Showing posts with label Republicans Against Gay Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Republicans Against Gay Rights. Show all posts

November 20, 2018

38 Republican Lawmakers Signed Letter With Proposal to Scrap LGBT Protections




A group of 38 Republican lawmakers have signed a letter calling on President Donald Trump to scrap protections for LGBTQ workers included in the newly negotiated trade proposal with Mexico and Canada. 
“A trade agreement is no place for the adoption of social policy,” Republican lawmakers state in the letter, which was published on Friday. “It is especially inappropriate and insulting to our sovereignty to needlessly submit to social policies which the United States Congress has so far explicitly refused to accept."
The new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump reached with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October, currently includes a provision protecting workers against "sex discrimination," including discrimination on the basis of "gender identity." 
GettyImages-1067575310Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, talks to reporters following leadership elections in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 14 in Washington, D.C. The Republican is one of 38 GOP Congress members to sign a letter protesting LGBTQ protections in a new NAFTA deal. CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY 
The deal represents the first U.S. trade agreement to include such a provision, Politico  reported, with the inclusion championed by Trudeau in particular. 
Referring to the Trump administration's apparent efforts to "restore the historic definition of 'sex' to a person's anatomical sex at birth," the Republicans said in their letter that they were "deeply" troubled that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has included "contradictory language" in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
"As a sovereign nation, the United States has the right to decide when, whether and how to tackle issues of civil rights, protected classes and workplace rights," Republicans said in their letter. 
"At the same time, your Administration is carrying out a cohesive agenda regarding policies surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity, in the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services specifically, it is deeply troubling that the Office of the U.S.Trade Representative (USTR) has included contradictory language in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement," they continue. 
To drive their argument, the GOP lawmakers point to an October 2017 Department of Justice memorandum asserting that "sex" is "ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female." 
"Additionally, encouraging recent reports indicate that the Department of Health and Human Services is working to restore the historic definition of 'sex' to a person's anatomical sex at birth," the letter said. 
The Republicans warned that including "sex discrimination" in the trade agreement could "cause unnecessary confusion in future international treaties as well as domestic laws and policies," in addition to setting a "dangerous precedent for courts and future Administrations to build upon."
These are the 38 GOP members of Congress who have signed onto the letter: 
  • Representative Doug Lamborn of Colorado's 5th Congressional District 
  • Representative Vicky Hartzler of Missouri's 4th Congressional District
  • Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina's 6th Congressional District 
  • Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina's 11th Congressional District
  • Representative Robert B. Aderholt of Alabama's 4th Congressional District
  • Representative Randy Hultgren of Illinois's 14th Congressional District
  • Representative Jody Hice of Georgia's 10th Congressional District
  • Representative Andy Harris, M.D. of Maryland's 1st Congressional District
  • Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas' 11th Congressional District
  • Representative Randy K. Weber of Texas' 14th Congressional District
  • Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida's 1st Congressional District
  • Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas's 1st Congressional District
  • Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina's 3rd Dongressional District
  • Representative Daniel Webster of Florida's 11th Congressional District
  • Representative Diane Black of Tennessee's 6th Congressional District
  • Representative Ralph Norman of South Carolina's 5th Congressional District
  • Representative Walter B. Jones of North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District
  • Representative Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. of Arizona's 4th Congressional District
  • Representative Brian Babin of Texas' 36th Congressional District
  • Representative Bob Gibbs of Ohio's 7th Congressional District
  • Representative Joe Barton of Texas' 6th Congressional District
  • Representative Tim Walberg of Michigan's 7th Congressional District
  • Representative Doug LaMalfa of California's 1st Congressional District
  • Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina's 8th Congressional District
  • Representative Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District
  • Representative Gary Palmer of Alabama's 6th Congressional District
  • Representative Ted S. Yoho, DVM of Florida's 3rd Congressional District
  • Rep. Alex X. Mooney of West Virginia's 2nd congressional district
  • Representative Steve King of Iowa's 4th Congressional District
  • Representative Bruce Westerman of Arkansas' 4th Congressional District
  • Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas' 21st congressional district
  • Representative Rick Crawford of Arkansas's 1st Congressional District
  • Representative Ralph Abraham, M.D., of Louisiana's 5th Congressional District
  • Representative Barry Loudermilk of Georgia's 11th Congressional District
  • Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina's 5th Congressional District
  • Representative Debbie Lesko of Arizona's 8th Congressional District
  • Representative Steven M. Palazzo of Mississippi's 4th Congressional District
  • Representative Tom McClintock of California's 4th Congressional District
Rep. Roger Williams of the Texas 25th congressional district and Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio's 8th congressional district are listed on the letter but they did not sign it.
The letter has not been well-received by Democrats, with Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) reportedly slamming it as "despicable."
Speaking to The Washington Blade, Hammill said "this despicable letter is more of the same from a Republican Congress with open contempt for the humanity of the LGBTQ community.
"It enrages these GOP Members that LGBTQ Americans should be treated with respect and dignity under the law," Hammill said, adding: "They are on the wrong side of history, and come January, they will be on the wrong side of the newly elected House majority."

