Congressional Dems say Title VII ‘makes clear’ anti-LGBT discrimination unlawful

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of 151 congressional Democrats—113 House members and 38 senators—have signed a legal brief insisting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “makes clear that workplace discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful.”

The lawmakers submit the 25-page friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court as justices are set to determine whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination in the workforce applies to cases of anti-LGBT discrimination.

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N.Y. becomes eighth state to ban ‘gay panic’ defense

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a ban on gay panic defense. Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Amid celebrations of WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a measure banning the use of trans and gay panic as a legal defense.

Cuomo penned his name to the legislation Sunday during a signing ceremony with LGBT advocacy leaders who supported passage of the ban on gay and trans panic defense in court.

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Harris shines in debate, but racial issues haunt Buttigieg, Biden

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The 10 Democratic presidential candidates from the second night debate on June 27. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Kamala Harris pulled off an impressive performance during the Democratic presidential candidates debate June 27 as racial issues haunted Pete Buttigieg and Joseph Biden.

When the smoke cleared after the debate concluded in Miami, Harris came out as a favorite based on her responses throughout the evening that served a combination of steak and sizzle, appealing to emotion as she laid out policy.

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99 Dems urge State Dept. to recognize citizenship of LGBTQ couple’s child

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A group of 99 congressional Democrats—80 in the U.S. House, 19 in the U.S. Senate—are calling on the Trump administration to reverse its policy of refusing to recognize the birthright citizenship of children to LGBT families born overseas via surrogacy methods.

The call come in the form of a pair of letters. Leading the letter in the House is Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and the co-chairs of the LGBT Equality Caucus, each of an openly LGB member of Congress, including Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the most senior openly gay member of the U.S. House. In the Senate, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are leading the charge.

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Danica Roem uses spotlight to boost other Virginia Democrats

By : wire report
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) | When Del. Danica A. Roem sought in 2017 to become the country’s first openly transgender state lawmaker, the Republican Party of Virginia funded a political flier that referred to her as a man and speculated that she would teach “transgenderism” to kindergartners.

This year, the GOP rushed to Roem’s defense after an anti-LGBTQ group mounted a demonstration against her presence in Richmond.

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Home state politics complicate message for some 2020 Dems

By : wire report
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NASHUA, N.H. (AP) | Democrat Beto O’Rourke uses his home state as a cautionary tale, ticking through Texas’ Republican-backed policies as warning flags for the rest of the country.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg mentions once worrying about how coming out as gay in deeply Republican Indiana might have cost him re-election, even in his more moderate college town of South Bend.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks of evolving away from defending gun rights during her early years in Congress representing a conservative House district in upstate New York and notes, “I have uncles who voted for Trump. I get it.”

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Senate confirms former Log Cabin chief to State Dept. post

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Senate confirmed R. Clarke Cooper to a senior State Department position. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

With little opposition, the U.S. Senate confirmed on May 30 a former head of Log Cabin Republicans instrumental in finding Republican votes to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to a high-ranking State Department position.

R. Clarke Cooper, who’s gay, was confirmed as assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs by a vote of 90-8 nearly a full year after President Trump nominated him in June 2018.

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Biden receives early LGBT support amid lingering questions, criticism

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Former Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that he is running for president has sparked a mixed reaction among activists and LGBT Democrats.

“From his support for inclusive hate crimes protections in the U.S. Senate to his leadership on marriage equality as vice president, Joe Biden has been a vocal champion of equality,” Sarah McBride, a transgender woman from Delaware who is a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, told the Washington Blade on May 30.

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Democratic presidential candidates decline to speak at anti-LGBT group’s summit

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Six Democratic presidential candidates have declined an invitation to speak at an anti-LGBT group’s summit in Iowa.

NBC News on April 29 reported U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all declined invitations to speak at the Family Leader’s summit that is scheduled to take place on July 12.

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Iowa pollster: Pete Buttigieg strikes chord, could be ‘dark horse’

By : Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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In the aftermath of an Iowa poll this week placing Pete Buttigieg in a surprising third place among other candidates, the political expert behind the data said the gay 2020 hopeful could achieve a “dark horse” victory next year.

Spencer Kimball, a professor in political and sports communication at Emerson College, said the poll marks a distinct change for Buttigieg, who was polling at zero in Iowa just two months ago.

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Social media provides fuel for Jussie Smollett story

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CHICAGO (AP) | The story Jussie Smollett told police had it all: racism, homophobia, politics, celebrity — all tied up with a hangman’s noose. There was no question the news coverage was going to be massive.

In many ways, that coverage is an object lesson in the foibles of modern reporting. The story showed where news outlets teeter on the line between driving social media and being driven by it, between healthy skepticism and cautious credulity.

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Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

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CHICAGO (AP) | Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie Smollett has “shifted” due to information received from two brothers questioned in the case, and attorneys for the “Empire” actor blasted reports alleging he played a role in his own attack.

Chicago police had arrested, then released the two Nigerian brothers without charges late Feb. 15 and said they were no longer suspects in the attack.

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