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Clinton’s VP pick Kaine reliable on LGBT rights

Running mate called ‘solidly pro-LGBT equality’ after evolution

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Equality Virginia Commonwealth Dinner, gay news, Washington Blade
Tim Kaine, gay news, Washington Blade

Hillary Clinton has selected Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her running mate. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Hillary Clinton has selected as her running mate a U.S. senator from Virginia who’s been a largely reliable voice in support of LGBT rights.

As first reported by The New York Times, Clinton announced late Friday her choice is Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who’s also former chair of the Democratic National Committee and former Virginia governor. A Spanish speaker, Kaine is set to make his joint campaign appearance with Clinton on Saturday in Miami.

Since his tenure as Virginia governor between 2006 and 2010, Kaine has taken action on behalf of LGBT rights. Upon taking office, Kaine signed an executive order barring anti-gay discrimination in the state workplace (the direction didn’t contain explicit protections on the basis of gender identity). His Republican successor, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell reversed the order, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, reinstated it and added protections for gender identity.

Upon election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Kaine generally hasn’t been at the forefront of initiatives advancing LGBT rights, but has rose to the occasion as needed. In the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent congressional scorecard, Kaine scored a “90” out of possible “100,” losing points for not co-sponsoring the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Kaine is an original co-sponsor of comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act. The senator also cast votes in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an amendment along the lines of the Student Non-Discrimination Act. However, he isn’t a co-sponsor of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which seeks to ban widely discredited “ex-gay” therapy nationwide by classifying it as fraud.

Kaine has signed amicus briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and state bans prohibiting same-sex marriage. More recently, Kaine signed a brief urging the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to find sexual orientation discrimination is prohibited under current law.

In 2010, Kaine, as chair of the Democratic National Committee, took part in a three-and-a-half minute video to answer on questions on LGBT rights, outlining accomplishments already made under the Obama administration.

“We have a long way to go, but we’re already making progress for LGBT individuals,” Kaine says. “President Obama and congressional Democrats have already begun to address barriers to equality for LGBT Americans by guaranteeing these families the right to visit and make medical decisions for a partner in America’s hospitals, by enacting hate crimes legislation to protect LGBT Americans — to name just two significant accomplishments.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, drew a stark contrast between Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whom Donald Trump has selected as his running mate.

“While Donald Trump doubled down on discrimination by picking Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton has bolstered her campaign’s historic commitment to LGBTQ equality by choosing Tim Kaine,” Griffin said. “Having proven time and time again that they have the experience, determination, and leadership needed to move equality forward for all Americans, we are confident Clinton and Kaine will tear down the walls of discrimination that hold all of us back.”

But Kaine, like many Americans, including President Obama and Clinton, appears to have gone through an evolution on LGBT rights. When running to become Virginia governor in 2006, Kaine said he didn’t support adoption by gay couples, but reversed his position by 2011.

Kaine was also initially opposed to same-sex marriage. Although he now supports marriage equality, it’s hard to say exactly when he changed his mind. In 2012, he sought to find a middle ground, not yet clearly supporting same-sex marriage, but backing some kind of relationship recognition.

“The underlying issue is, should committed couples have the same legal rights and responsibilities, and the answer to that is an unequivocal yes,” Kaine said, according to The Washington Post.

In 2013, when many U.S. senators declared their newfound support for same-sex marriage, Kaine joined them in declaring his support for marriage equality.

“I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution,” Kaine said at the time. “I hope the Supreme Court will affirm that principle.”

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said Kaine is “now solidly pro-LGBT equality” after undergoing the same kind ‘evolution’ on LGBT rights as the nation as a whole.

“With her selection of Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has highlighted the stark differences between her ticket and her opponent’s,” Zbur said. “In contrast to the extremes of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and homo- and transphobia on display this week at the Republican National Convention, Kaine presents an alternative: a pragmatist who works across ideologies and across the aisle to get things done.”

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. LesbianTippingHabits

    July 23, 2016 at 9:12 am

    So, how does Sen. Kaine tip?

    • Brian's Ions

      July 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Pretty well, I think. And he brings all kinds of little-known BYO goodies to Hillary’s banquet.

      Kaine is as well-liked, personally, by legislators on both sides of the aisle, as Cruz is hated. So that bodes well for passage of the Equality Act and other Clinton 45 legislative agenda items.

