Showing posts with label LGBT Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT Rights. Show all posts

March 19, 2017

The New World Order as Per Canada: Trade and LGBT Rights




 In Tanzania a gay man makes the point

 

Michael Motala is a member of the Overseas Press Club of America, a co-author of Egale Canada’s Just Society Report, and is writing a book on the invisible forces behind Brexit. He lives in New York City.

The context of Brexit and the unforeseen shift in the Anglo-American alliance caused by the election of U.S. President Donald Trump are equal parts threat and opportunity for Canadian foreign policy.

After Prime Minister Theresa May’s imminent Article 50 notification, Britain will undoubtedly move toward reviving its Commonwealth trade ties, reminiscent of the pre-GATT era of imperial preferences. Yet the Commonwealth as an organization is burdened by a fundamental paradox in values. While 75 other Commonwealth countries still criminalize homosexual acts, Canada, the U.K. and Australia have taken steps toward dismantling anti-gay laws.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended his predecessor’s foreign policy platform quite effectively. However, a plus ├ža change strategy at the Commonwealth would amount to a missed opportunity, ensuring Canada fails to punch above its weight on the global stage. As Britain rapidly shifts its foreign policy priorities, Canada must act to ensure LGBT protections are at the very centre of any new Commonwealth trading regime.

In the January, 2017, report Reconnecting with the Commonwealth – which has a foreword by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott – British MP James Cleverly and Tim Hewish, the Royal Commonwealth Society’s director of policy and research, propose such a regime. The idea appears to be gaining traction among some British policy-makers. While the authors note “free trade is not based on utility but on justice” (quoting Edmund Burke), their report is mum on human rights.

The Commonwealth is neither a club of shared values nor ideas of justice.

“Being gay in Uganda is illegal, and the most dangerous thing you can imagine,” remarked Acram Lukyamuzi Musisi, the 28-year-old Ugandan who is at the forefront of the local LGBT rights movement. He is the founder of Pride Munyonyo LGBT Resource Center in Kampala.

While Mussisi advocates for justice and equality on the ground, the number of homophobic attacks has spiked since Uganda passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Mussisi described his fear of the daily prospect of “torture and death” because Ugandan society “regards [LGBT] people as evil, ungodly and an abomination to cultural values.”

Uganda’s anti-sodomy laws, like those of other former Commonwealth realms, are rooted in Britain’s imperial history, constituting an “alien legacy” according to Human Rights Watch. In fact, “the sodomy offence,” as the retired Australian judge Michael Kirby has argued, was “England’s least lovely criminal law export.”

During his tenure as Canada’s foreign affairs minister, John Baird was a staunch critic of LGBT treatment in the Commonwealth, which misfired in Uganda despite his good intentions. Commenting on the increased attacks after the passage of anti-gay legislation, Baird said: “reports of public incitement of hatred and the violence that followed were appalling and of deep concern to Canada.”

Details of the Canadian government’s plan to implement the first steps of Egale Canada’s Just Society Report, and in particular its 20-per-cent international focus, could be a ray of light for the Grits, renowned for their fondness of “sunny ways.”

“I’m not going to sugar-coat this for anybody,” said Randy Boissonnault, MP for Edmonton Center and Trudeau’s special adviser for LGBT issues. “There’s work to be done in our own country.”

Mr. Boissonnault is tasked with leading the government’s efforts to implement the recommendations of the Just Society Report, which was published last June. Canada’s support for human rights abroad often takes place hidden from view. “When we are abroad, we have conversations,” said Mr. Boissonnault, and sometimes “we can work with civil society organizations in [a] country more easily than we can work with legislators.”

History shows us that our Commonwealth peers are unlikely to make progress through open criticism, and local activists make it clear our hidden diplomacy is fairly impotent. Should the Commonwealth evolve into a trade pact, Canada must act to ensure that membership hinges on compliance with fundamental human rights.

“Canada has a key role to play on supporting the human rights of LGBTI people globally,” said Doug Kerr, a leader of the Canadian Dignity Initiative. “We have not been at the front of this movement in the past, but it’s about time we stepped up.”

MICHAEL MOTALA

March 14, 2017

The Grimm Injustice Comes from Unelected Bureaucrats Making Law








 When the Supreme Court announced last week it would no longer hear Gavin Grimm’s “transgender bathroom case,” competing narratives quickly emerged: LGBT rights versus local control. These dueling storylines miss the larger lesson about the real culprit in so many of these high-profile culture wars cases: the uncontrollable administrative state.

After all, nothing had changed since the Fourth Circuit ruled last year that a Virginia school board must allow Grimm, a biological female who suffers from gender dysphoria, to use the boy’s bathroom. Yet the Supreme Court not only dismissed the appeal but also sent Grimm’s case back for the Fourth Circuit to reconsider. Nothing had changed, that is, except the reigning president and “guidance” issued by his administrative overlords.

We’re Arguing about Opposite Interpretations of Law

Before we go there, let’s do a brief review. The law at issue, Title IX, hasn’t changed since Congress passed that statute in 1972. It quite simply provides: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .”

Since 1975, federal regulations from the Department of Education, the federal agency charged with enforcing Title IX, have authorized schools to provide “separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” so long as the “facilities provided for students of one sex [are] comparable to such facilities provided for students of the other sex.”

Fast-forward 40 years: On May 13, 2016, the Obama departments of Justice and Education issued a joint letter stating: “The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.”

The Fourth Circuit relied to this letter to hold that the local school board had violated Title IX by refusing to allow Grimm to use the boys’ bathroom. After losing in the appellate court, the school board had sought review in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal and had scheduled oral argument for later this month.


But the transfer of power following Trump’s inauguration handed over the presidential pen. And what the pen giveth, the pen taketh away. On February 22, 2017 with a brief two-page letter, the Trump administration withdrew and rescinded the May 13, 2016 letter. With a mere (electronic) signature, then, the Trump administration jettisoned the Fourth Circuit’s sole justification for ruling in Grimm’s favor. With the Obama administration’s guidance rescinded, the Supreme Court summarily disposed of Grimm’s appeal, sending the case back to the Fourth Circuit, which will now need to decide anew the outcome given this change in circumstance.


