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Gays for Trump leader organizing ‘Free Speech’ Rally on Mall

July 1 event a non-partisan celebration

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Gays for Trump, March4Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

Peter Boykin (Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The president of the North Carolina-based group Gays for Trump is a lead organizer of a July 1 MAGA [Make America Great Again] Free Speech Rally on the National Mall near the White House.

Peter Boykin, who founded Gays for Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign, said the July 1 rally on the Mall would be a non-partisan celebration of the Make America Great Again theme, which he said would help make the country a better place to live for “everyone, gay, straight, black, white – everyone.”

He said that to him and others working with him on the July rally, “Make America Great Again is more than a political slogan. It is a way of life.”

Boykin said that although those expected to speak at the rally will be mostly conservative activists, including LGBT people, who support President Donald Trump, there will be an “open mic” period in which anyone who attends can speak.

According to Boykin, organizers of the event have obtained a permit from the National Park Service for a space for the rally across the street from the Washington Monument grounds on Constitution Avenue near the White House.

He said the event would also promote another Washington, D.C. event planned by the same organizers for the Labor Day weekend, which is being billed as the MAGA Awards and America’s First Fashion Show with Andre Soriano.”

Soriano, a clothing designer who’s gay, was among the Trump supporters that spoke at a pro-Trump march and rally on the Mall and at Lafayette Park across the street from the White House held on March 4 that was initiated and organized by Boykin.

Boykin said the free speech rally planned for July 1 represents a change from an earlier plan by Gays for Trump to hold a “Deploraball Pre-4th of July Picnic” on the Mall on July 1 to celebrate Trump’s first Independence Day as president. He said most of the space suitable for a picnic on the Mall had already been taken for other events on the July 4th weekend, in which thousands descend on the Mall for the annual fireworks show and other events.

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. staN3rd

    June 27, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    “Peter Boykin, who founded Gays for Trump …said the July 1 rally on the Mall would be a non-partisan celebration of the Make America Great Again theme…”

    with all due respect to Mr. Boykin, this is the very definition of ‘oxymoron.’

  2. MS

    June 27, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    That’s really ironic considering that the only first amendment freedoms under attack are of the press and assembly. This guy sounds certifiably cray cray.

    • Mark Hatchett

      June 28, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Maybe you should reread the First Amendment then have a chat with Milo and Ann Coulter.

      • Culture Club Warrior

        June 28, 2017 at 12:25 pm

        The government never tried to silence Milo or Ann Coulter. Maybe you should reread the First Amendment.

        • Mark Hatchett

          June 28, 2017 at 12:47 pm

          The police ie the government in Berkeley CA failed to protect the free speech rights of Milo and Coulter or does that matter to you?

          • lnm3921

            June 28, 2017 at 7:41 pm

            As the Trump administration fails to protect free speech at press conferences filtering journalists that may attend, cherry picking only those that promote a right-wing agenda!

          • Culture Club Warrior

            June 29, 2017 at 5:54 pm

            Not really the police ie the government’s job to keep protesters from shutting down a speaking engagement. Seems like they were focused more on keeping everyone physically safe, which is actually their job.

          • Mark Hatchett

            June 29, 2017 at 6:09 pm

            The police in Berkeley stood by and watched while these Antifa “protesters” did hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages to the campus and the town itself. The police in Chicago stood by and watched while Black Lives Matter “protesters” invaded, threatened and shut down a speaking event at DePaul University. So tell me again what was their job?

          • Culture Club Warrior

            June 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm

            I don’t see what any of that has to do with your lack of understanding when it comes to the First Amendment.

          • Mark Hatchett

            June 29, 2017 at 8:19 pm

            No sweetheart it is you who do not recognize the role of local law enforcement as a representatives of the federal government!

          • Culture Club Warrior

            June 30, 2017 at 1:14 am

            Local law enforcement represents the federal government? Are you actually being serious?

          • Mark Hatchett

            June 30, 2017 at 7:15 am

            As do state police/troopers, highway patrol and all other LEO’s. Why don’t you try them out sometime…break a federal law in their presence like maybe a drug law and see what happens.

          • Culture Club Warrior

            June 30, 2017 at 7:27 am

            Dude, you make no sense.

          • Mark Hatchett

            June 30, 2017 at 7:42 am

            Of course if you live in a city or state with a Democrat mayor or governor like Berkeley or Chicago the local LEO’s may well be ordered to stand down when conservatives are attempting to hold a speaking event even though they have all sworn to uphold the Constitution.

