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Trump transition team raises alarms as anti-LGBT agenda emerges

NOM calls for passage of FADA, undoing marriage equality

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Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade
Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A prominent anti-LGBT organization is readying its agenda to undo LGBT rights as President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team begins to take shape and includes some notoriously hostile figures.

The National Organization for Marriage in a blog post Wednesday unveiled a four-point plan aimed at undoing LGBT rights advanced under the Obama administration, including marriage equality and writing discrimination into the law in the form of the First Amendment Defense Act.

Here is our plan:
 
We will work with President Trump to nominate conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, individuals who will adhere to the words and meaning of the constitution. Such justices will inevitably reverse the anti-constitutional ruling of the Supreme Court imposing same-sex ‘marriage’ on the nation in the Obergefell decision, because that decision lacked any basis in the constitution.
 
We will work with President Trump to rescind the illegal, over-reaching executive orders and directives issued by President Obama, including his dangerous “gender identity” directives, attempting to redefine gender just as he sought to redefine marriage.
 
We will work with President Trump to reverse policies of the Obama administration that seek to coerce other countries into accepting same-sex ‘marriage’ as a condition of receiving US assistance and aid. It is fundamentally wrong for a president to become a lobbyist for the LGBT agenda, and we are confident that will end in the Trump administration.
 
We will work with President Trump and Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which Mr. Trump supports. FADA is critical legislation to protect people who believe in marriage from being targeted by the government for persecution.

It’s unknown whether Trump would follow through with any of these actions. Although Trump had a reputation for being a relatively pro-LGBT candidate among other Republicans, he said he opposes marriage equality, would rescind the Obama administration actions he thinks are unconstitutional and would sign the First Amendment Defense Act into law.

The newly unveiled Trump transition team website under the banner of “Protecting American’s Constitutional Rights” reiterates Trump’s support for “religious freedom,” which is considered code among conservatives to mean anti-LGBT discrimination.

“This includes the Tenth Amendment guarantee that many areas of governance are left to the people and the States, and are not the role of the federal government to fulfill,” the website says. “The Constitution declares that as Americans we have the right to speak freely, share and live out our beliefs, raise and protect our families, be free from undue governmental abuse, and participate in the public square.”

According to schematics widely circulated in the media, the president-elect has selected for his transition team supporters who have anti-LGBT histories.

Leading the team on domestic issues is Ken Blackwell, who serves as a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and on the board of directors for Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. In addition to supporting measures that would have banned same-sex marriage, Blackwell when seeking the position of chair of the Republican National Committee in 2009 said being gay is a choice and can be changed.

“The reality is, again…that I think we make choices all the time,” Blackwell said. “And I think you make good choices and bad choices in terms of lifestyle. Our expectation is that one’s genetic makeup might make one more inclined to be an arsonist or might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do I think that they can be changed? Yes.”

JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs, said in a statement the selection of Blackwell to lead domestic policy for the transition is bad news for LGBT people.

“Ken Blackwell is a man who has spent his entire career going after LGBTQ Americans,” Winterhof said. “Blackwell’s leadership role in president-elect Trump’s transition team should be a major wake up call for anybody who ever had any doubt that LGBTQ people are at risk.”

According to Bloomberg, reportedly in consideration for the position of U.S. attorney general is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who vigorously opposed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, has expressed interest in the position of defense secretary and Trump has reportedly told the senator he could have his pick of appointments.

Other members of the Trump transition team cited as red flags by the Human Rights Campaign are former Attorney General Ed Meese, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation who has said same-sex marriage “shows how the culture has deteriorated over two centuries,” and former U.S. Office of Personnel Management chief Kay Cole James, who in her book “Transforming America from the Inside Out,” compared gay people to drug addicts, alcoholics, adulterers, or “anything else sinful.”

“Ed Meese and Kay Cole James, who are also reported to have key roles, have been vocal opponents of equality and other issues we care deeply about,” Winterhof said. “The people President-Elect Trump picks to serve in his administration will have a huge impact on the policies he pursues. We should all be alarmed at who he’s appointing to key posts on his transition team.”

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. TXpoast

    November 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    “Hillary can’t claim to be supportive of these communities while trying to increase the number of people coming in who want to oppress them.” -Donald Trump

    • lnm3921

      November 10, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      The people who want to oppress them are already here. They are NOM and other Christian conservative groups like the Family Research Council. You aren’t fooling anyone with your displaced fear tactics.

