Lambda Legal announces N.Y. activist Richard Burns as interim CEO

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Lambda Legal has appointed a longtime N.Y. activist to take the helm as interim leader, following the recent departure of its CEO ahead of the mid-term elections, the Washington Blade has learned.

Richard Burns, who served as executive director of the NYC LGBT Community Center for 22 years, is set to take over as interim CEO as the search continues for a replacement for Rachel Tiven, who resigned in August.

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Judge rules HB2 deal doesn’t impair bathroom access for trans people

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit against the compromise over North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2 to continue, but found the new law doesn’t inhibit bathroom access to transgender people in the state.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled Sunday night the challenge to House Bill 142 can proceed in so far it pertains Section 3 of the law, which prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances regulating private employment practices or regulating public accommodations until December 1, 2020.

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Senate advances Kavanaugh nomination — but there’s a floor vote deal

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of powerful testimony from Christine Blasey Ford asserting she’s “100 percent” Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 28 voted to advance his nomination — although a deal is in the works for an investigation before his final confirmation vote.

The Senate panel approved the nomination on 11-10 party lines. Republican members insisted on moving forward with the nomination despite objections from Democratic members, many of whom called for delay until the FBI could conduct an additional investigation.

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LGBT groups call for halt to Kavanaugh vote amid attempted rape charges

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With Christine Blasey Ford coming forward as the individual alleging sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, LGBT groups are joining the calls to pull the brake on his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of a scheduled vote on his nomination this week.

Sharon McGowan, chief strategy officer for the LGBT legal group Lambda Legal, compared the allegations to the testimony of Anita Hill against now U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and said they “demand a thorough investigation.”

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State Department: Transgender passport holder policy remains unchanged

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department on Thursday said its policy towards transgender passport holders has not changed after changes to its website sparked concern.

The National Center for Transgender Equality on Wednesday said, “language concerning the process for changing gender markers on U.S. passports was altered or removed from the State Department’s website earlier this week.” The email the National Center for Transgender Equality sent to its supporters noted “the longstanding page regarding ‘Gender Designation’ policies — in place since 2010 — has been removed, and a new but similar page concerning what they now call ‘Sex Designation’ has been put in its place with significant changes.”

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Convicted murderer sentenced to death for being gay?

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The ACLU and four LGBT legal groups are asking a federal appeals court to allow a gay South Dakota man convicted of murder in 1993 to present new evidence showing that anti-gay bias may have motivated the jury to sentence him to death instead of life in prison.

Charles Russell Rhines, 62, has been held on death row in the South Dakota State Penitentiary for 25 years since his conviction and sentencing for the March 1992 stabbing death of a 22-year-old male employee at a Rapid City donut shop.

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New Trump administration memo on Obama order alarms LGBT advocates

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, the Trump administration has issued new guidance that seeks to uphold “religious freedom” in the implementation of former President Obama’s executive order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors — a move troubling to LGBT rights supporters.

The Aug. 10 guidance from the Labor Department purports to “incorporate recent developments in the law regarding religion-exercising organizations and individuals” with the enforcement of the executive order, taking note of the narrow ruling in decision of Colorado baker Jack Phillips as well as other recent rulings in favor of religious freedom, such as the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

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Lambda Legal announces resignation of CEO Rachel Tiven

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Amid staffer discontent as the organization pursues legal challenges in support of LGBT rights against President Trump, the executive director of Lambda Legal has resigned, the organization announced Friday.

In a statement, Tiven — who has served as head of Lambda Legal since 2016 — said she came to the organization “with a mandate to make big changes” and is “proud of how much we’ve accomplished,” but will take on a new position to work on the mid-term elections with the Leadership Now Project, a progressive non-profit of business professionals.

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Trans Puerto Ricans can now change gender on birth certificates

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Transgender people in Puerto Rico are now able to change the gender marker on their birth certificates.

A federal judge in March ruled the U.S. commonwealth’s previous policy — a 2005 decree from the Puerto Rico Supreme Court that said trans people could not amend the gender marker on their birth certificates — was unconstitutional.

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LGBTQ groups condemn Supreme Court travel ban ruling

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBTQ advocacy groups on Tuesday condemned the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the Trump administration’s policy that effectively bans the citizens of five Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

Lambda Legal Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven in a statement said the ruling is “as shameful as the internment of Japanese Americans and the doors slammed shut to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.”

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Supreme Court sends back ‘religious freedom’ case from anti-gay florist

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers is seeking an OK to refuse service to gay couples. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced that it has sent back for review to Washington State a lawsuit filed by an anti-gay florist seeking a First Amendment right to refuse service to same-sex weddings.

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Kansas governor signs ‘religious freedom’ anti-LGBTQ adoption law

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed anti-LGBTQ adoption legislation making his state the latest to enact a “religious freedom” law enabling taxpayer-funded agencies to deny placement into LGBTQ homes.

Colyer signed the legislation, Senate Bill 284, into law on Friday, according to a local media report. The Washington Blade has placed a call in with Colyer’s office seeking confirmation that he signed the bill.

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