Marriage opponent to chair State Department human rights commission

By : Michael K. Lavers of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Mary Ann Glendon (Center) with President George W. and Laura Bush at The White House in 2005. (Photo public domain)

A Harvard Law School professor who is known for her opposition to same-sex marriage will chair the State Department’s new human rights advisory commission that will stress “natural law and natural rights.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on July 8 at the State Department that Mary Ann Glendon will chair the Commission on Unalienable Rights.

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Mehlman leads GOP brief urging Supreme Court to rule for LGBT protections

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.)

Ken Mehlman, the former George W. Bush operative and Republican National Committee chair who came out as gay in 2010, is leading LGBT-supportive Republicans in urging conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of LGBT workplace protections under current law.

In a 24-page legal brief first reported by Jeremy Peters of the New York Times, the Republicans take a conservative approach in asserting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars sex discrimination in the workforce, also applies to cases anti-LGBT discrimination.

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Trump’s HHS secretary recognizes gays in HIV/AIDS speech

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar recognized on Dec. 11 the impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had on gay people and racial minorities in a speech in which he also named new co-chairs to fill longtime vacancies on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

In remarks at the Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment in Oxon Hill, Md., Azar made the reference to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the gay community when he urged his audience to combat the disease “not just as a biomedical issue, but as a social challenge, too.”

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Trump names openly gay judicial nominee — bringing total to 2

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump has nominated to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals an openly gay federal prosecutor tasked with enforcing organized crime and drug laws, doubling the number of his out judicial nominees.

The White House announced Trump’s nomination of Patrick Bumatay to the Ninth Circuit last week as part of a group of 18 nominees for judgeships as well as appointments as U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals. Log Cabin Republicans confirmed to the Washington Blade on Oct. 15  Bumatay is openly gay.

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Judge rules HB2 deal doesn’t impair bathroom access for trans people

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit against the compromise over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 to continue, but found the new law doesn’t inhibit bathroom access to transgender people in the state.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled Sunday night the challenge to House Bill 142 can proceed in so far it pertains Section 3 of the law, which prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations until December 1, 2020.

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No proclamation (again) from Trump for Pride month

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The first day of June has arrived and President Trump again declined to issue a proclamation recognizing Pride month, breaking a tradition when Democrats occupied the White House.

Meanwhile, Trump has issued proclamations in recent days recognizing National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, National Ocean Month, Great Outdoors Month, National Homeownership Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month.

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Trump’s new faith initiative raises concerns among LGBTQ advocates

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump’s new initiative to support faith-based organizations with federal assistance is stirring unease among LGBTQ rights supporters, who say they’ll keep watch to ensure the program doesn’t enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Trump, who created the initiative by executive order on Thursday on the National Day of Prayer, said during a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden the program will “help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.”

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Central Florida attorney elected chair of HRC board of directors

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Central Florida attorney John Ruffier was elected as the vice-chair of the Human Rights Campaign board of directors and will become the chair of the organization next year.

The announcement was made by the law firm Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.— where Ruffier is a practicing attorney—in a press release Jan. 12.

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Trump fires all members of HIV/AIDS council without explanation

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With no explanation, the White House has terminated members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS amid widespread discontent with President Trump’s approach to the epidemic.
After six members of PACHA resigned in June, the White House on Wednesday terminated the remaining 16 members without explanation via a letter from FedEx.

Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Legal, was one of the six who resigned in June over Trump’s inaction on HIV/AIDS and said on Twitter the remaining members were fired.

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Stonewall Monument spared from Trump review

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: One expert said the Stonewall Monument ‘dodged a bullet.’ Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

An executive order issued by President Trump in April calling for a review and reassessment of U.S. national monuments named since 1996 will not impact the designation of the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village as the nation’s first LGBT national monument.

According to a report released on Tuesday by U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the Stonewall Monument was not included on a list of 27 national monuments that Zinke singled out for review in May.

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Photo of Lady Gaga with all five living presidents goes viral

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lady Gaga commemorated meeting all five living presidents with a photo that has since gone viral.

The pop star gave a surprise performance for “Deep from the Heart,” a concert organized by One America Appeal for hurricane relief. Former presidents Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton launched the effort to aid victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

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Uprisings: Walking forward

By : Billy Manes
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It was 1991, if my memory serves correct, that I got the call from my stepbrother Michael. He knew that I had just come out of the closet. He knew, also, that he was dying of AIDS. “Welcome to the club,” he said, very kindly. I shivered a bit at the time, knowing that we were in the thick of a crisis, and even with all of the pats on the head and begrudging support that finally came from the White House – too late – there were still people dying en masse.

This year, in part to honor Michael, I attended the Hope & Help AIDS Walk. What’s most interesting about AIDS walks, at least to me, is that there are people from the entire spectrum of society in attendance. There were children. There were activists. There were corporations. There were advocates. It’s not a pride parade by any measure – there was not blaring music but that from the bagpipes behind me – but it’s incredibly sincere.

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