          • Culture Club Warrior

            June 30, 2017 at 9:31 pm

            So….nothing real to back up your claim that MY and AC were censored by the Federal government, then?

            Got it.

          • Mark Hatchett

            June 30, 2017 at 9:47 pm

            By taking oaths to the Constitution and accepting federal funds LEO’s act as de facto agents of the federal government. So too do universities which accept and administer federal funds. Sorry you can’t grasp this. http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/25/berkeley-lawsuit-shows-conservatives-wont-silenced-university-censors/

      • lnm3921

        June 28, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        Did you emerge from the swamp that has yet to be drained again? Milo and Ann Coulter, aren’t they one and the same? What would you know about freedom? You seek to limit it for others in the community after all.

  3. Carl Sandin

    June 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Keep at it Peter and Donald. Trump is not attacking any rights, you are confusing him with Obama.

    • hdtex

      June 28, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Were you born this stupid or were you dropped on your head as a child?

    • lnm3921

      June 28, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Obama fought for GLBT rights risking his 2nd term by coming out in marriage equality when many feared it would destroy them politically.
      Obama gave us a Executive Order to prevent discrimination against the GLBT community by Federal contractors and was also fighting for transgender rights in the federal courts.

      Trump abandoned the transgender community and is supportive of religious freedom laws that would do the GLBT community harm. He supports scrapping the Johnson amendment to give them an unfair tax advantage in promoting anti-GLBT politics. He ignores gay men in Chechnya and won’t declare this Pride month but always has time to appear before conferences hosted by our enemies. Going through life with blinders on is politically expedient!

  4. kari donovan

    June 27, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Proud of you Peter for making a difference and standing up for your beliefs.It sounds like you have tried to make everyone feel welcome.

    • lnm3921

      June 28, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Where’s the barf bag? What difference is he making? This is a farce.

  5. Jason Lamebeaver

    June 27, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    We have your back Peter. #MAGA

    • hdtex

      June 28, 2017 at 7:42 am

      No we do NOT. #MAGAMYASS

    • lnm3921

      June 28, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      Who is “we”? Boykin is an eyesore troll desperately seeking relevance! The Fake POTUS does nothing for the GLBT community but lie to it!

  6. Tom

    June 28, 2017 at 12:39 am

    That trump immediately reversed pro-LGBT executive orders and stripped support from fighting for bathroom rights for trans people, I don’t understand how this group identifies as “Gays for Trump” – what is he doing that that this group things is helpful to gays? Support the president if that’s your desire, but to say “gays” should be for him, has no basis.

    • Kemwit Tall Tree

      June 28, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Who are you to tell them what to name their organization? If you don’t share their views, simply change the channel!

      • lnm3921

        June 28, 2017 at 7:54 pm

        Where’s the remote?

        • Kemwit Tall Tree

          June 28, 2017 at 8:47 pm

          Maybe you left it in your derriere last night! Check in the mirror!

          • lnm3921

            June 28, 2017 at 8:52 pm

            That’s your pathetic lifestyle not mine. I’m sure the one you use vibrates!

          • Kemwit Tall Tree

            June 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm

            Get a sense of humor! You’ll need less Ex-Lax!

          • lnm3921

            June 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm

            Did you say something funny? You’re the one that is obviously constipated (full of it) so naturally you would think of Ex-Lax!

          • Kemwit Tall Tree

            June 29, 2017 at 6:47 am

            Yes and you dislike Trump because he is a boorish lout? It always confounds me how so many self-righteous loudmouths carry on about how AWFUL Trump acts! LOL

          • lnm3921

            June 29, 2017 at 12:19 pm

            I dislike trump because among other things he is an a-hole and a liar!

            He supports the agenda of those that would harm the LGBT community and frankly his other agenda items are wrong, only helping the rich not anyone else!

            How is it the fact that trump is a self-righteous loud mouth escapes you let alone your own statements proving you to be one?

          • Kemwit Tall Tree

            June 29, 2017 at 1:19 pm

            Trump has done nothing to harm the gay community and name me one thing he did that hurt us.

            I see nothing wrong with Trump’s other agenda items and tax cuts are great!

            You speak a lot of rhetoric, but I bet you can’t back any of it up with facts or concrete examples.

          • lnm3921

            June 29, 2017 at 3:04 pm

            I see your a trump brown noser. No surprise as you’ve shown your obsession for fear ends previously.

            He already has harmed the transgender community. His support for religious freedom laws and repeal of the Johnson amendment he champions would harm the LGBT community! Get a clue!

