Justice Kennedy announces plans to step down from Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy — the author of major U.S. Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay rights — has announced plans to step down from the bench.

Major media outlets reported Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan in 1988 — announced plans to step down Wednesday afternoon as the court’s 2017-2018 term came to a close. The Washington Blade confirmed Kennedy’s plans for departure with the Supreme Court.

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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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Speaker Ryan becomes latest Republican to announce retirement

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With Republicans fretting about losing control of Congress in the mid-term elections, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has announced he won’t seek re-election, leaving an uneven record on LGBTQ rights and the door open for another Republican to take his place as leader of his caucus.

The 10-term member of Congress, who has served as speaker since 2015, announced during a news conference Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election to represent Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district in order to spend more time with his family, confirming news reports about his intended plan earlier in the day.

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Trans conservatives tell CPAC: ‘Don’t tread on me’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: From left, transgender conservatives Jordan Evans, Adelynn Campbell and Jennifer Williams attend the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 24. Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Being transgender doesn’t mean you have to give up your principles as a conservative, nor does it mean you should allow the Republican Party to subject you to political attacks based on your gender identity.

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Trump asserts support for LGBT equality in Log Cabin letter

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Despite a first year of an administration marked by anti-LGBT policies, President Trump expressed support equality for LGBT people in a letter recently unveiled by Log Cabin Republicans.

The letter, dated Dec. 21 and made public this week by the LGBT Republican group, is signed by Trump and congratulates the organization on its 40th anniversary.

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New HHS division slammed as tool for anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Roger Severino hailed the creation of a conscience division at HHS. Image courtesy C-Span.

Consistent with media reports indicating the move was coming, the Department of Health & Human Services on Thursday formally established a conscience division that critics say will allow medical practitioners to deny abortion-related services and treatment to LGBT people on religious grounds.

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Trump claims win with tax reform, but LGBT advocates say they lose

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump is touting the Republican tax reform plan as his first legislative win as Congress sends the legislation to his desk, but LGBT rights supporters are warning about expected negative impacts of the measure — especially the end to the individual mandate in Obamacare.

In a statement Wednesday after final congressional approval of the bill, Trump said he made good on his promise for “a big, beautiful tax cut for Christmas.”

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White House: Vote against UN death penalty resolution not about gays

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Trump administration is pushing back against criticism over its vote at the United Nations against a resolution repudiating the death penalty, saying the move wasn’t about the application of the punishment to same-sex relationships.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson said Tuesday the vote against the measure is consistent with other U.S. votes at the United Nations against the death penalty resolution in previous administrations.

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Will Trump, gov’t agencies recognize Pride month?

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Picture it: President Trump enters the East Room of the White House on a warm D.C. day in June to the sound of cheers from adoring members of the LGBT community holding up their iPhones to document the occasion with videos and photos.

With his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner at his side, Trump welcomes guests and commemorates June as Pride month by recognizing the LGBT community’s accomplishments in recent years.

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Anti-LGBT activists stick with Trump despite video

By : Chris Johnson, Washington Blade
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After months of stoking fears about sexual assault in the bathrooms as a result of transgender non-discrimination protections, social conservatives are sticking with Donald Trump despite a recent unearthed recording in which he brags about making aggressive sexual advances on women.

The fears over assault and violation of privacy in the bathroom were invented and stoked by conservative activists opposed to transgender protections, but actual claims of sexual assault from the Republican nominee aren’t enough to register the same level of concern with these anti-LGBT activists.

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