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Sen. Grassley draws on imbroglio with HRC president to thwart Equality Act

Republican draws on narrative LGBTQ bill a threat to women

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Sen. Charles Grassley is drawing on a damning New York attorney general report to case the Equality Act as a threat to women. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A top Republican in the U.S. Senate is exploiting the ongoing controversy with Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David being ensnared in the damning report of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s alleged sexual misconduct to sabotage the Equality Act.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), building on the narrative from critics who have twisted the Equality Act into a threat to women’s rights, writes in a letter dated Aug. 5 to the Senate Judiciary Committee the report from New York Attorney General Letitia James should be included as part of the bill’s legislative record.

“A troubling report by the Attorney General for the State of New York found that this hearing witness for the majority played some role in efforts by current and former staff of Governor Andrew Cuomo to discredit a former employee who publicly complained of harassment,” Grassley writes.

Opponents of the Equality Act have asserted the legislation, which would update civil rights law to expand the prohibition on anti-LGBTQ discrimination under federal law, would threaten sex-segregated spaces for women in everything from sports to bathrooms to prisons.

Grassley, in his letter, builds on that narrative with David’s presence in the report, which describes him as keeping a personnel file of one of the accusers after he left the governor’s office and aiding Cuomo’s staff efforts to leak unflattering components of the file to the media when she made allegations of sexual misconduct.

“The New York Attorney General’s findings respecting Mr. David are relevant to the record of this Senate hearing, at which the potential adverse impacts of the Equality Act on women and girls were an important aspect of our hearing discussion,” Grassley writes.

David denied any wrongdoing and the Human Rights Campaign has signaled it has renewed his contract as president for another five years despite the report. The letter, nonetheless, demonstrates opponents of the Equality Act have another weapon to thwart the legislation, which is already languishing in the U.S. Senate and all but dead.

The Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter, nor did the Human Rights Campaign.

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Arts & Entertainment

2021 Best of LGBTQ DC Readers’ Choice Award Finalist Voting

Vote for your favorite finalist in our 2021 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 3rd.

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It is Decision 2021! You nominated and now we have our Top 5 finalists. Vote for your favorites in our 2021 Best of LGBTQ DC categories through October 3rd. Our 2021 Best of LGBTQ DC will be announced at the Best of LGBTQ DC Awards Party on October 21st and our special issue will come out on Friday, October 22nd.

Thank you to our sponsors: ABSOLUT, PEPCO, Washington Regional Transplant Community.

Vote below or by clicking HERE.

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World

Biden highlights LGBTQ rights in UN General Assembly speech

President noted crackdowns in Chechnya, Cameroon

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President Joe Biden addresses the United Nations. (Screen capture via NBC News)

President Biden on Tuesday in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly spoke in support of LGBTQ rights around the world.

“We all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals,” he said.

Biden in his speech specifically cited anti-LGBTQ crackdowns in Chechnya and Cameroon. He spoke after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights, addressed the General Assembly.

The White House earlier this year released a memorandum that committed the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ rights abroad.

The Washington Blade will update this story.

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Local

Veteran restauranteurs to open Drift in Rehoboth

Second Block Hospitality eyes 2022 debut for new raw bar

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Double L, Diego's Hideaway, Fourth, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, gay news, Washington Blade
A new raw bar is coming to Baltimore Avenue in Rehoboth. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Despite the generally anti-business positions of the current Rehoboth Beach Mayor and some members of the Rehoboth Beach Commission, there are still some entrepreneurs who have faith in Rehoboth Beach.

One such group is the newly announced Second Block Hospitality Group, which brings together local industry leaders Lion Gardner, Tyler Townsend, Bob Suppies, and David Gonce.

According to the partners, “The mission of Second Block Hospitality is simple…to deliver exceptional hospitality. Second Block projects will be designed to become places that matter; that bring the community together. They aim to create unique spaces that foster positivity, a creative atmosphere, and memorable experiences. Driven by this philosophy we are thoughtful in everything we do, down to the smallest detail. In all our endeavors we are committed to crafting unique guest experiences through innovative design, authentic flavors, and warm hospitality.”

Their first new venture, Drift, will be a raw bar and dining room on Baltimore Avenue. The new project, already underway, is a massive restoration designed to transform the existing building, originally built in 1890 and used as a camp meeting house, into a modern structure with historic charm. Drift restaurant will feature a refined design, open airy spaces and lots of glass for open vantage points with an indoor/outdoor bar area and intimate back patio that will add to the allure of Baltimore Avenue.

“We could not be more excited to be breaking ground on another passion project,” said Suppies. “Coming through the last year brought many new challenges to our industry, but we were able to get very creative and grow as a company, so this new venture is very exciting for us.”

Another of the partners, Gardner, brings his skill set as a longtime chef to the new venture.

“One of my roles in the company will be to oversee the menu and kitchen at Drift and all of our projects moving forward,” Gardner said. “The great thing about our ownership group is that even though each partner has his own area of expertise, there is collaboration across the board; we are all involved in all aspects of the business. I am excited to learn and contribute in other areas as well, and luckily for me I’m working with a group of really talented, experienced and passionate guys.”

Drift is slated to open sometime in early 2022, and things are in full swing for the new restaurant owners, including menu planning. Townsend said, “Drift will be a true raw bar focusing on the art of raw seafood and not just oysters, along with traditionally prepared dishes influenced by the sea. From a beverage standpoint we will feature craft cocktails and eccentric wine and beer offerings. Think small and intimate, rustic and classic, yet casual with a focus on culinary inventiveness and creative spaces.” and good times. For more information visit driftrb.com.

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