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Anti-LGBT groups on rise again with Trump in White House

Once thought down and out, conservatives enjoying new power



President Trump meets on July 10 for a prayer meeting with leaders from anti-LGBT groups. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

Social conservative advocates and groups seeking to undermine LGBT rights — once thought to be waning in influence — appear to have experienced a resurgence with President Trump in the White House.

The growing power of anti-LGBT groups, such as the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation, can be seen in the policies enacted by Trump against the LGBT community as well as the close interaction between social conservatives and his administration.

Prior to his August vacation, Trump announced his intent to ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” unilaterally instituting the anti-LGBT policy after the U.S. House — under Republican control, no less — rejected a narrower measure to undermine transgender service by denying military funds for transition-related health care.

Trump’s declaration came after intense lobbying by anti-LGBT lawmakers and groups, who threatened to withhold support from major defense spending legislation unless the White House acted. That bill includes funds for Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement after Trump’s announcement on transgender service his organization would withdraw its opposition to border wall payments.

“Now that we are assured that the Defense Department has its fiscal priorities in order, Family Research Council withdraws our opposition to increasing the budget of the Department of Defense through the ‘Make America Secure Appropriations Act’ and looks forward to seeing that legislation pass,” Perkins said.

Although Trump — despite entreaties from social conservatives — hasn’t signed an executive order circulating among federal agencies and advocacy groups that would enable sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom,” he did pen his name to a directive empowering U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to issue guidance ensuring religious liberty.

Critics say that’s a red herring that could lead the U.S. government to give the OK for discrimination among federal contractors, private employer denial of family and medical leave to same-sex couples and federal workers refusing to process paperwork for LGBT people. Sessions had already stated the directive would be based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 law meant to preserve the rights of religious minorities that’s now used as an excuse for anti-LGBT discrimination.

It remains to be seen when the administration will issue the guidance and the nature of the policy. On his weekly radio show late last month, Perkins said action would come soon and the U.S. government will be “on notice that they have to respect religious freedom” — code for social conservatives to mean anti-LGBT discrimination.

Also in line with the goals of anti-LGBT groups was the recent filing by the Justice Department asserting lesbian, gay and bisexual people have no protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights of Act. That voluntary brief rejected a growing consensus among federal district courts and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

Daniel Pinello, a political scientist at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is among those who say “there’s a resurgence of anti-LGBT-group influence” under the Trump administration.

“People like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council figure far more prominently in White House policy making now,” Pinello said. “Indeed, Perkins personally crafted the Republican Party’s 2016 national platform with regard to social issues. President Trump is delivering on that document’s promise through actions such as the (gestating) transgender military ban and the Justice Department’s legal brief arguing against sexual orientation discrimination’s being encompassed within the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition of sex-based discrimination.”

These anti-LGBT actions would be unheard of during the Obama administration, which sought over the course of eight years to enhance LGBT rights and never acted to inhibit them (although the progress was sometimes too slow for LGBT rights supporters demanding immediate change.) To find similar anti-LGBT policy, one would have to look back to the anti-gay administration of former President George W. Bush, who used his bully pulpit to advocate for a nationwide ban on same-sex marriage.

Moreover, these anti-LGBT acts from the Trump administration subvert the will of the public at large, which consistently voices majority support for LGBT rights. On the issue of transgender military service, for example, a Quinnipiac poll earlier this month found U.S. voters say by a margin of 68–27 percent, including 55–39 percent among voters in military households, that transgender people should be allowed to serve.

Also seeing a rise in influence among anti-LGBT groups is Heidi Beirich, intelligence project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has included groups like the Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom among its list of hate groups.

“There is no question that they have access to this administration and are getting policies passed that are their preference in a way that we haven’t seen maybe ever,” Beirich said.

Invoking Trump’s own unique terminology, Beirich said, “If anybody is winning big-ly from Trump’s policies, its these folks, right? It’s the anti-LGBT hate groups and their various allies among conservatives.”

Trump enacts these policies amid a seemingly open-door rule at the White House for social conservatives with anti-LGBT records. The list is long of times when Trump welcomed them into the White House for photo opportunities and special occasions.

On May 3, the eve of the National Day of Prayer, Trump allowed into the Oval Office evangelical leaders — many of whom have anti-LGBT records — including Franklin Graham, who recently called for a boycott of the animated “Beauty and the Beast” over the inclusion of a gay character, as well as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, former Rep. Michele Bachmann and Faith & Freedom Coalition Chair Ralph Reed.

Reed, who once compared marriage equality to slavery and its opponents to abolitionists, tweeted out a photo of him with first daughter Ivanka Trump, who has professed to be an LGBT ally despite the anti-LGBT actions of her father’s administration.

