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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Washington Blade reporter ejected from DOJ Pride event

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A Washington Blade reporter was ejected from an event Wednesday at the U.S. Justice Department observing June as Pride month — among the last of the events hosted by LGBT affinity groups for federal workers. Similar celebrations under the Obama administration were open to the media.

Dozens of employees — among them LGBT attorneys within the Justice Department and federal law enforcement officials — attended the event, which was titled “Solidarity through Pride” and held in the Great Hall of the Justice Department building.

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Study: Bullying persists in school, reports of sex crime up

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – A new study shows that 1 out of every 5 middle and high school students has complained of being bullied at school. And the number of reports of sexual assault on college campuses has more than tripled over the past decade.

The study by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Justice Department released May 16 says that overall instances of bullying have been declining in American schools over the past decade. But 21 percent of students aged 12-18 still reported being bullied in 2015. That’s slightly below the international average.

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Lawsuit: St. Louis County officer told to tone down gayness

By : Wire Report
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CLAYTON, Mo. (AP)- A St. Louis County police sergeant alleges in a lawsuit against the department that he was told to “tone down” his gayness if he wanted a promotion.

Sgt. Keith Wildhaber, a 22-year veteran of the department, also alleges he was passed over for promotions and reassigned after he filed a discrimination complaint in April 2016, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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