Ex-Vice President Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) | Former Vice President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest on April 25, declaring the soul of the nation at stake if President Donald Trump wins re-election.

In a video posted on Twitter , Biden focused on the 2017 deadly clash between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden noted Trump’s comments that there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent encounter, which left one woman dead.

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Joe Solmonese named chief executive for 2020 Democratic National Convention

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Joe Solmonese, a former head of the Human Rights Campaign, has been named chief executive for the 2020 Democratic National Convention Committee in Milwaukee.

The pick was made less than three weeks after the Democratic Party announced next year Milwaukee would host the Democratic National Convention, where the Democratic presidential candidate who will challenge President Trump in 2020 will be anointed as the party’s nominee.

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DOD unveils plan to initiate Trump transgender policy on April 12

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With court orders barring President Trump from enforcing his transgender military ban out of the way, the Defense Department late March 12 unveiled its plan to make the policy a reality, announcing it would begin April 12.

15-page memo signed by David Norquirst, who’s performing the duties of deputy secretary of defense, spells out the timeline, procedures and potential exemptions for implementing the plan ordered by Trump and created by former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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The Other Side of Life: More Effs

By : Jason Leclerc
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Last month, I walked into the temple and called out the Republican Sadducees. I toppled tables and scattered thousands of years of ill-gotten treasure.

I called for a bottom-up revolt against ingrained patriarchy and traditional oppressive masculinity. Bordering on a lamentation, my essay may have been interpreted (especially among my more generally optimistic readers) as a dire representation of history in light of the present. For column-inch purposes, I edited out the obvious ironies inherent in Christian America’s normalization of the effers who’ve gamed the system in their own favor and in direct conflict with Jesus’s own abstention from the (physical, sexual) act of effing.

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Lesbian former MMA fighter Sharice Davids elected to Congress in Kansas

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A lesbian attorney in Kansas who formerly was a mixed martial arts fighter has won election to the U.S. House, setting her up to become one of the first female Native Americans to serve in Congress.

MSNBC declared Davids, a Democrat, won over her Republican incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas), a Trump ally, at 8 pm local time on Nov 6.

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HHS falsely blames Obama amid outrage over anti-trans memo

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Under fire for a reported anti-trans plan that would eliminate federal protections for transgender people, the Trump administration is pushing back in defense of its enforcement of the law — but with a statement that is filled with errors and blames the Obama administration for undercutting transgender rights.

Caitlin Oakley, an HHS spokesperson, said the department has no comment on “alleged, leaked documents,” which the New York Times reported Oct. 21 was being spearheaded by the Department of Health & Human Services and would restrict the definition of “sex” under federal law to biological gender.

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Sessions announces the creation of a ‘religious liberty task force’

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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WASHINGTON (AP) | American culture has become “less hospitable to people of faith,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said July 30 in vowing that the Justice Department would protect people’s religious freedom and convictions.

Sessions spoke at a Justice Department summit on religious tolerance at a time when courts across the country have been asked how to balance anti-discrimination laws against the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantees.

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Obama Foundation takes steps to ensure diverse workforce

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) – Officials overseeing construction of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side say they’re taking steps to ensure a diverse workforce builds the center.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a firm owned by the brother of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer will monitor the construction company building the center to make sure it meets diversity goals.

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Awkward tension as Pentagon hosts Pride while pushing to ban trans members

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Pride is supposed to be a time for celebration, but there was palpable tension Monday at the annual Defense Department Pride event as LGBTQ civilians and members of the armed forces recognized the occasion.

The event — hosted by DOD Pride, an affinity group for LGBTQ Pentagon employees — has been held each year within the Defense Department since 2011 when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal was certified. But the elephant in the room was President Trump’s transgender military ban. It was the first such celebration since Trump announced in July 2017 on Twitter he’d ban transgender service members “in any capacity.”

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U.S. agencies to celebrate Pride month, but without Cabinet secretaries

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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With Pride month approaching, many U.S. agencies in the second year of the Trump administration are continuing plans to hold celebrations for their LGBT workers, although Cabinet leaders will be absent and some annual events are in question.

The absence of Cabinet leaders at these events stands in contrast to the Obama years when they were featured speakers at the celebrations, wished LGBT federal workers a happy Pride and reflected on the significance of the annual event.

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127 House Dems urge White House to keep rule for trans health care

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A group of 127 House Democrats led by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) is calling on the White House to keep intact an Obama-era rule barring medical providers from denying health care to transgender patients, including gender reassignment surgery.

The letter, dated May 23 and sent to Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, points to reports a rule change is pending before the White House and calls on Mulvaney “to reject a proposed rule that undermines these important protections.”

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Trump’s gay nominee Ric Grenell confirmed as ambassador to Germany

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Senate confirmed Richard Grenell on Thursday as U.S. ambassador to Germany, making him the most high-profile openly gay appointee in the Trump administration.

Grenell — who has faced Democratic opposition for months over mean tweets he made about the appearance of women and other comments downplaying the significance of Russia’s influence in the 2016 election — was confirmed by a largely party line vote of 56-42.

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