      As a former DNC honcho, Tim Kaine has a countrywide, first-name relationship database that far exceeds the communication power of mere digital rolodex cards and direct mail lists.

      Of more immediate concern, Senator Kaine can obviously cement Virginia for Hillary and the Dems, as he is well-liked on both sides of the Rappahannock River.

      Given the genealogical ties Virginians have with many generations of North Carolinians also means that the Clinton/Kaine ticket will be given serious consideration by North Carolinians, too. NC is already in play, but Virginia neighbor Kaine will only improve Dems odds of winning there.

      Just as North Carolina is now in play, Kaine might help put Missouri in play for Hillary, too– since he grew up and went to college in Missouri.

      Then there is Kaine’s fluent Spanish (from his time working in Honduras) which will help with blocks of Latino voters in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado… plus the ‘must-have’ biggie for Trump– Florida.

      Kaine’s concern and personal affinity for African American and Latino civil rights and advancement is well-known– at least in Virginia.

      MOTHER JONES
      Behind the Virginia senator’s moderate reputation is a history of quiet progressive activism.
      —>
      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/tim-kaine-vice-president-hillary-clinton-virginia-senate
      .

      • Mark Hatchett

        July 23, 2016 at 11:02 am

        What a load of hooey. Kaine is despised in Virginia and North Carolina.

        • Brian's Ions

          July 23, 2016 at 2:24 pm

          Yeah… among some sore losers. America saw those dour, dank and brownshirt screamers in Cleveland.

          You’re just trolling for Trump here because YOU know that most Americans know which party is leading them out of the Great Republican Recession of 2008.

          Now go help the Donald find his tax returns so the country can see what he’s hiding– besides his common huckster scams like Trump U.

  2. Brooks Austin

    July 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Far left progressives opposed to Kaine because he isn’t ideological pure are proving the old saying about not making the perfect the enemy of the good. Far left progressives should also remember that their idol, Bernie Sanders (oh wait, I forgot he was a sell out now too) also used to only support a state by state approach to marriage equality and he evolved like the rest of America did.

  3. Steve Peterson

    October 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Actually Kaine has an open marriage since he is gay himself. His wife goes out with other straight men. Similarly, Bill and Hillary have an open marriage since Hillary is a lesbian. One by one, old barriers are being broken down. Obama was the first half African American, gay, Muslim president and Michelle the first transsexual first lady. Hillary and Kaine are the first gay ticket for the presidency. Kaine and the Pope are both gay Jesuits.

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Biden recognizes LGBTQ survivors in World AIDS Day statement

In contrast, Trump consistently omitted sexual minorities

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President Biden recognized LGBTQ people as among the survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on Tuesday in a statement recognizing World AIDS Day, marking a departure from consistent omissions of the LGBTQ community under the Trump administration.

“Ending the HIV epidemic is within our reach, and we are committed to finishing this work,” Biden said. “On World AIDS Day, we rededicate ourselves to building on the progress of the last 4 decades; upholding and advancing human rights; supporting research, science, and data-driven solutions; expanding access to housing, education, and economic empowerment; and fighting stigma and discrimination. No one living with HIV should suffer the undeserved guilt and prejudice that too many continue to experience.”

Biden, as the world recognizes World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, enumerates LGBTQ people as survivors in a paragraph acknowledging the coronavirus pandemic has presented new obstacles in efforts to beat HIV/AIDS.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the challenges our heroic health care and frontline workers face, yet they continue to deliver essential HIV prevention services and provide vital care and treatment to people living with HIV,” Biden said. “The pandemic has also interrupted HIV research and highlighted the work that still remains to achieve equitable access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment in every community — particularly for communities of color, adolescent girls and young women, and the LGBTQI+ community.”

The inclusion of LGBTQ people in a statement recognizing World AIDS Day stands in contrast to statements from President Trump, who consistently declined to mention the LGBTQ community in each of his statements. The consistent omissions took place even though top health officials under the Trump administration started the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, which seeks to beat HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Last year, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked by the Washington Blade why the LGBTQ community was missing from the 2020 statement, responded with a false statement Trump was the first to observe World AIDS Day by adorning the White House with a large red AIDS ribbon. In fact, the practice began under President George W. Bush and had continued through Obama and Trump administrations.