September 9, 2017

Despite Conservatives Fighting Gay Rights and The Majority of Americans, Gains Made Will Stick



 Straights are not divorcing and Gay troops are not causing chaos as predicted by those who oppose
it but still they oppose it. They don't oppose it for any practical reason just because they don't care about Gays like if Gays were not as human as they.



There are some parts of the Republican coalition who feel like they haven’t gotten what they expected from the presidency of Donald Trump. Those who are opposed to gay rights, however, have little to complain about. Here’s the latest:

In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to create a cake to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

The government agreed with Phillips that his cakes are a form of expression, and he cannot be compelled to use his talents for something in which he does not believe.

I won’t go too deeply into the legal arguments around this case, except to say that it gets to a fundamental question: Is it okay to discriminate against gay people? Colorado has an anti-discrimination law that explicitly protects citizens from discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry,” and the baker clearly violated that law. He claims, however, that he should be able to discriminate because his antipathy toward gay couples is based on religious beliefs. In the case of other kinds of discrimination, we don’t accept that as an excuse.

If you own a restaurant, you can’t put up a “Whites only” sign and say that your reading of the Bible mandates that you refuse to serve black people. Even if your beliefs are sincerely held, we’ve decided that our societal interest in stopping discrimination outweighs your religious freedom. Although the administration takes the position that it’s the baker’s artistic expression in making a cake that gives him greater latitude to discriminate (a somewhat different legal matter), the larger question we as a society are grappling with is whether, broadly speaking, it should be permissible to discriminate against gay people as it has been for most of history, or whether we’ve now moved beyond that. 

The Republican Party’s answer to the question of whether discrimination should be allowed is, “Pretty much, yeah.” But they’re fighting a rear guard action, constantly changing their position on what kinds of discrimination are acceptable as they race to catch up with a public that keeps leaving them behind.

Both parties have had to evolve in response to the rapid change in public opinion, but Democrats have had a much easier time of it. And opinion has been transformed in a very short time. For instance, in 2007, the Pew Research Center found the public opposed to same-sex marriage by a margin of 54-37. Ten years later, the public supported it by 62-32 — from 17 points in opposition to 30 points in favor. You’ll have a hard time finding another issue on which there’s been a net swing in the opinion of 47 points in just a decade.

While marriage has gotten much of the attention, the inclusion of LGBTQ Americans as people who deserve the same rights as anyone else brings with it a series of particular questions, which has led to a repeating cycle as these issues play out in our public debate. LGBTQ people demand equal treatment in some area, and conservatives say, “My god, if we allow that, it will be a cataclysm!”


Then the public talks and thinks about it, and comes to the collective conclusion that it’s really no big deal. The change comes to pass, and eventually, conservatives realize that they’ve lost the argument and they stop talking about it, with no more than a few exceptions. (You won’t find too many Republican politicians loudly arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn Obergefell v. Hodges and allow states to ban same-sex marriage again.) 

They then retreat to a new, smaller hill that they say they absolutely must defend if society is to survive. Okay, they say, we can live with gay people not being banned from teaching, but if they can get married, that’ll be a disaster. Then: Okay, we can live with gay people getting married, but what really matters is that bakers be allowed to discriminate.