This Way of Governing Lets Agencies Effectively Make Law
If rule by bureaucratic decree seems a strange procedure for a constitutional republic, it should. Therein lies the true import of Grimm: not the battle of competing rights, but the power of our adminstrative state. What the Grimm case lays bare is disquieting: Grimm exposes the charade used to justify the deference afforded federal agencies—that they possess subject-matter expertise.

The Grimm case began and ended with deference. Not to the Constitution. Not to the applicable statute, Title IX. Not even a regulation. But deference, a judicial genuflection, to the views of unelected, unaccountable so-called “experts.” This deference to an agency’s interpretation of its own “ambiguous” regulations was mandated by the Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Auer v. Robbin. The court justified this with the specialized subject-matter expertise administrative agencies supposedly possess.


But it is pure folly to believe that interpreting the word “sex” requires any expert or specialized knowledge. It is beyond parody to claim that the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—all distinct federal agencies that have reinterpreted sex to include sexual identity—possess the same specialized knowledge. Further, if the word “sex,” as used in Title IX and its implementing regulations, is ambiguous there is truly no limit to what an agency could redefine under the auspices of “expertise.”

It is the absurdity of deferring to a federal agency’s view of the law based on a purported subject-matter expertise that merits the press and public’s focus, not the transgender angle, because Grimm exposes the too-long ignored reality: The administrative state does not have an expertise. It has a political agenda.

Bureaucrats Have Power, and Power Corrupts
The Grimm case also bares the administrative state’s stealth attack on our constitutional framework. America’s founders devised this framework “to fetter the federal government, and the presidency in particular, to prevent the republic from turning into anything like tyranny.”

The rise of the administrative state—rule by unelected, unchecked executive-branch bureaucrats—over the last 100 years has rendered our republic a mere sliver of the Founders’ vision. As Chief Justice John Roberts put it in his dissent in City of Arlington, Texas v. FCC: “The Framers could hardly have envisioned today’s ‘vast and varied federal bureaucracy’ and the authority administrative agencies now hold over our economic, social, and political activities. ‘[T]he administrative state with its reams of regulations would leave them rubbing their eyes.’”


This modern reality exists because, while the Constitution established three co-equal branches of government, each with specific and limited powers designed to check the other branches, the executive branch has, as Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch put it, “swallow[ed] huge amounts of core judicial and legislative power.” Simultaneously, the judicial and legislative branches have abdicated their constitutionally appointed roles to check the abuse of executive power.

The Grimm case should open the public’s eyes to constitutional modernity. While Congress properly exercised its legislative powers in passing Title IX in 1972 to prohibit sex discrimination, the Fourth Circuit in Grimm did not rely on that statute. Instead, it ruled in favor of Grimm based solely on a letter from two federal agencies. The Grimm decision thus simultaneously showcased the executive branch’s overreach—its making of new laws—and the judicial branch’s abdication of its duty to interpret the law.

The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Grimm’s appeal should cement this disturbing reality in the public’s conscience. Think about it: The Supreme Court of the United States—the highest court in the land, the final arbiter of the law, which emphatically has the province and duty to say what the law is —tiptoed off, stage left, once the new president entered reciting a different soliloquy.

This result should disturb any lover of freedom, whether he supported former President Obama’s interpretation of Title IX or the current administration’s more circumspect position. Let’s hope the Grimm case can finally bring the administrative state’s attack on liberty into focus.

Margot Cleveland is a lawyer, CPA, and adjunct professor for the University of Notre Dame. Cleveland can be reached via email at mobrien@nd.edu or on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland.


March 5, 2017

Donald Trump ‘a Confusing President on LGBT Rights'



                                                                           




Before same-sex marriage was legal anywhere in America, a gay activist in Florida twice brought a date to the Mar-a-Lago club. Each time, Rand Hoch and his guest were greeted by the smiling face of Donald Trump.

“Great eye contact. Firm handshake. The same way with everybody who came in,” Hoch, founder and president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, recalled Friday. “There was no difference at all with my dates and me and the people in back of me or in front of me. He’s out there, he’s personable, and there’s no way he’s going to treat anybody differently.”

Never before has the leader of the Republican Party shown as much public comfort with gay people as this one has. Trump has attended gay weddings, donated to gay causes, and welcomed gay couples as Mar-a-Lago members when they were still shunned by other Florida clubs.

Now he is president, and much of the LGBT community is apprehensive.

“I don’t think he is making policy. I think he’s surrounded himself with some horrible people when it comes to LGBT issues, they’re the ones that are making policy, and he’s going to sign whatever Steve Bannon puts in front of him. And that’s the problem,” Hoch said.

“It’s not like there’s anybody in the official administration who’s an advocate of treating LGBT people the way we treat every other American. I can’t think of a single one. And that’s frightening.”

Trump’s vice-president, Christian conservative Mike Pence, approved a law when he was governor of Indiana that permitted businesses to cite “religious freedom” to defend against claims of anti-gay discrimination. Bannon, his chief strategist, ran a website that published anti-gay articles.

Most notably, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a long record of fierce opposition to LGBT rights. He replaced Barack Obama appointee Loretta Lynch, whom the gay and transgender communities regarded as a loyal ally.


“What his personal opinion is, I haven’t spent one second thinking about that at all. It’s his actions. It’s the people he’s surrounding himself with,” said Grant Stancliff, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Equality Ohio.

The six-week-old administration has sent mixed signals so far, alternately heartening and disquieting LGBT advocates.

In one of his earliest statements, Trump said he would preserve an Obama order that banned anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors — his team explaining “he continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.”

Three weeks later, though, his administration withdrew an Obama directive telling schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. In a Friday letter, the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group that has been supportive of Trump, expressed “deep concerns” about that decision.

