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Log Cabin continues to mull Trump endorsement

Gay GOP group plans survey of chapters, members

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Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade
Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 in Cleveland. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

As Donald Trump continues to make provocative and controversial comments with fewer than 100 days before the general election, Log Cabin Republicans continues to mull whether to endorse him for president.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin, said Monday he’s unable to predict whether Trump will receive an endorsement from the organization.

“Any inclinations I have right now would be pure conjecture at this point,” Angelo said. “I clearly have members around the country sharing their thoughts and opinions with me as I’ve traveled around on behalf of Log Cabin Republicans, especially over the course of the last three months, but that’s all just anecdotal at this point.”

The board of directors, Angelo said, will make the endorsement determination no earlier than during an upcoming meeting in late September in D.C. The exact date for the meeting isn’t yet decided, and as is customary for Log Cabin board meetings, the discussion won’t be open to the public, Angelo said.

Prior to the board meeting, Angelo said Log Cabin intends to solicit information from members on a potential Trump endorsement in two ways. The first will be a survey of the 48 local Log Cabin chapters throughout the country on whether an endorsement is appropriate. Second, the organization plans to seek comment from dues-paying members on Trump as part of a quadrennial survey set for distribution after Labor Day.

Additionally, Angelo said he will ask members about any concerns over Trump’s choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the No. 2 person on the Republican presidential ticket as well as organizational policy on issues like employment non-discrimination protections and the Second Amendment.

Angelo said his request for a meeting with Trump or his senior advisers remains unresolved since November. Angelo said he or a Log Cabin staffer “haven’t had a meeting with the candidate as of yet,” but that would be a necessary thing for the organization to throw its support behind him.

“The precedent in the past has always been Log Cabin Republicans gets an audience with our nominee,” Angelo said. “That has been the case, I believe, every presidential election cycle since Log Cabin national headquarters was founded in 1992.”

In 2012, Log Cabin endorsed then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney after former Log Cabin chief R. Clarke Cooper and gay former Rep. Jim Kolbe held a secret 15-minute meeting with the candidate at a Virginia farmhouse. The focus of the meeting was the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, although principals wouldn’t say whether Romney made any commitments to support the measure during the meeting.

The options for Log Cabin in terms of the presidential election, Angelo said, are either to endorse Trump or withhold endorsement for the Republican presidential nominee. That means a potential endorsement for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is off the table, despite those turned off by Trump urging support for the candidate.

“We won’t do that because we can’t do that,” Angelo said. “Per our bylaws, we can only endorse or withhold an endorsement for Republican candidate for office, so the only decision this board will be making is to endorse Donald Trump or to withhold our endorsement from Donald Trump.”

The most famous instance in which Log Cabin withheld support from the Republican presidential nominee was in 2004 when the organization declined to endorse then-President George W. Bush for re-election. At the time, Log Cabin chief Patrick Guerriero cited Bush’s support for a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Trump has already distanced himself from a Federal Marriage Amendment, saying in an interview last year with The Hollywood Reporter passage of the measure is “not going to happen.

“Some people have hopes of passing amendments, but it’s not going to happen,” Trump was quoted as saying. “Congress can’t pass simple things, let alone that. So anybody that’s making that an issue is doing it for political reasons. The Supreme Court ruled on it.”

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., Trump in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention vowed to protect LGBT people from “the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” It marked the first time a Republican presidential nominee mentioned LGBT people in a positive way during an acceptance speech.

Angelo said Trump’s acceptance speech “certainly isn’t something that hurts” the consideration to endorse him, but won’t be the only factor Log Cabin weighs when making an endorsement decision.

“I’m fond of saying that we do not have a litmus test here at Log Cabin Republicans, nor do we use necessarily the same criteria from election cycle to election cycle in determining those endorsement considerations, but most definitely Donald Trump’s proactive engagement with the LGBTQ community is something that I imagine will be a factor, if not a strong factor, in the endorsement consideration that we make,” Angelo said.

Despite his acceptance speech, Trump is running a presidential campaign largely in opposition to LGBT rights. Even though he doesn’t support a Federal Marriage Amendment, Trump told social conservatives to “trust” him to oppose same-sex marriage and said he’d “strongly consider” appointing justices to the Supreme Court who’d reverse the marriage equality decision.