Yet they keep getting undermined by the facts on the ground. Again and again, the massive social disruption that conservatives have predicted when gay people are granted civil rights has failed to materialize. It’s been two years since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage everywhere, and straight couples haven’t rushed to get divorced and abandon their children. It’s been six years since the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, and we never saw the catastrophic breakdown in morale and unit cohesion that conservatives said would occur. It turned out that people in the military handled it just fine, just like it turns out that people handle having married gay neighbors just fine, and kids handle being told that some of their friends have two mommies or two daddies just fine.

To be clear, I’m not saying that gay people don’t still suffer plenty of hostility and discrimination because they do. But once Americans get a chance to talk and think about the issue and interact with the gay people in their own lives, most of them are in favor of eliminating discrimination.


Still, that doesn’t include everyone, and it doesn’t include President Trump’s most committed supporters, particularly the evangelical Christian conservatives who know that they’re a dwindling portion of the population and increasingly feel like the culture is rejecting their values and leaving them behind — which it is.

So they can find some solace in the fact that Donald Trump has rewarded their loyalty by waging an assault on gay rights. Here’s some of what the Trump administration has done in its nearly eight months in office, even before the case of the anti-gay baker:

Argued in court that the Civil Rights Act does not protect gay people from discrimination in the workplace.
Moved to ban transgender Americans from serving in the armed forces.
Revoked an Obama administration guidance to public schools instructing them to avoid discriminating against transgender students.
Removed questions on sexual identity from Department of Health and Human Services surveys, eliminating data that could be used to identify challenges LGBTQ Americans face.
Rescinded an executive order President Obama had signed requiring federal contractors to verify their compliance with civil rights laws.

There will no doubt be more over the next three years, and some of it will make gay people’s lives more difficult. But it won’t change the direction of history.

Paul Waldman is a contributor to The Plum Line blog, and a senior writer at The American Prospect.
  Follow @paulwaldman1




The Washington Post

July 31, 2017

Why Trump's Justice Won't Win The Argument About Limiting Gay Rights


 
 Gay rights? Im not gay




Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a legal brief in an appeals court case, arguing against workplace discrimination protection for employees who are gay. This is potentially a major upset for gay rights, and could lead to confusion for employers who are left to wonder whether they could be sued if they or their staff discriminate against gay employees.

The Justice Department’s amicus brief states that the “sole question” is whether “Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination,” and concludes that “it does not, as has been settled for decades.” Amending Title VII’s scope, Justice argues, should be “directed to Congress rather than the courts.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in a rare split within government over such issues, has filed its own brief with the court on the side of gay rights in the workplace.

The opposing arguments by Justice and EEOC center on a case now before a federal appeals court, involving a sky-diving instructor, Donald Zarda, who was fired by his employer in 2010 after telling a female client he was gay. Zarda reportedly said this in order to prevent any awkwardness for the woman who would be tightly strapped to him during the sky-diving jump. Her husband complained to Zarda’s employer, Altitude Express, which then fired him. Zarda filed a lawsuit, claiming that his termination violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Most employers understand that sex discrimination involves such incidents as firing a male employee for something that the boss would overlook for a female employee, or keeping women from taking jobs because of the belief that men are better at them. The EEOC is using this same reasoning to say that it’s illegal sex discrimination to fire a man, but not a woman, for being attracted to men.
Business leaders should realize that this is only a brief filed by the administration, not a change in regulation. The federal courts are split around how to interpret anti-discrimination protection under Title VII. The law is unsettled. Employers would be wise to take the stance that it is not permissible in their own workplaces to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Even in conservative parts of the country, where public attitude about gay rights differs from more liberal areas of the country, employer actions that allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation can lead to a lawsuit that the employer could lose.

How Donald Trump Views Loyalty
If there's one thing that Donald Trump values, it's loyalty. He's placed an emphasis on it throughout his life, and he consistently requires it of those who surround him. Often, his brand of loyalty can be a one-way street.
 
The Trump Justice Department argues in its brief that antigay discrimination is permissible because women and men are treated the same, even though it causes differential treatment of gay and straight employees. This is the same kind of reasoning that the Supreme Court rejected in 1967 when it struck down laws banning miscegenation and interracial marriage. That ruling struck down an 1883 decision in which the Court held that a law against interracial marriage did not discriminate against either race.

