Trump admin to Supreme Court: It’s OK to fire workers for being trans

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump, Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

Defying massive case law, the Trump administration urged the Supreme Court late Friday to issue a ruling that federal civil rights law doesn’t cover discrimination based on gender identity, therefore firing workers for being transgender is perfectly legal.

In a 54-page brief signed by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the U.S. Justice Department argues Congress didn’t intend to include transgender people when it passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in employment.

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Barr declares ‘zero tolerance’ for hate crimes in Pride Month statement

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: U.S. Attorney General William Barr declares “zero tolerance” for anti-LGBT violence within the Justice Department. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

U.S. Attorney General William Barr affirmed his position of “zero tolerance” for hate crimes against LGBT people in a statement to Justice Department employees  recognizing Pride Month.

In the statement, which was sent to Justice Department employees June 27 and shared with the Washington Blade, Barr declares the department is “fortunate to have many talented and dedicated LGBT public servants who work hard on behalf of the American people.”

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FBI, Bureau of Prisons ordered to probe LGBTQ discrimination

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) | Attorney General William Barr has ordered the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons to investigate allegations of discrimination against LGBTQ employees, he said in a letter released April 5.

The announcement came in response to concerns from DOJ Pride, a group that represents thousands of LGBTQ employees at the Justice Department and its component agencies.

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Trump praises Karen Pence for teaching at anti-LGBT school

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump made a series of veiled anti-LGBT statements under the guise of “religious freedom” Feb. 7 at the National Prayer Breakfast, including praise for Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school that bars LGBT students and teachers.

In his introductory remarks at the annual event, Trump pointed out the second lady and said, “She just went back to teaching art classes at a Christian school. Terrific woman.”

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Sessions announces the creation of a ‘religious liberty task force’

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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WASHINGTON (AP) | American culture has become “less hospitable to people of faith,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said July 30 in vowing that the Justice Department would protect people’s religious freedom and convictions.

Sessions spoke at a Justice Department summit on religious tolerance at a time when courts across the country have been asked how to balance anti-discrimination laws against the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantees.

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White House hails Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling as religious liberty win

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hailed Tuesday as a win for religious freedom the narrow ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to serve a custom-made wedding cake to a same-sex couple.

“When it comes to the bakers, we were pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” Sanders said. “The First Amendment prohibits government discriminating on the basis of religious beliefs, and the Supreme Court rightly concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to show tolerance and respect for his religious beliefs.”

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U.S. agencies to celebrate Pride month, but without Cabinet secretaries

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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With Pride month approaching, many U.S. agencies in the second year of the Trump administration are continuing plans to hold celebrations for their LGBT workers, although Cabinet leaders will be absent and some annual events are in question.

The absence of Cabinet leaders at these events stands in contrast to the Obama years when they were featured speakers at the celebrations, wished LGBT federal workers a happy Pride and reflected on the significance of the annual event.

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Senate Dems urge DOJ to reinstate trans protections under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A group of 44 Senate Democrats led by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) urged the Justice Department on Thursday to reinstate its interpretation of existing civil rights law to prohibit anti-transgender discrimination.

In a letter dated Nov. 2, the Senate Democrats insist Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace, also applies to discrimination against transgender workers.

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Justice Dept. to help in Iowa case of slain transgender teen

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has sent a federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with killing a transgender teenager last year, an unusual decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions even as he takes other steps to erode the rights of transgender people broadly.

The case involves Jorge Sanders-Galvez, 23, who is charged with killing 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson in Burlington, Iowa, in March 2016. Authorities have not disclosed a motive, but Johnson’s relatives say he may have been targeted because he identified as both male and female.

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Sessions undoes DOJ support for trans workers under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Bucking a string of court rulings and the views of a separate U.S. agency, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday reversed the Justice Department’s support for the legal view trans workers are eligible for non-discrimination protections under current civil rights law.

In a two-page memo dated Oct. 4, Sessions informed Justice Department attorneys the U.S. government will no longer view the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to apply to discrimination on the basis of transgender status.

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Two U.S. agencies at odds over protecting gays under Title VII

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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NEW YORK — Two U.S. agencies — the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — were at odds Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court over whether existing civil rights law bars anti-gay employment discrimination.

Meanwhile, judges on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals gave conflicting signals on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual workers, making a ruling in favor of gay rights anything but assured.

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Gay Republican withdraws name for DHS post over trans military ban

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The gay former executive director of the Delaware Republican Party has withdrawn his name from consideration for a position at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military.

John Fluharty was in the running to become the agency’s assistant secretary of partnership and engagement.

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