House GOP urges Trump to drop LGBT protections in NAFTA update

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of nearly 40 House Republicans are calling on President Trump to drop from the updated U.S. trade proposal with Mexico and Canada a provision encouraging countries to adopt policies barring anti-LGBT discrimination in the workforce, throwing ratification of the deal in question.

In a letter dated Nov. 16, lawmakers led by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) say they’re “deeply concerned” by the proposed LGBT requirements in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement initiated by President Trump. An article in Politico Nov. 16 highlighted the letter.

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Delaware Senate approves equal rights amendment

By : Wire Report
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DOVER, Del. (AP) – The state Senate has approved a proposed amendment to Delaware’s constitution guaranteeing equal rights based on sex.

The legislation failed to gain the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate last month but was recalled and approved on a 17-4 vote June 6 after lawmakers added language clarifying the intent of the legislation.

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127 House Dems urge White House to keep rule for trans health care

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A group of 127 House Democrats led by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) is calling on the White House to keep intact an Obama-era rule barring medical providers from denying health care to transgender patients, including gender reassignment surgery.

The letter, dated May 23 and sent to Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, points to reports a rule change is pending before the White House and calls on Mulvaney “to reject a proposed rule that undermines these important protections.”

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House to vote on barring transgender health care in U.S. military

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. House is set to vote Thursday on an amendment that would bar transgender people from receiving transition-related health care, such as gender reassignment surgery.

The amendment, submitted by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), would deny funds to Defense Department for providing medical treatment — other than mental health therapy — related to gender transition under the health system for service members. That would mean transition-related care like hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery would be off limits to transgender troops.

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Delaware lawmakers aim to protect gender identity

By : Wire Report
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DOVER, Del. (AP) – Democratic lawmakers have introduced a resolution calling for Delaware’s Department of Education to develop regulations with specific guidelines to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

The resolution says state employment policies and guidelines mandate that government employees not be discriminated against based on gender identity or expression. That includes the right to be called by their preferred names and pronouns, treated with dignity and respect, and allowed to use bathroom facilities corresponding to their gender identity.

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Girls in Wonderland hop down the rabbit hole at House of Blues

By : Jeremy Williams
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Girls in Wonderland held their signature dance party at Disney Springs House of Blues June 2.

The event, which benefited the GLBT Center of Central Florida, non-stop beats from DJ Whitney Day and DJ Pat Pat, as well as entertainment from Stephanie Rice, VariTEASE and more.

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Rhode Island House votes to ban gay conversion therapy

By : Wire Report
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island House of Representatives has voted to pass a bill that would bar licensed health care providers from using so-called gay conversion therapy to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The House voted 69-0 to pass the bill May 30, with six legislators not voting. It now moves to the state Senate.

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State Representative David Richardson declares victory against conversion therapy in south Florida House district

By : Billy Manes
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Tallahassee – Gay state Rep. David Richardson took a stance early in this legislative session against so-called conversion therapy, the anti-LGBTQ means of “correcting” behaviors of the gay community. House Bill 273 presents a strong statement against the psychological manipulation of LGBTQ youth by therapists, arguing that conversion therapy – which can often include electric-shock therapy – must not be used on minors. In 2015, President Barack Obama made it clear that the nation, under his administration, would not accept “reparative” therapy, due to its destructive effects on patients.

“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” his department said in a statement. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

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Pelosi: DOJ reversal on trans protections ‘deeply disappointing’

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to reverse course in litigation to defend Obama administration guidance barring schools from discriminating against transgender students is “deeply disappointing.”

In an exclusive statement to the Washington Blade, Pelosi also made news about a friend-of-the-court brief House Democrats have prepared on behalf of transgender student Gavin Grimm in a related case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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LGBTQ rights loom as hurdle to passing defense policy bill

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional Republicans and Democrats will have to bridge a vast cultural divide over an issue that has nothing to do with bullets and bombs to complete a must-pass defense policy bill.

A key sticking point in the negotiations during the upcoming lame-duck session is a House-passed provision that Senate Democrats say would undercut protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation. They’ve called the measure dangerous and are demanding it be removed from the $602 billion measure.

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LGBTQ hopefuls face steep odds in bids for Congress

By : CHRIS JOHNSON, Washington Blade
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A plethora of non-incumbent openly LGBTQ candidates is seeking election to Congress this year, but a look at the polls reveals many of them are facing an uphill climb.

The Washington Blade identified 10 openly LGBTQ non-incumbent candidates running for seats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate in 2016, including two candidates who are the first-ever openly transgender people to win nominations from a major U.S. political party, two openly gay Republicans and a candidate who’d be the first out lesbian with children elected to Congress.

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Georgia Senate approves LGBT service-refusal bill

By : Wire Report
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Atlanta (AP) – Georgia’s state Senate approved a bill allowing faith-based organizations to refuse services to same-sex couples without government penalties, including loss of grants or other taxpayer funding.

Senators voted 38 to 14 on party lines Feb. 19, despite fear about damage to the state’s economy expressed by the state’s influential business community and opposition from gay-rights advocates.

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