 The 1883 case argued that blacks and whites were barred equally from marrying members of other races. But the Court eventually understood that these laws relied on racial classifications. The same logic is likely to prevail with antigay discrimination: It flunks the test, laid down by the Court in 1978, of “treatment of a person in a manner which but for that person’s sex would be different.”
The Trump administration’s notion that both sexes are treated the same has weird implications. Suppose an employer said that all employees, male or female, were to perform only jobs traditionally associated with their sex—and that it would scrupulously apply this rule equally to both sexes. Men could be foremen, salesmen, and supervisors; women could be secretaries and cleaners. Courts wouldn’t be fooled by this trick in that case. They aren’t likely to be fooled in this one, either.Andrew  

Andrew Koppelman is professor of law at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.


June 6, 2017

How Gay Rights Precedents Can Be Overturned by The Supreme Court: The End of Gay Rights


Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch


A Supreme Court shaped by President Donald Trump, especially if and when Justice Anthony Kennedy retires, could not only block progress but actually erase existing LGBT rights. That prospect looks increasingly likely. The only formal principle that counsels against the Court overturning the cases that established rights to intimacy and marriage—stare decisis, meaning "to stand by things decided"—is far from an ironclad guarantee against encroachment or even reversal.

When a federal appellate court rules on a legal issue, even if the ruling springs from a three-judge panel that may not represent the full court, it sets precedent. Each panel that hears a related case afterward is bound by these decisions, even when the decisions have errors or hinge on an outdated principle—say, for example, the notion that discriminating against someone because of the sex of persons to whom they are attracted isn't sex discrimination.

HOW CAN PRECEDENTS BE OVERTURNED?

The principal exception lies in instances of a major new development—a clear-cut Supreme Court opinion, for example. Of course, it is a matter of debate how directly a Supreme Court decision must undercut precedent before a lower court can deviate.

Otherwise, the only thing a panel that finds precedent flawed can do is note the flaw's existence and push the court to hear the issue as a full court, or en banc. This is how the Seventh Circuit changed sex discrimination precedent in that circuit to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. An Eleventh Circuit panel that declined to do so noted in the opinion that it was bound by precedent; an appeal for an en banc hearing is pending. But en banc hearings are rare.

In all circumstances, courts are expected to avoid deviating from precedent. In law, there are few hills steeper than stare decisis. Squarely confronting the weight of precedent all but guarantees a loss. The rules are a little different for the Supreme Court.

Although the principle of stare decisis applies, the Supreme Court, as the highest legal authority, is not bound by the same conventions as lower courts when it comes to revisiting an issue. And stare decisis is no res judicata, the term that describes a matter that has been decided and thus cannot be re-litigated in court. The Supreme Court, in effect, only has to change its mind. And when the Supreme Court decides a matter, it commits all federal courts to follow that precedent.

The Roberts Court's devotion to stare decisis is hardly absolute. Rather, it is a relationship of convenience. A decision in 2009 overturned precedent surrounding the constitutional right to counsel. In 2010, the Supreme Court's decision in the now-infamous Citizens United case overturned two decisions upholding limits on how corporations can use money to influence elections, set as recently as 1990 and 2003, radically altering the political landscape. While it's tempting to begin the analysis of the future of LGBT rights from the assumption that lesbians' and gays' rights to intimacy and marriage will stand, that's dangerous thinking.

WHAT COULD SCOTUS DO TO ROLL BACK RIGHTS?

If a Trumped-up Supreme Court shies from a full-frontal assault on gay rights, their reluctance would likely stem not from stare decisis but from the jurisprudential gymnastics that would be required to walk Obergefell v. Hodges back without disrupting other precedent on marriage—and, more compellingly, without risking a blowback in public opinion. There are hundreds of thousands of married same-sex couples throughout the United States. Public opinion favors LGBT rights broadly and marriage overwhelmingly. Overruling landmark gay rights cases could generate a backlash that sees LGBT rights reinstated through legislation.

