Marriage opponent to chair State Department human rights commission

By : Michael K. Lavers of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Mary Ann Glendon (Center) with President George W. and Laura Bush at The White House in 2005. (Photo public domain)

A Harvard Law School professor who is known for her opposition to same-sex marriage will chair the State Department’s new human rights advisory commission that will stress “natural law and natural rights.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on July 8 at the State Department that Mary Ann Glendon will chair the Commission on Unalienable Rights.

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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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Activists: State Department ‘has abandoned full support of LGBTI people’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Dozens of activists in a letter to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say the State Department under his leadership “has abandoned full support of LGBTI people within its global human rights policy.”

Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley, Preston Mitchum of Advocates for Youth, American Jewish World Service President Robert Bank, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Margaret Huang, Sharon Nazarien of the Anti-Defamation League, Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress, Center for Health and Gender Equity President Serra Sippel, Bishop Joseph W. Tolton of the Fellowship Global, GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard, LGBTQ Victory Institute President Annise Parker, Rev. Jim Merritt of the Metropolitan Community Church’s Global Justice Institute, Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy, Human Rights First Senior Vice President for Policy Rob Berschinski, Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris, InterACT Executive Director Kimberly Zieselman, International Women’s Health Coalition President Françoise Girard, Darrel Cummings of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights Executive Director George Ayala, National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce President Justin Nelson, OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern, PFLAG Executive Director Brian Bond, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy and Synergía-Initiatives for Human Rights Executive Director Stefano Fabeni signed the letter that was sent to Pompeo on June 20.

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17 Senate Dems demand answers from State Dept. on Pride flag ban

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A group of 17 Senate Democrats — including six presidential candidates — are demanding answers from the State Department on its commitment to LGBT human rights in the aftermath of its decision to bar the flying of Pride flags at U.S. embassies.

In a letter dated June 13 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Senate Democrats led by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) asserts that barring the Pride flag from the official flagpole at U.S. embassies “is sending a powerfully negative message to the rest of the world about the U.S. commitment to LGBTI human rights.”

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Federal workers plan Pride celebrations, despite Trump’s anti-LGBTQ attacks

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Amid continuing news of anti-LGBT attacks from the Trump administration, LGBT federal employees are still making plans to celebrate Pride in June with events at U.S. agencies, including celebrations at the Pentagon and the State Department.

In the face of President Trump’s recently implemented transgender military ban, DOD Pride is planning an event for LGBT service members and civilian employees June 12 in the Pentagon courtyard.

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Members of Congress urge Pompeo to condemn Chechnya anti-LGBTI crackdown

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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More than 60 members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 29 urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to publicly condemn the anti-LGBTI crackdown in Chechnya.

U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and the other lawmakers in their letter also urged Pompeo to pressure the Russian government to end the crackdown.

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Advocacy groups mark International Human Rights Day

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Advocacy groups in the U.S. and around the world on Dec. 10 used the 70th annual International Human Rights Day to reaffirm their calls for LGBTI rights.

“Today on the 70th Human Rights Day, we celebrate the global recognition that every human being is born with basic human rights and dignity that should never be violated,” said Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb in a statement. “Yet, as an LGBTQ community, we still have a long way to go to achieving that goal. We need look no further than the humanitarian crisis happening at the U.S.-Mexico border, where the Trump-Pence administration is shamefully rejecting those who are fleeing violence in Central America — a good number of whom are members of the LGBTQ community. From Chechnya to Egypt to Indonesia, we will not stop until every member of our community, anywhere in the world, is safe, secure, and truly free and equal.”

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Anti-LGBTI groups participate in State Dept. religious freedom conference

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is among those who participated in a religious freedom conference the State Department held in D.C. this week. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A number of anti-LGBTI organizations participated in a three-day religious freedom conference the State Department held this week in D.C.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Thursday tweeted a picture of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins “welcoming attendees” of a workshop that focused on U.S. government grants.

A conference schedule the Washington Blade obtained indicates the workshop took place at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s offices in Northwest D.C. The picture on Twitter shows Perkins — who is a member of the commission — speaking at a podium in front of a screen with the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and its Office of Global Programs’ names projected onto it.

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US withdraws from UN Human Rights Council

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. on Tuesday announced it has withdrawn from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told reporters during a press conference at the State Department that Cuba, Venezuela, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries “with unambiguous and abhorrent human rights records” are members of the council. She also accused the council of having a “chronic bias against” Israel.

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No proclamation (again) from Trump for Pride month

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The first day of June has arrived and President Trump again declined to issue a proclamation recognizing Pride month, breaking a tradition when Democrats occupied the White House.

Meanwhile, Trump has issued proclamations in recent days recognizing National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, National Ocean Month, Great Outdoors Month, National Homeownership Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month.

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Anti-LGBTQ statements prompt senators to oppose Pompeo nomination

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Mike Pompeo during his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state declined to specifically say whether he thinks being gay is “a perversion.” Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

Two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have cited Mike Pompeo’s anti-LGBTQ statements as among the reasons they oppose his nomination to become the next secretary of state.

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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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