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The bizarre history of Log Cabin’s presidential endorsements

Support for Trump’s re-election triggers controversy

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Log Cabin Republicans have a history of endorsing and not endorsing Republican candidates. (Photos of H.W. Bush and W. Bush public domain; Washington Blade photos of Romney and Trump by Michael Key)

Perhaps no organization has inspired greater controversy within the LGBT community than the Log Cabin Republicans.

The group gets blamed by other LGBT advocates when GOP administrations attack the community. Meanwhile, straight Republicans are often unwelcoming to the gay Republican group, even hostile.

And controversy arrived again last week, as Log Cabin announced its support for Trump’s re-election in 2020 despite widespread anger over his racist tweets, harsh immigration policies, tariffs, general un-presidential demeanor, and, yes, anti-LGBT policies.

It’s more like white-hot rage. Jaws dropped, fingers wagged, tweets were sent and a former head of the D.C. chapter announced on Facebook he was finished with Log Cabin. How could an LGBT group endorse the same president who announced on Twitter he’d ban transgender people from the military “in any capacity?”

A look at Log Cabin’s endorsement history reveals the organization has been anything but consistent in its presidential endorsement decisions, even with respect to the LGBT rights records of the candidates. The only consistency, in fact, is the organization’s commitment to either endorse the Republican presidential candidate or not endorse him.

Here’s what has happened since Log Cabin began endorsing candidates in 1992:

President George H.W. Bush signs the Hate Crimes Statistics Act on April 23, 1990. (Washington Blade photo by Doug Hinckle)

1992, George H.W. Bush
Endorsement: No

In its first known presidential endorsement decision, Log Cabin declined to endorse George H.W. Bush as he sought re-election in 1992. Bush was at the time the target of gay rights protesters for, like Ronald Reagan, not doing enough to address the raging AIDS epidemic.

The Blade could find no contemporaneous record of Log Cabin’s endorsement decision, but a 2004 Chicago Tribune article about Log Cabin indicates in 1992 the organization withheld its endorsement of Bush “because he did not denounce the anti-gay rhetoric at the GOP national convention in Houston.”

The year 1992 was when Pat Buchanan took the stage at the Republican National Convention and called for a “culture war…for the soul of America.” While the “Lock Her Up” chant became infamous in 2016, the chant during his speech was “Family Rights Forever! Gay Rights Never!”

Among the things Buchanan railed against was “abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools [and] women in combat.” Buchanan mocked the voice of a gay rights advocate, whom he called a “militant leader of the homosexual rights movement,” and said Clinton-Gore represents the most pro-gay ticket in U.S. history. “And so they do,” Buchanan surmised.

Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) (Photo public domain)

1996, Bob Dole
Endorsement: Yes

In perhaps its most unexpected endorsement decision, Log Cabin supported BobDole when he challenged Bill Clinton for the presidency in 1996.

Just the year before in 1995, the Dole campaign returned a $1,000 check from the organization, which was given as a result of Dole’s private commitments on AIDS legislation to Log Cabin chief Rich Tafel.

When a reporter inquired about the donation, the campaign gave the money back and informed her Dole was in “100 percent disagreement” with Log Cabin.

Later, under criticism, Dole expressed regret over giving the money back. “I think if they’d have consulted me, we wouldn’t have done that, wouldn’t have returned it,” Dole said.

After the flip-flop, Tafel met again with the Dole campaign, making demands about not tolerating anti-gay rhetoric at the Republican National Convention. Consequently, no such Buchanan-esque language was seen at the 1996 convention.

Soon after the agreement, Log Cabin members voted to support Dole at its annual convention in San Diego, marking the first time the group supported a presidential nominee.

“Our endorsement reflects both an acknowledgement that the Dole-Kemp ticket has made historic overtures in our direction and it provides us the opportunity to work with this campaign on the issues we care about,” Tafel said at the time.

