House approves PRIDE Act to give gay couples refunds on back taxes

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The PRIDE Act would make gay couples eligible for a tax refund if they married before DOMA was struck down. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. House approved — with zero opposition — legislation that would allow same-sex couples to obtain an estimated $67 million in tax refunds if they married before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.

The legislation, known as the PRIDE Act, or the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality Act, was introduced by Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Andy Levin (D-Mich.).

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IDAHOBiT marked in US, around the world

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Politicians and activists in the U.S. and around the world on Friday commemorated the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement shortly before the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights laws, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Pelosi: Supreme Court review to have ‘no impact’ on Equality Act, floor vote in May

By : Chris Johnson of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether existing federal law prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination will have “no impact” on the advancement of legislation seeking to ban it explicitly under federal law, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said April 22.

Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, said via email in response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade the Supreme Court decision will have “no impact” on the legislative process for the Equality Act, which he said is set for floor vote in the U.S. House in May.

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Civil rights groups change tune, now fully support Equality Act

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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After previously withholding full support of the Equality Act, civil rights groups have now come out in favor of the legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination as the House prepares to consider the bill.

Civil groups groups were among those promoting the Equality Act at a news conference Monday on Capitol Hill one day before the first congressional hearing on the legislation.

Among those civil rights advocates was Kristine Lucius, executive vice president for policy for the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, who said her organization is “proud to be here fighting for the Equality Act.”

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#LoveHandlin’: Together

By : Jerick Mediavilla
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There is a sort of divine spark within each of us that constantly follows us through life wherever we go. Some people call it a vibe, an energy, a wisdom that keeps pulling us towards what some say is our true calling.

I started writing at age 10, right around the same time I first saw the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie “Bloodsport.” My dad loved his movies for the kicking, the punching and the blood. I loved them for… well, obvious reasons. His splits, stretching between two chairs, helped me realize I was gay—Van DAMN!

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Members of Congress hang transgender pride flags outside their offices

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) showed their support for the transgender community by hanging transgender pride flags outside their Capitol Hill offices in advance of International Transgender Day of Visibility this Sunday, March 31.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass) also participated and showed their support on social media.

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Equality Act returns — with House Democrats in majority

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Optimistic about the prospects of enshrining a prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination into federal law with a new Democratic majority in the U.S. House, Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation known as the Equality Act to make that long-sought goal a reality.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) chief sponsors of the Equality Act in their respective chambers of Congress, on Wednesday trumpeted the introduction of the legislation with great fanfare during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.

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Pelosi: Equality Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination to be introduced next week

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced during her weekly news conference the Equality Act, legislation that would enact long sought-after federal protections against anti-LGBT legislation, would be introduced next week.

Pelosi said the Equality Act would be introduced in the same week as legislation intended to protect DREAMers, or young undocumented immigrants, and other immigrants from deportation in the aftermath of President Trump’s revocation of their protections.

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‘SNL’ parodies bisexual Sen. Krysten Sinema in ‘Women of Congress’ sketch

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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“Saturday Night Live” imagined what an action movie starring the Democratic women of Congress would look like in their sketch “Women of Congress.”

Krysten Sinema (Cecily Strong), Nancy Pelosi (Kate McKinnon), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Melissa Villaseñor), Maxine Waters (Leslie Jones), Ilhan Omar (Ego Nwodim), Ann McLane Kuster (Aidy Bryant), Rashida Tlaib (Halsey) and Abigail Spanberger (Heidi Gardner) each appear in their own segment on how they plan to take down the male politicians who stand in their way. All of the women are wearing replicas of the all-white looks the Democratic women sported during Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last week in honor of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

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Cicilline touts Equality Act as House’s new senior gay member

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) will become the most senior openly gay member of the U.S. House as Democrats take the majority this week, but he’s more excited about the growing ranks of openly LGB people who will serve in Congress alongside him and finally being able to move long-awaited legislation to ban anti-LGBT discrimination.

Asked by the Blade during an interview in his office Dec. 20 about his new distinction as the most senior out gay member of the House with outgoing Rep. Jared Polis leaving to become governor of Colorado, Cicilline said he’s “very proud” the chamber will have a net gain of two out LGB members in the 116th Congress and talked about the Equality Act.

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A modest Jared Polis prepares to govern

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Outgoing Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) claimed a significant victory for the LGBT community on Election Day by becoming the first openly gay person elected governor in the United States.

Today, he remains focused on the work ahead — and decidedly modest about his LGBT milestone.

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In surprise move, Marcia Fudge endorses Nancy Pelosi for speaker

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A potential showdown in the new House Democratic majority in which LGBT rights would have been a major factor fizzled on Nov. 20 when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won an endorsement from Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), her most likely competitor.

In a surprise move, Fudge — who said she was considering a run for speaker, but never declared her candidacy — announced her endorsement of Pelosi as speaker for the 116th Congress in a statement Tuesday night.

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