            Tax cuts are great if geared to help the poor and middle class but his plan mainly helps the rich at the expense of the others! It along with his desired border wall are deficit busters! You can’t ramp up spending on the military, infrastructure, etc while cutting the tax base without increasing debt!

            You tell us Obamacare and entitlements aren’t sustainable but welfare for the rich somehow is! Not buying your bs!!

            It’s you that speak the rhetoric with fake facts!!

          • Kemwit Tall Tree

            June 29, 2017 at 4:07 pm

            I said gay rights, not trans rights. In my opinion, kids under the age of 18 should NOT be subjected to showers and bathrooms with biologically different sexes.

            I only see a couple of flimsy maybes (but nothing concrete) you mentioned with regards to gay rights.

            I like tax cuts and will get a nice one, your just jealous! So sorry!

            You’re sounding like a real Kool-Aid drinker! Scarey!

          • lnm3921

            June 29, 2017 at 4:34 pm

            Well they say we are the LGBT community now not just gay. Conservatives are known to throw trans under the bus but they can kick your behind on that one. I’ll just throw in jabs for fun!

            Hardly flimsy. Sad that you are too dense to see the implications and the real threat. Right now there is a court case at the scotus that is a tipping point on whether business have to serve gay couples. That’s huge! Get educated instead of showing how stupid you are!!

            You’ll get a nice tax cut at others expense showing that you’re selfish and don’t care about anyone but yourself!

            Jealous? Don’t be so smug! It could flip against you once congress changed hands and trump is ousted!! You won’t have the powe forever and the GOP knows it that is why you are in such a hurry!

            If you can undo Obamacare we can undo your tax cut someday and make you pay more than you do now. We’ll see how you like it!

          • lnm3921

            June 28, 2017 at 9:35 pm

            My you’re obsessed with the rear end. Must be where your head is at. Laugh at that chuckles!

      • Tom

        July 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        I’m not arguing with their name, but what they stand for –
        as anyone opposed to any group might express in these comments. Again, it’s the idea that gays should be for Trump
        is illogical to me. And I will state so
        in this forum without changing the channel, thanks!

  7. Kemwit Tall Tree

    June 28, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Great to see diversity of opinion in our communities! I’m not a big Trump fan, but I’m happy to see various opinions being given a venue of expression!

  8. Culture Club Warrior

    June 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    So, he’s organizing a rally to promote a fashion show, which will promote his business, which will benefit him financially, and he’s using politics to do it?

    No wonder he likes Trump.

  9. lnm3921

    June 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Why not? Your disgraced fallen idol Miss Milo promotes NAMBLA. What exactly is miss milo anyway other than a courtesan? She’s been seen wearing women’s jewelry on the Bill Maher show.

    Why do you even identify as queer when you do everything the promotes the welfare of GLBT? What a mess!

  10. Peter Boykin

    June 29, 2017 at 11:28 am

    OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
    The March for MAGA, July 1, 2017
    Event Organizer – MAGA MEGA LLC
    CEO Peter Boykin (DC) [email protected]
    Viktoria Colvin – MAGA MEGA LLC – Executive Producer [email protected]

    The March for MAGA – A MAGA MEGA Rally in Washington D.C.
    on July 1, 2017
    “Stop the fight. Let’s Unite”

    June 28, 2017: MAGAMEGA LLC, a grassroots pro-American organization, announces a MAGA MEGA Rally celebrating those who stand for America, Go Against the Grain or are Making a difference and are eager to celebrate the Nations Birthday the Saturday prior to July 4th.

    The event is scheduled for July 1, 2017 at the Southwest Quadrant of the Ellipse – south side of the White House Lawn. This is a free event for all American’s who wish to promote their love for their country and their love for freedom. Free tickets are available at themagaawards.com. You can call or follow any of the links provided. For media request please contact us directly.

    We are pleased to announce, Transformational Speaker, Dr. Lisa Christiansen and EDM Recording artist and DJ, Kaya Jones have accepted our invitation to be keynote speakers at the March for MAGA event. This event is to unite the Nation together in support of our country and our elected President. We are excited to have Dr. Lisa and Kaya Jones speaking along with other guests at our events throughout the country this year.

    MAGA MEGA Rally is a prequal to the main event on September 1st and 2nd where there are more than 215 nominees for the MAGA Awards, some of which are nominated in more than 1 category, which brings the nominee total to 247. There are 24 categories – see our voting page for the full list of categories and nominees. The MAGA Awards event will offer a variety of speakers, performers or presenters ranging from community organizations, the entertainment industry, politics, the media, and mainstream society.