But the Supreme Court can significantly undermine LGBT rights even without reversing a single case. Right now, the federal prohibition against sex discrimination doesn't bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; the Equal Protection Clause affords no specific protections for LGBT people, as it does for members of groups defined by race or nationality. The Court can strip the rights to intimacy and marriage of their meaning, carving away gradually and masking the magnitude of changes by phrasing them in arcane legal terms.

Several pending cases could give the Court just such an opportunity. In February, the Texas Supreme Court heard a case challenging city benefits for same-sex partners. Because any state supreme court decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court, that case could result in a ruling that overturns Obergefell or, at a minimum, divorces the right to marry from the substance and rights that otherwise follow from marriage (i.e. benefits).

Even the right to intimacy could be restricted. Put simply, courts could make it easier for employers and others to police people's sex lives based on subjective beliefs. On May 23rd, in a rather salacious wife-swapping case, the Fifth Circuit ruled that, although Lawrence v. Texas expanded constitutional rights for "personal sexual choices," public employees can still be fired for off-the-job sexual behavior that their employer views as reflecting negatively on that office.

If Trump gets to replace any liberal justice, or Kennedy, there will be no further gay rights victories at the highest court. The next question: How many rights will LGBT people lose?

August 16, 2016

Trump Said ‘He is a Champion of Gay Rights’_Let’s Examine This



 Trump, Pence tried the kiss at RNC but could not consummate. Macho men don’t kiss.

During his 75-minute speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Donald Trump looked genuinely surprised at the roar of applause when he said, "As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens."

Momentarily going off script, Trump added, "I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you."

Since the Orlando gay nightclub shooting in June, which killed 49 people, Trump has portrayed himself as a warrior for gays while accusing his rival Hillary Clinton of being weak on terror and taking money from countries with bad records on gay equality. He has used the massacre to double down on his promise to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
"The bottom line is that the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here," Trump said after the massacre. (The gunman was an American citizen who reportedly declared his allegiance to the leader of ISIS during the attack.) "Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women and murder gays. I don't want them in our country."

"I'm much better for the gays," he told Fox News at the time. (National gay rights groups roundly disagreed.)

In a foreign policy address in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, Trump promised to impose an "ideological screening test" for anyone hoping to immigrate to the United States, one that would "screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles." That, he said, would include people who "support bigotry and hatred." The Associated Press reported prior to the speech that Trump planned to impose an ideological test for new immigrants to determine their opinions on American values like religious freedom, gender equality, and gay rights.

"I call it extreme vetting," Trump said on Monday. "I call it extreme, extreme vetting."

But there are some within Trump's own party who might have difficulty passing a test on gay rights and the basic tenets of equality advocated by the gay rights movement, including marriage, anti-discrimination policies, and hate-crime legislation.

Here are a few of them:

Donald Trump:

Trump himself does not support nationwide marriage equality and has said he would "strongly consider" appointing judges to overturn it. In one 2011 speech, Trump likened his refusal to embrace same-sex marriage to his reluctance to use a new kind of golf putter, as the New York Times reported:

"It's like in golf," he said. "A lot of people—I don't want this to sound trivial—but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive," said Mr. Trump, a Republican. "It's weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can't sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist."

The Republican Party platform committee:

The 2016 Republican Party platform promises to defend "marriage against an activist judiciary," describing the Supreme Court's historic 2014 gay marriage ruling this way: "Five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." The document also endorses the "First Amendment Defense Act," a federal bill—now in committee, and not yet debated—that seeks to allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBT Americans on religious grounds.

The platform also supports "the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children," a provision that was born out of a fight to allow parents to take their kids to "conversion therapy"—a bogus practice that attempts to "un-gay" patients. Conversion therapy has been made illegal in several states. (According to Time, the original language proposed by Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council and a delegate from Louisiana, was a more strident defense of the "therapy.") The platform also rejects gay and lesbian families by saying, "A man and a woman family is the best, ideal vehicle for raising children."