At a briefing in February, Trump’s chief spokesperson, Sean Spicer, said Trump was considering a “religious freedom” order that would likely provide protections to businesses and other organizations that want to deny services to same-sex couples and transgender people. Trump then declined to sign an order that was leaked to the media. Then, last week, Spicer said: “I’m sure as we move forward we’ll have something.”

“In terms of actions he’s taken and not taken, it’s an entirely confusing story,” Hoch said.

Some of Trump’s words have encouraged LGBT advocates. Some of them have raised alarm. During the campaign, Stancliff noted, he vowed to defend gay people almost at the same time as he framed Muslims as dangerous enemies. And while he said transgender people should use the bathroom of their choice, he also blasted as “ridiculous” the Obama decision last year to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.

Ilona Turner, legal director of the Transgender Law Center, said Trump’s words of support are widely seen as “absolutely hollow and fake.” Some transgender students, she said, are already hearing that their schools no longer plan to allow them to use the bathroom of their choice.

“It is going to have an immediate and very harmful effect on students and families,” she said.

Lynch gave a speech in May telling transgender people that the government was on their side — an “unimaginably powerful” message to a marginalized community, Turner said. The appointment of Sessions, she said, says the opposite: “That we are returning to a time when transgender people had to live in fear, and live in the shadows, and could not expect support from their government.”

The bathroom battle is far from the only one on which Sessions could affect transgender people.

In 2015, the Department of Justice sued an Oklahoma university for alleged discrimination against a transgender professor. It appears distinctly unlikely that the Sessions-led department will be so aggressive.

In December, a judge in Texas halted a part of the Affordable Care Act that was to begin prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in health services. Trump says he is planning to repeal the act, known as Obamacare, and Sessions declined to submit an appeal by the court’s deadline, instead asking for more time.

David Lampo, a gay conservative Trump supporter and a former Log Cabin Republicans board member, said the “gay establishment” has reacted to Trump with “disdain and contempt” unwarranted by Trump’s actual behaviour. He argued that advocates are so antagonistic because of their alliances with the broader left-wing resistance to the president.

Lampo opposed the Obama directive on transgender students, calling it federal overreach. And he believes businesspeople should be allowed to decline services to same-sex weddings. But he said he was concerned Trump will endorse the views of the social conservatives who also want protection for government officials.

During the Republican primary, Trump gently criticized Kentucky clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licences to gay couples, saying “this was not the right job for her.” Just three weeks later, he said, “I haven’t been opposed to her stand, and I think it’s fine.”

“Religious liberty certainly has nothing to do with the right of a public employee not doing their job,” Lampo said. “It’s important that Trump learn to make that distinction between public employees and purely private businessmen.”

By 

February 28, 2017

China Going Easy with it’s Multi-Billion$$ Market The LGBT






China's Spring Festival, which celebrates the lunar New Year, is the ultimate test for fledgling romances. A partner's invitation to meet family signals commitment; but for China's LGBT population, the holiday creates disproportionate stress. Only 5 percent of them have come out of the closet, and they are, as a group, under remarkable pressure to get married to someone of the opposite sex.

During this year's Spring Festival festivities, which occurred in late January and early February, a leading local Chinese mobile phone brand, Vivo, made waves with a supportive message urging LGBT Chinese to bring their partners home. "Grandfather, grandmother, mom, dad: I have something to tell you," a nervous young man starts to say at a dinner table. "Xiaocheng and I, we're actually. . ." His boyfriend darts up to interrupt: "We actually want is to take a group photo together!" Family members wink at them to show they understand what they were trying to communicate; then they gather behind a selfie stick to take a selfie.
In this regard, technology firms are leading the way. Over the last two years, China's leading car hailing app Didi Chuxing, top search engine Baidu, and popular karaoke app Changba have all run pro-LGBT social media campaigns. Chinese smartphone maker Meizu has launched a series of advertisements celebrating same-sex partnerships. China's leading restaurant review app, Dianping, has created a dedicated website to promote LGBT-friendly establishments. And while same-sex marriage is illegal in China, that didn't stop Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba from running a contest in early 2015 awarding ten lucky couples with all-expense paid weddings in Los Angeles.
Many of these efforts have relied on social media. In early 2016, China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) banned television shows showing homosexual relationships. But short ads on social media have typically been spared the censors' axe, a signal that the government does not consider the issue highly politically sensitive. The government is surely also aware that social media users skew younger, and are thus already more likely to be tolerant of different lifestyles.

This generational change augurs a huge shift in Chinese thinking. Homosexuality was classified as a crime in China until 1997, and a mental illness until 2001. But observers say social mores have quickly changed. A bevy of (unscientific) online surveys seems to support that. In a 2012 survey of over 85,000 web users, for examples more than 80 percent of (admitteldy self-selecting) respondents born in the 1980s and 1990s said they did not disapprove of homosexuality. While China still has no legislation protecting against discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, internal policies in some companies are changing to punish workplace bullying.

Technology companies' customers are predominantly made up of increasingly progressive young people. And those companies are evidently aware that LGBT Chinese, as a group, spend somewhere north of $300 billion annually, although precise estimates differ. Fifty-six per cent of LGBT men and 62 per cent of LGBT women in China say the most important factor influencing their purchasing decisions is company support for LGBT friendly policies and regulations, according to a 2016 report. With China's tech companies in fierce competition with each other to gain market share, targeted advertising to LGBT individuals can give them an edge. "As a mobile phone manufacturer, we have a large user base and our users are very diverse," Novak Cheng, project leader for Meizu's Valentine's Day campaign, told Foreign Policy. "It is obvious that they experience a wide range of love."

Firms aren't just keen on to court young LGBT customers, but employees. Many technology companies are run by millennials, noted Duncan Clark, Chairman of BDA China, an investment advisory firm in Beijing, told FP. "China's internet companies represent a new generation," Clark said. "This native digital generation have had greater exposure to a wider of lifestyles" and have "engaged in wider discussion among fellow netizens about social issues and life choices."

