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Meet Trump’s gays

Campaign picks 3 out Californians as delegates, including billionaire

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Peter Thiel, Donald Trump superdelegate, gay news, Washington Blade
Peter Thiel, Donald Trump superdelegate, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay billionaire Peter Thiel is one of at least three openly gay Republicans named as Trump delegates. (Photo by Dan Taylor; courtesy Flickr)

Gay billionaire Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and board member of Facebook, is one of at least three openly gay Republicans picked by the campaign of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as delegates from California to the Republican National Convention.

Gay former Bush administration official and communications company owner Richard ‘Ric’ Grenell and former California Log Cabin Republicans Chairman and management consulting firm owner Charles Moran were also named by the Trump campaign as Trump delegates from California.

“The Trump campaign is making the right decision by actively including out LGBT delegates to participate in the convention,” said John Musella, the current chair of Log Cabin Republicans of California, an LGBT Republican group affiliated with the national Log Cabin Republicans organization.

“It’s a good sign for the future of the Republican Party,” Musella told the Washington Blade.

In a little-noticed development, the Trump campaign submitted the names of Thiel, Grenell, and Moran on May 9 to the California Secretary of State’s office as part of a list of more than 165 Trump delegate candidates. Most, including Thiel and Moran, were designated as delegates representing one of the state’s congressional districts.

If Trump wins in those districts in the state’s June 7 presidential primary, as expected, those named by the Trump campaign as delegate designees will become full-fledged delegates.

The Trump campaign designated Grenell as one of 10 statewide at-large delegates.

Musella said the Trump campaign invited him to become a delegate to represent Log Cabin Republicans of California, which is officially recognized by the California Republican Party. He said he had to decline the invitation because he is unable to attend the GOP convention in Cleveland.

According to Musella, the Trump campaign was considering naming gay Republican activist and former Carpinteria, Calif., City Council member Gregory Gandrud as an alternate delegate to represent the California Log Cabin group. Gandrud became the subject of news coverage in 2011 when he won election as the first openly gay member of the California Republican Party’s Board of Directors at the party’s annual convention.

Thiel’s LinkedIn page says he currently serves as managing partner of The Founders Fund, a company that provides venture capital and seed money to entrepreneurs. He also owns a separate company called Thiel Capital based in San Francisco.

Thiel didn’t immediately respond to a request by the Blade for comment on his selection as a Trump delegate.

Forbes magazine has reported that Thiel, a libertarian, was a large donor to 2012 GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul and contributed money to Ted Cruz’s 2012 race for the U.S. Senate in Texas. He also contributed in 2015 to a political action committee raising money for the 2016 presidential candidacy of former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Forbes reports.

Forbes reports that Thiel has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.

“It’s especially meaningful to have someone of Peter Thiel’s stature selected to be involved,” Musella told the Blade. “He’s a man who understands technology and business and what is needed in government and politics to make America a great place for entrepreneurs and innovators.”

Grenell served as spokesperson for the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. from 2001 to 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush. His website says he is the founding partner of Capitol Media Partners, a company that specializes in international strategic communications, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.

He also serves as a contributor to Fox News.

Moran’s LinkedIn page says he is principal owner of CTM Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in organizational management, fundraising for non-profit and political organizations and communications and media outreach.

He served as chair of Log Cabin Republicans of California from 2011 to August 2015.

According to Forbes, Thiel is one of the few Silicon Valley leaders who are backing Trump for president, with most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs speaking out loudly against Trump. Thiel’s fellow Facebook board member and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has come out against Trump’s candidacy.

And Keith Rabois, a friend and former colleague of Thiel’s at Facebook, has called Trump an “opportunistic liar,” Forbes reports.

Gregory Angelo, president of the national Log Cabin Republicans, told the Blade last month that his organization never endorses presidential candidates prior to the GOP convention. And although he said Log Cabin will seek out Trump’s positions on specific LGBT-related issues before deciding whether to endorse him, Angelo said Trump’s record on LGBT- and AIDS-related issues would make him the most LGBT-supportive Republican presidential candidate in U.S. history.

Donald Trump’s campaign has recruited at least three openly gay Republicans to serve as delegates. (Photo by andykatz; courtesy Bigstock)

Donald Trump’s campaign has recruited at least three openly gay Republicans to serve as delegates. (Photo by andykatz; courtesy Bigstock)

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. lnm3921

    June 1, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Thiel affirms himself as gay yet supported Ted Cruz and Ron Paul even though these people are enemies of the GLBT community. His actions are revolting, callous and backstabbing!

