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Social conservatives thank Trump at White House for anti-LGBT policy

Ralph Reed credits Trump for DOJ participation in Masterpiece Cakeshop case

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Social conservatives like James Dobson thanked President Trump at the White House for his anti-LGBT policy. (Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson)

A host of anti-LGBT leaders met with President Trump on Monday afternoon to thank him for keeping his promises from 2016, including his administration’s actions against LGBT people.

The meeting at the White House coincided with Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a move long sought by social conservatives that many leaders in the international community have warned is dangerous.

At a press gaggle outside the White House after the meeting, the anti-LGBT leaders said recognizing Jerusalem is at the top of the list for which they’re thankful, but they thanked him for more than that.

Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, cited the “religious freedom” executive order signed in May, which he said amounted to “defending the rights of men and women of faith to express their faith in the public square.”

Although the order doesn’t explicitly mention LGBT issues, it led to the “religious freedom” guidance from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions observers say could allow denial of services to LGBT people.

Reed also said they thanked Trump “for sending the solicitor general to the United States Supreme Court in the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop case on behalf of religious freedom.”

At the Supreme Court last week, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco voluntarily argued on behalf of a Colorado baker seeking a First Amendment right to deny wedding cakes to same-sex couples. Francisco indicated during the course of arguments a bakery should be able to put up a sign declaring it won’t make wedding cakes for same-sex couples — a position the White House says Trump shares.

Reed also commended Trump for leadership on the tax reform package, crediting him for the expanded child tax credit in the Senate bill and estimating it amounts to a $6 trillion tax cut.

“That doubling of that tax credit in the Senate bill would not have happened without his leadership, so we were here with him today to express our gratitude, to pray for him and to make it clear that our support for him is unwavering and unequivocal,” Reed said.

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBT Family Research Council, was also present at the gaggle and said the leaders told Trump he’s an “anomaly” because “he keeps his promises.”

“Evangelicals, conservatives across this country are grateful for the fact he’s actually done exactly as he campaigned on,” Perkins said. “He campaigned on protecting religious freedom, he campaigned on making the military strong and reversing the radical social policies of the previous administration, he focused on making our economy strong again. In short, he’s working to make America great again despite what some might say.”

Perkins’ reference to reversing social policies in the military is likely a nod to Trump’s transgender military ban. However, the Pentagon has announced it will begin accepting transgender recruits starting Jan. 1 after multiple court orders against the policy.

James Dobson, an evangelical leader who founded Focus on the Family, an organization that backs widely discredited “ex-gay” conservation therapy, broadly thanked Trump for keeping campaign promises.

Recalling a 2015 meeting Trump held with social conservatives, Dobson said that “he won the hearts and minds of evangelical leaders” and “he has kept all the promises that he made to us.”

Others present at the gaggle were social conservative leader Gary Bauer; Paula White, a Pentecostal Christian televangelist; and Bishop Harry Jackson, the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church who led opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage in D.C.

Trump’s meeting with the anti-LGBT leaders and their praise for him is consistent with their resurgence in power in the administration. That influence has yielded to anti-LGBT policies, such as the attempted ban on transgender military service.

The leaders refused to take questions from reporters at the end of the gaggle. Some reporters shouted questions as the leaders were speaking, including inquiries on the contentious special election for a U.S. Senate in Alabama. Roy Moore is backed by conservatives, but accused of sexual misconduct. Reed mouthed “no” when asked if race came up in discussions with Trump.

Another reporter asked if U.S. recognition of Jerusalem would bring the world closer to the Christian Rapture as described in the Bible. Reed answered “no.”

The leaders didn’t respond to a shouted-out question from the Washington Blade after the gaggle on the transgender military ban.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. PESEL

    December 11, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    First the KKK parades around him, now this. A gaggle of intolerant haters. Jesus must be so proud.

    • Caitlyn Haiku

      December 12, 2017 at 2:14 am

      Just wait. History will show Trump as the widely acknowledged worst president in history, having done more damage to the United States and it’s people than any two other presidents combined.

    • Sam

      December 12, 2017 at 10:51 am

      It’s saying that businesses should not be forced to deal with people they don’t want to. I agree – it’s not smart business or personal policy to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexuality, or other superficial characteristics – but if a private business wants to do that, they should not be forced to comply. I bet many gays actually will love Trump in the end because he prioritizes security and safety – if Hillary were around she’d be opening the borders to hostile, hateful, violent people.