Trump has said he’s “with the state” on the anti-trans House Bill 2 recently enacted in North Carolina and given conditional support to the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination. The candidate has also selected a running mate who has a long anti-LGBT record and is reviled by LGBT people for signing an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill into law.

Trump is an outsider to the Republican Party who holds positions contrary to many conservative beliefs, such as opposition to trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Many Republicans, including Romney, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and writers at the conservative National Review, openly reject the candidate.

Moreover, Trump continues to make controversial comments on the campaign trail. In past few days alone, Trump has lashed out at a Gold Star family that criticized him at the Democratic National Convention, suggested he’s unaware Russia had annexed Crimea and ejected a baby from a campaign rally.

Angelo said he can’t imagine withholding an endorsement from Trump on the basis he isn’t conservative enough, but said many Log Cabin members expressed concern about Trump outside of LGBT issues.

“What I will say is that we don’t view any candidates that we provide with endorsement considerations for any single issue, and I will say that there are members around the country, and even members on our national board of directors who have strong reservations about Donald Trump outside of any considerations that he might have in regards to LGBT issues,” Angelo said.

One U.S. House Republican who is known for supporting LGBT rights, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), announced in an op-ed in the Syracuse-based Post-Standard on Tuesday  he plans to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“While I disagree with her on many issues, I will vote for Mrs. Clinton,” Hanna wrote. “I will be hopeful and resolute in my belief that being a good American who loves his country is far more important than parties or winning and losing. I trust she can lead. All Republicans may not like the direction, but they can live to win or lose another day with a real candidate.”

Hanna was one of the first House Republicans to declare support for same-sex marriage, a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, signed legal briefs urging the Supreme Court to rule for marriage equality and championed amendments to rid the defense spending legislation pending before Congress of anti-LGBT language.

Also denigrating Trump is Paul Singer, a GOP billionaire hedge-fund manager and philanthropist who supports LGBT rights and groups like Log Cabin. Singer contributed thousands of dollars to the Human Rights Campaign and co-founded the pro-LGBT American Unity Fund.

Singer, who in 2012 was a bundler for Romney, said in June during a panel discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado that the election of Trump would lead to economic catastrophe.

“The most impactful of the economic policies that I recall him coming out for are these anti-trade policies,” Singer said. “And I think if he actually stuck to those policies and gets elected president, it’s close to a guarantee of a global depression, widespread global depression.”

Singer said he wouldn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump in November and half-jokingly said he was considering writing in himself as president.

Angelo initially wouldn’t comment when asked if Singer’s comments would influence Log Cabin, but acknowledged many members share the GOP hedge-fund manager’s views.

“Paul Singer is not alone in the way he feels about Donald Trump,” Angelo said. “There are members that we have whose feelings for Mr. Trump align very much with Paul Singer’s views. Like I said, we’re going to be taking all those into account.”

Two individuals who had widely different takes on whether Log Cabin should endorse Trump are former Log Cabin staffers and former heads of GOProud, the now defunct group for gay conservatives.

Jimmy LaSalvia, former president of GOProud who has since left the Republican Party and now supports Hillary Clinton, said a Log Cabin endorsement of Trump would “demonstrate that they value party loyalty over what’s good for our country.”

“There is no good and decent American, gay or straight, who should support Donald Trump for president,” LaSalvia said. “He is unfit to serve in that office. In our two-party system, where being a team player is often the priority, too many let partisanship cloud their judgement. I hope that Log Cabin’s board will remove their ‘partisan glasses’ and take an objective look at Donald Trump. If they do that, I just can’t see how they can endorse him.”

Chris Barron, former board chair of GOProud who now heads the group “LGBT for Trump,” said he “can’t imagine any reason” for Log Cabin to withhold its endorsement.

“I would assume that they would,” Barron said. “Donald Trump is the most gay-friendly nominee of the Republican Party ever. Donald Trump, unlike previous nominees that they have endorsed, has actually made a concerted and significant outreach to the LGBT community.”