    He’s simply a token used by the Trump campaign to dupe us into thinking we can trust Trump to support our issues. I’m not buying it. Trump has proven himself to be a chronic flip flopper on our issues as well as others. You can’t tell us that you will appoint Supreme Court Judges that will define marriage as between a man and a woman and reverse our court victory and support religious freedom acts and still convince me that you will support our issues. He’s a con man.

    People like Thiel should be demanding that Trump support our issues for their support and that he be consistent in that support not only when talking to us but when talking to religious conservatives!!! Instead all he cares about is his bank account. Is his dirty money supposed to make him a self-appointed leader speaking for our community? He maybe buying influence for himself but he’s doing nothing for the rest of us!

    • Tylor Phelps

      June 1, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Just confirming… You don’t actually know much about Ann Coulter, right?

      • lnm3921

        June 2, 2016 at 12:32 am

        She’s an arrogant social conservative who bahes liberals and doesn’t support glbt rights. That’s all we need to know.

        Except I’ve always questioned whether she is a biologically anatomically correct woman. Could she be a transgender female? Or a drag queen? Has anyone checked her private parts?

    • dlampo

      June 2, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Anyone who calls Ron Paul an enemy of the GLBT community is an ignorant fool. Take your victim mentality and shove it.

      • lnm3921

        June 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Really what glbt issues does he endorse and support exactly? I recall that he opposed marriage equalty!!!

        I’ll gladly shove it. Just bend over and pull your head out of the way so I can!!!!

        • dlampo

          June 3, 2016 at 2:34 pm

          He was one of just 20 Republicans who voted to repeal DADT in Congress, and he consistently said the state should not be in the business of defining what marriage is and that gay couples should have the same rights as others. Tell me, did you label Hillary and Bill and John Kerry and Obama as anti gay when they opposed SSM? I wonder what the answer is. Just admit it: you’re ignorant and you have one standard for your party and a different one for Republicans.

          • lnm3921

            June 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm

            And yet his son rand Paul opposes our rights!! Including marriage! Does the fruit fall far from the tree?

            I never said the clintons were perfect and haven’t failed us but they like Obama have evoled on our issues favorably while Donald trump and the majority of the GOP leadership has not!!!

            Trump chronically flip flops and lies like mitt Romney!! Neither Paul Ryan nor Mitch McConnell support glbt rights and neither would allow a fair up and down vote on an equality act in congress!

            My party? I’m not registered as a democrat.

            Just admit it that Obama has done more for glbt Americans than any president in us history! He put his re-election campaign at risk coming out in support of marriage equality!!

            Admit it that you live in denial and your party fails to deliver for us in comparison!

          • dlampo

            June 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

            Again, more ignorance. Rand Paul supported the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn DOMA, opposed a federal marriage amendment, and did not oppose the repeal of DADT. I don’t care whether you’re registered Dem or not, you’re a standard liberal leftist so don’t give me your silly bullshit. Just wallow in your victimhood.

          • lnm3921

            June 4, 2016 at 4:51 pm

            Again more arrogance from a self-loathing thinks he knows it all conservative smug piss ant!

            Liberal leftist made it possible for you to be openly gay fool without suffering dire consequences for it. You would be married to a woman having back ally affairs with men afraid of being exposed if it were not for us!

            Don’t give me your bullshit of victim hood! People like me were out there fighting for our rights when being gay meant being ostracized by family, friends, employers and landlords! We were threatened with verbal abuse and physical violence! My life has been threatened! That didn’t stop us from fighting for the dream!!!

            Victims don’t fight back they bend over like you and take it!

            I don’t care what you think! The rights we have today are no thanks to you. You only enjoy the benefits others gained for you through their risk, sacrifice and struggle!

          • uhhuhh

            October 17, 2016 at 8:35 am

            He supported state bans on gay marriage or supported repealing them? Get out of our faces with your disingenuous federalism bullshit.

          • dlampo

            October 17, 2016 at 9:09 am

            Read your history, moron. “Let the states decide” was the mantra of the gay establishment for years as the reason we shouldn’t have a federal marriage amendment. It was John Kerry’s position when he ran for president that he supported not one but two state marriage amendments to ban gay marriage in Missouri and Massachusetts. Did you vote for Kerry? Talk about disingenuous.

      • Kathy11

        June 3, 2016 at 2:07 pm

        Since 2004, Paul has sponsored bills that would bar the federal
        courts from hearing cases on same-sex marriage and he has also
        championed legislation that would close the federal courts to any cases
        related to sexual orientation.