“Great to be with @realDonaldTrump @IvankaTrump & VP Pence at faith advisory board meeting at the White House tonite,” Reed tweeted.

Ivanka Trump and Ralph Reed together at the White House. (Photo courtesy Twitter)

On July 10, Trump invited for a prayer session in the Oval Office many of the same people as well as Perkins and American evangelical leader Gary Bauer. Also in attendance were Skyline Church Pastor Jim Garlow, who called being LGBT a “perversity,” and Bishop Harry Jackson, a pastor at the Maryland-based Hope Christian Church who attempted to stop the legalization of same-sex marriage in D.C.

These Oval Office visits say nothing about the interactions between officials within the Trump administration and anti-LGBT groups. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech to Focus on the Family upon its anniversary, Kellyanne Conway gave a speech at the Family Leader’s summit in Iowa and Sessions gave closed-door remarks to Alliance Defending Freedom.

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of the LGBT media watchdog group GLAAD, has monitored the level of access these groups enjoy with Trump in the White House.

“The Trump administration’s choice to provide anti-LGBTQ activists an ‘express pass’ to the White House highlights this administration’s goal of stopping progress and rolling back LGBTQ protections,” Ellis said. “People like Tony Perkins have made careers out of making life harder for LGBTQ people and the decision to give anti-LGBTQ activists like him repeated White House access is a slap in the face to LGBTQ Americans that could have long-lasting consequences.”

What makes the rise of social conservative groups under Trump remarkable is that he wasn’t their preferred candidate for president during the 2016 Republican primary. That distinction generally belonged to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), whose candidacy frequently invoked fears over same-sex marriage and transgender people using the bathroom.

On the campaign trail, Trump stayed from away demonizing LGBT people, focusing instead on demonizing Muslims and immigrants while making promises to restore lost jobs in parts of the United States that haven’t adjusted after a shift from an industrial to information economy. In fact, during the general election, Trump professed to be a friend to LGBT people (although that hasn’t held up in terms of administrative policy).

Nonetheless, anti-LGBT groups rallied to Trump’s side after he claimed the Republican presidential nomination and evangelicals made up a strong percentage of his supporters. That support continued even after the release of a 2005 video in which Trump bragged about grabbing women by the genitals — even after those same groups stoked irrational fears of transgender people in the restroom by saying it would lead to sexual assault of women.

Pinello said social conservative groups opposed to LGBT rights are close to Trump despite friction during the primary because “any president willing to do one’s bidding will suffice at the end of the day.”

“Ted Cruz supplied the brand of social-conservative policy analysis consistent with the tenets of groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. They all spoke the same language,” Pinello said. “Yet the identical organizations are happy to jettison coherent and cognizable policy in favor of preferred outcomes like the military ban and statutory-interpretation limitation. Any port in a storm.”

With public approval for Trump at an all-time low and disapproval at an all-time high, Beirich said Trump cultivates support from social conservatives because that is what remains of his voters.

“They’re a major part of his base,” Beirich said. “If he were to lose support from these folks, he would be in serious, serious trouble.”

Beirich also cited as a reason for the influence of anti-LGBT groups the presence in the White House of Pence, whom she said has been “close to these groups forever and ever and ever.”

“He passed a religious liberty law that was problematic in Indiana,” Beirich said. “He’s spoken to all these folks, he lives in their circles, and so, with support overall for Trump collapsing, he’s got to hold onto his base, and this is his base.”

The Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation didn’t respond to the Washington Blade’s request to comment for this article.

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  1. EastCoastJ

    August 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Those groups shouldn’t even bother. Gays are self-destructive enough to just destroy themselves eventually.

    • climate3

      August 9, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      SIT DOWN, fool. This is one gay men who isn’t scared of the fight/debate. These dunderheads would have gotten this power sooner or later and I think it’s good. It’s high time we got a lot of things out in the open and with their visibility under Trump, it is a wonderful time to start shining the spotlight on their tactics over the years to demonize the LGBTQ community. I say bring it on.

      • EastCoastJ

        August 9, 2017 at 9:36 pm

        Yeah, sure. What are you doing about the concentraton camps for gay men in Chechnya ? Probably made you embrace Islam even more.

        • climate3

          August 9, 2017 at 9:56 pm

          on my blog, I’ve been getting the word out. I suppose you will crap on that cause crapping on everything seems to be what you are doing. And before you attack Muslim, remember that there are Muslims who are gay

          Also, haven’t you heard –

          Why are you attempting to play the Gay vs. Muslim game? Also, why did you assume that I’m Islamic?