International firms seeking to break into the Chinese market have behaved similarly. In November 2016, four global companies with large offices in China - PR firms Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, Golin Magic, and multinational beverage and brewing company AB InBev - participated in the first annual "LGBT Advertising Showcase" in Shanghai alongside non-profit groups. "We want to let people know they don't have to worry about discrimination if they work for us," said Natalie Xu, Shanghai-based human resources director of Edelman China.

Many of the showcase ads from those firms, which were directed at the general public as well as prospective employees, did not use actors. "The most powerful stories are true, told by gay and lesbian individuals and couples themselves, sharing their hopes for a future where they can simply be themselves," said Steven Bielinski, showcase organizer and founder of the WorkForLGBT group, a nonprofit based in Shanghai.

While stigma against sexual minorities continues in China, particularly in rural areas and smaller cities, the tens of millions of LGBT Chinese have clearly already demonstrated their growing importance to some of the biggest companies in the country. One need only watch social media for evidence of that.

Joanna Chiu
chicagotribune.com


February 8, 2017

Sexual Orientation (states) Gender Non Discrimination Laws in The US






February 5, 2017

LGBT Global Criminalization


                                                                         

                                                                         


The date on this visualization is 2015. I noticed that of all the nations that show negativity for the Gay Community only Vietnam and Cambodia are showing very encouraging signs of change. Also China is seen a steady movement to recognize gay couples,  still a long way to go but in 2015 there was not any good news coming from there. In the USA we have gay marriage and many rights accorded by the government but some of those are without legislation that makes it a law and more difficult for a change when the government changes (which happens every 4-8 years) to take some away by enacting some other executive action which will invalidate some of the rights or freedoms.

 For instance it is illegal to discriminate against gays in unemployment and for services(like selling a wedding cake) but there could be a presidential decision called an executive order in which it might make a religious right to discriminate on faith anyone they wanted by saying it’s offending their faith.  That would tend to neutralize some of the gay rights because all a President had to do was to sign that order. Up to now Presidents used to keep most previous president’s executive orders in place.  However with the current president that is changed. This situation almost came to be last week in which President Trump who is very friendly to anti gay forces including the extra religious right. He almost signed an executive order like the one I just described. Many gays still don’t know yet how close they (we) came to not dodging that bullet because President Trump was going to do just that but was convinced otherwise by his daughter Ivanka and her husband Mr. Kushner which are LGBT backers.
adamfoxie blog






Donald Dumped the Anti LGBT ExecOrder, Thanks to Ivanka&Jarred



 Ivanka-Kushner Trump




 The two most influential social liberals in President Trump’s inner circle — daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner — helped kill a proposed executive order that would have scrapped Obama-era L.G.B.T. protections, according to people familiar with the issue.

A third, Gary D. Cohn, the chairman of the president’s National Economic Council, a Democrat who was brought to the West Wing by Mr. Kushner and reflects the socially liberal and economically conservative views of many Wall Street power brokers, privately told aides to the president that he was disturbed it was even being considered.

The executive order has exposed what is likely to be a persistent schism in Mr. Trump’s paradoxical presidency: He is a cosmopolitan New Yorker who has long operated in an environment where sexual orientation is often an afterthought, but is nonetheless beholden to the social conservatives who backed him overwhelmingly in 2016, despite reports of his crudeness and sexual misdeeds.

 Jarred Kushner
  
Mr. Kushner, a lifelong Democrat, and Ms. Trump, an independent, travel in liberal social circles and have long supported L.G.B.T. rights. Neither had seen the order before details were leaked. They expressed their dissatisfaction to Mr. Trump’s other advisers, and then weighed in directly with the president, who opposes same-sex marriage but has spoken out against discrimination.

On Monday night, reports had swirled that Mr. Trump would sign some version of the rollback as a concession to social conservatives ahead of the president’s announcement of a United States Supreme Court nominee. As a result, White House officials pushed out a statement asserting that Mr. Trump “is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the L.G.B.T.Q. community,” adding that the president “continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election.”

The draft order, circulated by religious conservatives allied with Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, was one of about 250 edicts that have been sent to federal agencies for vetting.

Mr. Trump never seriously considered signing the order, and did not need much convincing, people close to him said.

Still, conservatives inside the Trump camp pressured the president to consider a version of a “religious freedom” measure, similar to one supported by Mr. Pence in 2015 while he was the governor of Indiana, according to two senior administration officials.
Mr. Pence, however, did not personally push for the White House order, according to one of his allies.

Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s opposition to the draft was first reported by Politico. It came on the heels of an announcement by the Nordstrom department store chain that it will scale back on featuring Ms. Trump’s clothing line from its stores, a public blow to a brand she has spent years cultivating.

A day after the White House quashed the religious freedom order, at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Mr. Trump offered religious conservatives an olive branch by proposing to eliminate a law that bars churches with Internal Revenue Service charity designations from making political endorsements.

Some conservative leaders warned Mr. Trump that his decision to retain former President Barack Obama’s order on L.G.B.T. rights could have far-reaching political implications. “Our base would want to know who is responsible for what we believe is an issue of religious liberty — that would be of concern to us,” said Bob Vander Plaats, the chief executive of The Family Leader, a socially conservative organization.

“We have been consistent,” Mr. Vander Plaats added. “We’ve cheered President Trump a lot. But on this one, our base is wondering why Obama’s executive order would be allowed to stand?”

Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council, backed the draft order and said he believed Mr. Trump’s opposition was only temporary. He pointed out that evangelicals were supportive of Mr. Trump during the campaign, and that there would need to be reconciliation between his support for religious liberty and his decision to uphold the L.G.B.T. order.

“He gets it,” Mr. Perkins said of the president. “They will have to fix it and they will. I’m confident they will. Am I concerned? No. Not at this point.”

The topic of the order was a sensitive one in a West Wing that prides itself on decisiveness and bombast.

“There are a lot of ideas that are being floated out,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Thursday. “Part of it is, the president does all the time, he asks for input, he asks for ideas. And on a variety of subjects there are staffing procedures that go on where people have a thought or an idea and it goes through the process.”

