Ex-Attorney General honored for advancing gay, transgender rights

By : Wire Report
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BOSTON (AP) – Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been recognized in Boston for advancing gay and transgender rights.

The nonprofit GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders honored Holder Friday evening with its 18th annual Spirit of Justice award.

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DOJ seeks time to argue for anti-gay baker in Supreme Court case

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking a time slot of 10 minutes before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue on behalf of a Colorado baker who wishes to refuse the sale of make wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed the two-page request Wednesday before the Supreme Court in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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Justice Dept. to help in Iowa case of slain transgender teen

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has sent a federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with killing a transgender teenager last year, an unusual decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions even as he takes other steps to erode the rights of transgender people broadly.

The case involves Jorge Sanders-Galvez, 23, who is charged with killing 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson in Burlington, Iowa, in March 2016. Authorities have not disclosed a motive, but Johnson’s relatives say he may have been targeted because he identified as both male and female.

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Arkansas asks that city’s LGBT rights ordinance be blocked

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas asked a judge July 28 to block enforcement of a city ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, months after the state’s highest court ruled the measure violated a law aimed at prohibiting local LGBT protections.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a group opposed to the Fayetteville anti-discrimination ordinance asked Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin to issue a preliminary injunction against the measure. The state Supreme Court in February reversed a ruling that the ordinance didn’t violate a state law prohibiting cities from enacting protections not covered by state law. Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

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DOJ: Anti-gay discrimination perfectly OK under federal law

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Justice Department has declared anti-gay discrimination is lawful under current federal civil rights law, filing an friend-of-the-court brief in a case of alleging employment discrimination.

In a 23-page brief, the Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejects the notion that sexual-orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Sessions to rally crowd at anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ summit

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — known for his anti-LGBT record — was set to speak Tuesday at an event for the anti-LGBT legal group representing before the U.S. Supreme Court a Colorado baker that denied a wedding cake to a same-sex couple for religious reasons.

Media outlets, including Buzzfeed, reported Sessions’ public schedule was updated Tuesday during his trip to California to include on the same day at 5:30 local time a speech in Orange County at Alliance Defending Freedom’s “religious freedom” summit. The remarks were closed to press.

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Anti-LGBTQ Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi racked up $253 million in taxpayer costs over six years

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott and other top Florida Republicans frequently complain about government spending, but they have quietly spent more than $237 million on private lawyers to advance and defend their agendas, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Florida taxpayers also have been forced to reimburse nearly $16 million for their opponents’ private attorney fees. That means an overall $253 million has been spent on legal fights in the last six years, including a water war with Georgia and losing battles to test welfare recipients for drugs, trim the state’s voter registration lists and ban companies that do business with Cuba from bidding on government contracts.

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DOJ drops appeal of order against trans student protections

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday formally sought to withdraw its appeal of an order barring the enforcement of guidance assuring transgender students have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

The three-page motion for voluntary dismissal filed under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is largely a moot point because the Justice and Education Departments have rescinded the underlying guidance, but nonetheless reinforces the Trump administration’s position against federal non-discrimination protections for transgender students in bathroom use.

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Criticized for anti-LGBT, racist views, Sessions confirmed as AG

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. attorney general after a rancorous debate that included the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and criticism of a long anti-LGBT career.

Lawmakers approved Sessions at the nation’s top lawyer by a 52-47 vote along party lines. The Republican caucus, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), was unified in support of Sessions. The Democratic caucus, including lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), was largely opposed, although Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) broke ranks to vote with Republicans.

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Attorney General Lynch talks to students about LGBTQ issues

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NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has praised New York City students for standing up for issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Lynch visited the Stonewall National Monument and the Stonewall Inn Dec. 13, site of 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movement.

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Cherokee Nation attorney general: Tribe must OK marriage equality

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Cherokee Nation’s attorney general legalized marriage equality for the country’s second-largest Native American tribe, saying its same-sex marriage ban violates a tribal requirement for all of its citizens to be treated equally.

Attorney General Todd Hembree’s opinion, which was issued Dec. 9, says parts of a 2004 tribal law that defined marriage as “a civil contract between one man and one woman” and prohibited marriage between two persons of the same sex violate the Cherokee Constitution, which requires the equal treatment of tribal citizens.

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Hate crimes are stain on America’s ‘soul,’ says Attorney General

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STERLING, Virginia (AP) – Hate crimes tear at the fabric of American communities and represent a stain on the country’s soul, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a mosque and Muslim community center on Monday.

Lynch spoke at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center as law enforcement across the country confronts a spike in hate crimes targeting Muslims.

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