          • climate3

            August 9, 2017 at 9:57 pm

            one more thing. I don’t expect to respond to you anymore cause you are on block. sad man.

          • EastCoastJ

            August 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

            Run and hide, flower head. You ignore jihadists arrested for planning to bomb gay bars in San Francisco but complain about THIS ??

          • EastCoastJ

            August 9, 2017 at 10:02 pm

            You’ll hide.You’re not Muslim,but like all gays you call for Islam to become half the U.S. population. WHAT do you think is gonna happen ?? It’s called Self-Hatred.

          • EastCoastJ

            August 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

            In Chechnya they announced they’d be rid of all gays by Ramadan. Like in countries in Africa, Asia, and The Middle East, it’s a nightmare for gays wherever Islam is the majority. Yet you criticize those who hate Islam ??? That’s why you’re self-hating and your destruction is assured.

      • EastCoastJ

        August 9, 2017 at 9:41 pm

        Here’s an imam in Florida before the Pulse massacre calling for death to gays. What did you do about this except hide from it ?

      • EastCoastJ

        August 9, 2017 at 9:41 pm

        So…let’s hear about your fight/debate, fool.

  2. Donna Tara Lee

    August 9, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    No we are not. I have never been happier or felt more complete since I came out. NJ, you have no clue to what you are talking about. What are YOU afraid of? Has a LGBTQI person ever harmed you? So why are you so adamant about disliking ( hating ? ) us? We have been around since recorded history, about 8,000 years. Haven’t destroyed ourselves yet and not going to !

    • EastCoastJ

      August 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      But…but…I thought you’re TERRIFIED to come out now, with Trump in office. But you’re saying you’re happy and comfortable ? In the nightmare U.S. ?

    • EastCoastJ

      August 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      NJ ??

    • EastCoastJ

      August 9, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      And I know EVERYTHING I’m talking about. Homosexuals were once amongst the greatest in history, from DaVinci, to Francis Bacon, to Solon, to Alan Turing. Today ; reduced to self-hating fools who will surrender to Islamic punishment and their time is limited.

    • EastCoastJ

      August 10, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      And THEN you actually celebrated the taking of the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, because gays have to support “diversity” ??? Do you know how the female hostages, theatre-goers, were tortured to death ? Admittedly they were probably mostly straight women, but do you think the jihadists let the lesbians go ?? that’s exatly why I’m telling you you’re self-destructive and you give me nothing to argue against it.

  3. ChristopherATL

    August 9, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    I know this may shock some of you and quite frankly I never thought it would come to this but I suggest arming yourself and learning to use a gun. I will not be intimidated by hate. I will not be a victim. I’m tired of talking to those who are not rational. If you come for me or my family, your aim and first shot better be on point. And I will not stop until one of us is dead.

    • EastCoastJ

      August 10, 2017 at 4:01 am

      You’ll be a victim. You’ll surrender to Islam real quick.

    • EastCoastJ

      August 10, 2017 at 4:04 am

      Incidentally, even with this administration protecting you (no Muslim attacks here since Trump took over, unlike Europe; and unlike the Pulse massacre during the Obama administration), it’s no use in the long run. You’ll still just bide your time until you can get a future administration and try to use it to import more homophobic Islam.

      • lnm3921

        August 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm

        The Trump administration isn’t protecting anyone but their self-interest! The fact that we haven’t had any major attacks has nothing to do with Trump in office. It’s simply a matter of luck and what law enforcement and intelligence agencies have done! Stop pushing your agenda of deception!

        We don’t need to import homophobia, we have more than enough born and breed in America and the Trump administration is giving it new life, nurturing and promoting it!

        • EastCoastJ

          August 10, 2017 at 7:13 pm

          Then it SURE is a coincidence that nothing has happened to gay venues since the Trump administration took office. They even busted the jihadists planning to set off the bombs in San Francisco gay bars. (Imagine if Clinton had won the Presidency and allowed two million more Muslims into the U.S. ?? How many more Pulse massacres did she and Bill want to do an Arkansas square dance to?? How many more Pulse massacres were YOU hoping for ?

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm

            What BS!”They” diffused the Muslim plan to bomb gay bar in SF. What lies you tell. Are you Donald Trump?

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:18 pm

            They did. The Feds don’t work for Trump ? Then you tell me who rounded them up ??

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:21 pm

            You’re babbling!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm

            About…what ? I’ll give you the links to whatever.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:24 pm

            No fake POTUS propaganda sites!

    • EastCoastJ

      August 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Dip the bullets in pork blood if you really want to be effective.

