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Swift LGBT opposition to Gorsuch over ‘religious freedom’ rulings

Trump judicial pick ruled for Hobby Lobby in lower court decision

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Neil Gorsuch, gay news, Washington Blade

Judge Neil Gorsuch (Screen capture via YouTube)

President Trump ended speculation Tuesday night on whom he’d select to replace the late U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch — and LGBT advocates wasted no time in quickly condemning the choice.

Announcing his choice of Gorsuch — who has served for a decade as a George W. Bush-appointed judge on the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals — Trump in the East Room of the White House said his choice makes good on his campaign promise to limit his U.S. Supreme Court judicial picks to a list of pre-selected names and to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia.

Praising Scalia’s widow, who was seated in the audience at the time of the announcement, Trump said “the image and genius” of the late justice “was in my mind throughout the decision-making process.”

The comparison of Gorsuch to Scalia, who wrote scathing dissents in major U.S. Supreme Court decisions in favor of gay rights — wasn’t lost on LGBT advocates opposing his nomination.

Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, came out swinging against Gorsuch, calling him an “extreme candidate” based on his judicial rulings.

“We strongly oppose this nomination,” Minter said. “Gorsuch has embraced extreme positions far outside the mainstream of most jurists, including a dangerously radical view of religious liberty that would undermine anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and others. We are deeply disappointed by President Trump’s choice of such an extreme candidate, whose views pose a real threat to our nation’s core principles of equality and freedom for all, and urge the Senate to reject his nomination.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), an LGBT rights supporter, expressed frustration the Republican-controlled Senate never allowed a vote on Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland and declared his opposition to Gorsuch “until it is clear that he will protect the constitutional rights of women, of the LGBT community, and the rights of every American.”

“Judge Gorsuch is Justice Scalia on steroids,” Nadler said. “His record demonstrates that, if confirmed, he would rely on his conservative, originalist philosophy to overturn critical precedents and to disregard the rights of everyday Americans while bolstering protections for corporations and special interests.”

Prominent in Gorsuch’s rulings on the 10th Circuit is a lower court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 ultimately ruled the chain could deny contraception coverage to its employees based on religious reasons despite being a for-profit corporation.

“The law we address today compels the corporations to act contrary to their religious beliefs,” Gorsuch wrote. “They therefore suffer a substantial burden. I see no need to examine how damaging the sanctions for noncompliance would be or how difficult it would be for the corporations to rearrange their present manner of operating their businesses to avoid violating the law.”

The Supreme Court limited the Hobby Lobby ruling to contraception, explicitly denying the decision was precedent in cases pertaining to civil rights laws, but critics say the decision could open the door to rulings in the name of “religious freedom” against laws prohibiting LGBT non-discrimination. (That has occurred. A federal judge in Michigan cited the Hobby Lobby decision when ruling against a transgender employee at a funeral home who was terminated for transitioning.)

Gorsuch also sided with “religious freedom” arguments over the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide contraception coverage in the 10th Circuit ruling in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell.

Rachel Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, declared opposition to the nominee based on Gorsuch’s “religious freedom” rulings, which she said marks the first time her organization opposed a Supreme Court nominee without any confirmation hearing.

“Judge Gorsuch’s opinion in the 10th Circuit Hobby Lobby decision is disqualifying,” Tiven said. “The Hobby Lobby decision set a terrible and destructive standard for bosses being allowed to meddle in our sex lives and decide whether or not birth control is covered by the employer’s insurance plan.

Immediately at the time Trump announced Gorsuch as his choice for the Supreme Court, Lambda Legal unveiled a compilation of decisions and writings from the nominee demonstrating anti-LGBT views.

Among the writings was a piece for the conservative National Review titled “Liberals & Lawsuits,” which condemned the progressive movement for seeking advancements in the courts as opposed to seeking change elsewhere. Two years after the Massachusetts Supreme Court made the Bay State the first in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, the article explicitly identifies same-sex marriage as an issue that doesn’t belong in the courts.

“American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education,” Gorsuch said. “This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in favor of marriage equality nationwide. Given that Gorsuch would replace Scalia, a justice who dissented from the decision, his confirmation might be step toward an unlikely ruling overturning the decision down the road, but not sufficiently enough to change the makeup of the court.

Gregory Angelo, president of Log Cabin Republicans, said the marriage issue was settled regardless of who’s appointed to the bench, refusing to join other LGBT advocates in opposing Gorsuch.

“Marriage equality is here to stay, and the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch — or any conservative justice — will not change that,” Angelo said. “Log Cabin Republicans continues to review the case history of Judge Gorsuch and welcomes confirmation hearings in the United States Senate to explore his perspective on the relevant issues facing LGBT Americans today.”

On the 10th Circuit, Gorsuch also joined a ruling against transgender rights in 2015 in the case of Druley v. Patton, which rejected arguments the Oklahoma Department of Corrections violated a transgender inmate’s constitutional rights by denying her hormone treatment and her request to wear feminine clothing. The ruling explicitly denies transgender people belong to “a protected suspect class for purposes of Equal Protection claims.”