        “Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the We the People Act,” he said in
        2005. “The We the People Act forbids federal courts, including the
        Supreme Court, from adjudicating cases concerning state laws and polices relating to religious liberties or privacy, including cases involving sexual practices, sexual orientation, or reproduction. The We the People Act also protects the traditional definition of marriage from judicial activism by ensuring the Supreme Court cannot abuse the equal protection
        clause to redefine marriage.”

        • dlampo

          June 3, 2016 at 2:39 pm

          He believed the definition of marriage should be decided by the states, and in 2004, so did the Clintons, Joe Biden, and nearly every leading Democrat. John Kerry, the Dem. candidate for president in 2004, opposed gay marriage and also supported two state marriage amendments in Missouri and Mass. that would have banned gay marriage in those states. So take off your blinders and know what you’re talking about before you spout off.

          • Kathy11

            June 3, 2016 at 2:53 pm

            Does he support marriage equality now?

          • lnm3921

            June 3, 2016 at 8:37 pm

            Don’t tell us what people believed then what matters is now!! That’s a red herring lame argument!

            The idea that states should define marriage is stupid! Rights should not begin and end at state borders! Marriage has to be portable across state lines or it has no value. Much of the benefits of marriage are federal!

            Talking about spouting off! Is Ron Paul York daddy?

          • dlampo

            June 4, 2016 at 10:06 am

            You cited what Paul said in 2004 so of course it’s relevant what the Clintons and Obama and Biden and the rest thought. And they all agreed with Paul about the definition of marriage, so you’re a complete hypocrite and hack for saying Republicans are anti-gay when they hold a certain viewpoint but Democrats are not when they believe exactly the same thing. Marriage is still primarily a state issue and the fact that you don’t even seem to know that says a lot.

          • lnm3921

            June 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm

            We can make many comparisons and find that the glbt has had more enemies among conservatives than anywhere else: Jesse helms, Rick Santorum, mitt Romney, Marc Rubio and ted Cruz just to name a few!!

            No GOP presidential candidate has endorsed our issues openly and championed them like Obama but because you are the hack with an agenda you refuse to acknowledge it at all cost! Yeah, the clintons have failed us but unlike trump who is running they don’t arrogantly flaunt an agenda that threatens our communities gains!

            I’d rather have Dems in office that deliver nothing for us in a worse case scenario than repulicans which will take a win as a mandate to push an anti-glbt agenda!!

            You’re an idiot to call marriage a state issue! If I move from one state to another for a better job or a lower cost of living I shouldn’t have to pick between that and dissolving my marriage! Get a clue!

          • uhhuhh

            October 17, 2016 at 8:36 am

            And he believed that states should decide the define marriage to exclude same-sex couples. Your willingness to dissemble is disgusting.

          • dlampo

            October 17, 2016 at 9:04 am

            Just like the Clintons and Obama and Biden and Kerry, all until recently. Did you vote for them? Were they terrible bigots because they opposed SSM when you voted for them? Your rank hypocrisy is disgusting.

  2. Phil Paul

    June 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What kind of self loathing gay person is he?

    • Mawm

      June 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      The mega rich kind.

      • JR Buckley

        June 6, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        …who can afford to leave the country at a moment’s notice if Trump’s SCOTUS picks undo LGBT rights….

  3. lnm3921

    June 2, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Trumps gays. Sounds like they are describing his pets on a leash.

  4. Tom Kidd

    June 3, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Roy Cohn, Liberace, John Wayne Gacy & Jeffrey Dahmer may have been gay but I sure don’t claim them as part of the LGBT community.

    • lnm3921

      June 4, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      Curios why Liberace in particular makes your list in comparison to serial killers?

      Cohn reminds me of so many right-wing conservative gays today.

      • Tom Kidd

        June 5, 2016 at 9:52 am

        Liberace was a coward when it came to his sexuality, even to the point of death. Who dies of “the watermelon diet”??? Liberace’s family claimed he did, and he insisted he was on the diet when he passed. I have friends who claim him as a gay icon but I sure do not.

        • lnm3921

          June 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm

          Well, Liberace lived and died at a time when being openly gay was very taboo.

          Blantantly gay men like Liberace, Paul lynde,rip Taylor or Charles Nelson Reilly were open secrets. And believe it or not everyone lived with a sense of denial. As long as they didn’t admit it we could pretend it really wasn’t so. Look at Richard Simmons.

          Blatant gay men would say they were not gay just “cultured”.