      • climate3

        December 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        Sam, get a grip. THIS gay man and so many others do not love Trump. He is an unstable, incompetent boob who gives the religious right what they want because they kiss his butt. Remember some of those “hostile people” are also, particularly some Muslims and Dreamers. Also, get into reality. Do you really think that if these folks get what they want – i.e. the ability to discriminate against gays – that they don’t have a follow-up already planned to take away more rights. It’s naive folks like you which have made their job easier. I don’t know what ivory tower you live in, but either get with reality or just stay there.

        • Sam

          December 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

          Maybe, but was just observing that not all minorities will consider Trump to be anti-minority, that’s a liberal interpretation of him. I’ve heard many say the same about Chick-Fil-A, for example, but I went to Chick-Fil-A once with my friend who is a gay and they gave him great customer service, whereas the local cafe all the liberals love were completely rude.

          • Caitlyn Haiku

            December 15, 2017 at 9:36 am

            Trump, by his support of the kkk, neo-nazis, and other white supremacist groups, plus other actions, has shown himself to be just as racist and pathetic as his father. Whether or not he is anti-LGBT+ or not I cannot say, as he is following the party line fed to him by his evangelical and other hate-group supporters. No one with a brain and a shred of decency will support him.

      • PESEL

        December 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        The Civil War gave petty people everywhere the opportunity to go after each other—and they did—not only the Confederates going after the Yankees. And that will be what will happen if the Supreme Court allows discrimination in business, LGBT or otherwise.

        But, agreed, with Hill, our whole system would have become as blatantly corrupted as the 3rd world people who were bolstering her. It’s bad enough Perez, from the Dominican Republic, is now leading the DNC.

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Miscellaneous

The evolution of the open house

The more sophisticated the advertising, the more the events flourished

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From car giveaways in the 1950s to today’s QR codes and virtual events, agents have used diverse strategies to draw buyers to open houses.

In the early 20th century, there were no exclusive agreements between a seller and a real estate agent. Any broker who knew of someone wanting to sell could participate in an “open listing” by planting his sign in the yard of that person and competing with agents from other brokerages who did the same. To the victor who obtained a buyer went the spoils of commission.

The rules began to change in 1919, when being a real estate broker now required a license. An agent might handle only one property at a time exclusively, but an “open for inspection” period could be used to introduce a model home or new community to the buying population. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Dallas homebuilder, Howdy Howard, hosted one of the most successful open houses of all time in the 1950s. During the first 12 days of the event, an estimated 100,000 people attended, drawn by free sodas and the ultimate prize for the buyer – a new Cadillac.

Soon, brokers began hiring additional agents who could handle multiple properties. Unlike Howard’s marathon open house, agents would now host them for a few hours at a time, usually on a Sunday, to whet the appetite of the buyer pool. 

Classified advertisements with a description of a property would be placed in a local newspaper and potential buyers would review them with their morning coffee to decide which houses to visit later in the day. 

Marketing in newspapers went from a few lines of black and white text to a photo of a home’s exterior, to a multi-page spread that included both photos of houses and the agents who represented them.

The more sophisticated the advertising became, the more the open house flourished as a marketing tool, not only for the home itself, but also for the agent and the brokerage. It allowed agents to prospect for buyers for that home and others, and converse with neighbors who might want to sell their homes as well. 

Soon, the sign-in sheet was born, used by the agent to capture the contact information of a potential client or customer and to let the seller know who had visited his home. While sign-in sheets or cards are still used, some agents have gravitated to electronic applications, using a tablet computer instead of paper for the same purpose.

Fast forward to the early 2000s in D.C., when open houses became the primary source of showing property. An agent would enter a property into the multiple listing service (MLS) on a Thursday, entertain no showings until Saturday, host an open house on Sunday afternoon, and call for offers either Sunday night or Monday. The open house allowed agents to send their buyers rather than accompany them and serve multiple clients at once.  

The delayed showing day strategy referenced above has since been supplanted by the MLS’s Coming Soon status. Agents can now email or text links to upcoming properties to their clients in advance of showing availability and the clients can view photos, read property descriptions and disclosures, and schedule future visits accordingly.

