 12, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Hillary an LGBT ally? Maybe now but it was not always like that since as usual she always flip flops on everything unlike Sanders who has always been an LGBT ally. Furthermore he hasn’t forced her to up her game as usual she is just pandering. It’s quite pathetic that a country of 320 million we get stuck with the usual warmongering Hillary and Donald. Ralph Nader did not give the White House to Bush in 2000, that was the Electoral College see Bush vs Gore furthermore we mustn’t rake the risk of damaging Hillary anymore towards Sanders supporters? Her records speak for themselves and no Sanders revolution did not halt. Even if he is not the nominee his message will continue to resonate and have a big impact. Funny you mention those young people where a majority support Sanders. I think reading the article Why Young People are Right About Hillary Clinton from the Rolling Stones would do you good:

    Young people don’t see the Sanders-Clinton race as a choice between idealism and incremental progress. The choice they see is between an honest politician, and one who is so profoundly a part of the problem that she can’t even see it anymore. They’ve seen in the last decades that politicians who promise they can deliver change while also taking the money, mostly just end up taking the money.And they’re voting for Sanders because his idea of an entirely voter-funded electoral “revolution” that bars corporate money is, no matter what its objective chances of success, the only practical road left to break what they perceive to be an inexorable pattern of corruption.
    Young people aren’t dreaming. They’re thinking. And we should listen to them.

    With the rise of Sanders who practically no one knew until last year and Trump singles how a majority Americans are tired of the status quo. She is the weakest candidate and in the end it is not just about LGBT rights. This is about America itself and regardless of Hillary or Trump we’re screwed.

    • DtotheInfinitePower

      May 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      A lot of individuals who are now LGBT allies weren’t always. Opinions change as people become more enlightened, educated and aware. Hillary was marching in the Gay Pride parade in NYC back in 2000, before it was considered trendy for politicians. The fact that someone’s able to look at a situation or a cause and allow their opinions to evolve is far more admirable than someone who dogmatically repeats the same lines for 40 years without compromising, understanding that he’s out of touch with reality, etc.

      Young people are eating up the line that Sanders is feeding them without even looking around to see if it’s correct or not. I’ve had conversations with Berners where they claim, up and down, that Sanders’ health plan is just like the ones in Canada and Europe. When you actually show them that the plans in Canada in Europe have no resemblance to what Sanders wants, they suddenly get very quiet. They haven’t bothered researching it. They keep going on about Hillary’s corruption without being able to produce a single instance in which she’s been seen to vote in line with corporate contributions.

      I’m wondering if the poster making this comment perhaps was too young to remember what actually went on with the 2000 election. Nader most definitely did cost Gore the presidency. The final count was so, SO close that if those Nader-ites had swung their votes to Gore instead, there would have been no question in anyone’s mind that Gore had clinched it.

  11. SkeeterVT

    May 12, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Amid all the arguments between Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters, one question remains unanswered: With Hillary almost certain to win the Democratic nomination, who will she choose to be her vice-presidential running mate?

    With Bernie likely to win most, if not all, of the remaining Democratic primaries between now and June 7, Hillary would be hard-pressed to name Bernie as her running mate — especially if Bernie wins the all-important California primary.

    Just as no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, no Democrat has won the White House without winning California since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

    As I see it, with Donald Trump having won the GOP nomination, Hillary and Bernie would be foolish not to join forces for the general election. And if they can’t get their act together, Hillary should name Elizabeth Warren her running mate. Aside from Bernie, Warren is the only other Democrat who can fire up the Democratic Party’s progressive base and draw them to the polls in November.

  12. Myle Ftmind

    May 12, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Bunch of rich gay men, so easily bought off by the Clinton campaign. Hillary worked against gay rights and flip flopped just in time before the Supreme Court struck down her husband’s anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But today, gay men are so enthralled with her (and her money) that our major gay rights groups are endorsing her. Hillary Clinton is UNQUALIFIED to be my President because she’s a LIAR, because she worked against lesbian and gay equality (human rights are not something you “flip flop” on), and because she’ll make the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us. So sad that upper middle class gay men think she and the billionaires who back her will ever let them into the billionaire club. Sorry boys, you’ll never be rich or straight enough to join the .01% that Hillary is bought off by.

  13. crexcats

    October 21, 2016 at 3:49 am

    does it not bother the LGBT people that clinton has taken millions of dollars from countries that abhor gay lifestyle? They kill gays! They stone women and allow women to be abused or murdered? She is using you only for your vote. She does not care for the LGBT and that is proven facts.

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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.

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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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