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A version of this article appears in print on February 4, 2017, on Page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Ivanka Trump and Her Husband Help to Thwart Rollback of Gay Rights. 

Trump could care less about the LGBT community. The majority voted for Hillary and he would rather make the christian right happy, which supported him and still does. He already had the executive order ready but the community was saved by Trump’s daughter and Son in law. They both have his ear and they have always backed the Community. The gay community dodged the bullet this time. All Trump needed to do was sign a piece of paper and ask his congress to make into law giving the religious right the power to neutralized (except marriage) all the gains we have made in the last 8 years.

http://adamfoxie.blogspot.com/2017/02/trump-wants-to-give-religion-opendoor.html



February 4, 2017

Old Gay Slang of Polari Gets Theological Seminarians in Holy Hot water



                                                                         
 Polari Bible





A Church of England theological college has expressed regret after trainee priests held a service in the antiquated gay slang language Polari.

In commemorating LGBT History Month I am including this posting which appeared on the BBC an hour ago.
The reason this touched me enough to want to include it with other LGBT news and with Trump’s news of picking fights with our friends and adversaries is because it included three words gay slang, Bible.  

We had our hands full with home grown terrorists,  now we are doing everything we can as a government to create bad will so we get no backing from our friends, from intelligence that affect us and trade that make our goods cheaper to creating new problems with our enemies which can cause a nasty confrontation in which there would be no winners.

As I mentioned about the bible which most people don’t know is that is a compilation of pages written by men in the old testament for jews and the new for a new church which was formed less than 2,000 years ago. This particular story has to do with gay slang and the bible.

In the bible there were many pages that were found and depending which king was in power pages were put together and translated to form the new testament. I am mentioning this because the bible has many editions and on each edition you find a newer translation in relationship to how the people on that period talked. Open your bible and see under which king it was translated and put together.
Just like the bible was form for the people of those times and you today are free to pick it as your holy book from your god, you are reading something a man just like you picked for the people of his time and put together to be understood by the religious among them. It was not the apostles it was not Jesus Christ or anyone you might say was a holy person because its closeness to Jesus Christ or to god. There were men that were born many decades after Jesus died.

My point being that we most be careful when we take not a book but a particular phrase on the bible be new or old testament and take it as god talking to you because it was not god who picked that page for you to read and it was not a servant of god who translated it. I can freely say these were not god fearing men because history tell us that all those kings from England to Egypt, Greece, Germany and nations that longer exist did very awful things. The bible in many cases was used as a tool for an  excuse to commit murder and other barbarisms.

Having those things in mind I present to you a holy scandal that occurred when some seminary students(and I can tell you we can be very curious and the church keeps a tight control on that curious spirit)decided to pick the polar bible to carry a service. As far as they were concerned at the time the Polaris bible was also a bible just from a different linguistic time.
 As you read,  it will become clearer of what I am talking about and how just reading the bible got some seminarians in holy hot water. Gays from another era (that sounds so good to write even though is not true for Egypt, Iran and so many other places in Africa and as far N.East as the Soviets (Russians) still jail, kill gays that come out. That is why we can never relax. For the sake of those gays and us that we do not go back by executive order, legislation or another opinion by an anti gay Court.

                                                                         +_!*!_+

The service at the chapel of Westcott House in Cambridge was to commemorate LGBT history month.
The congregation was told the use of the lexicon was an attempt to "queer the liturgy of evening prayer".
But officials said it had not been authorized and was at variance with the doctrine and teaching of the church.

Polari is thought to have originated in Victorian London but fell out of use as homosexuality began to be decriminalized in England in the 1960s.

Its words, however, were brought to wider public attention in the same decade by comedian Kenneth Williams in the BBC radio series Round the Horne.
'Fantabulosa Fairy'
One person present at the service told BBC News it was led by an ordinand - a trainee priest - rather than a licensed minister.

The congregation was also made up of trainees.
While they had been given permission to hold a service to commemorate LGBT history month, a Church of England source said the college chaplain had not seen the wording of the service.
The translation was based on the Polari bible, a work compiled as a project in 2003 by the self-styled Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The scripture and liturgy were printed on to an order of service.
An Old Testament reading from the Prophet Joel which says “rend your heart and not your garments, return to the Lord your God" was printed in Polari as "rend your thumping chest and not your frocks - and turn unto the Duchess your Gloria: for she is bona and merciful".

Instead of the traditional "Glory be to the father, and to the son, and the Holy Spirit" the prayer offered was: "Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy".
'Hugely regrettable'
Services in the Church of England are legally required to be conducted using the church’s approved liturgy.

The principal of Westcott House, the Rev Canon Chris Chivers, said the liturgy of the service had not been authorised for use.
He said: "I fully recognise that the contents of the service are at variance with the doctrine and teaching of the Church of England and that is hugely regrettable.
"Inevitably for some members of the house this caused considerable upset and disquiet and I have spoken at length to those involved in organising the service.
“I will be reviewing and tightening the internal mechanisms of the house to ensure this never happens again."

BBC and
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

February 2, 2017

Trump Wants to Give Religion OpenDoor on Taxes and Rights to Discriminate



 Extremist ministers come to pray with Trump at the Tower


President Trump vowed Thursday to overturn a law restricting political speech by tax-exempt churches, a potentially huge victory for the religious right and a gesture to his political base.

Mr. Trump said his administration would “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from engaging in political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status.

Repealing the law would require approval by Congress. Certain tax-exempt organizations — in this case, churches — are not allowed to openly endorse or campaign for political candidates. If they do, under existing law, they risk losing the benefits of their tax-exempt status.

Speaking to a gathering of religious leaders, the president also defended his immigration policy, brushed aside concern about his harsh phone calls with foreign leaders, and ridiculed Arnold Schwarzenegger for his poor ratings in replacing Mr. Trump as host of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

He did not mention an executive order on religious freedom, which critics said would restrict the rights of lesbians and gay men; a draft of the order has circulated, but administration officials have denied that it will be adopted.