Enter COVID-19. Due to the proliferation of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, the real estate world had to accommodate new public health requirements. 

One of the first things to go was the open house. Even agent showings were constrained, with visitors limited to an agent plus two people and additional requirements for wearing masks and disposable shoe covers and gloves. 

Overlapping appointments were not allowed, showings were limited to 15 to 30 minutes, and bottles of hand sanitizer sprung up on kitchen counters everywhere.

Ultimately, technology and ingenuity provided new marketing avenues for agents that included 3-D virtual open houses, Facetime and Duo viewings, videos, property websites and QR codes. Many of these marketing techniques remain, even though traditional open houses are coming back post-lockdown.

But are they really necessary? Certainly not for all types of properties. 

I believe the days of using a public open house to procure a buyer are limited. Agent security has become a concern and the desire for in-person viewings during a specific day or time has waned. 

On the other hand, Internet marketing and social media have a much wider reach, so much so that some people now feel comfortable buying a home – probably the most expensive item they will ever purchase – without even stepping into it until after closing.

After all, if we can work in sweatpants or pajamas while Zooming corporate meetings, how can naked virtual reality house hunting be far behind?

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Miscellaneous

D.C. homebuyers face hyper competitive market

Sellers in driver’s seat as region faces record low inventory

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housing market, gay news, Washington Blade

With job growth rising during a period of aggressive government spending and historically low mortgage rates, the spring 2021 market sits at the lowest level of inventory since 1983.

Homebuyers in the D.C. area continue to face an incredibly competitive market. This is truly a seller’s market.

Lack of Inventory: Washington, D.C. has been in a gradually worsening housing shortage since the Great Recession. The area hasn’t had a six-month supply of homes for sale for almost 12 years. Now, we add a global pandemic that seriously altered what homeowners want out of their home, Wall Street on fire, and insanely low interest rates and we get a surge in motivated homebuyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the number of homes nationwide reached a record low in December 2020, with just 1.07 million properties on the market. The DC metro area is even worse off than the national average with only one month’s supply of homes. That means if new listings were completely dried up, there would be no homes available in four weeks. On average, D.C. homes have been selling within 11 days, which is 15 days faster than this time in 2020.

Seller’s Market: The time is now for Washington, D.C. homeowners to seriously consider selling their homes if they have played with the idea. Experts predict 2021 will be another strong housing market with an increase in demand from existing homebuyers in search of larger homes and buyers who delayed purchasing a home due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Zillow forecasts a nearly 30 percent annual growth in homes for sale in 2021. This would be the largest home sales growth since 1983. Zillow’s annual report stated, “Home price appreciation will reach its fastest pace since the Great Recession, as the inventory crunch continues to pit buyers against each other, competing for a scarce number of homes for sale.”

D.C.’s Current Market: According to the NAR, in March of 2021, D.C. home prices had increased 4.1% compared to March 2020, for a median price of $635,000. There were 1,004 homes sold in March 2021, an increase from 842 at this time last year.

We are seeing many homes receive multiple offers within just a few days in the D.C. area. The average home is selling a little above 1% of the listing price and many hot homes are seeing large bidding wars and selling for 3% or more above the listing price; 42.7% of D.C. homes sold above list price in March of 2021. That is a 13.4% increase from last year at this time. Active inventory for March of 2021 was 1,457 homes, down 9% from March 2020. March 2021 also saw 991 homes sell in the D.C. area, an increase of 31% from February of 2021. March 2021’s total homes sold had a 19% increase from March 2020.

Buying a Home: In the current seller’s market, buying a home can be like playing a chess match. You need to know the rules and be strategic. It can seem more like winning than purchasing a home right now. If you find a home you want to buy, chances are you won’t be the only one making an offer. It is a seller’s market everywhere in the country right now and D.C. is no different. Be sure you know what you qualify for and what you can afford.

Conclusion: The NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association both project prices of existing homes to increase 5.9% in 2021. This may mean buyers will have to be more flexible than in the past. For example, making an offer contingent upon the sale of a current home may be harder than before. It’s also possible you will pay more than the list price. The D.C. real estate market is on fire and many homes are off the market within 24 hours of listing. For sellers, if you have been thinking of selling your home there is no better time than the present.