  4. lnm3921

    August 10, 2017 at 12:30 am

    None of this should be a shock to anyone. Trump made it clear that he was courting religious conservatives during his campaign including opposing the marriage equality ruling and vowing to appoint judges to overturn the decision. You can’t trust trump. He constantly flip flops for political gain. He has no scruples and will lie without reservation! I’m sure these enemies of the LGBT community has Trump’s private direct number. Tony Perkins calls him to push him to push the anti-LBGT agenda. I noted mention of Gary Bauer being invited by Trump.

    Did you know that Gary Bauer was Ronald Reagan’s public policy advisor and that he advised Reagan to ignore the AIDS crises during it’s onset? He convinced Reagan to instead tell people to change their behavior rather than seeks to identify the cause of the disease or seeks a cure.Thanks to Bauer and his cronies the AIDS crises was ignored as many people died. Bauer’s incompetence and Reagan’s inaction turn the crises into a global pandemic. It could have been mitigated but instead the each have blood on their hands!!!

    These same people are now gaining power under Trump to push a similar anit-LGBT agenda meant to destroy you NOT protect you! The sooner you accept that truth the sooner you can start fighting against it!!! We became too complacent as a community and took too much for granted. This is s wake up call to rise up and fight, fight hard rather than let it victimize you! ACT UP!

    • EastCoastJ

      August 10, 2017 at 4:06 am

      Gays don’t make up a complacent community. They make up a self-hating self-destructive one.

      • lnm3921

        August 10, 2017 at 7:00 pm

        Well, only if they happen to be ultra-conservative, pushing a similar agenda and putting that above everything else including protecting and advancing GLBT rights!

        • EastCoastJ

          August 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm

          They embrace their Is-LAM (how they pronounce it), that’s for sure. One of the main reasons they wanted Hillary Clinton for President.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm

            You fail massively and show idiocy with that inane statement! Your Muslim boogey man tactics will NEVER work on those of us that know better! NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:17 pm

            And you calling an actual Muslim jihadist planning to blow up San Francisco gay bars a “boogeyman” (as if homophobic Muslim killers don’t exist) shows you’re just living in a pretend play-world. You probably deny Muslims started a new Dachau for gay men in Chechnya too).

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:20 pm

            Yet no news agency has reported this grandiose claims of yours! We get enough fake news from your fake POTUS! You’ll say anything to promote your agenda!

            You’re claim is as ridiculous as Trump’s on wiretapping his tower and voter fraud! Get a life!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:21 pm

            You don’t know about…which one ? San Fran or the concentration camps ? I’ll give the links.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm

            Nothing happened in SF. As for Chechnya it’s your fake POTUS who failed to do anything about that including acknowledging it let alone condemning it! Trump is a failure!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm

            I’ll give links. Hold on.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm

            Don’t bother! I don’t want to read your right-wing propaganda!!!!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:27 pm

   Gay source, Chechens planning to rid gays by start of Ramadan.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm

            So what? That has nothing to do with anything that Trump is doing! That’s the FBI! I’m sure that plots happening everyday! I still will NEVER support Trump or his agenda! You can NEVER scare me into it!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

            You’re not scared. You WANTED the jihadists to achieve, and that’s why I said gays are self-destructive.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

            Not self-destructive not stupid enough to be duped into promoting your fake POTUS on the pretext of protecting ourselves from Islamic terrorist! Trump is a terrorist!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:35 pm

            The Pulse Massacre. You and Hillary dancing and cheering. The Neighbors Nightclub arson. Islam again. Gay servicemen foiled that one, even though you wanted to see a thousand gays burned to death.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:39 pm

            More of your BS propaganda and Trump-Style lies! You think if you say the same lie enough, it makes it true. Not going to happen!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm

            Everyone here can follow the links, and see that you’re lying to them.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm

            Anyone with a faction of a brain scarecrow would not fall for your scare tactics! The FAKE POTUS is a fraud and the community has enough proof of that already let alone all the harm that he will do later!

            Your Fire and Fury Fool may well get us nuked by NK with his big mouth! Terrorist know Trump is dumb enough to get people killed for them!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 10:38 pm

            Scare tactics ? Yeah….I’m making up the Pulse massacre story. That’s just a scare tactic.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 10:52 pm

            I never denied pulse but I don’t let it paralyze me. I see beyond that, the big picture while you just exploit it for political gain to push your agenda! Many aren’t as dumb as you think!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 11, 2017 at 12:39 am

            No, Pulse didn’t paralyze you, it invigorated you. You want more of that. You think people aren’t on to you ?

