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Trump blows off question on Roy Moore’s views against gays

President says he’ll meet with U.S. Senate candidate next week

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President Donald Trump speaks at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Oct. 16. (Image public domain)

In the same White House Rose Garden news conference in which he called sexual assault allegations against him “fake news” and begged Hillary Clinton to run against in 2020, President Trump blew off a question from a reporter on whether he disagrees with U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore on making homosexuality illegal.

Trump refused to a say whether he’s comfortable with Moore serving in the U.S. Senate in response to a reporter who inquired about the candidate’s opposition to homosexuality and belief Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in public office.

“I’m going to be meeting with Roy sometime next week and we’re going to talk to him about a lot of different things, but I’ll be meeting with him,” Trump said. “He ran a very strong race. The people of Alabama — who I like very much, and they like me very much — but they like Roy, but we’ll be talking to them, and I can report back to then, OK?”

The reporter also posed the question to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who was present at the news conference, but McConnell never responded to question and Trump proceeded to the next reporter.

Moore has built an virulently anti-LGBT reputation over his career as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court before he became a U.S. Senate candidate. In 2015, Moore urged his state to refuse to recognize the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality nationwide. A 2005 tape was unearthed over the course of his Senate run in which he said homosexuality should be illegal. (Such a law would be unconstitutional as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas).

At the anti-LGBT Values Voter Summit last week, Moore expressed his view Christian theology should take precedence over all government laws and the country must “go back to the basis of our morality, which is in God, not man.”

In the Republican primary, Trump supported not Moore, who was a favorite of the far-right and Steve Bannon, and instead supported incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.). Moore ended up beating Strange in the primary by a several points after which Trump tweeted Moore “sounds like a really great guy.”

Trump’s refusal to repudiate Moore falls short of the response White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered last month when she said the two “don’t agree” on LGBT issues.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, chided Trump for declining to condemn in a tweet containing a video of the exchange.

Moore is facing a run-off on Dec. 12 in Alabama to win the open U.S. Senate seat against Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, whom the Human Rights Campaign has endorsed. A Cygnal poll published on Thursday found Moore enjoys an eight-point lead in the race.

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World

Pope Francis: Gender ideology is ‘one of the most dangerous colonizations’ in the world

Argentina newspaper published interview with pontiff on March 10

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Pope Francis (Photo by palinchak via Bigstock)

Pope Francis earlier this month said gender ideology is “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” in the world today.

“Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations,” Francis told La Nación, an Argentine newspaper, in an interview that was published on March 10. “Why is it dangerous? Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women.”

“All humanity is the tension of differences,” added the pontiff. “It is to grow through the tension of differences. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation.”

The Vatican’s tone towards LGBTQ and intersex issues has softened since since Francis assumed the papacy in 2013.

Francis publicly backs civil unions for same-sex couples, and has described laws that criminalize homosexuality are “unjust.” Church teachings on homosexuality and gender identity have nevertheless not changed since Francis became pope.

Francis told La Nación that he talks about gender ideology “because some people are a bit naive and believe that it is the way to progress.” The Catholic News Agency further notes Francis also said these people “do not distinguish what is respect for sexual diversity or diverse sexual preferences from what is already an anthropology of gender, which is extremely dangerous because it eliminates differences, and that erases humanity, the richness of humanity, both personal, cultural, and social, the diversities and the tensions between differences.”

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Maryland

Md. House of Delegates approves transgender rights bill

State Medicaid program would be required to cover gender-affirming treatment

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Md. state Sen. Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City) speaks at a press conference for the Trans Health Equity Act in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 14, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Linus Berggren)

The Maryland House of Delegates on Saturday approved a bill that would require the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming treatment for transgender people.

House Bill 283, or the Trans Health Equity Act, passed by a 93-37 vote margin. The measure now goes before the Maryland Senate.

“Proud that the MD House of Delegates passed the Trans Health Equity Act with such a strong majority,” tweeted state Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), who introduced HB 283.

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Politics

Chasten Buttigieg speaks out against Pence’s homophobic remarks

Pence doubled down Thursday on homophobic remarks about the Transportation Secretary

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Chasten Buttigieg on The View (Screen shot/YouTube)

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said former Vice President Mike Pence has not apologized for homophobic and misogynistic remarks about the couple that he made at a dinner in D.C. last weekend.

“I spoke up because we all have an obligation to hold people accountable for when they say something wrong, especially when it’s misogynistic, especially when it’s homophobic,” Chasten Buttigieg said during an appearance Thursday on ABC’s The View.

Last Saturday, Pence had joked that following the birth of the Buttigieg twins in 2021, the transportation secretary took “maternity leave” and then the country suffered “postpartum depression” over issues with airlines and air travel.

The former vice president delivered the remarks — which were first reported by the Washington Blade — during the annual Gridiron Club dinner, which he headlined along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Per tradition, speakers at the dinner are expected to poke fun at political figures, including guests in attendance, but Pence’s comments quickly drew outrage for their homophobia and misogyny.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the matter in a comment shared with the Blade on Monday, “The former vice president’s homophobic joke about Secretary Buttigieg was offensive and inappropriate, all the more so because he treated women suffering from postpartum depression as a punchline.”

The Buttigiegs have been public about the “terrifying” ordeal they suffered following the premature births of their twins. The newborns developed serious Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections (RSV) — which required one to be hospitalized, put on a ventilator, and transferred to a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., for treatment.

“An honest question for you, @Mike_Pence, after your attempted joke this weekend,” Chasten Buttigieg tweeted on Monday, “If your grandchild was born prematurely and placed on a ventilator at two months old – their tiny fingers wrapped around yours as the monitors beep in the background – where would you be?”

The transportation secretary, asked on Monday whether they are owed an apology from Pence, said, “I’ll let others speak to that.”

During Thursday’s interview, Chasten Buttigieg called out the hypocrisy of Pence’s putative identity as a “family values Republican,” telling the talk show’s hosts, “I don’t think he’s practicing what he preaches here.”

“But also,” he added, “it’s a bigger conversation about the work that women do in families — taking a swipe at all women and all families and expecting that women would stay home and raise children is a misogynistic view.”

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