Sessions: DOJ guidance on ‘religious freedom’ on the way

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Guidance from the U.S. Justice Department assuring protections for “religious freedom” — which is considered code among conservatives to mean anti-LGBT discrimination — is coming shortly, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week.

Sessions said the guidance is coming soon during closed-door remarks before a “religious freedom” summit in Orange County, Calif., hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT legal group. Although the Justice Department refused to make the speech public, the Federalist, a conservative website, published a copy Thursday.

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Sessions to rally crowd at anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ summit

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — known for his anti-LGBT record — was set to speak Tuesday at an event for the anti-LGBT legal group representing before the U.S. Supreme Court a Colorado baker that denied a wedding cake to a same-sex couple for religious reasons.

Media outlets, including Buzzfeed, reported Sessions’ public schedule was updated Tuesday during his trip to California to include on the same day at 5:30 local time a speech in Orange County at Alliance Defending Freedom’s “religious freedom” summit. The remarks were closed to press.

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Trump ‘religious freedom’ order silent on LGBT issues

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Many LGBT advocates breathed sighs of relief after learning that a long-awaited “religious freedom” executive order issued by President Trump on Thursday did not include specific anti-LGBT provisions that media reports said were included in an earlier draft of the order.

But officials with several national LGBT advocacy organizations expressed concern that the two-page executive order, called “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” gives U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions authority to interpret existing federal laws and regulations in a way that could result in discrimination against LGBT people.

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Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Moore running for US Senate

By : Wire Report
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s entry into the U.S. Senate race adds another layer of drama to what’s already expected to be a rollicking special election to fill the seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The fiery Republican jurist’s stands against gay marriage and for a courthouse display of the Ten Commandments have earned him the nickname the “Ayatollah of Alabama” from the Southern Poverty Law Center — and legions of loyal followers across the country. Moore announced his candidacy among the swelling GOP field Wednesday in what is expected to be a cutthroat primary.

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LGBTQ rights leaders flunk Trump on first 100 days

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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With the 100-day mark of President Trump’s time in the White House fast approaching, LGBTQ rights supporters are giving him failing grades as the nation evaluates him at the benchmark.

Since he took the oath of office on Jan. 20, the White House has asserted Trump is “respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights,” but at the same time he has taken anti-LGBTQ actions — such as undoing guidance protecting transgender students — and filled his administration with opponents of LGBTQ rights.

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Gavin Grimm testifies on civil rights after 100 days of Trump

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Transgender student Gavin Grimm testified before Congress Thursday on the experience of his Virginia high school denying him access to the bathroom consistent with the gender identity as well as harms the Trump administration’s withdrawal of pro-trans guidance has caused for transgender people.

Gavin made the remarks during a congressional forum hosted by U.S. House Democrats on the state of civil rights after the first 100 days of the Trump administration. Witnesseses sharply criticized the Trump administration — in particular the U.S. Justice Department under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — for failing to live up to equal protection under the law.

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DOJ drops appeal of order against trans student protections

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday formally sought to withdraw its appeal of an order barring the enforcement of guidance assuring transgender students have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

The three-page motion for voluntary dismissal filed under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is largely a moot point because the Justice and Education Departments have rescinded the underlying guidance, but nonetheless reinforces the Trump administration’s position against federal non-discrimination protections for transgender students in bathroom use.

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Caitlyn Jenner calls Trump’s transgender policy ‘a disaster’

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL GAY MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Caitlyn Jenner responded to President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke federal guidelines to protect transgender students with a video posted on Instagram and Twitter.

In the video Jenner, who has been vocal about her Republican views, addressed transgender children and told them not to give up hope.

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Both sides of the debate speak out following transgender bathroom decision

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – Transgender students lost federal protections that allowed them to use school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities Feb. 22, as the Trump administration came down on the side of states’ rights, lifting Obama-era federal guidelines that had been characterized by Republicans as an example of overreach.

Below, some of the comments about the Trump administration decision to rescind the federal guidelines.

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LGBT groups urge Trump admin to keep trans protections

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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PHOTO: GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard is among the LGBT advocates who signed a letter urging the Trump administration to keep trans protections. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Following a signal from the U.S. Justice Department that guidance protecting transgender students may be on the chopping block, a trio of LGBT groups — as well as an LGBT-supportive women’s organization — are calling on the Trump administration to keep the policy in place.

The letter, dated Feb. 13, is addressed to newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who would be responsible for any decision to rescind the guidance.

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Criticized for anti-LGBT, racist views, Sessions confirmed as AG

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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The U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as U.S. attorney general after a rancorous debate that included the silencing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and criticism of a long anti-LGBT career.

Lawmakers approved Sessions at the nation’s top lawyer by a 52-47 vote along party lines. The Republican caucus, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), was unified in support of Sessions. The Democratic caucus, including lesbian Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), was largely opposed, although Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) broke ranks to vote with Republicans.

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Sessions says he’d be fair as AG, defy Trump if necessary

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) Sen. Jeff Sessions cast himself as a strong protector of law and order at his confirmation hearing Tuesday, promising that as attorney general he would crack down on illegal immigration, gun violence and the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism,

Sessions, echoing rhetoric used on the campaign trail by President-elect Donald Trump, warned of a country struggling to combat illegal drugs flooding across the border, spikes in violent crime in American cities and low morale among police.

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