“Ms. Druley did not allege any facts suggesting the ODOC defendants’ decisions concerning her clothing or housing do not bear a rational relation to a legitimate state purpose,” the decision adds. “Thus, she has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on her Equal Protection claims.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, came out in opposition to Gorsuch after insisting the choice is Trump’s latest effort “since the moment he stepped foot in the Oval Office” to undermine LGBT rights.

“The Supreme Court has played a central role in advancing the promise of equality for LGBTQ Americans, and Judge Gorsuch’s anti-equality record — from opposing crucial medical treatment for a transgender person to supporting a license to discriminate for private corporations — make him unfit to sit on the nation’s highest court,” Griffin said. “We cannot afford a justice who will roll back our rights, or who will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump’s unconstitutional actions. And America cannot afford to have Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. We oppose this nomination.”

Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado and an LGBT advocate from the state where Gorsuch has served as a judge, cited Gorsuch’s “religious freedom” rulings as a source of concern and called on U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) to reject the nominee.

“A Supreme Court that would rule in support of religious exemptions would certainly open LGBTQ Americans up to discrimination and open up a can of worms that could allow individuals to ignore child welfare, domestic violence, or other laws that someone could contend is contrary to their religion,” Ramos said. “The Supreme Court has the potential to shape the future of our nation for generations to come and Supreme Court Justices should be committed to upholding America’s promise of fairness and freedom for all.”

Expressing support for the nomination, on the other hand, and present during the White House announcement for the choice was Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, who cited Gorsuch’s ruling for “religious freedom” as a reason to support him.

“Judge Gorsuch’s record over the last 14 years, especially on religious liberty, gives Americans every reason to believe he will make a fine Supreme Court justice,” Perkins said. “His reputation as a judge with integrity and dedication to the Constitution should be an encouragement to all Americans.”

The makeup of the Supreme Court will be important as it considers the case of G.G. v. Gloucester County Schools, which will determine whether a transgender student, Gavin Grimm, can use the restroom at school consistent with his gender identity. However, the odds are against the Senate completing what will likely be a contentious confirmation process in time for Gorsuch to join arguments in the case.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. lnm3921

    February 1, 2017 at 12:52 am

    This guy thinks the courts have no role in settling human rights issues like marriage equality. Since most of our advancements under the law from defeating sodomy laws, or laws that single you out for sexual discrimination have come from the courts and not the Congress, the makeup of the court is all the more important.

    Trump seeks right-wing judicial activists. Precisely the time of people who could rule against our interests if they ever review rulings in our favor again. We’ve seen we can only rarely get something major that helps us through Congress, so without the courts in our favor, the advancement of our freedoms and recognition of our rights under the law, may be delayed for countless years.

    • customartist

      February 1, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Yes, Gorsuch, like Scalia, believes that if the literal words are not written into the Constitution, then protections for LGBT citizens do not exist.

      He is patently wrong! Gorsuch was evidently absent from law school on the day they covered the Ninth Amendment? On this lapse in knowledge alone, Gorsuch is unqualified.

  2. Im Just Sayin

    February 1, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Sorry Mr. Angelo but as is so often the case you are wrong about the fragile state of gay rights in this country and the damage that Trump can inflict through his actions. Obergefell is as settled as Roe v. Wade. All it takes is one case reasserting a state’s right to define marriage and a shift in the make-up of the Supreme Court to roll the clock back. The first shoe has dropped with the nomination of Gorsuch.

    • customartist

      February 1, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Sadly correct

  3. LesbianTippingHabits

    February 1, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Of course, the real issue re Judge Neil Gorsuch [auto-corrects to Grouch] is simple: How does he tip?

    If progressives and others really care about the future of America, someone in the Denver area will start asking the wait staff, who always know for sure.

    Outing Judge Gorsuch as a parsimonious (cheap) tipper would be very effective in sharing his true character with all Americans. After all, character shows in your actions when you think nobody is watching.

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies. Thank you.

  4. customartist

    February 1, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Trump boldly waved the rainbow flag claiming to support LGBT citizens in an effort to gain votes, but he THEN nominates a Self-described Religious adherent to make Hobby Lobby-like rulings where the Religious have their rights to steamroll over those of other citizens of the USA.

    This is NOT what the writers of the Constitution intended at all. * See: Ninth Amendment

    It matters not how many Other campaign promises he keeps – so long as he reneges on his promises to us the teeny minority because we don’t matter, his word is utterly worthless.

    “Your right to swing your arms ends at the other person’s nose” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  5. old married lady

    February 3, 2017 at 1:32 am

    I’m in Colorado and have watched Gorsuch on the state Supreme Court. He’s a Scalia clone. So it would really be a wash. I say let this one go and keep our powder dry for the next retirement. If Trump is still in office (debateable) when (probably) J. Ginsberg retires, he could tip the balance of the Court. That’s the one to put our firepower behind.

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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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