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Trump to preserve Obama order barring anti-LGBT discrimination

President ‘respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights’

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gaslighting, gay news, Washington Blade

President Trump has pledged to keep in place an executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Amid questions and media speculation he would roll back LGBT protections, President Trump has pledged to keep in place a 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people in the workplace.

First reported by The New York Times, the White House announced that Trump would keep the Obama order in place in a statement made public Tuesday morning.

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” the statement says. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

The statement references Trump’s speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, when he declared he’d “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology.” The White House statement appears to go even further than Trump’s speech by saying the president wants more generally to “protect the community from violence and oppression.”

The White House policy comes after the Human Rights Campaign issued a statement Monday citing rumors that an executive order was in the works that would rescind LGBT rights. The Washington Post reported late Monday text of an executive order was circulating through Washington that would undo former President Barack Obama’s executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people, which covers an estimated 34 million workers, many thousands who are LGBT, and 22 percent of the workforce.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had no comment in response to a question from the Washington Blade about whether Trump was preparing an executive order that would rescind LGBT rights.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, was unimpressed in a statement responding to Trump’s pledge to keep the executive order in place and said questions remain about anti-LGBT actions Trump may take as president.

“Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar,” Griffin said. “LGBTQ refugees, immigrants, Muslims and women are scared today, and with good reason. Donald Trump has done nothing but undermine equality since he set foot in the White House. Donald Trump has left the key question unanswered — will he commit to opposing any executive actions that allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations or even companies to discriminate?”

As the Human Rights Campaign noted, Trump took anti-LGBT positions over the course of his presidential campaign, such as saying he was “with the state” on North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2; supporting the First Amendment Defense Act, a “religious freedom” bill that would enable anti-LGBT discrimination; and pledging to appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court justices in the mold of the anti-gay late U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

“If he’s truly an ally, then why did he choose as his vice president a person who passed one of the most anti-LGBTQ laws in the nation, or an attorney general nominee who says the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was an ‘effort to secularize, by force and intimidation?’” Griffin said. “Donald Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights. You can’t claim to be an ally when you send LGBTQ refugees back to countries where their lives are at risk. You can’t claim support and then rip away life-saving services made possible through the Affordable Care Act for transgender people and those living with HIV or AIDS. You can’t be a friend to this community and appoint people to run the government who compare being gay to bestiality.”

Still, Trump was regarded as the most pro-LGBT Republican presidential nominee history and claimed he was a better friend to LGBT people than Hillary Clinton. Although Trump campaigned in opposition to same-sex marriage, he said after his election on “60 Minutes” he’s “fine” with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality and considers the issue “settled.”

Log Cabin Republicans, the LGBT group that now seems to have the greatest access to Trump after he won the White House, had declared preserving the executive order was its No. 1 goal. Log Cabin submitted a white paper to the Trump transition team and a petition signed by 800 people urging him to keep Obama’s executive order in place.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, said Trump’s pledge to keep the LGBT order makes good on his campaign pledge to be a friend to LGBT people.

“Donald Trump campaigned promising to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBT community, and now President Trump is delivering on that commitment,” Angelo said. “Log Cabin Republicans is proud to have directly lobbied for this important preservation of LGBT equality in the federal workforce, and heartened to see that the recommendations prescribed in our white paper on this subject have been reflected in the decision to maintain the LGBT non-discrimination executive order.”

It remains to be seen whether Trump’s promise to keep Obama’s executive order in place will rile social conservatives, who helped propel Trump to victory.

Last year, Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) inserted an amendment in the 2017 defense authorization bill that would have undermined Obama’s 2014 executive order, the Republican-controlled Congress omitted that language from the final version of the legislation.

Russell expressed displeasure in a statement to the Blade about the Trump decision, saying it would harm religious-affiliated organizations.

“I cannot understand why the President would prevent people of faith to continue to contract with the military,” Russell said.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. dlampo

    January 31, 2017 at 10:51 am

    The response from Chad Griffin just confirms his status as a hack for the Democratic Party who is more interested in pleasing his “progressive” allies than building and sustaining a coalition for equality across the political spectrum. After trashing Trump relentlessly and predicting he would void the exec. order from Obama, he owes the president and his supporters an apology, but he doesn’t have the courage or the character to do it.