      This will become very clear and evidently the coming year as hostile legislation and SCOTUS nominees are put up to vote!

        • customartist

          November 11, 2016 at 9:22 am

          Thank you for posting this!

        • lnm3921

          November 11, 2016 at 10:20 am

          I think our self proclaimed lgbt leaders need to start organizing a March on Washington again to bring us to the U.S. capitol in huge numbers! We need to present ourselves as a strong United front that refuses to let them roll back our progress!!

          We also need a big moral booster and nothing does that better than being among an endless sea of your own showing us United in a common cause!

          We need all those corporate leaders that spoke up in Indiana and North Carolina to join us and speak directly to congress this time in large numbers!!

          They want to hit us hard and we need to show we won’t just take it!!!

          • Mark Hatchett

            November 12, 2016 at 6:07 pm

            Don’t you get tired of carrying that chip around on your shoulders?

          • lnm3921

            November 12, 2016 at 8:02 pm

            This from someone with an Obama and Hillary Chip on his shoulder the last 8 years!

            Loud, proud, and in your face! Get over it!

          • Mark Hatchett

            November 12, 2016 at 8:54 pm

            and for good reason! Gay folks have been played like a Twister game for contributions and votes by both of those creeps and now it’s good effing riddance to them both

          • lnm3921

            November 12, 2016 at 9:51 pm

            The only ones trying to play us are you and Miss Milo! It’s NEVER going to work! We haven’t gone and Never will be gone. Get used to it! This setback only will galvanize us.

      • Monica Johnson

        November 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        I have to wonder about people and their understanding of the words they use. For example, TXpoast’s comment has nothing close to “fear tactics” in it. On the other hand, this article is filled with fear tactics, claiming how bad we are going to have it with a cabinet that hasn’t even been chosen yet.

        Don’t get me wrong, I do share some fear that many republican party leaders will do their best to halt progress for our community, but people going bonkers over things that haven’t happened yet just makes us look like people they should fight against.

        Also, don’t just regergitate the democratic party lines because that is what you are told to believe. We are some of the more intelligent people in this country. Lets act like it and think for ourselves.

        • lnm3921

          November 12, 2016 at 7:56 pm

          No one tells me what to believe. Trump has made it clear what he plans to do. He opposes marriage equality and will appoint judges that will overturn it. He supports the religious restoration act and FADA, This is comes straight from his own mouth and televised.

          Trump has supported Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and praised Jerry Fallwell, jr. He has been seen chummy with Pat Robertson. He has asked for advice from Rick Santorum and Ben Carson who vehemently oppose our rights and freedom.

          Tell us to fear muslims while ignoring the christian conservatives here is trying to prey on us with scare tactics! Stop living in denial and open your eyes.

          A GOP controlled Congress with an anti-gay Presidential administration means they will cram as much against us as they can. Their christian conservative base will demand it!

          I don’t need him to pick a cabinet. Mike Pence is is VP and that pick says it all. Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are! Pence is on records as stating he is a christian first before anything else, including being an American or Republican! That will guide him and what he tells Trump to do!

          • Monica Johnson

            November 12, 2016 at 9:57 pm

            I didn’t say anything about half of what you responded to me here with. In fact I said I share your concerns. I only said that I don’t think the pre-overreaction helps and that claiming someone is using fear tactics who didn’t use anything of the sort makes me wonder if you understand what it means. In fact with your new post about “scare tactics”, you clearly don’t know what it means.

          • lnm3921

            November 12, 2016 at 10:07 pm

            Do you know what scare tactics mean? The post said Hillary wants to let in millions of people who want to kill us into the country. If that isn’t a scare tactic, then obviously you don’t know what one is! That was the gist of my post and yet it escapes you. It’s meant to get us to believe Trump and his party are our friend and best hope when that’s far from the truth.

            It’s not over-reacting. It’s being proactive rather than sitting around to be reactionary! I’ve been throw conservative Republican Administrations before and seen what they’ve done to us. Many of the same players in power back then are getting a chance to be in power again and have influence.