In addressing the issue of churches and political speech, Mr. Trump said, “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” 
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He added that “freedom of religion is a sacred right, but it is under serious threat.”

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump promised to push for repeal of the law, which was passed in 1954 and named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, who proposed the change to the tax code.

Mr. Trump also went off topic in his address to the National Prayer Breakfast. He told the audience not to worry about reports that he had held tempestuous phone calls with the leaders of allies Australia and Mexico, saying a tough approach was long overdue.

“When you hear about the tough phone calls, don’t worry,” he said. “We’re being taken advantage of by countries around the world. It’s time for us to be a little tough. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

Mr. Trump also needled Mr. Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, for failing to maintain his ratings as the new host of “Celebrity Apprentice.” “We know how that turned out,” he said. “The ratings went down the tubes.”

“I want to just pray for Arnold, for those ratings,” he said.

The president spent much of his speech defending the visa ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which caused chaos at airports and set off protests across the country.

“Terrorism is a fundamental threat to religious freedom,” he declared. “It must be stopped and it will be stopped.”

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The president described “peace-loving Muslims” who had been killed by jihadi fighters aligned with the Islamic State, as well as a campaign of genocide against Christians in the Middle East. Extremists, he said, took advantage of the “generosity” of Americans to undermine the nation’s safety.

“My administration will do everything in its power to defend religious liberty,” he said. “We have to feel safe and secure.”

Mr. Trump talked about the influence of faith in his own life, referring to the family Bible, which was used when he took the oath of office at his inauguration. His mother, he said, read to him from that Bible during his childhood.

“America is a nation of believers,” he said. “The quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success.”

“I tell you that as someone who has had material success,” he added, before noting that many rich people are “very miserable, unhappy people.” 

The breakfast featured the usual menu of homilies and testimonials to the power of faith. But the proceedings took a show-business turn when Mark Burnett, the Hollywood producer, stepped to the podium to introduce the president. Mr. Burnett recalled the influence Mr. Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” had on him as a recently arrived immigrant. He later produced “Celebrity Apprentice” as a reality television vehicle for Mr. Trump.

The president led his remarks with an extended reminiscence about the show, recalling that he fired his agent after the agent rejected Mr. Burnett’s pitch for the program. “I actually got on the phone and fired him myself,” Mr. Trump said with a smile.

Exec Order if Approved Will Nullify LGBT Protections and illegal Discrimination


Anybody can say they belong to any religious but particularly protestant sects. If you hate, dislike or think gays should not have the same right as straights and you are selling or giving a service and you don’t want to serve someone you think might be gay all you have to do is claim your true or fake religion. That is one problem with an executive order giving rights to religion over people’s rights. Still even the constitution gives the freedom to have your religion but not to discriminate at the same time. Such order would nulled all gay rights protections. 





A draft of an executive order on "religious freedom" is circulating inside the Trump administration, outlining a potential weakening of protections designed to shield LGBT individuals from discrimination, according to a copy of the proposed order obtained by ABC News.

The order –- which may never become administration policy, depending on internal deliberations -- would also free some private companies from being forced to provide contraceptive coverage as part of the health plans they offer employees. It would also open the door for tax-exempt entities to speak out "on moral or political issues from a religious perspective" without fear of losing favored tax status.

White House officials told ABC News that the draft appears to be among the hundreds of executive orders that are circulating –- drafted by either the Trump transition team, the White House policy team or even by outside groups –- and that not all reflect administration thinking or likely policy. One official did not say who drafted this potential order, but did not dispute its authenticity.

"We do not have plans to sign anything at this time but will let you know when we have any updates," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokesperson.

The draft order began circulating inside the Trump administration on Tuesday, hours after a statement by the Trump White House committed the president to leaving intact workplace discrimination protections enacted by President Obama to protect LGBTQ individuals, in 2014.

"President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community," the White House said in a statement Tuesday morning. "President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election."

A copy of the draft document was provided to ABC News by a government official who was authorized to review it, but was not authorized to release it publicly. The four-page draft executive order is titled, "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom."

Even without any indications that it is moving forward, news of the proposal spread quickly through Capitol Hill and the advocacy community. GLAAD, a prominent gay-rights group, announced late Wednesday that it would hold a rally at the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City Thursday night to protest the possible plans.

"If anything in this document were to become federal law, it would be a national license to discriminate, and it would endanger LGBTQ people and their families," said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO.

The order would declare it to be "policy" of the administration that "Americans and their religious organizations will not be coerced by the Federal Government into participating in activities that violate their conscience, and will remain free to express their viewpoints without suffering adverse treatment from the Federal Government."

Several outside conservative groups that have been pushing for similar actions have been pressing for something to be released surrounding Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, told CNBC on Tuesday that he believed that "religious liberty" would be addressed in an executive action by Trump, despite the president’s statement earlier that day.

"I think this is going to be addressed," Perkins said. Perkins did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Religious groups have argued that Obama-era policies have curtailed their freedoms, by forcing them to provide services that conflict with their beliefs. Mallory Quigley, communications director for the social conservative Susan B. Anthony List, said an order protecting religious freedoms is critical for the new president to deliver on promises made to the conservative base.

"It is an expectation of the pro-life movement that the Trump administration would provide relief for Little Sisters of the Poor and others who have had their conscience rights violated by Obamacare," Quigley said. "This would certainly be in keeping with the priorities that the administration has already laid out."

While not rescinding any previous executive orders, the proposed draft could free companies and individuals that do business with the federal government to decline to work with gay and lesbian couples on adoptions and other services.

The order states that the federal government "shall not discriminate or take any adverse action against a religious organization" providing adoption or child-welfare services if the organization "declines to provide, facilitate, or refer such service due to a conflict with the organization’s religious beliefs."

After being provided a copy of the draft by ABC News for review, a spokesman for a prominent gay-rights group said the order could permit federal employees and contractors to refuse a range of services to people based on their sexual orientation or gender identification. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the draft "sweeping and dangerous."