    Dr. Christiansen has been publicly supporting President Trump throughout the campaign and even went to the inauguration. She is an Oklahoma-based authority on the psychology of leadership, organizational turnaround, and is a Peak Performance Strategist. She is also a Doctor of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, and has a degree in Psychology. Dr. Christiansen has served as an Advisor to pop star Kelly Clarkson, Olympian Dara Torres, and superstar Patrick Dempsey. Christiansen has also been honored as one of the “Top Business Intellectuals in the World.”

    Kaya Jones is an EDM Recording artist and DJ – Known formally from the world famous, Pussycat Dolls, and is highly involved in philanthropy work with veterans. Kaya is currently recording a new album with an upcoming release date to be announced.

    Just so you know who we are, our company was founded by Peter Boykin & Viktoria L Colvin, our mission is to support and ensure True Freedom of Speech. Additionally our goal is to bring fun and excitement into American Activism through events such as; The Inaugural Deploraball, March4Trump: Washington DC, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Phoenix & Mar-a-Lago, and now The MAGA Awards.

    Kaya Jones, Dr. Lisa Christensen, Joy Villa, Andre Soriano, and the Jackson Tillman Band are just a couple of the nominees for The MAGA Awards along with other nominees who will attend the MAGA Award event, perform new singles, or present awards. Many will also have booths at the expo during the day on September 1st to sign autographs, meet fans, and sell CD’s or souvenirs.

    Please join us on July 1 for a day filled with love, unity, and patriotism. You can follow each one on Twitter @Joy_Villa @KayaJones @DrLisaCoaching @andresoriano @JTillmanBand. For more details visit themagaawards.com And we are also proud to announce the MAGA Award is being cast in silver – in the image of Joy in the now famous MAGA Gown.

    The MAGA Awards and MAGA MEGA Rally and Expo events are not intended as Pro-Trump or politically motivated events. Although many of the nominees, as well as the organization is in support of the 45th President, Donald Trump. This event is a PRO-AMERICAN event, honoring those who strive to make it better for one another and are willing to put aside personal beliefs, opinions, or negative narratives in order to improve the lives of fellow Americans.

    We’re unifying in honor of The United States of America and for all Americans; all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or political affiliation are invited to participate. We the people, as One Nation Under God, invite you to set aside differences and join us.

    For further information, please visit us at The MAGA Awards, please go vote for your favorite nominee and visit the schedule to get all the details for the day’s events. Like us on Facebook or follow the MAGA Awards on Twitter and use #MagaAwards also follow @PeterBoykin and @ViktoriaLColvin. To become a sponsor or to have your own expo booth visit our sponsor and exhibitor page.

    ###

  11. Peter Boykin

    June 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Let me ask all of those that want to talk trash about Donald Trump or say “I cannot believe that there is GaysForTrump” so I ask you… whining about our President and saying all day he is supposed to be anti gay… what does that change? what does that do? really? whining all damn day about this and that… what does that do? I tell you what it does it does NOT A DAMN thing. So you want to keep listening to the Fake News about Donald Trump and Mike Pence go ahead.. but its all LIES.. you liberal gays are just as indoctrinated into believing lies as bad as ISIS is… its sad…

    • XLancer

      July 1, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      “So you want to keep listening to the Fake News about Donald Trump and Mike Pence go ahead.. but its all LIES.”

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! :D

      Right-wing delusions are so amusing. :)

  12. Steve

    June 30, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I have been reading all of this back and forth about this and that but what I have not heard is what we all can do together to make this country more safe and better for our children’s children. We all are Americans and we can disagree on issues and that is what makes America what it is and has become the land of the free and opportunity for all. But what does not make America is this chapter without logical solutions. Have that discussion not your democrat or republican continuous sound bites that has been the talk for decades. Solutions

  13. Kinsey6

    July 4, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I almost feel sorry for Peter Boykin. He’s a laughingstock, and clearly needs mental care. Well, actually… anyone who supports Trump or Republicans/conservatives for that matter needs psychological/psychiatric care, but he simply embarrasses himself. If I were him and had done what he’s done, I could never show my face in public again. Yet there is is with a $#!+-eating grin a mile wide… proud as can be. And yet completely clueless to the fact that he’s no different than a very busy “Jews for Hitler” supporter & organizer.

  14. Dennis Schulz

    July 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    As a gay person I support Trump 100% bc of immigration policies. Bear in mind there are large numbers of gay conservatives that do not identify themselves as part of LGBT

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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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