US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. on Tuesday announced it has withdrawn from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told reporters during a press conference at the State Department that Cuba, Venezuela, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries “with unambiguous and abhorrent human rights records” are members of the council. She also accused the council of having a “chronic bias against” Israel.

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Bipartisan amendment introduced against Trump’s trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking to amend a defense bill against Trump’s trans military ban. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed an amendment to major defense policy legislation that would abrogate President Trump’s ban on transgender military service.

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Richardson raises more than $1 million in his run for Congress, earns national endorsement

By : Jeremy Williams
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Democratic State Rep. David Richardson raised more than $500,000 in the final three months of 2017 for his run to become the next U.S. Congressman in Florida’s 27th District, according to FloridaPolitics.com.

Adding in what he raised earlier in the year brings his total to $1 million since announcing his run this past summer.

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Pence urged to raise anti-LGBT crackdown in Egypt

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Dozens of members of Congress on Monday urged Vice President Pence to raise Egypt’s anti-LGBT crackdown when he visits the country.

“In recent years, independent civil society groups have been the target of a concerted government effort to silence their voices and limit their ability to operate,” notes a letter that U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and 71 others signed. “Minority groups, including religious minorities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have been the targets of discrimination and violence. Independent media organizations have been shuttered and dozens of journalists, bloggers and citizens have been jailed for their speech.”

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Senate unanimously approves Chechnya resolution

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that condemns the ongoing crackdown against LGBT people in Chechnya.

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the resolution earlier this year. The U.S. House of Representatives in June unanimously approved a nearly identical resolution that U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) introduced.

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House approves resolution against Chechnya anti-gay crackdown

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution that condemns the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who introduced House Resolution 351 last month, spoke on the House floor before the voice vote.

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Gay State Representative David Richardson plots historic run for Congress

By : Billy Manes
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After becoming Florida’s first LGBTQ politician elected to Tallahassee’s big leagues, State Rep. David Richardson – who is known as a stickler for details and a champion of civil rights – has entered the national ring, publicly announcing that he intends to go after the Congressional District 27 seat that is soon to be vacated by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who unexpectedly revealed that she would be vacating the position before she was projected to bow out in 2020. The Miami-based seat she will likely vacate is an important one, as Richardson’s current district is virtually enclosed within Ros-Lehtinen’s congressional district.

“Whoever goes there and has a seat is going to have to work in a bipartisan way, which is something I’ve done in Tallahassee,” Richardson says on the phone from a special session in Tallahassee. “I think healthcare will continue to be an issue. Immigration will be a very big issue in South Florida. And criminal justice reform will be key.”

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Uprisings: Absentee ballot

By : Billy Manes
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My first time meeting current senatorial and failed presidential candidate Marco Rubio was at a princess party. It was 2008, we were in the upstairs area of the legislature where people come to be actual people, and we shook hands while his daughter’s friends leapt around in pink taffeta. Rubio, who is just one year younger than me by a week, was playing dad, and all of that was fine, as it should be.

I watched Rubio when he led the House floor, gavel in hand. I looked into his eyes as he made it certain that he really didn’t care about what wrath he was enabling from the far right, about what women he was ignoring, about what princesses would never be real princesses according to his flight of Floridian fancy. Rubio, a linchpin for the Republican Party if only for his looks and his connection to Hispanic voters, came off as a fraud. And, yes, these are mere observations. But sometimes staring someone in the eyes is the shortest distance between speculation and fact. Rubio, as a U.S. Senator, has been widely reported as a derelict to the justice he was elected to embody. Sift the records all you want; Rubio missed 41 percent of the votes he was elected to oversee. Rubio is not qualified for his job. Rubio is a plant.

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Republican voice in short supply on gay marriage

By : Wire Report
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The number of Republicans coming out in support of same sex marriage is few and far between compared to Democrats as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on March 28.

President Barack Obama is the lead Democrat calling on the Supreme Court to extend same sex marriage nationwide. He has been joined by 211 Democrats and independents in Congress. For the GOP, only seven members of Congress have spoken in support.

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Sen. Bill Nelson backs Respect for Marriage Act

By : Staff Report
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U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is sponsoring a bill designed to reverse some of the damage done by the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA, approved in 1996, kept same-sex married couples from being recognized under federal law, for federal marriage benefits. It was ruled unconstitutional in 2013, but part of DOMA still stands – the part that allows states to refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

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1.16.14 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotOn Jan. 13, Jimmy LaSalvia, the founder of the gay-powered Republican group GOProud, announced he had left the Republican Party and the organization he founded to become an Independent. LaSalvia penned a short, well-thought blog about his decision on his website, and it was immediately picked up by LGBT news outlets.

With that news, the LGBT internet awoke with slams about his looks, his hair, his personality and his past defenses of the GOP’s historically anti-gay stances.

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Florida’s first gay adoptive parent stands up for federal law

By : Staff Report
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Martin Gill knows firsthand the kind of protracted legal battle faced by LGBT families who want to adopt. He and his partner Bruce successfully fought the system in Florida to legally adopt the two young boys they had been fostering.

Now, Gill is taking the fight to the federal level. In a column published in the Miami Herald on May 28, Gill has put his face on the fight to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.

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