          • lnm3921

            August 11, 2017 at 9:07 am

            It won’t be your fake potus that prevents another pulse! He’s too busy provoking nuke attacks from NK you fool!

            Trump is our enemy not our ally as he is advised by evangelical christians who are pushing an agenda against us! I have many links to provide backing that up too you tool!!!!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 11, 2017 at 6:14 pm

            He HAS prevented another Ptulse. In San Fran and other places. He’s not going to cowtow to Islamacists and their self-hating gay collaborators.

          • lnm3921

            August 11, 2017 at 6:44 pm

            Your fake Potus has done Sch!!t to protect us from anything!! Rather he’s empowering our enemies and pushing an agenda harmful to the community such as having his AG declare that existing civil rights laws don’t protect LGBT Americans from discrimination!!!

            The FBI prevented an attack in San Francisco! Trump had NOTHING to do with it! The FBI does not even like trump since firing Comey and ignoring their intelligence on Russian hacking!

            Trump is a political terrorist!!

            The self hater is in your own mirror image!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 10:39 pm

            NOW you’re afraid of homophobic North Korea too ? LOL. You worry about all the ‘phobes who have nothing to do with you.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 10:56 pm

            I never brought up whether NK is homophobic or not but if you can downplay the greater nuclear concern and Trump’s incompetence in relation to it, then it just proves you’re an idiot and only exploiting the Pulse incident to manipulate people into supporting your catastrophic agenda for the GLBT community!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

            Gotta run out, I’ll be back tonight with more of the Muslim mass-murder attempts on gays just in the U.S.alone. Yes, with links. You belong in a cell, permanently, with these jihadists.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:34 pm

            Of course you will since you haven’t got a life! SAD!

            I could care less. Won’t change my mind!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

            I’m not putting these links in for you. I know what YOU are. They’re for young gay guys to know who the real danger is.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:38 pm

            You’re the real danger! You’re banking on scaring youth to support your agenda but we will make them wise to what you are doing! Trump’s agenda and his promotion of anti-GLBT policies to appease his christian base will prove me right!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm

            Gay youth can just look up everything I’m saying re. Islam and homosexuality. They’ll see it’s incompatible and those like you want Islam to take over to see younger generations oppressed. Muslims make up a tiny percentage of the U.S. population, yet have already attempted to mass murder gays five times (only the Pulse massacre wasn’t foiled). You wanted Hillary Clinton to quadruple Muslim numbers in the U.S. so you could see more anti-gay violence. That’s why Trump is driving you up the wall: no more Pulse massacres, no bombs at childrens’ concerts in the U.S. like we see in the UK, and definitely no concentration camps like in Muslim Chechnya. Gay youth must remember they have a heritage of Alexander and Hadrian, Tchaikovsky and Bacon, Ludwig II, Yukio MIshima, Michelangelo, the Spartans and the Samurai, and do NOT have to listen to old gays who try to tell them they have to submit to anything as stupid as Is-LAM.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 10:47 pm

            They can also easily look up the same attitude by right-wing christian leaders here, many who believe in conversion therapy. Some have already advocated capital punishment for homosexuality while others are not only happy about the Pulse incident but encourage more like it! Who are you trying to kid?

            They can also easily look up the fact that Trump has completely ignored what is happening to gay men in Chechnya and hasn’t condemned it publicly nor offered victims anmesty in America like he would persecuted christians!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm

            You calling these very real murderers Muslim boogeymen is too insulting to those who’ve already died under them. As well as the Pulse victims.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

            christian conservatives are seeking to kill GLBT rights in America! They are promoting hate here and abroad against the community! As if christian haven’t murdered GLBT in the past and currently!

            Religious extremists are the issue not a particular religion!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:33 pm

            The Pulse massacre was Islam. Only Muslim countries have death for gays. That’s REAL. Enough of your Christian boogeymen.

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

            So? Eric Rudolph’s bombing was christian!

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm

            More links coming. Not Right Wing…just truth….

          • EastCoastJ

            August 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm

            The most important things about these links is that more gay men will find out this info. We know YOU don’t care, and the Blade will hide from these stories, but..

          • lnm3921

            August 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

            Gay men already are reading them. Still doesn’t mean that Trump is doing a damn thing for them! You can’t trace anything that foils anti-GLBT attacks to Trump. He promotes GLBT oppression!

            You mentioned Chechnya which Trump won’t even talk about! He fails to deliver on protect GLBT Americans! You are simply a fear-monger and political hack!

  5. Mark Syman

    August 14, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    This article quotes the Quinnipiac poll. Don’t believe the polls, none of them predicted Trump’s election. The polls are out of touch with America.

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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



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



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



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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