President George W. Bush (Photo public domain)

2000, George W. Bush
Endorsement: Yes

Given a second opportunity to endorse a Bush, Log Cabin decided to throw its support behind George W. Bush in the 2000 election against Al Gore.

According to Log Cabin’s website, the organization initially supported “maverick” John McCain in his challenge to Bush for the Republican nomination. After the primary, Bush reportedly refused to meet with Log Cabin. 

Things changed, however, after Bush secured the GOP nod. A group of gay Republicans known as the “Austin 12” met with the candidate at this campaign headquarters. After the conversation, Bush emerged and said he was a “better man” for it. That meeting seemed to indicate a new day had arrived and formed the basis of Log Cabin’s endorsement.

The “Austin 12,” led by Charles Francis, included AIDS advocate Carl Schmid, David Catania, Scott Evertz, former Rep. Steve Gunderson and Rebecca Maestri.

They asked for a commitment to fight HIV/AIDS and having an openly gay speaker at the Republican National Convention. Bush came through with both requests, launching PEPFAR to fight the international AIDS epidemic and allowing Rep. Jim Kolbe to speak at the convention. But then, things changed yet again.

AIDS policy, gay news, Washington Blade
President George W. Bush has found newfound support in the Trump administration. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

2004, George W. Bush
Endorsement: Hell no

Faced with an endless quagmire dragging down the U.S. military following his invasion of Iraq, Bush resorted to an age-old scapegoat to stoke fears to help him win re-election: Gays.

Drawing on (unfounded) fears after the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the Bay State in 2003, Bush called for passage of a Federal Marriage Amendment and made it a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.

Bush, in fact, called for a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage nationwide in his 2004 State of the Union address. 

“Activist judges…have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives,” Bush said. “On an issue of such great consequence, the people’s voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.”

Support for the Federal Marriage Amendment was a bridge too far for Log Cabin, whose board voted 22-2 against endorsing Bush for re-election.

“Certain moments in history require that a belief in fairness and equality not be sacrificed in the name of partisan politics; this is one of those moments,” Log Cabin chief Patrick Guerriero said. “The national board’s vote empowers Log Cabin to maintain its integrity while furthering our goal of building a more inclusive Republican Party.”

John McCain, Values Voter Summit, gay news, Washington Blade, United States Senate, Republican Party, Arizona
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) leaves a complicated legacy on LGBT rights upon his death. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

2008, John McCain
Endorsement: Yes

With McCain now having a bite at the apple for the Republican presidential nomination, Log Cabin had the choice of a new candidate to endorse for president.

McCain was indeed different. The Arizona Republican bucked his party and refused to support the Federal Marriage Amendment on the U.S. Senate floor. 

But McCain’s stated reason for opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment was federalism grounds. (In 2006, McCain would take the anti-gay position and endorse a state constitutional amendment in Arizona when it came before voters.)

“The legal definition of marriage has always been left to the states to decide, in accordance with the prevailing standards of their neighborhoods and communities,” McCain said. “Certainly, that view has prevailed for many years in my party where we adhere to a rather stricter federalism than has always been the case in the prevailing views among our friends in the Democratic Party.”

Log Cabin’s board endorsed McCain by a 12-2 vote after the candidate met with the LGBT group. 

Patrick Sammon, then-president of Log Cabin, said the candidate “showed courage by bucking his own party leadership and the president” on the Federal Marriage Amendment.

“We have honest disagreements with Sen. McCain on a number of gay rights issues, Log Cabin will continue our conversation with him and other Republican leaders about issues affecting gay and lesbian Americans,” Sammon said.

R. Clarke Cooper, Mitt Romney, Jim Kolbe, Republican Party, Election 2012, Log Cabin Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (center) with Log Cabin’s R. Clarke Cooper (left) and former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (photo courtesy Log Cabin)

2012, Mitt Romney
Endorsement: Yes

In 2012, the Republican Party fielded former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to challenge Barack Obama in his bid for re-election. 