            As I said, I don’t need him to pick a cabinet. The agenda has been made very clear to us. We know the GOP Controlled Congress and Pence will be pushing this agenda regardless of the cabinet. The AG won’t be a champion for our rights like Eric Holder or Lynch is now.

      • Mark Hatchett

        November 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

        Why are you lying?

        • lnm3921

          November 12, 2016 at 7:58 pm

          Oh, here comes Miss Milo’s breitbart stooge again. Why can’t you tell the truth?

    • THEBEARCUB

      November 11, 2016 at 1:52 am

      Sound like a fool! Americans have been killing gays forever

      • Mark Hatchett

        November 12, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        Lots of people have been killed in America especially in Democrat controlled cities and they’ve all not been gay!

        • lnm3921

          November 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm

          We are talking about GLBT people. The whole article is on GLBT concerns!

          No people have been killed in Republican controlled cities? Stupid point on Dems!

        • THEBEARCUB

          November 20, 2016 at 3:23 am

          Same in red neck republican hick towns so what?

        • THEBEARCUB

          November 29, 2016 at 4:40 am

          And also in republican controlled States……..Gurl bye!

    • customartist

      November 11, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Comparing Hillary to Donald, and considering the Parties that each of them represent, there is no comparison. Your reference fails.

      • scottrose

        November 11, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        When we were struggling for state level same-sex marriage here in New York — Trump was aggressively opposed at all times. I live here, so I know. It’s the reason — long before he ran for president — that I refused to enter his buildings.

      • Mark Hatchett

        November 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

        Hillary Clinton was fixed on bringing in tens of thousands of men from the Middle East who want gay people dead. She took millions from countries which routinely torture and execute gay people. Was that really what you wanted? Count your lucky stars the majority of Americans had more sense than that.

  2. lnm3921

    November 10, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    So much for our self-proclaimed leaders telling us that Marriage Equality is settled law. It was a narrow-victory and our enemies won’t give up on undoing it anymore than they have on abortion. Here’s your rude awakening. You had better rethink the action of disbanding your marriage equality organizations.
    Let’s see Caitlyn Jenner find value in her chosen party now!

    FADA will be the worst possible legislation ever and it be used to basically nullify our rights and dignity. With the GOP controlling it all, it’s going to get very ugly.

    Better get over the shock and fear and get moving on your own survival strategies. The community will need to stand together and get aggressive if necessary just like any other minority group. Civil unrest maybe necessary.
    Take America back again…for our enemies that is!

    • Mark Nicholas

      November 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Well stated.

  3. Paul Douglas

    November 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    People need to understand that the First Amendment Defense Act not only will set back the rights of the lgbtq community but it is also going to be a slap in the face to any other minority or anybody else that is deemed to be against someone else’s religious beliefs. It is going to give any person the right to refuse any kind of service to anyone based on them just saying it’s against my religion. So people need to wake up and realize that your religious rights are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution there is no need for any other legislation to try and force someone else’s religious beliefs on anyone else you can practice all you want and do anything and pray to anybody you want but when that encroaches on my beliefs then you’re pushing into my civil rights so the First Amendment Defense Act is something we do not need and it never needs to go in front of anyone for a vote.

  4. Save Africa

    November 11, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Blackwell, I am not gay but being gay is not a choice. It’s how you were born and you can’t change it. I guess we are starting off on a sour note. You can’t mold people into what you want them to be. My first born son is guy and 2 of my cousins are and were gay.

    They are not gay, they are not lesbians they are not transgender and they are not heterosexual , They are people and what they do behind closed doors is no ones business but theirs, and they need not announce it every time they enter a room.

  5. stonebreaker

    November 12, 2016 at 9:42 am

    just what the country needs, a bunch of mincing, wailing men, whose favorite thing is another man’s behind. you people need to dust of your bibles, and read what is said about the poofs/swishes.

  6. Anilof

    November 12, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    According to the AP: Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is being discussed for a role in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition planning.

    Peter Thiel is anti-lgbt? Who would have thunk.

    • Mark Hatchett

      November 12, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Thiel doesn’t tow the line and bow down to the gay gestapo/mafia and they hate him

      • lnm3921

        November 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm

        No, he just bends over and gets screwed by the right-wing conservative mobs and thugs! I’m sure he enjoys it. The rest of us aren’t passive tools like he is!

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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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