"It reads like a wish list from some of the most radical anti-equality activists," Griffin said in a statement. "If true, it seems this White House is poised to wildly expand anti-LGBTQ discrimination across all facets of the government -- even if he does maintain the Obama [executive order from 2014]. If Donald Trump goes through with even a fraction of this order, he'll reveal himself as a true enemy to LGBTQ people."

On a different topic, the proposal would exempt "all persons and religious organizations" from providing health care options that include contraceptive coverage, as is now required under the Affordable Care Act, if they "object to complying with the mandate for religious or moral reasons."

The draft order would expand the definition of a "religious organization" to include "closely held for-profit corporations, operated for a religious purpose, even if its purpose is not exclusively religious."

That would appear to apply to companies including Hobby Lobby, which brought a landmark case against the Obama administration challenging the requirement that employer-provided health care include contraceptive coverage.

The order also seeks to ensure tax-exempt status for religious organizations even if they speak out on beliefs opposing gay marriage, extra-marital sex, abortion rights, and rights for transgender individuals.

That appears to be an attempt to roll back the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law prohibiting tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Trump promised repeal of the Johnson Amendment as a candidate, though congressional action would be necessary for that to occur.

The draft would also establish a working group inside the Justice Department that would “ensure that the religious freedom of persons and religious organizations is protected throughout the United States," and would take "appropriate action."

February 1, 2017

Neil Gorsuch Will Be Another Scalia Against LGBT Rights



 Trump nominee for Justice




Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is an ultra-conservative jurist with a sterling resume, a genial wit, and a great shot at becoming our next justice. Gorsuch currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and his opinions suggest a reliably right-leaning interpretation of the law. But Gorsuch has never penned an LGBTQ rights decision or spoken at length about his legal views on the matter. That has led some progressives to speculate that Gorsuch might be persuaded to agree with an originalist argument in support of LGBTQ rights.
 
 Optimism is always refreshing in these darks times—but here, I don’t think it’s warranted. It’s easy to fill in the gaps of Gorsuch’s public positions and conclude that he will vote the same way his idol Justice Antonin Scalia did: against the rights of LGBTQ people.

Start with gay rights and specifically same-sex marriage. Despite the relative novelty of legal same-sex unions, the constitutional question here should be easy—even for an originalist like Gorsuch. Both conservative originalists (like Steven Calabresi) and liberal originalists (like Akhil Amar and Elizabeth Wydra) have concluded that the 14th Amendment protects same-sex couples’ right to marry. But Gorsuch appears to disagree. In a 2005 National Review op-ed, Gorsuch mocked the court battle for same-sex marriage as a political fight dressed in constitutional garb.

“American liberals,” he wrote, “have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda” on liberal issues including “gay marriage.” He also noted that voters routinely rejected same-sex marriage on the ballot, scoffing that liberals can only “win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts.”

Perhaps, as a justice, Gorsuch would vote to affirm Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality decision, purely as a matter of precedent. But the court will soon consider state efforts to limit the scope of that ruling, and Gorsuch does not seem eager to interpret Obergefell expansively. Would he agree, for instance, that Texas can deny spousal benefits to same-sex couples so long as they issue them a marriage certificate? Or that Arkansas can let adoptive parents put their names on their adopted child’s birth certificate—unless they’re gay? His comments on same-sex marriage itself are discouraging enough that it seems safe to assume he’s a skeptic of related rights and privileges. And his desire to accommodate corporations’ religious beliefs—even when they burden employees—raises the possibility that he would let religious businesses discriminate against same-sex couples.

On transgender rights, Gorsuch has an actual judicial track record—and it isn’t likely to mollify progressives. Gorsuch once joined a decision flatly rejecting the constitutional claims of a transgender prisoner who alleged that she was being given inadequately low doses of hormone treatment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and being housed in an all-male facility in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The court found that prison officials had not inflicted a “cruel and unusual punishment” on the woman by giving her insufficient doses of estrogen because they had not treated her with “deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.” It also held that placing the inmate in an all-male facility—and forcing her to wear some male garments—“bears a rational relation to legitimate penal interest” and thus comported with the Equal Protection Clause. (The use of this lenient standard indicates that the court did not believe anti-trans discrimination qualifies as sex discrimination, which is scrutinized more closely.) 

Just because conservative justices don't like what they consider "activist" decisions, such as Oberfell and Roe does not mean they are in a hurry to over turn them.  Settled law is important for judicial conservatives compared with political Conservatives.  More… 

Equally troubling is Gorsuch’s vote in a discrimination case involving trans employees’ right to bathroom access. Rebecca Kastl, a trans woman, sued her employer when it forbade her from using the women’s bathroom until she could “prove completion of sex reassignment surgery,” then let her contract expire. The court acknowledged that Kastl had stated “a prima facie case of gender discrimination under Title VII on the theory [of] impermissible gender stereotypes,” which is mildly encouraging. But it then asked whether her employer had put forward some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its treatment of Kastl—and concluded that it had, by vaguely citing “safety reasons.” An unsubstantiated, irrational fear of trans people in bathrooms should not be considered a legitimate basis for workplace mistreatment, and Gorsuch’s vote to the contrary casts doubt on his willingness to thoroughly scrutinize the real intent behind laws like North Carolina’s HB2.

If confirmed, Gorsuch will probably not position himself as an openly anti-LGBTQ culture warrior in the mode of Justice Samuel Alito. But his more pleasant demeanor will not change the impact of his votes. And barring some kind of profound jurisprudential evolution, Gorsuch should be a consistent vote against gay and trans rights. From questioning the constitutional necessity of same-sex marriage to accepting pretextual defenses of trans bathroom exclusion, Gorsuch has repeatedly declined to defend the equal dignity of LGBTQ people. For a conservative, he may stake out some admirably unorthodox positions on the bench. But an embrace of LGBTQ rights will not be one of them.

January 31, 2017

Trump Talks a Big Game on LGBT but Is it Just That?








Advocates said on Tuesday they were bracing for a Trump administration rollback of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, despite a White House statement vowing to uphold protection for LGBT people in the workplace.U.S. President Donald Trump will continue to enforce a 2014 executive order by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, barring discrimination against LGBT people working for federal contractors, the White House said.