The choice presented a dilemma for Log Cabin. Romney was governor of Massachusetts when the state court legalized same-sex marriage and fought tooth-and-nail against the ruling. Like Bush, Romney called for a Federal Marriage Amendment to ban gay nuptials.

R. Clarke Cooper, then-president of Log Cabin, and former Rep. Jim Kolbe met with Romney at a Virginia farmhouse for a brief five-minute meeting. The two gay Republicans appeared to have some vague commitment from Romney on employment non-discrimination protections, although nothing was firm.

That was good enough for Log Cabin, whose board endorsed Romney in a 14-1 vote.

“Despite our disagreement with Gov. Romney on the issue of marriage, on balance it is clear that in today’s economic climate, concern for the future of our country must be the highest priority,” Cooper said. “We are Republicans, and we agree with Gov. Romney’s vision for America in which success is a virtue, equal opportunity is ensured, and leaders recognize that it is the American people, not government, that build our nation and fuel its prosperity.”

religious conservatives, Donald Trump, gay news, Washington Blade
President-elect Donald Trump (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

2016, Donald Trump
Endorsement: No

In 2016, political pundits saw Trump waving an upside-down rainbow Pride flag at a Colorado rally and concluded he was the most pro-gay Republican candidate in history.

In some respects, that’s right. Trump had in his private capacity as a businessperson attended a same-sex wedding and donated to HIV/AIDS groups. In his 2016 speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting pledged to “protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”

But calling him a pro-gay candidate ignores his absence of pro-LGBT policy positions. Moreover, Trump’s campaign was based on animus toward minority groups — whether it be Muslims or immigrants.

Through an organizational statement, Log Cabin concluded Trump was “perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party,” but that wasn’t enough and withheld its endorsement.

“Log Cabin Republicans have long emphasized that we are not a single-issue organization, nor are our members single-issue voters,” the statement said. “Even if we were, rhetoric alone regarding LGBT issues does not equate to doctrine.” 

What it boils down to is Trump — unlike McCain or Romney — refused to meet with Log Cabin, which was a criterion for the organization’s support. Still, Log Cabin did express concern with Trump’s policy on LGBT issues.

“As Mr. Trump spoke positively about the LGBT community in the United States, he concurrently surrounded himself with senior advisors with a record of opposing LGBT equality and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called ‘First Amendment Defense Act’ that Log Cabin Republicans opposes.”

Log Cabin Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade
President Donald Trump(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

2020, Trump
Endorsement: Yes

Trump quickly built a reputation as an anti-LGBT president. His administration implemented a transgender military ban, took actions undermining LGBT rights in the name of “religious freedom” and excluded LGBT rights from the enforcement of federal civil rights laws like Title VII and Title IX.

At the same time, a new class of gay conservatives has emerged that, frankly, just doesn’t care about those issues. What’s more, they point to his appointment of Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador of Germany as evidence that Trump is pro-gay. Grenell is supposedly spearheading a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality, although there’s little evidence as yet of anything behind that plan.

On HIV/AIDS, the Trump administration has unveiled an ambitious plan to beat the HIV epidemic by 2030 by zeroing in on areas of new infections and hammering them with prevention and treatment tools.

As it turns out, that’s enough for an endorsement from Log Cabin. Board leaders Robert Kabel and Jill Homan announced their organization’s support for Trump’s re-election in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

“This is the party that Trump has helped make possible by moving past the culture wars that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s, in particular by removing gay rights as a wedge issue from the old Republican playbook,” Kabel and Homan wrote.

The endorsement was a striking departure from Log Cabin practice in many respects: Trump has never met with Log Cabin, the endorsement decision usually comes after the convention and executive director Jerri Ann Henry’s name is nowhere on the op-ed.

But if anything is revealed from reviewing Log Cabin’s history, it’s that departing from consistent practices is a constant in endorsement decisions.

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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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