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Log Cabin emerges as lead LGBT group in Trump era

Is HRC sidelined after promises to ‘defy’ new president?

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Gregory T. Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans, CPAC, gay news, Washington Blade
Gregory Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

‘Log Cabin Republicans is the only LGBT advocacy organization that is committed to working with Donald Trump,’ said Log Cabin’s Gregory Angelo. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In another sign of how the political landscape has changed in Washington, the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans appears to have emerged as the lead LGBT organization expected to have access to the administration of President Donald Trump.

 With most of the longstanding national LGBT advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, strongly supporting or tilting toward Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the November election, many political observers expect them to have little if any access to the Trump White House and federal agencies that oversee LGBT-related issues.

Log Cabin President Gregory Angelo points to an email message from HRC to its supporters shortly before the Trump inauguration calling on the LGBT community to “defy” Trump.

The HRC message said the group had created a new “defy” logo and encouraged supporters to “resist” action by Trump that would harm LGBT people or roll back LGBT supportive policies put in place by President Barack Obama.

“While I can be sympathetic to any efforts to oppose the rollback of LGBT protections – and I don’t anticipate that in a Trump administration – an organization as prominent as the Human Rights Campaign that is committed to defying anti-LGBT actions should also be committed to praising pro-LGBT action, which I fully anticipate the Trump administration to take on short order,” Angelo said.

“But I’m seeing no such promises from the Human Rights Campaign or any other LGBT advocacy organization on the gay left,” he said.

“I would just add that Log Cabin Republicans is the only LGBT advocacy organization that is committed to working with Donald Trump that has been invited to advise the president on LGBT issues and that has had an ongoing dialogue with his transition team and the incoming administration,” Angelo told the Washington Blade.

Log Cabin officials said the Trump administration’s overtures to Log Cabin during the transition period were backed up on Jan. 21 when a high-level transition team official, David Blair, and two Republican U.S. House members who served as Trump campaign officials attended a Log Cabin Inaugural ‘T’ Party held at the Capitol Hill Club, which is part of the Republican National Committee headquarters.

Angelo told the more than 150 LGBT Republicans attending the Log Cabin event that he expected Log Cabin to play an important role in advising the Trump administration on LGBT issues from a conservative Republican perspective in 2017, as the group celebrates its 40th anniversary.

He noted that Log Cabin, at the invitation of the transition team, submitted a white paper calling on Trump to retain an executive order issued by Obama banning discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Washington Blade White House correspondent Chris Johnson, that he wasn’t sure of Trump’s position on the executive order and would seek to find out where the new administration stands on that order.

“Beyond that we are going to be working toward federal LGBT non-discrimination legislation that includes responsible protections and exemptions for churches and religiously affiliated organizations,” Angelo said.

In a break with nearly all other LGBT advocacy groups, Angelo said Log Cabin doesn’t support the Equality Act, the latest version of a federal LGBT non-discrimination bill pending in Congress. He said the group would soon push for a different version of an LGBT non-discrimination bill that would likely gain more support among GOP lawmakers in Congress.

“And then there is a greater agenda we are pursuing together with the Trump administration involving making a case as LGBT conservatives for traditional conservative issues,” Angelo said, emphasizing further Log Cabin’s differences from most other LGBT advocacy groups.

Log Cabin would be speaking out, he said, for gun owners’ rights through “preservation of the Second Amendment, to repeal Obamacare and to replace it with a common sense conservative solution, repeal of the death tax, which is a tax that Log Cabin Republicans has fought against since time immemorial, and eradication of the threat of Islamic terrorism that poses an existential threat to the LGBT community as the Orlando terrorist event showed us.”

He noted that at the request of the Trump transition team earlier this month, Log Cabin wrote letters to wavering U.S. senators expressing support for Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the Department of Education Secretary and in support of the nomination of the controversial former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to become Secretary of State.

Angelo’s remarks come at a time when a newly formed New York City-based LGBT group called Rise and Resist has called on the LGBT community to oppose the Trump administration on all issues. In a statement on its website, the group has threatened to work for the defeat of Democratic members of Congress, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a longtime LGBT rights supporter, if they take any action making them “collaborators” with the Trump administration.

With that as a backdrop, some LGBT activists have expressed concern that national LGBT groups like HRC could face pressure to avoid having any interaction with the Trump administration, even if a situation arises where those groups could push for LGBT supportive policies.

JoDee Winterhof, HRC’s senior vice president for policy and political affairs, told the Blade this week that while HRC plans to speak out against any effort by the new administration to reverse existing LGBT rights protections, it has already made contact with the administration.

“To be clear, we’ve already started doing that,” said Winterhof. “That’s already been started.”

Although she didn’t say with whom within the Trump administration HRC has been in touch, she noted that HRC, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, doesn’t plan to discontinue its longtime practice of lobbying for LGBT equality before both Democratic and Republican presidents.

“There are nominees at agencies that could impact our issues,” she said. “For us not to communicate with those folks would not be the best approach,” Winterhof said, adding, “So of course we do those sorts of things. That’s what we do.”

