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Vice president’s husband visits vaccination station at D.C. gay bar

Second Gentleman Emhoff expresses support for nightlife outreach

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Douglas Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Second Gentleman at Pitcher’s on Thursday.

The D.C. gay sports bar Pitchers, which opened its first-floor space as a COVID-19 vaccination site on Thursday afternoon, June 3, received a surprise visit by Douglas Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris who holds the title as the nation’s first Second Gentleman.

Pitcher’s customers and employees, including owner David Perruzza, joined D.C. government officials in greeting Emhoff and members of his staff who accompanied him warmly. The D.C. officials said they came to lend support for the city’s efforts to expand vaccination sites to nightlife establishments such as bars and restaurants.

Emhoff said he had heard that Pitcher’s and League of Her Own, the lesbian bar located in Pitcher’s lower floor space, would be serving as a vaccination site and he wanted to stop by to show his support while he was in the Adams Morgan neighborhood where Pitchers is located for another engagement.

He readily agreed to numerous requests by customers to allow them to stand next to him for photos as he greeted people in Pitcher’s outdoor and indoor space. He stood a few feet away from three tables where members of the staff of Giant Food’s pharmacy waited to administer vaccine shots to interested customers.

Emhoff stayed for about 30 minutes before leaving to attend another nearby engagement. He was accompanied by staff members and members of the Secret Service.

Among those present who greeted Emhoff was Sheila Alexander-Reid, director of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, which worked with the D.C. Department of Health to arrange for a vaccination site at Pitchers.

“We’ve been doing these all over the city,” Alexander-Reid said in discussing the vaccination site. “So, this was like a natural next step to reach out to the LGBTQ community,” she said. “And because Pitcher’s is a part of the community this was kind of a no-brainer to do this here,” Alexander-Reid told the Washington Blade.

Among the D.C. government officials joining Alexander-Reid at the event was Shawn Townsend, director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, who played a role in arranging for the vaccination station to be set up at Pitcher’s as well as other D.C. bars.

“The idea was to go to different sectors of business in different communities to encourage folks to get the vaccine,” Townsend said. “I think that if you wanted a vaccination, you’ve gotten it at this point,” he said. “So, moving forward we have to think about how to reach others in different communities in the city,” he said, who up until now have chosen not to get vaccinated.

Other D.C. officials who came to Pitcher’s to support the vaccination site were Ben DeGuzman, director of the Mayor’s Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs; Jim Slattery, former head of the LGBTQ charity group Brother Help Thyself who serves as Correspondence Officer for the Office of the D.C. Mayor; and Patrick Ashley, senior deputy director at the D.C. Department of Health.

Perruzza said some of his customers came forward to get vaccinated as of around 5:30 Thursday evening, 90 minutes after the Giant Pharmacy staff set up their vaccination tables. He said a larger number of customers would be arriving at Pitcher’s and League of Her Own in the next few hours and he expected more people to consider taking the vaccine.

“I’m grateful they’re here and I immediately said yes when the mayor’s office approached me to do this,” Perruzza said. “But from talking to a lot of people I think most people in the gay community have been vaccinated,” he said.

The vaccination site was scheduled to stay at Pitcher’s until 8 p.m.

(Washington Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)
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Comings & Goings

Cummings joins White House Office of National Cyber Director

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John Cummings

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to John Cummings on joining the Office of the National Cyber Director at the White House as Director of Supply Chain and Technology Security. Upon getting the position, he said, “I am beyond thrilled to join the growing team at the National Cyber Director’s Office and bring my experience to our mission of mitigating the cyber threats facing our nation and ensuring every American can enjoy the full benefits of the digital ecosystem. It is truly a privilege to work with this incredibly brilliant and collegial group of cyber experts.” 

Prior to joining the White House, Cummings served as Associate General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Before that role, he served as interim Chief Counsel for ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center and as Associate General Counsel for the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

He has provided legal advice and counsel on matters of government-wide and interagency policy and national security in the areas of executive authority, cyber, constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties, legislative affairs, and international cooperation. He has worked on recruiting LGBTQ, women, and minority applicants for government roles in national security and is experienced in public relations, stakeholder relationships, and international partnerships. 

Cummings began his career clerking for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and also clerked for the House Committee on Homeland Security and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

He attended Villanova University where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his J.D. from Loyola Law, New Orleans, and his LL.M. in National Security Law from Georgetown Law.

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Maryland

Abortion rights in post-Roe Maryland, Delaware

Practice generally legal, with some restrictions

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Public domain photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 found that the decision to receive an abortion was generally protected by the Constitution of the United States. With the broadest federal protection of abortion access now rescinded, the legality of abortion will by and large be determined on the state level.

In Delaware, abortion is legal through the Medical Practice Act — but with some restrictions.

After fetal viability, or the point where a fetus can survive outside the uterus, abortion in the First State becomes illegal unless necessary for the patient’s “life or health,” or if the fetus has a condition “for which there is not a reasonable likelihood” that it will survive outside the uterus, according to Subchapter IX of the act

Additionally, under the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, physicians cannot perform a surgical abortion on minors under the age of 16 unless the patient’s parent or guardian has received at least 24 hours notice from a medical professional. Notice is not required for nonsurgical abortions.

On the federal level, the funding of abortion is illegal through the 1977 Hyde Amendement “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights advocacy organization. States are only federally required to fund abortions that meet these conditions through federal-state Medicaid programs. 

While some states also fund abortions deemed medically necessary regardless of whether they endanger a patient’s life, Delaware state law does not extend beyond federal guidelines: The state only funds abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Abortion legislation in Delaware mirrors neighboring Maryland, whose laws include similar restrictions on abortion after fetal viability and abortion for minors under the age of 16. But abortion laws in these states are generally more restrictive than other mid-Atlantic counterparts, such as New Jersey and New York.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) weighed in on the state’s abortion law on Friday.

“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law – that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”

The impact of Roe v. Wade’s fall in Delaware remains uncertain. While the abortion rate in Delaware steadily declined between 2014 and 2017, recent findings show that instances of abortion are increasing once again in the state, reflecting a rise on the national level.

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Virginia

Youngkin backs abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy

Republican governor supports exceptions for incest, rape and protecting mother’s life

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade said he will seek to ban abortions in his state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin told the Washington Post. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”

Youngkin, a Republican, took office in January.

His party controls the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate.

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs, giving power back to the states to make decisions on abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears in a statement. “The court has recognized that the 1973 decision was an example of judicial and federal overreach. The important question of abortion has now been returned to statehouses across the country, in order for them to make their own policy decisions, which is exactly what the founding fathers envision when they wrote the 10th amendment to the Constitution.” 

“I applaud the court for recognizing this wrong and having the courage to correct it. I look forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly in the next legislative session on legislation that respects life,” she added.

Abortion is currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters.

Youngkin on Friday said he supports abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

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