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Dave n DC

    August 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    They interview GOP candidates before endorsing them? How does that go? “Do you support LGBT people in any way?” “No” “what else can you offer us?” “A ban on gay marriages”

  2. Im Just Sayin

    August 3, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    It may no longer be the case, but the vast majority of LCR members across the country are veterans who served proudly, albeit closeted. It was no coincidence that LCR took on repeal of DADT as its signature issue. LCR vs. United States of America was an impressive achievement in the fight for LGBT equality in its own right, but also paved the way for the legal challenges that brought down gay marriage bans. Hopefully LCR will realize that the answer on whether or not to endorse the Republican nominee does not emanate from a throwaway line in Trump’s acceptance speech. The answer lies in their history of being honorable men and women who would never denigrate the sacrifice of a gold star mother or make light of the pain endured by those rightly awarded a purple heart.

  3. NedFlaherty

    August 3, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    A self-respecting, sane LGBT person cannot say — at the same time — “I’m proud to be gay” and “I’m proud to be Republican.” The two conditions can’t exist.

    For proof that being gay and being Republican are incompatible, just check the official 2016 Republican Party platform. It vows to oppress LGBT people, throughout their lives, in more aspects of citizenship than perhaps any other demographic group.

    Every co-sponsor of anti-LGBT laws in Congress is an ardent Republican.
    Every author of anti-LGBT laws in state legislatures is an ardent Republican.

    It is insane to endorse, fund, and vote for people who vow to oppress you, everywhere, and forever.

    Claim to be a conservationist of nature if you wish, and claim to be fiscally conservative if you wish. But stop claiming that you are a Republican and also gay, because no person can be both at the same time without also suffering a mental health disconnect.

    For 40 years, the Republican Party greedily gobbled up resources from gay Republicans, and then betrayed their constituents at every opportunity. Sadly, the LCRs learned nothing from this, even after 4 decades.

    Why do Log Cabineers endorse, fund, and elect their own oppressors?

    Why?

    • Oikos

      August 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Stockholm syndrome.

  4. rednekokie

    August 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

    While I realize that many Log Cabin Republicans are sincere in their beliefs, their beliefs encompass a Republican party which has long passed into non-existence.
    This stubborn attitude to keep digging a hole when you are trying to get out seems to be symptomatic of most Republicans who remember another era. It is not possible to return to that era — time has marched on, and so has their beloved party.

    When enough of them finally realize this, the Log Cabin Republicans will indeed, meld into being the Log Cabin Democrats. They won’t this election, but I predict, that if Trump wins, they will for the next one.

    It’s the same mentality that the Dixiecrats had when Lyndon Johnson passed the equality acts and let African Americans go to white schools. Takes about a generation (or more) to get past that, mentally. In the meanwhile, they simply look stupid.

  5. The Beagle

    August 4, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Throw a little mustache on Trump and what do you have? Maybe , a little Hitler with the worst napoleon complex of any King in history.

    He is Already letting his sons pick cabinet members. Or a least one son. I have $5 dollars saying that son is gay and should be allowed to sashay out of the closet. Who wants to bet?

  6. Oikos

    August 5, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    What pathetic grovelers these Log Cabinettes are. Gurl, he’s just not that into you.

  7. Gustav2

    August 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I want to congratulate LC for getting everything they wanted in the party platform.

  8. Glenn Priceless

    August 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I would’ve thought the Republican gays were gung-ho for Trump according to their own rhetoric while attacking the twitter of Ghostbuster’s star Leslie Jones’…

  9. DatBus

    November 4, 2016 at 1:28 am

    The fact that Log Cabin chooses to represent the same globalist establishment that now infects the Democratic party is anything but
    impressive. In spite of what you read in our community publications
    there are MANY LGBLT conservatives and libertarians who are
    systematically excluded from representation. This problem is
    particularly acute here in the Bay Area. Horrifying, the hypocrisy of a
    community that claims the moral high ground of promoting diversity – as
    long as that excludes divergent thought and an embrace of globalist
    propaganda. Among the political Left and establishment Conservatives
    there remains complete denial as authoritarian marxism overtakes the
    foundational principles of Individual Liberty. Regardless of your
    political inclinations our Republic is founded on freedom – not the
    mindless groupthink of Leftists and Rhino Republicans.

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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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