    • lnm3921

      January 31, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Don’t hold your breath for an apology! I don’t know how you are anyone to call another a political hack when you won’t even acknowledge that Obama did more for the GLBT community than any other President in US History including Trump!
      Obama put his 2nd term on the line by coming out in favor of Marriage Equality before the votes were cast. He should great courage and integrity! Would Trump do the same?
      That said, I always said during the Obama administration that Executive Orders were band-AIDS not anything permanent. What we need is an Equality Act passed by Congress and signed into law. Will Trump Support that and champion it like Obama did Marriage Equality?
      Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, is calling upon Trump to issue an Executive Order protecting religious liberty. One that he says will allow people of faith to speak up for marriage as one man and one woman! So if Trump grants that, how will these opposing executive orders square off?
      While Trump has not ever said he’d support an Equality Act he has told religious conservative that he will support religious liberty laws and a FADA. Such legislation if made law would give social conservatives an excuse to nullify all laws and ordinances that protect GLBT rights!
      So call me another hack or as you said a gay clone while denying your own blind devotion to the GOP with GLBT rights a footnote!

      • dlampo

        February 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        Yes, I’m married to a man, but who I thank for that is the Supreme Court, specifically Anthony Kennedy, for its decision. Obama had nothing to do with it. Put his presidency on the line? Public opinion was already on the side of SSM, so it took little political courage for him to come out for it, and he was forced to do so by Joe Biden coming out in favor of it first, forcing his hand. He also had no hand in overturning DOMA, and he expended no political capital in helping to repea DADT. Yes, he used his bully pulpit when convenient, but that’s it. Never even got ENDA passed when he had a Dem. Senate and Congress for two whole years. So it’s ironic you talk about the Equality Act. No, I don’t support it, and neither does Cato. I did support ENDA, for which Obama did zero. If Trump supported the religious liberty laws Tony Perkins wants, he would not have renewed the exec. order he just did. Religious liberty laws are fine fs restricted solely to private individuals and groups. Government and government employees should never be covered by such laws. I have a blind devotion to liberty, not the GOP. I’ve voted Democrat a number of times in Virginia for both governor and Senator. One thing is clear: the strategy of HRC and other gay groups to not engage the GOP and to openly attack it head on, which they’ve been doing for decades, is a complete failure and the opposite of a strategy actually designed to engage both parties and create support across the political spectrum, especially important given the now total control of the federal government, 31 governorships, and the great majority of state legislatures by Republicans. Way to go, HRC.

        • lnm3921

          February 1, 2017 at 7:31 pm

          It’s obvious you’re not building a broad spectrum across the political spectrum inclusive of progressives. You still refuse to acknowledge or show any gratitude or success for President Obama’s support for GLBT so why should you expect any for Trump for simply extending a policy that was put in place by a Progressive? We didn’t have such an Executive Order during the Bush administration.

          Obama refused to enforce DOMA before the court even heard the case and appointed Eric Holder AG who shared his view that it was unconstitutional. Meanwhile the GOP Congress continued to push for enforcement through the SCOTUS. But of course the actions and the support of POTUS have no impact on public opinion on such issues paving the way to strike it down.

          Under Obama and Pelosi/Reid control, we not only finally put and end to DADT but also got a Hate Crimes Act signed into law. Significant for the LGBT community given how much time and effort we spent to achieve them. We never did so well in Congress before. Most of our rights have been achieved through the SCOTUS and through Anthony Kennedy which is why SCOTUS choices are so important. What similar achievements for LGBT can you say were achieved when the GOP controlled everything?

          Obama couldn’t achieve passage of ENDA for three reasons you expediently leave out::
          (1) The first time when Pelosi/Reid controlled the Senate, LGBT activists didn’t want it to be voted upon because it did not include Transgender people. Pelosi didn’t think it could pass including them and said that getting a defeat on ENDA on record was not worth a vote on it.
          (2) The 2nd time it was introduced and passed by the Senate, LGBT activists again derailed it because they felt it provided for too many religious exemptions.
          (3) Third, John Boehner refused to allow ENDA to have a hearing in the House or a fair up and down vote despite calls on him to do so. Didn’t matter what Public Opinion thought about it.