Gov. Mike Pence:

Trump's vice presidential pick, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, was something of a pioneer in laws allowing businesses to refuse service to gays on religious grounds, when in 2014 he rushed through a bill known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After his state lost 12 big conventions and an estimated $60 million amid a national backlash, Pence pushed state lawmakers to tweak the bill to protect gays and lesbians. But as my colleague Hannah Levintova pointed out in mid-July, Pence's staunch opposition to gay rights goes back even longer:

In 2003, Pence, then representing the sixth congressional district of Indiana, co-sponsored an amendment that would have prohibited same-sex marriage. Four years later, he voted against the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which aimed to prevent job discrimination based on sexual orientation. While in Congress, he opposed a bill aimed at more effectively prosecuting hate crimes based on sexual orientation and voted against the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

States suing the Obama administration over bathroom laws:

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed into law a sweeping bill earlier this year that struck down workplace protections for LGBT employees and forced transgender people to use public restrooms matching their biological sex—sparking a heated legal battle between the US Justice Department and North Carolina.

Now, about half of all American states are suing over President Barack Obama's May directive from the Education Department and the Justice Department saying public schools should let transgender kids use the bathroom they want. The guidance said public schools should treat their transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity.

Conservative backlash has been fierce, catapulting the bathroom access debate onto the national stage. "This is the most outrageous example yet of the Obama administration forcing its liberal agenda on states that roundly reject it," said Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant in May.

For his part, Trump said North Carolina should allow people to "use the bathroom they feel is appropriate."

Loads of state leaders:

In April, the Huffington Post published a comprehensive roundup of the full-blown national assault on gay rights. At the time, there were more than 100 anti-gay bills awaiting a vote in 22 states.

JAMES WEST

May 20, 2016

GOP Votes Down the LGBT Anti discrimination bill-Shouts of Shame were Audible


                                                                 

It was a chaotic scene on the House floor Thursday morning after an amendment to help protect LGBT people from discrimination failed by just one vote as Republicans succeeded in convincing a few members of their own party to switch their votes to help ensure the measure would not pass.

House Democrats could be heard chanting "shame, shame, shame" on the floor as the measure went from garnering up to 217 votes at one point down to just 212 when the vote was gaveled. Boos erupted from the House floor as the measure failed.

Republican leaders kept the vote open longer allowing members to switch their votes.

The vote was originally scheduled to only last two minutes but was held open for eight minutes.


The amendment — sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-New York, — would have prevented federal contractors from receiving government work if they discriminate against members of the LGBT community.

"Kevin McCarthy was personally twisting arms on the floor," Maloney, who is openly gay, said about the House majority leader. He went on to say, "I don't think I've ever seen anything that craven and that ugly in my time in Congress."


McCarthy's office did not respond for comment.

Twenty nine Republicans kept their votes and remained supportive of the amendment along with every voting House Democrat.

Democratic Rep. Mark Takano, D-California, told reporters Republican Rep. Bob Dold, R-Illinois — who supported the amendment — approached Maloney following the vote to say what happened on the floor was "bullsh*t."

A spokesman for Dold didn't refute Takano's account of the conversation.

"I am certainly crestfallen and disappointed that the result changed," Takano said.

House Democratic leadership even tweeted out names of Republican members whom they believe switched their votes.
"House Republicans are so committed to discriminating against LGBT Americans, that they broke regular order to force their Members to reverse their votes and support Republicans' bigotry," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland released a video that was an homage to Star Wars and called Republicans the "Empire" after the vote.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was holding his weekly press conference while this amendment vote was being held on the floor. When asked about Republicans switching votes so the measure would fail, Ryan told reporters he was unaware of what was going on since he was not in the chamber.

The speaker typically does not vote but Ryan made clear he opposed the amendment.

"This is federalism. The states should do this. The federal government shouldn’t stick its nose in this business," Ryan said.

ALEX MOE
NBC News

January 12, 2015

State Attorney Fired for going afterGay College Student Cannot Collect Unemployment…??


       
 Andrew Shirvell attorney that went after gay student because he(student) was protecting his gay civil rights


Sometimes on the lower courts you get rulings and decisions that really tell you about living in America. It tells you it’s not how you see it on TV or read it on main media.  Here you have  a State Attorney that goes after a college student who is outspoken about gay rights, he has a blog like I have mine here. This state attorney went after him and got fired. The publicity of the state office going after this gay guy defending his civil rights did not go well with his bosses. 
On top of everything else, now the attorney want to collect unemployment. Aren’t the republicans  always talking about how bad unemployment benefits are because it keeps people from working. The hypocrisy is that they don’t believe you should have it but for them is ok. Please read on as the story develops:


The state attorney fired for an anti-gay campaign against a college student can't collect unemployment benefits, the Michigan appeals court says, rejecting claims that his off-hours activities were protected by the First Amendment.
 

