House Judiciary Committee passes Equality Act

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Above: (U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), center, introduced the Equality Act in March. The House Judiciary Committee on May 1, 2019, approved the measure that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The House Judiciary Committee on May 1 approved a bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws.

The Equality Act, which U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March, passed the committee by a 22-10 vote margin with all Republican committee members voting against it. The openly gay Rhode Island Democrat in a statement after the vote said “fairness and equality are core American values.”

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Pelosi: Supreme Court review to have ‘no impact’ on Equality Act, floor vote in May

By : Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether existing federal law prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination will have “no impact” on the advancement of legislation seeking to ban it explicitly under federal law, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said April 22.

Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, said via email in response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade the Supreme Court decision will have “no impact” on the legislative process for the Equality Act, which he said is set for floor vote in the U.S. House in May.

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O’Rourke backs LGBTQ rights at Northern Va. town hall

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke drew resounding applause and laughter at a campaign appearance in Alexandria, Va., April 17 when he inadvertently used a curse word to describe an anti-transgender law passed in North Carolina and quickly tried to withdraw it.

He was responding to a question from a young man in the audience who asked if he would sign the Equality Act, an LGBTQ rights bill pending in Congress, if he were elected president, and whether he thought a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court might overturn such a law.

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Fears over men playing in women’s sports dominate Equality Act hearing

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Julie Beck speaks at the House Judiciary Committee against the Equality Act. (Screen capture public domain)

A congressional hearing April 2 on the Equality Act, legislation seeking to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in fundamental aspects of life such as employment and housing, quickly got sidetracked into fears over men participating in women’s sports.

The issue became a central focus during the nearly four-hour congressional hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban anti-LGBT discrimination under federal law.

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Civil rights groups change tune, now fully support Equality Act

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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After previously withholding full support of the Equality Act, civil rights groups have now come out in favor of the legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination as the House prepares to consider the bill.

Civil groups groups were among those promoting the Equality Act at a news conference Monday on Capitol Hill one day before the first congressional hearing on the legislation.

Among those civil rights advocates was Kristine Lucius, executive vice president for policy for the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, who said her organization is “proud to be here fighting for the Equality Act.”

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Former Log Cabin leader opposes Equality Act

By : Mariah Cooper Of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National LGBT Media Association
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Former Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo has publicly opposed the Equality Act, the proposed bill which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In an op-ed written for the Washington Examiner, Angelo says the bill “would compromise American civil rights and religious liberty as we know it. All reasonable Americans, especially gay Americans who support pluralism and tolerance, should oppose it.”

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Equality Act returns — with House Democrats in majority

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Optimistic about the prospects of enshrining a prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination into federal law with a new Democratic majority in the U.S. House, Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation known as the Equality Act to make that long-sought goal a reality.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) chief sponsors of the Equality Act in their respective chambers of Congress, on Wednesday trumpeted the introduction of the legislation with great fanfare during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.

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Pelosi: Equality Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination to be introduced next week

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced during her weekly news conference the Equality Act, legislation that would enact long sought-after federal protections against anti-LGBT legislation, would be introduced next week.

Pelosi said the Equality Act would be introduced in the same week as legislation intended to protect DREAMers, or young undocumented immigrants, and other immigrants from deportation in the aftermath of President Trump’s revocation of their protections.

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With Democrats winning the House, LGBT advocates have great expectations

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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After a disappointing election night in 2016 and two years of President Trump in the White House, Democrats came back with an important win Nov 6. and were projected to win control of the U.S. House — a victory celebrated by LGBT rights supporters eager to thwart the administration and advance equality measures.

NBC News and Fox News declared Democrats would win enough seats on Election Day to take control of the House, marking the first time since 2008 Democrats won a majority of seats in the chamber. Democrats needed a net gain of 23 seats to win control of the House, but the early call meant they could win significantly more as the night progressed.

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House Democrats promise action on LGBTQ rights bill

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) | House Democrats are promising to prioritize anti-discrimination legislation that would for the first time establish widespread equal rights protections for LGBTQ individuals.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently said she would introduce the Equality Act as one of her first orders of business if Democrats retake the House in November. Pelosi made the announcement at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, telling the crowd the issue of equal rights for the LGBTQ community is “personal.”

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Ros-Lehtinen talks retirement, slams Trump’s military trans ban

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Fla.) speaks with the Washington Blade at her office on Capitol Hill on May 21. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) last week reiterated her criticism of President Trump over a host of issues that includes his effort to ban transgender people from the military.

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Trump’s gay nominee Ric Grenell confirmed as ambassador to Germany

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate confirmed Richard Grenell on Thursday as U.S. ambassador to Germany, making him the most high-profile openly gay appointee in the Trump administration.

Grenell — who has faced Democratic opposition for months over mean tweets he made about the appearance of women and other comments downplaying the significance of Russia’s influence in the 2016 election — was confirmed by a largely party line vote of 56-42.

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