          Rock Hudson would not admit being gay either till the day he died and look how long it took Richard chamberlain to come out.

          Liberace used to sue people who claimed he was gay. He was no hero of our community. I once met him after a show as a kid.

          You had to pay to see him for an autograph. He was a very nasty guy refusing to speak to you and giving dirty looks! I took a photo with him and put my hand on his shoulder and I could feel so much tension from him.

          • jminsandiego

            June 14, 2016 at 1:19 am

            “very taboo”

            Then explain Truman Capote, along with the names you already cited. (No, he’s hardly the only name I can offer … but you know that as well as I.)

          • lnm3921

            June 14, 2016 at 7:27 pm

            Explain what exactly? Everybody could see Truman Capote was gay. As I said, it was an open secret. People knew but no one openly talked about it. Don’t ask, don’t tell. People didn’t want to know.

            In fact, people were pretty stupid back then. A common question was why aren’t you married. I remember an interviewer asked Paul Lynde that and he asked if the guy lived in a cave. He didn’t have to admit he was gay.

      • jminsandiego

        June 14, 2016 at 1:15 am

        Cohn was a lawyer, a subspecies of misanthropes. Be careful when including him in any lists.

  5. lnm3921

    June 3, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Get over your damn over sensitivity on anything said about trans people that isn’t pc enough for you!! Get a thicket skin if you expect to survive in this world!! I Mentioned drag queens too but no one whines that it’s homophobic!!

    Pull the pole out your hole because I’m not walking on eggshells for nobody!!! You aren’t going to get any strong support or understanding from people with your attitude!!! Lighten up! Self-deprecating humor can build bridges not tear them down!

  6. lnm3921

    June 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Lighten up and get a thicker skin. No one whines about homophobia with my reference to a drag queen but say anything that isn’t PC in your mind about a transgender person and it’s transphobia.

    I won’t bite my tongue to walk on eggshells for anybody. I’ve endured far worse over the years and it hasn’t broken me.

    • Kathy11

      June 6, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Oh – did I offend you? Suck it up Nancy>

      • lnm3921

        June 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        I thought you got rid of it “missy” so there is nothing to suck up!!!

        • Kathy11

          June 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm

          You thought…..pull the other one.

          • lnm3921

            June 6, 2016 at 6:39 pm

            So you had two and kept the spare.

          • Kathy11

            June 7, 2016 at 7:03 am

            Sorry about your AIDS dementia.

          • lnm3921

            June 7, 2016 at 10:47 am

            So you want to go there and get vicious. Well I can certainly accommodate harpie!

            First of all, not all gay people have AIDS. For two groups forcibly tethered together in a fight for equality we know really nothing about each other.

            Second, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t go where they are vulnerable. Should we discuss your personality disorder? My condolences over your confusion!

            Shall we tear each other apart? I’m a seasoned pro at that!!

          • Kathy11

            June 8, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            “Lighten up and get a thicker skin.”

            “I won’t bite my tongue to walk on eggshells for anybody.”

          • lnm3921

            June 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

            If you think AIDS is a joke then you are sick. Go share that attitude with people and see your allies walk away. It affects not just gay men but also people of color and women.

            And you wonder why people don’t like transgender people.

          • Kathy11

            June 9, 2016 at 1:41 pm

            Don’t let the door hit ya……

          • lnm3921

            June 9, 2016 at 8:11 pm

            No loss for me either. Enjoy your piss pot while they keep you out of bathrooms.

          • Kathy11

            June 9, 2016 at 8:51 pm

            You’re my hero Ferris Bueller!

            So – we’ll keep you out of rest rooms when little boys enter then. Keep toe tapping!

          • lnm3921

            June 9, 2016 at 8:59 pm

            Then I guess we’ll keep you out when little girls use the bathroom!!!, Try shaving that beard and moustache. Hope your shaving those legs and armpits!!

            You can’t go in if it’s called the “ladies” room either since you obviously don’t behave like one

  7. Jeff Neal

    June 5, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    Log Cabin Republicans are an oxymoron!

    • jminsandiego

      June 14, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      They are self-described. How do we know your name is Jeff, not Henry or Patricia?

  8. Mark McCauley

    June 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Isn’t that precious? He has three fairies and one African-American :)

  9. Erica Cook

    June 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Being the most LGBT supportive Rebulican is like being the most pro-civil rights KKK member.

  10. jminsandiego

    June 14, 2016 at 1:14 am

    Perhaps the Orlando shooter was a self-loathing gay man. News reports today (Mon, 6/13) indicate such might be the case.

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

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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