The attorney general's office was justified in firing Andrew Shirvell in 2010 because his posts on Facebook and an anti-gay blog, as well as his campus visits and TV appearances, clearly had an adverse impact on the agency's credibility, the court said in a 3-0 decision released Friday.

The court overturned a ruling by an Ingham County judge, who said Shirvell was entitled to jobless benefits because he was fired for exercising free speech.

"The department, as the chief law enforcement agency in the state, represents all of the citizens of Michigan irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or creed. ... Shirvell's conduct reasonably could have created the impression that neither he nor the department enforced the law in a fair, even-handed manner without bias," the court said.

There's no dispute that Shirvell targeted Chris Armstrong, an openly gay student government president at the University of Michigan. Shirvell appeared on local and national TV shows to defend his blog and criticize what he called Armstrong's "radical homosexual agenda."

In response, Attorney General Mike Cox's office received more than 20,000 complaints.

"Shirvell's conduct undermined one of the department's specific missions — i.e. the integrity of its anti-cyberbullying campaign," said judges Stephen Borrello, Christopher Murray and Peter O'Connell. "By employing an individual such as Shirvell, whose conduct Cox agreed amounted to bullying, the department undermined its own message."

Reached for comment, Shirvell of Palm Coast, Florida, said he'll appeal the case to the Michigan Supreme Court.

"Every public employee, whether liberal or conservative, will now be in fear of what they're doing on their off hours," he said.

Armstrong's attorney, Deborah Gordon, said the decision was "excellent."

In a separate matter, a federal jury in 2012 ordered Shirvell to pay $4.5 million to Armstrong for defamation and emotional distress. An appeal is pending.

"You cannot expect to behave in such an outrageous, illegal, harmful, menacing manner and think that your employer is going to keep you on board as a government employee and it's not going to affect how you're perceived by the public," Gordon said.

December 6, 2014

Republicans Trying to Delay Workplace Protections for LGBT


                                                                         





Gay rights advocates are firing back at House Republicans who they say are trying to delay new workplace protections for LGBT employees.
The Department of Labor issued new rules Wednesday preventing federal contractors from discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation.
But gay rights advocates say some House Republicans, including Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), are trying to block the rules by questioning whether proper procedure was followed.
Tico Almeida, founder and president of the gay rights organization Freedom to Work, accused Kline of being on the “wrong side of history,” in an interview with The Hill.
"Kline represents a moderate district where the majority of voters support LGBT workplace protections, so this is clearly an example of Kline pandering to the extremist Tony Perkins element of the Republican base,” said Almeida, who is also the former chief counsel on LGBT issues to Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). Perkins is head of the Family Research Council, a prominent opponent of gay rights initiatives.
"Kline is waging a war that is a real political loser for the Republican Party, and he’s on the wrong side of history,” Almeida added.
Kline and subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) wrote to the Labor Department earlier this week complaining that the agency did not open the rules up for public comment.
The Labor Department sent the rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval on Oct. 20.
The lawmakers did not air any specific grievances with the rules, but asked the agency to withdraw them until they go through a formal public comment period.
“Public comment is essential to all rulemakings,” Kline and Walberg wrote.
“At no point was a draft rule made available to the public for comment prior to the final rule being sent to OMB,” they added. "Such a notice-and-comment period would have provided the public an opportunity to alert (the Labor Department) to problems that may arise implementing the executive order.”
Neither the Labor Department nor Kline’s office responded to a requests for comment. But a spokesman for Kline did point to the letter.
The LGBT workplace protections spring directly from President Obama’s executive order from July, which called for the Labor Department to issue these rules.
The workplace protections will prohibit federal contractors from firing, disciplining or not hiring an employee because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
Though the rules do not apply to all private companies, government contractors that discriminate against gay employees risk losing billions of dollars in federal contracts if they don't comply.
These companies are already prohibited from discriminating against employees because of their sex, race, color, religion or nationality.
LGBT workers are protected in 18 states and Washington, D.C., but previously there were no federal rules protecting gay employees across the country. 

