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Congressional Equality Caucus reintroduces resolution honoring Black LGBTQ leaders

Bill spotlights Karine Jean-Pierre’s historic appointment as White House press secretary



U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

U.S. House Democrats reintroduced a resolution on Friday that would recognize the contributions of Black LGBTQI+ leaders.

The proposal “Recognizing Black History Month as an important time to celebrate the remarkable and unique contributions of all LGBTQI+ Black Americans in United States history” was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.), a founding member and current vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus.

Co-sponsors included the Caucus’s Chair, Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.), and fellow Vice Chair, Rep. Ritchie Torres (N.Y.), along with 29 other House Democrats. In addition to the Caucus, the resolution has been endorsed by Equality California, America’s largest statewide LGBTQ organization.

“For generations, we have seen the erasure of Black LGBTQI+ Americans from our history, despite all of the rich and impactful contributions these individuals have made to our culture, society, and the advancement of civil rights,” Lee said in a press release announcing the move.

“As we celebrate Black History Month, we must pay homage to remarkable Black LGBTQI+ figures like Marsha P. Johnson, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Bayard Rustin, and many more,” Lee said. “I’m proud to reintroduce this resolution with my Equality Caucus colleagues to honor their legacies and ensure our history is told in full.”

The bill also recognizes more recent achievements by Black LGBTQ leaders, including: Minneapolis City Councilmember Andrea Jenkins, who became the country’s first transgender woman to serve in public office in 2018; Lori Lightfoot, who became Chicago’s first LGBTQ and first Black woman mayor in 2019; and Karine Jean-Pierre, who in 2022 became the first Black woman and the first LGBTQ person to serve as White House press secretary.

Black advocates who are now leading LGBTQ advocacy groups were also spotlighted in the bill: Kelley Robinson at the Human Rights Campaign; Imani Rupert-Gordon at National Center for Lesbian Rights; Kierra Johnson at National LGBTQ Task Force; David Johns at National Black Justice Coalition; Gabriel Foster at Trans Justice Funding Project; Carter Brown at Black
TransMen Inc.; Melanie Willingham-Jaggers at GLSEN; and Stacey Stevenson at Family Equality Council.

“I’m honored to be included on this list of trailblazing Black LGBTQ+ leaders. I love Black History Month, because it’s a time when people in our country come together not just to honor the Black past but also to build Black futures and celebrate Black joy,” Robinson said in an exclusive statement to The Washington Blade.

“Right now, with attacks on Black and LGBTQ+ lives on the rise, it is more important than ever that we hold onto that Black, queer joy and I’m proud that Rep. Barbara Lee and the other resolution sponsors have taken this moment to make that clear,” she said.



House to vote on resolution to expel Santos

Embattled N.Y. congressman indicted last week



U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) (Screen shot via YouTube)

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to hold a vote within the next couple of days over whether to expel U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from the chamber, a largely symbolic move that will put Republicans on the record as the embattled congressman faces criminal charges.

U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) introduced the resolution in January, reportedly with support from House Democratic leadership, but it would need a two-thirds majority to pass.

The Republican caucus could vote to table the motion, but only five defections would force a final ballot over Santos’ expulsion.

Calls for the congressman’s resignation began shortly after he took office, as reports began to surface that he had fabricated major claims about his life and biography and multiple law enforcement agencies started probing allegations of financial malfeasance.

Pressures intensified last week when the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York arraigned Santos on 13 criminal counts of fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements.

Some Republican members have publicly urged Santos to step down, but GOP leadership so far has declined to take a hard stance pending the conclusion of investigations and law enforcement actions.

Santos represents New York’s 3rd Congressional District, serving in the seat that former Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi vacated. His electoral victory in 2022 provided a crucial vote for Republicans, who only narrowly won control of the House.

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Tuberville, 21 GOP senators call for White House to withdraw rule change for trans athletes

Senators specifically addressed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona



U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) (Screen capture/YouTube)

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) on Monday led a group of 21 other Republican senators in calling for Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to withdraw the administration’s proposed rule change that would prohibit blanket bans of transgender student athletes.

“Our comment sent to Secretary Cardona echoes what most Americans already know to be true: Forcing schools to allow biological males to compete against young women is unfair, unsafe and wrong,” Tuberville said in a statement.

If adopted as written, the draft policy unveiled by the U.S. Department of Education last month would affirm “that policies violate Title IX when they categorically ban transgender students” from participating on teams that align with their gender identity.

At the same time, the guidelines allow for exceptions that would bar trans student athletes in certain circumstances and provided various conditions are met.

Separately, Tuberville drew ire over his comments during an interview last week in which he said the Pentagon was wrong to root out white nationalists serving in the U.S. military.

“They call them that,” Tuberville replied, referring to the Biden administration’s criticism of white nationalists. “I call them Americans.”

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George Santos indicted on 13 counts

Embattled N.Y. congressman arraigned in federal court on Wednesday



U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) (Screenshot/YouTube NBC News)

U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) was indicted Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York on 13 criminal counts of fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements.

The congressman is expected to be arraigned later today. For several months, investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies have been looking into allegations that he violated campaign finance laws and committed other financial crimes.

Beginning shortly after Santos took office, news reports revealed that he had lied about vast swaths of his life and career, fabricated stories — claiming, for example, to have survived an assassination attempt — and engaged in various schemes.

Wednesday’s indictment alleges that Santos and an unnamed “political consultant” illegally redirected donations that were supposed to support his Congressional race to instead cover personal expenses like “luxury designer clothing and credit card payments.”

The charging documents also accuse Santos of falsely claiming to be unemployed to pocket $20,304 in unemployment insurance benefits from the state of New York and $24,744 from the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act while he was actually working for a Florida investment firm, earning an annual $120,000 salary.

Additionally, prosecutors say Santos lied on federal disclosure documents that are mandatory for every member of Congress.

Calls for Santos’ expulsion from Congress were renewed with the news of Wednesday’s indictment.

“That’s something for the House conference to decide on,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters during Wednesday’s briefing. “They want to show the American people what their conference looks like; that’s up to them.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said, “there is one person who can make this change: Speaker McCarthy.”

“It’s just an unfortunate thing that that we’re all colleagues together, and this level of fraud that’s been perpetrated on the people of New York,” Aguilar added.

For his part, McCarthy told CNN Santos “will go through his time in trial, and let’s find out how the outcome is,” while U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House majority leader, made similar comments during a press conference, telling reporters: “In America, there’s a presumption of innocence, but they’re serious charges. He’s going to have to go through the legal process.” 


Facing reporters in a press conference after the afternoon hearing on the steps of the courthouse at 100 Federal Plaza in Central Islip on Long Island, Santos said: “It’s a witch hunt because it makes no sense that in four months, four months — five months, I’m indicted.” The embattled congressman then tried to deflect by comparing his legal difficulties to the Hunter Biden investigation which prompted onlookers to boo him.

Media Matters senior researcher Jason S. Campbell captured a portion of the video and tweeted it:

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