At the same time, Winterhof said, HRC isn’t naïve and knows a large number of Trump appointees, including cabinet appointees, have records hostile to LGBT rights.

In an apparent reference to Log Cabin, she added, “If others in the movement have information where we should all rest easy, that our protections and gains are in place and they’re solid, then that’s fabulous news. But so far we don’t have information that tells us that.”

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helps elect LGBT people to public office on the local, state and national levels and also lobbies for presidential appointments of LGBT people, issued a strongly worded statement on the day following the election leaving no doubt about its opposition to Trump.

“Today I am heartbroken that racist, xenophobic, sexist and transphobic demagoguery won last night’s presidential election,” said Aisha Moodie-Mills, the Victory Fund’s president and CEO.

“The devastating results hit the LGBT community particularly hard because we are unique in spanning all the demographic groups targeted by the president-elect throughout his campaign,” she said.

‘If President Trump appoints an LGBT person supportive of the entire community, that is welcome,’ said a skeptical Aisha Moodie-Mills, the Victory Fund’s president and CEO. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

‘If President Trump appoints an LGBT person supportive of the entire community, that is welcome,’ said a skeptical Aisha Moodie-Mills, the Victory Fund’s president and CEO. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In a separate statement to the Blade this week, Moodie-Mills said Victory Fund and its affiliated group, the Victory Institute, would continue to push hard for LGBT rights advances through the large number of openly LGBT elected officials it regularly works with. But she said she was doubtful that the Victory Institute’s Presidential Appointments Initiative would continue in a meaningful way during the Trump administration.

The Presidential Appointments Initiative “exists to advance equality for the entire LGBT community – including LGBT immigrants, women and people of color,” she said. “We will not use resources to secure LGBT appointments just for the sake of there being LGBT appointments,” she continued.

“If President Trump appoints an LGBT person supportive of the entire community, that is welcome,” she said. “But we are clear-eyed and realistic about the influence such an appointee may have on LGBT issues.”

D.C. gay public affairs and communications company executives Robert Raben, who heads the Raben Group, and Jeff Trammell, who heads Trammell & Company, each said LGBT groups whenever possible should attempt to advocate for LGBT-related issues within the Trump administration.

“It’s the wrong question – engage or not,” Raben told the Blade. “People should engage when they need to, fight when they need to, and be somewhere in between when they need to,” he said. “It’s an enormous waste of people’s energy to fight among ourselves about whether to engage or not.”

Added Raben, “We have one president at a time, one government at a time. Abdicating the responsibility to get in there and fight for what you want just turns your power over to those who will, to your detriment.”

Trammell, who has also been a longtime Democratic Party activist, said he is skeptical about Log Cabin Republicans’ ability to sway either the Republican Party or the Trump administration on LGBT issues based on what he says has been the group’s record.

“My point is I will applaud any LGBT Republican and any LGBT-supportive Republican who does things on behalf of the LGBT community,” said Trammell. “But the burden is on them at this time because there has been so much talk before and very little delivery,” he said. “So if they will do it, more power to them.”

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Katrina Rose

    January 25, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    “Log Cabin emerges as lead LGBT group in Trump era”

    …in its head.

  2. terryhamilton

    January 25, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Does the HRC (organization) really believe that they are going to be able to have the President’s ear after launching a campaign to “dEfy” the administration? (The E capitalized to note that the E used to stand for Equality).

    • Kurt 20008

      January 26, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Yes, the new administration will. HRC has the ability to inform and mobilize our community around broad issues. Trump will have the choice to listen or further alienate our community.

      LCR has the ability to inform and mobilize its tiny membership around tax cuts for the rich, Muslim bashing and taking away health care.

      • alwaysright21

        January 26, 2017 at 11:28 am

        That old hack is still hacking
        up fur balls from munching
        on humas dirty arab carpet

      • REVVINCENT

        January 26, 2017 at 12:26 pm

        TRUMP DOES NOT CARE! When will you people grasp fact over fantasy?

  3. Jay Phelps

    January 25, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    So the Log Cabin Republicans endorse Betsy DeVos, well known for her anti-gay rhetoric and advocacy. Sounds like the Log Cabins are buying that “alternative facts” propaganda.

    • Alyce Miller

      January 26, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Unbelievable.

      • Katrina Rose

        January 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        Not if you’ve seen the delusional musings of Log Cabin over the years.

  4. Noah Samuels

    January 26, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Vomit

  5. Kurt 20008

    January 26, 2017 at 10:41 am

    The point is that LCR might well meet with Administration officials on behalf of its tiny membership and its agenda that is out of step with many of our community (repeal the estate tax, really?).

    The new Administration will have a choice of engaging with mainstream LGBT organizations and considering the broad concerns of our community or ignoring the mainstream movement and concerns and just engaging with a tiny element. It’s their choice.

  6. Kathy11

    January 26, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I hope that the Blade will post a copy of the white paper presented by Log Cabin. The LGBT community should know what priorities they recommended and which they didn’t.