 

Khalil El-Ghoul is Principal Broker for Glass House Real Estate. Reach him at [email protected]asshousere.com or 571-235-4821. Glass House Real Estate is a modern, more affordable way to buy and sell a home in the D.C. Metro area. Learn more about what makes us different at glassshousere.com.

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Miscellaneous

Kick-ass crossovers

Still the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms

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crossovers, gay news, Washington Blade

Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Crossovers keep wending their way into our driveways—and our hearts. After overtaking sedans, station wagons and minivans as the hottest vehicles in dealer showrooms, crossovers are now taking aim at the most quintessential of American rides: the muscle car. With naughty looks and hepped-up engines, the two dynamite crossovers below are sure to blow your mind—and just maybe your budget.

DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT
$81,000
Mpg: 12 city/17 highway
0 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds

For more than 20 years, the Dodge Durango has been a solid if nondescript family hauler. But this year the automaker jazzed up its midsize crossover with brawnier styling and the latest tech toys. And for the first time, Dodge is offering a limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat—a high-test model with the same hellacious Hemi V8 engine in the Challenger super coupe and Charger sport sedan. With 710 horsepower, this blazingly fast crossover can kick some serious ass, outrunning many a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The upgraded suspension provides more dynamic handling and cornering, as well as selectable steering for better grip. For straight-line acceleration and to prevent nasty fish-tailing, I simply flipped the “launch control” toggle switch. The massive Brembo brakes also were stellar, with stop-on-a-dime performance and flaming red calipers on each wheel. Another plus: the iconic Hellcat exhaust rumble could be heard blocks away—music to the ears of any auto aficionado. As with all Durangos, this bruiser has best-in-class towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

Inside, there’s plenty of space, including more room than expected for third-row passengers. The steering wheel, dash, and trim accents now have trendy Euro styling, though it’s more VW than upscale Audi. And you can opt for flashy seatbelts and premium seats in a color Dodge calls Demonic Red, along with black velour floor mats and a soft-touch headliner. Other features include heated/ventilated seats, a large 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone integration and the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once. Options include a 19-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and rear-seat entertainment with Blue-Ray player. Alas, this is a limited-edition model and all 2,000 of these speed demons quickly sold out months ago. But there’s still hope: Dodge allocated some of the racy Durangos to select dealerships, so you can call around to see if any are still available. And you can always try social media to find a lucky Durango Hellcat owner who just might be willing to sell this rollicking ride, if the price is right.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER X
$85,000
Mpg: 17 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 5.7 seconds

For decades, both the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover have been ubiquitous in the United States. Not so the smaller and less ostentatious Defender, often seen as a work-horse vehicle in BritBox reruns or action flicks like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. But last year the Defender returned to these shores after nearly a quarter-century hiatus.

Available in two- or four-door models, both Defenders start around $50,000. My test vehicle was the new top-of-the-line Defender X, which added—yikes!—another $35,000 to the sticker price. The look on these crossovers is boxy chic, which allows for a ginormous amount of headroom, legroom and cargo space. Land Rover also added extra stowage areas and cubby holes, as well as transom windows and a sliding panoramic sunroof to keep things airy. While the cabin may be sparse and full of solid plastics, the walnut trim on the center console and door panels is quite elegant.

Land Rovers have a somewhat infamous reputation for less-than-stellar electronics, but the 10-inch touchscreen was crystal clear and synced up seamlessly with the infotainment system. Tricked out with a jet-black roof, hood, and side cladding, the press vehicle I test drove was painted a haughty Eiger Gray Metallic. It also came with thick all-terrain tires, adding to a slightly menacing vibe. A full-size spare is conveniently mounted on the vertical tailgate, which swings completely open like a refrigerator door for easy access. The Defender X may not be as lightning quick as a Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, but it’s still plenty fast. And this brute can tackle the toughest of terrains, thanks to locking differentials, hill-descent control and a standard air suspension that can raise the chassis 11.5 inches above the ground. Overall, the Defender X can’t quite hide its refined roots as a tony Land Rover. But as with the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, this burly crossover flexes some serious muscle.

Land Rover Defender X

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