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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Transgender inmate says she was raped despite raising fears

By : wire report
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DENVER (AP) — A transgender inmate who is suing Colorado’s corrections agency says she was raped at a men’s prison hours after a federal judge denied her request to block the prison from keeping her in a disciplinary unit, according to court records and the woman’s attorney.

Lindsay Saunders-Velez filed a lawsuit in July saying she has been threatened, harassed and assaulted since entering Colorado’s prison system last spring for violating her plea deal in a menacing case. She called the state’s prisons “discriminatory and dangerous” for transgender offenders.

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Trump’s new faith initiative raises concerns among LGBTQ advocates

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump’s new initiative to support faith-based organizations with federal assistance is stirring unease among LGBTQ rights supporters, who say they’ll keep watch to ensure the program doesn’t enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Trump, who created the initiative by executive order on Thursday on the National Day of Prayer, said during a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden the program will “help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.”

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Anti-LGBTQ Trump judicial nominee Kyle Duncan confirmed to Fifth Circuit

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate has confirmed to the federal bench a Trump judicial nominee who made a major component of his career as a lawyer attempts to block LGBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage and transgender student Gavin Grimm’s access to the high school boys’ room,

Kyle Duncan, a partner at the D.C.-based Schaerr Duncan LLP, was confirmed Tuesday to a seat on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals — which has jurisdiction over Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi — by a party-line vote of 50-47.

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Judge: Trump’s ban on transgender troops on hold until trial

By : wire report
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SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. judge in Seattle has ordered President Donald Trump not to ban transgender troops from serving in the military, saying it’s unclear whether recent changes to his administration’s policy are constitutional.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman was one of four judges nationwide who blocked Trump late last year from overturning an Obama-era directive allowing transgender troops to serve openly. The Justice Department asked her to dissolve that ruling, citing changes that would allow transgender troops to serve in limited cases.

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LGBTQ rights lawyer immolates self in NYC in ecology protest

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) — A well-known gay rights lawyer and environmental advocate burned himself to death in New York City on Saturday in a grisly protest against ecological destruction.

The charred remains of 60-year-old David Buckel were found by passers-by in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Police said he was pronounced dead at about 6:30 a.m.

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Pompeo grilled over anti-LGBTQ statements during confirmation hearing

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The confirmation hearing on CIA Director Mike Pompeo‘s nomination to become the next secretary of state took place before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 12, 2018. Washington Blade by Michael Key.

Mike Pompeo on Thursday during his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state faced questions about his previous anti-LGBTQ statements.

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