    • Katrina Rose

      January 26, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Based on the remarks about trans women in the coverage of the ‘DeploraBall’, I can make a pretty safe bet as to what a certain portion of the white paper will look like.
      I can make an equally safe bet that there won’t be one at all.

    • DenisLeBlanc

      January 27, 2017 at 2:33 am

      Its up to the Log Cabin folks to post it on their own website and up to you to search for it there if you are so interested.

      • Katrina Rose

        January 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm

        Its up to the Blade to constantly remind the community of its absence from that website.

  7. REVVINCENT

    January 26, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    With a vice president who believes gays should be electro-shocked into being “straight” and a president who aligned himself with FOUR HUNDRED so-called “pastors” who believe gays should be exterminated, I doubt the Log Cabin Club will make even a dent into this hate regime. The Republican Party is going the way of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini with no apparent roadblocks within the Party itself. Human rights and civil rights will be turned on their heads.

  8. Bob Mitchell

    January 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    The left does not represent the whole gay community. They also have a bad memory. Obama and Clinton didn’t believe in gay marriage. It took the Supreme Court not the Democrats to bring us gay marriage. They also like to forget Proposition 8 in California. I commend LCR for persisting through the degrading and hateful slurs heaped on them from the small minded left. I for one hope for a truly inclusive future.

    • REVVINCENT

      January 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      “Small minded left” pretty much underscores just how small minded YOU are. Sad. Terribly sad.

    • Im Just Sayin

      January 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      No Bob, the left does not represent the whole gay community but they do tend to work for the advancement of the entirety of the gay community. LCR promotes the interests of a small group of well-heeled white gay men with nostalgic views of an America where they lived well but closeted.

    • Kurt 20008

      January 26, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      LCR is a very small group on the margins of our community. Dismissing everyone else as “the left” just shows LCR’s typical childishness.

      The new administration might not give a fig about our community. If they do, they will engage with the mainstream groups of our community rather than only LCR.

      Yesterday, when Trump met with union leaders about jobs, notice he didn’t invite either of the two small and marginal unions that endorsed him, but the leaders of mainstream, larger unions even though they did not support his candidacy. Even Trump knows you can’t work with a community by picking its leaders for them, but you have to accept who the mainstream of the community picks as its leaders. This assume Trumps wants to engage with our community.

    • Alyce Miller

      January 26, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      True, but none of them believed what our VP believes, that gay-aversion therapy can make you straight, and that being GLBTQ is sinful. You have no idea how bad Pence is. Trump is only slightly less offensive because he lived in Manhattan and had a wider social circle, but Pence is a scary ideologue who made RFRA the law in Indiana. Look at his record. And look at many of Trump’s cabinet members and associates.

      They are as homophobic as you get.

  9. Im Just Sayin

    January 26, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    So, LCR doesn’t support the Equality Act and they want to push for another version of an LGBT anti-discrimination bill the republicans can support? Umm, Mr. Angelo, you do realize that such a bill would basically contain no enforceable LGBT anti-discrimination protections because it would have to have a clause allowing people to opt out if they find gay people to be “icky,” right? But hey man knock yourself out.

  10. Culture Club Warrior

    January 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    LCR withheld its endorsement because Trump had surrounded himself with anti-gay advisors. What has changed since then?

  11. mginsd

    January 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    “’Today I am heartbroken that racist, xenophobic, sexist and transphobic demagoguery won last night’s presidential election,’ said Aisha Moodie-Mills, the Victory Fund’s president and CEO.”
    The same tired rhetoric from the same elitist mouths. No, VF’s PAI won’t have much influence in this administration; merit and independent thinking will be the qualifiers for appointments. So, keep on keepin’ on, Ms. Moodie-Mills, you’re painting yourself into a rainbow-colored corner. And no, your hyphenated surname does NOT enhance your credibility.

  12. Robert Basamania-Eeten

    January 26, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    what bullshit is this?

  13. Pitt90

    January 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Just because Trump might pretend to care what the Log Cabin Republicans think, does *not* make it the “lead LGBT” group in the Trump era. LCR represents me about as much as Kim Jong-un does…

  14. Mark Cichewicz

    January 26, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Far too long an article to read, it said so much we already knew. Top it off with a religious exemption and in my opinion the loggers are at squar one again. And if Trump didn’t say it seconds ago, he may have changed his mind.

  15. DEA3872

    January 26, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78385869ed9fe91878066e906928f1638374e1097d72d1e30bfd7b9ec5e8850b.jpg So Hillary Clinton opposed same-sex marriage more than once in her political career, as has Obama. Yet they are held up as saviors of the gay community. While President Trump has always been a supporter of the gay community all his life, and that support has not changed now that he is President of the United States of America. Now, let me remind all of you that it was a Republican/Conservative majority Supreme Court who ruled same-sex marriage to be legal across all this Land. And let’s not forget that Rowan County Clerk of court Kim Davis, who was held in contempt of court for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, is a registered Democrat. Oh the irony.

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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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