The inclusion of LGBTQ people in Biden’s World AIDS Day statement is consistent with former President Obama mentioning LGBTQ people as among the survivors of HIV/AIDS in his final World AIDS Day statement. In 2016, Obama acknowledged “gay and bisexual men, transgender people, youth, black and Latino Americans, people living in the Southern United States, and people who inject drugs are at a disproportionate risk” of the disease.

Biden in his World AIDS Day statement says his administration “remains steadfast in our efforts to end the HIV epidemic,” ticking off policies his administration has pursued, including a budget request of $670 million to fight HIV/AIDS domestically and support for global initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS, which he said has save more than 21 million lives.

“This remarkable progress over the past 18 years has been made possible through strong, bipartisan United States leadership and American generosity,” Biden said.

Read Biden’s full statement below:

WORLD AIDS DAY, 2021
 
– – – – – – –
 
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
 
A PROCLAMATION
For decades, World AIDS Day has been recognized as an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in the fight against HIV.  This year on World AIDS Day, we are focused on addressing health inequities and inequalities and ensuring that the voices of people with HIV are at the center of our work to end the HIV epidemic globally.

While we have made remarkable progress in the 40 years since the first-known reported case of AIDS, this disease remains a serious public health challenge — and we join the international community to honor and remember the more than 36 million people, including 700,000 Americans, who have tragically died from AIDS-related illness since the start of the epidemic.  We also renew our commitment to stand with the nearly 38 million people living with HIV around the world as we pursue our shared goal of ending the HIV epidemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the challenges our heroic health care and frontline workers face, yet they continue to deliver essential HIV prevention services and provide vital care and treatment to people living with HIV.  The pandemic has also interrupted HIV research and highlighted the work that still remains to achieve equitable access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment in every community — particularly for communities of color, adolescent girls and young women, and the LGBTQI+ community.

My Administration remains steadfast in our efforts to end the HIV epidemic, confront systems and policies that perpetuate entrenched health inequities, and build a healthier world for all people. Earlier this year, I reinstated the White House Office of National AIDS Policy to coordinate our efforts to reduce the number of HIV infections across our Nation.  This week, my Administration is releasing an updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy to decrease health inequities in new diagnoses and improve access to comprehensive, evidence-based HIV-prevention tools. This updated strategy will make equity a cornerstone of our response and bring a whole-of-government approach to fighting HIV.

My budget request includes $670 million to support the Department of Health and Human Services’ Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. Initiative — to reduce HIV diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths.  My Administration has also strengthened the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by adding members from diverse backgrounds who bring the knowledge and expertise needed to further our Nation’s HIV response. 

My Administration is committed to helping the world end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.  Through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we have saved more than 21 million lives, prevented millions of HIV infections, and supported at least 20 countries around the world to reach epidemic control of HIV or achieve their ambitious HIV treatment targets.  This remarkable progress over the past 18 years has been made possible through strong, bipartisan United States leadership and American generosity.  Now, together with partner governments and communities, my Administration is setting a bold vision for achieving sustained epidemic control of HIV by supporting equitable health services and solutions, contributing to improved health for all in PEPFAR-supported countries, and working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; UNAIDS; and other regional and local partners toward the goal of ending the HIV epidemic everywhere.

Ending the HIV epidemic is within our reach, and we are committed to finishing this work.  On World AIDS Day, we rededicate ourselves to building on the progress of the last 4 decades; upholding and advancing human rights; supporting research, science, and data-driven solutions; expanding access to housing, education, and economic empowerment; and fighting stigma and discrimination.  No one living with HIV should suffer the undeserved guilt and prejudice that too many continue to experience.  We must innovate and explore new ways to help address HIV/AIDS in communities here at home and around the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 1, 2021, as World AIDS Day.  I urge the Governors of the United States and its Territories, and the American people to join the HIV community in activities to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to provide support, dignity, and compassion to those living with HIV.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.
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Hungarian lawmakers back LGBTQ rights referendum

Prime minister under fire for ongoing crackdown

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The Hungarian Parliament (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a resolution that paves the way for a referendum on LGBTQ issues.

Reuters noted Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is running for re-election in 2022, earlier this year proposed a referendum on a law that that bans the promotion of homosexuality and sex-reassignment surgery to minors in Hungary.

