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Biden says he gets ‘more credit for marriage equality than I deserve’

Democratic candidate says Equality Act is ‘the first bill I want to sign’

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Former Vice President Joe Biden (Screen capture via YouTube)

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden told an LGBT audience Saturday night he gets “more credit for marriage equality than I deserve,” according to a campaign pool report.

Biden made the comments after reflecting on his words in favor of same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in 2012, which preceded the conclusion of President Obama’s in favor of same-sex marriage and wins for marriage equality at the ballot box that year.

“I get more credit for marriage equality than I deserve,” Biden told the crowd of about 200 people at the fundraiser, which was hosted by gay philanthropist Tim Gill and his spouse Scott Miller.

Reflecting on his position on marriage equality, Biden said, “I didn’t have to evolve very much.” (In 1996, Biden as a U.S. senator from Delaware was one of 85 senators to vote in favor of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage.)

Much of Biden’s speech, according to the pool report, consisted of stories he told in the past about his experience with LGBT people, including the story about his father warning him in high school not to be bigoted against gay people.

“I told the president I wouldn’t get out ahead of him, but if I got asked the question I couldn’t keep quiet,” Biden said. “I wasn’t going to be silent on it.”

In terms of LGBT policy, Biden reiterated his support for the Equality Act, saying he wants the legislation to be the “first bill I want to sign.”

“The first bill I want to sign is the Equality Act because today you can be married in a number of states on Saturday and be fired on Monday when you go into work,” Biden said. “And it’s gotta change. And most people don’t even know that. If we let them know that, we can change the law across the country.”

Other components of Biden’s remarks included condemnation of Trump’s rhetoric, free community college and training programs for displaced workers and Amazon leading to the elimination of retail jobs across the country.

Gill, who supports Biden, emphasized Biden’s record at the fundraiser and said “America needs a president with that experience,” according to the pool report.

“And experience matters,” Gill said. “The ability to craft and pass legislation matters. The ability to rally people to your cause matters.”

The Washington Blade has placed a request in with the Biden campaign seeking comment on the amount raised at the fundraiser and the cost of a ticket.

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Two arrested for lesbian couple’s murder, dismemberment in Mexico border city

Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez killed earlier this month

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From left: Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez</strong. (Photo via Facebook)

Two people have been arrested in connection with the murder and dismemberment of a lesbian couple in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez.

The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced authorities arrested a 25-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man and charged them with aggravated femicide.

Authorities on Jan. 16 found the dismembered body parts of Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez in plastic bags that had been placed along the Juárez-El Porvenir Highway. The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office in a press release notes the suspects murdered Ramírez and Medina in a house in Ciudad Juárez’s San Isidro neighborhood on Jan. 15.

Ciudad Juárez, which is located in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, is across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

Members of Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua, a local LGBTQ rights group, and Chihuahua Gov. María Eugenia Campos Galván are among those who have expressed outrage over the women’s murders. Activists have also urged local and state authorities to investigate whether the murder was a hate crime based on Ramírez and Medina’s sexual orientation.

Local media reports said nine women — including Ramírez and Medina — were killed in Ciudad Juárez from Jan. 1-15.

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Virginia

Va. Senate subcommittee tables anti-transgender student athlete bill

Virginia Beach Republican introduced SB 766

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A Virginia Senate subcommittee on Thursday tabled a bill that would have banned transgender students from joining school sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

Senate Bill 766, which state Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) introduced on earlier this month, would have required “each elementary or secondary school or a private school that competes in sponsored athletic events against such public schools to designate athletic teams, whether a school athletic team or an intramural team sponsored by such school, based on biological sex as follows: (i) ‘males,’ ‘men,’ or ‘boys’; (ii) ‘females,’ ‘women,’ or ‘girls’; or (iii) ‘coed’ or ‘mixed.’”

“SB 766 (trans sports ban) was passed by indefinitely (it died!) after a long line of speakers testified against it, affirming trans students’ rights to participate in sports just like their cisgender peers,” tweeted the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia after the vote. “Trans students belong in sports. Period.”

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin during his campaign said he does not support allowing trans children to play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity.

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 12 with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Democrats still control the Senate by a 21-19 margin.

A bill that would have eliminated the requirement that school districts implement the Virginia Department of Education’s trans and non-binary student guidelines died in a Senate subcommittee on Thursday. The Senate General Laws and Technology on Thursday also tabled a religious freedom measure that would have undermined Virginia’s LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination law.

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Virginia

Two anti-LGBTQ bills die in Va. Senate

Democrats maintain 21-19 majority in chamber

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The Virginia Capitol (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Two anti-LGBTQ bills died in the Virginia Senate on Thursday.

A Senate Education subcommittee voted against state Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell County)’s Senate Bill 20, which would have eliminated the requirement that school districts must implement the Virginia Department of Education’s transgender and non-binary student guidelines.

The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee in an 8-7 vote tabled state Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg)’s Senate Bill 177, a religious freedom measure that critics contend would have allowed anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing.

Virginia’s statewide nondiscrimination law includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Peake’s bill would have removed “the provision of the exemption for religious organizations under the Virginia Fair Housing Law that denies such exemption where the membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability.”

The General Assembly’s 2022 legislative session began on Jan. 12 with Republicans in control of the House of Delegates. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin took office three days later.

Democrats, who maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate, have vowed to block any anti-LGBTQ bill.

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