November 24, 2014

AS we Get win after win for gay marriage its easy to forget that some people are dead against it but that is good


 

Duggar family - Woodbridge, VA
Reality telvision celebrities, Jim Bob Duggar, center, and his wife, Michelle Duggar make a stop on their "Values Bus Tour" outside Heritage Baptist Church on Wednesday October 16, 2013 in Woodbridge, VA.The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images
Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie.

When gay marriage is passing in state after state, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is on the bandwagon

You would think that, decades after Anita Bryant went on a crusade to rid gay people from public life, we’d be sick of hearing D-listers call us names and voice their hatred against us in public. The latest to really take a stand against gays is Michelle Duggar, the human baby factory who is the matriarch on the reality show “19 Kids and Counting.” This may sound strange, but I would actually like to thank her for her recent behavior.

The Duggars stirred up controversy when they recently asked for people to post pictures of married couples kissing on their Facebook page and then deleted a picture of a gay married couple kissing. (Hello? Who do you think is keeping TLC in business?) When the news of this leaked, activists directed people to sign a Change.org petition to “end LGBTQ fear mongering by the Duggars” and calls for the show to be canceled because of their behavior. It now has well over 120,000 signatures.
For what it’s worth, this isn’t Michelle’s only recent offense. She also recorded a robocall asking that the people of Fayetteville, Arkansas, vote to repeal a law that stops discrimination based on gender identity. Basically she wants people to be able to discriminate against transgender men and women.
Now some people think that we need to silence the Duggars and those like them. I think we should let them keep going. Nothing defeats complacency like knowing exactly where gay people stand with millions of Americans. Now, it’s not a shock that the overly religious Duggars don’t like gay people. That’s sort of like saying that Paula Deen likes butter. But, when gay marriage is passing in state after state, it’s easy to forget that not everyone is on the bandwagon. There are still large groups of Americans out there who want to rob us of our rights, and if we don’t stay vigilant, we’ll never win the war.
Right now we’re having a bit of success in dealing with pop culture homophobes. In May, HGTV decided to cancel a show they were planning to air featuring David and Jason Benham when it was discovered that they had made some nasty comments about gay people very publicly.
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made some very homophobic comments to GQ this January, and was mouthing off once again this May about how gay sex is unnatural. He was suspended from A&E briefly for his behavior and the ratings for the show tanked after his disclosure.
That’s why we need these people to keep talking. There’s no doubt in my mind that there is hatred in the hearts of many people for LGBTQ men and women in this country, but if that hatred just stays in their hearts they’ll be working against us without our knowledge. The louder they become, the easier it is to target them. And when we can target them, well, we’ve seen that we can do things to shut them up. If only we could give them all a pie in the face like Anita Bryant got.
Having loudmouth opponents also serves as an effective recruiting tool for allies to gay civil rights causes. Like it or not, reality stars like the Duggars and especially the Robertsons–whose most recent season finale still clocked almost 4 million viewers–have a huge stage. When they make these sorts of remarks there is always a media firestorm and each time that happens, I would like to think that there is at least one fan out there who thinks, “God, what an idiot.” Hopefully that opens up some minds and shows those out there who may not be very hospitable to the “gay lifestyle” that bigotry is distasteful no matter how it manifests itself.
We don’t get to teach these lessons, show our strength or fight these battles if these people are silent. We need people like Michelle Duggar to be loud in order to get the hard work of activism done. So no matter how much it sucks, we have to just take it on the chin every time one of these yahoos has the bright idea to spout off. Trust me, it’s for the greater good. Every time a reality star says something ignorant about the LGBT community, a gay angel gets her wings.
Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s most public and tragic gay men, said “True friends stab you in the front.” There is no doubt in my mind that there are plenty of misinformed people in America carrying daggers against gay people, including those who have a public forum to discuss those views. Why would we want them hiding that hatred in the shadows when, out in the open, it can be diffused, acted on and used as a teaching tool to get more people on our side. We should all thank Michelle Duggar. She thinks that she’s stabbing gay Americans in the front, but what she’s really doing is bloodying herself.

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