“The Hungarian government proposes that citizens should have a chance to express their stance on the issues of gender propaganda,” Deputy Minister Balázs Orbán told Hungarian MPs, according to Reuters. “We are committed. We believe that we … have to say no to LGBTQ propaganda in schools carried out with the help of NGOs and media, without parental consent.”

Orbán continues to face criticism over his government’s efforts to curtail LGBTQ rights in Hungary.

Lawmakers late last year amended the country’s constitution to define family as “based on marriage and the parent-child relation” with “the mother is a woman, the father a man” and effectively banned same-sex couples from adopting children. Hungarian MPs in April 2020 approved a bill that bans transgender and intersex people from legally changing their gender.

Hungary in August issued a decree that restricted the sale of children’s books with LGBTQ-specific themes.

The European Commission in July announced legal action against Hungary after the law that will go before voters took effect.

Orbán in September said Brussels has withheld funds for the country’s pandemic recovery plan because of his government’s anti-LGBTQ policies. An EU spokesperson said LGBTQ issues did not factor into the decision to withhold the money.

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U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS to be held virtually Dec. 2-3

Fauci, Levine, Pelosi to speak at opening session

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Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health, is among speakers at this week’s U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Dr. Rachel Levine, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health who became the nation’s highest-ranking transgender public official earlier this year, are among dozens of experts scheduled to participate in the 25th Annual U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS scheduled to take place virtually Dec. 2-3.

Fauci and Levine were scheduled to join Harold Phillips, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy; and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, as speakers at the conference’s opening plenary session at noon on Thursday, Dec. 2. 

Phillips and Levine were expected to provide information about President Joe Biden’s plans for updating the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which Biden was scheduled to announce on Dec. 1 at a White House World AIDS Day event.

Members of the U.S. People Living With HIV Caucus were also expected to discuss the federal policy agenda on HIV/AIDS at the opening plenary session. 

In addition to the opening plenary and three other plenary sessions, one more on Thursday, Dec. 2, and two on Friday, Dec. 3, the conference was scheduled to include 140 workshop sessions on a wide variety of HIV/AIDS related topics.

The annual United States Conference on HIV/AIDS is organized by the D.C.-based national HIV/AIDS advocacy organization NMAC, which was formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council before it changed its name to that of its widely known initials NMAC. 

“NMAC leads with race to urgently fight for health equity and racial justice to end the HIV epidemic in America,” the organization states on its website. “Health equity with communities of color is everyone’s challenge.”

Several of the workshop sessions cover the topic of expanding the local, state, and national efforts of using pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs known as PrEP as a means of preventing HIV infection. 

Other workshop sessions include: HIV CURE – Hot Topics in HIV Cure Research; A Town Hall on Aging and HIV; COVID, HIV, and Racism – How Providers Can Make a Difference; Expanding the Pleasure and HIV Prevention Toolkit: Kink As Harm Reduction; It’s About Time – HIV Research Just For Transgender Women; and Impact of COVID-19 on HIV Prevention Services Among U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Funded Community Based Organizations.

The conference’s fourth and closing plenary session, Foundation Stones to Building the EHE Effort in Indian County, “will highlight the work of those addressing HIV and COVID in Indian Country, rural states and among Alaska Natives with limited infrastructure,” according to a conference agenda statement. 

“This plenary addresses these challenges and provides innovative solutions by the Indian Country – making the case to support Native HIV care by providing essential building blocks,” the agenda statement says. 

Paul Kawata, NMAC’s executive director, says in a statement in the conference’s agenda booklet that he and his NMAC team are disappointed that the 2021 conference is being held virtually for the second year in a row.

“But we felt the issue of safety was simply too critical to ignore,” Kawata said in his statement. “I’ve been very concerned about our loved ones over 50 living with HIV through the whole COVID pandemic,” he said, noting that people in that category were dealing with isolation as well as a higher risk for COVID.

“I hope this conference, even though it is virtual, will help alleviate some of that isolation,” Kawata said. “We’ve worked very hard to make this conference not just an opportunity for training and education, but a chance to connect with others, reinforce those strands in your support net, and hopefully, establish some new connections.”

More information about the U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS and instructions on registering to attend can be obtained at nmac.org.

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