The statement marked a break with the Republican Party's traditional stance, but advocates said they feared Trump could still take executive actions allowing discrimination under the guise of religious exemptions.

"LGBTQ people must remain on guard for attacks," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the civil rights group GLAAD.

Some LGBT activists were abuzz over a draft of an anti-LGBT executive order that had leaked and was circulating in Washington, expecting Trump's impending order to be unveiled in conjunction with the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

The draft of the executive order would have eliminated non-discrimination protections for federal employees and contractors, according to a source who has seen the draft and asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals from the Trump administration.

The draft executive order also would have allowed adoption agencies that receive federal funding to deny services to LGBT parents on religious grounds, among other measures, the source said.

Reuters could not verify whether the draft was being seriously considered. When asked at Monday’s press briefing about the possibility of Trump issuing an anti-LGBT executive order, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said: "There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now."

Just as LGBT advocates geared up for a similar clash to the recent immigration controversy but on their issues, the White House issued the pro-LGBT statement, and the advocates were not easily swayed.

"The President is proud to have been the first ever GOP (Republican) nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression," the White House statement said.

Trump on Friday signed an executive order to temporarily bar entry to people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, leading to large protests across the United States.

Enforcing Obama's 2014 LGBT order puts Trump at odds with many fellow Republicans, who for the most part have fought civil rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Some conservatives have softened their positions in recent years, however, particularly toward same-sex marriage.

During his presidential campaign, Trump acknowledged gay rights and called on LGBT voters to cast their ballots for him.

But by picking Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a staunch conservative Christian, as his vice president, as well as other senior officials who oppose gay rights, Trump has sent a clear message to the community, said Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy organization.
 
"Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights," Griffin said in a statement.

LGBT leaders were anticipating a Trump announcement on filling the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, set for 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday (0100 GMT on Wednesday).

Trump's nominee pick will be especially revealing about his stance on equality, said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

"Whoever is in that seat is going to have a huge impact," Minter said. “It is so critical that the Senate not confirm any nominee who is going to roll back the clock on LGBT equality."

 Laila Kearney and Daniel Trotta | NEW YORK

(Reporting by Laila Kearney and Daniel Trotta in New York and Susan Heavey and Eric Walsh in Washington; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Andrew Hay)

January 27, 2017

UN New LGBT Rights Monitor Should Investigate UN Members That Execute Gays





Intervention by UN Watch, at the first consultation of the Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, delivered at the United Nations, Geneva, 25 January 2017, by David Mendoza-Wolfson.
Professor Muntarbhorn,
UN Watch believes that your new mandate has the potential to save lives. We congratulate you on your appointment, and look forward to working together to ensure protection for the victims who need it most.
Of the five areas you identified as instrumental for protection, we believe decriminalization must be foremost, for upon this depend the others.
According to the latest 2016 report by the International Lesbian & Gay Association, in 72 countries, homosexuality is still illegal—and in 13 countries, same-sex acts are punishable by death.
According to that report: in Afghanistan, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Mauritania, in Pakistan, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia, in Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, in Yemen and parts of Nigeria and Somalia, as well as those parts of Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State, consensual homosexual conduct is punishable by death. We note for the record that none of these countries were present for your consultation yesterday with UN member states.
Do you agree that your time and resources should prioritize victims of those 72 countries who still criminalize, flog, and imprison individuals on account of their sexual orientation?
Would you address as a first priority potential victims in the 13 countries that impose the death penalty?
Finally, given that some of these perpetrators are members of the United Nations human rights Council—including Qatar the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which recently began a three-year term—and that members are pledged to set an example and uphold the highest standards of human rights, would you consider making country visits to such places, or to visiting nearby countries to collect testimonies, in the event that they would refuse to allow you to visit?
Thank you, Professor.

January 26, 2017

LGBT Rights Facing New Hurdles with GOP States Anti Gay Legislation



This is an older file which is come back to have new meaning
 not only in Texas but many other states other states


After the 2015 Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, LGBT advocates were hit with an onslaught of state bills to allow workers, public and private, to deny certain services if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Other bills have sought to deny transgender people the use of the public bathroom of their choice. Just five of the 200-plus measures were enacted into law.
But this year, according to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, those favoring "religious freedom" and associated bills have been emboldened. Already, at least 40 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in 16 states, according to the HRC. And President Donald Trump has pledged to sign a federal "First Amendment Defense Act," which prohibits the federal government from taking "discriminatory action," such as denying a federal grant or contract, against anyone whose behavior is dictated by a religious opposition to same-sex relationships or extramarital and premarital sex.
"It's happening because they are making a political statement, not because it's good policy," says Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel at the HRC. Most of the anti-LGBT legislation in 2016 was offered in southern states, and 2017 battlegrounds are shaping up the same way, with bills being introduced in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Conversely, states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and West coast last year approved 48 laws expanding rights and services for LGBT people. In California alone, HRC reports, lawmakers approved 16 such bills, including one requiring school districts/boards to adopt suicide prevention policies addressing the needs of high-risk groups, including LGBTQ youth, and allowing organ transfers between patients who are both HIV-reactive.
The FADA laws go further than the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, which were aimed at, for example, allowing a pastry maker to decline to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The FADA bills, foes warn, could conceivably allow landlords to deny apartments to single mothers, or allow a hospital to refuse to treat an LGBT person or sexually active, unmarried person, if the service providers believe such behavior violates their religious beliefs about marriage.
Social conservatives defend the FADA bills as essential to protecting the work of small businesses as well as groups like the Salvation Army.
"No person or nonprofit should lose tax-exempt status, face disqualification, lose a professional license or be punished by the federal government simply for believing what President Obama believed just three years ago, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in a policy statement on the legislation.
A Mississippi FADA law, approved last year, has been declared unconstitutional by a federal district court and remains in litigation. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, introduced a federal FADA in the last Congress, and supporters are hopeful they will have more success this year, with Trump in the White House.

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