          Obama wasn’t going to push for ENDA when LGBT activists weren’t pushing for the version in Congress! Why would he?

          It strikes me a strange that you could support ENDA and an executive order but not an Equality Act. Care to elaborate?

          Trump loves to emphasize that he keeps his promises. He promised that he would support religious liberty laws and FADA. So despite him deciding to continue to enforce an executive order banning LGBT discrimination, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be modified or watered down to provide for a religious liberty exemption.

          To think that the FRC won’t demand as much and expect Trump to deliver is only fooling yourself. You’re old enough to know better how religious conservatives operate.

          Despite a hostile attitude toward the GOP over the decades, we’ve managed to include HIV protections under the ADA, strike down Sodomy laws, integrate the US military, pass hate crimes legislation, defeat laws that would single us out under Romer V. Evans and achieve Marriage Equality. Gee our strategy sure has been hurting us hasn’t it?

          The fact of the Matter is that GLBT sometimes are their own worst enemies with all or nothing strategies that have kept us from passing ENDA. Not our political proclivities.

          • dlampo

            February 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm

            “Despite a hostile attitude toward the GOP over the decades, we’ve
            managed to include HIV protections under the ADA, strike down Sodomy
            laws, integrate the US military, pass hate crimes legislation, defeat
            laws that would single us out under Romer V. Evans and achieve Marriage
            Equality. Gee our strategy sure has been hurting us hasn’t it?” Ok a quick history lesson: The Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws, overturned Romer, and gave us SSM, not Democrats. DADT was given to us by a Democrat and was finally oveturned when Sens. Lieberman and Collins persuaded 8 Republican Senators to support repeal while Harry Reid and Obama were AWOL on the repeal bill. The hate crimes bill has had virtually no effect on the already tiny number of so called hate crimes under federal law. So the strategy of working with only one party and demonizing the other in almost all cases has been a failure. Given the overwhelming Republican control of governorships and state legislatures, not to mention control of Congress and the presidency, we have partisan haters like you to partly thank for the lack of engagement on these issues by so many Republicans. And apparently the only strategy Gay Inc. has is to double down on their hate. Nice job.

          • lnm3921

            February 9, 2017 at 7:32 pm

            You think you’re pretty cute pointing out that the SCOTUS struck down sodomy laws or gave us Marriage Equality but neglect the fact that gay activists put forth the cases that resulted in those rulings in the first place. NOT Conservatives!

            DADT was vociferous defended and repeal opposed by John McCain! Democrats introduced the motion for repeal. It wouldn’t have happened under Republicans!

            Further, it was the GOP Congress who spent effort and resources to go to court over Obama and Eric Holder refusing to enforce DOMA!

            “Given the overwhelming Republican control of governorships and state legislatures, not to mention control of Congress and the presidency, we have partisan haters like you to partly thank for the lack of engagement on these issues by so many Republicans.’
            You sound like a broken record with that line. Get off your high horse before you take a fall from it and land hard on your back! Congress and the Presidency was under GOP control under Bush/Cheney and his advisors kept saying that Bush couldn’t endorse or approve ENDA because it was unconstitutional! So much for your influence!
            People like me are not to blame for your failures in achieving GLBT progress under the GOP. The GOP has enough hate for GLBT to see to that. John Boehner wouldn’t allow ENDA a fair up and down vote and Paul Ryan and McConnell won’t allow a vote either even if you could get a Republican to sponsor it. Religious conservatives who have considerable influence the GOP will see to that!
            It won’t be Democrats that introduce legislation for a religious freedom act in Congress or FADA! It will be a Republicans! When they do, let’s see if you crawl back into your hole again.
            Besides Gay, Inc.. wants an Equality Act and you don’t support one so you are just part of the problem not a solution! What pro-GLBT are you actively supporting? Admit that GLBT issues are low on your agenda and your more concerned about pushing your conservative agenda over anything else!
            Further, Trump has NEVER said he would support ENDA or an Equality Act but he has said he will Support Religious freedom laws and FADA and is now trying to repeal the Johnson Act.

  2. Kathy11

    January 31, 2017 at 11:15 am

    But how will his EEOC & Justice Department handle the Title VII EEOC complaints?

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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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