Pulse Activist: I ‘misspoke,’ Pence wants gays in ‘conversion camps’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Under fire from the right-wing media for comments he made about Vice President Mike Pence wanting gays in “concentration camps,” one of the survivors of the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub now says he “misspoke.”

Brandon Wolf — who’s now head of the Dru Project, an organization that supports GSAs in schools — told the Washington Blade via email on Monday he intended to say Pence wants gay people in “conversion camps” to subject them to the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” conversion therapy.

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Speaker Ryan becomes latest Republican to announce retirement

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With Republicans fretting about losing control of Congress in the mid-term elections, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has announced he won’t seek re-election, leaving an uneven record on LGBTQ rights and the door open for another Republican to take his place as leader of his caucus.

The 10-term member of Congress, who has served as speaker since 2015, announced during a news conference Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election to represent Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district in order to spend more time with his family, confirming news reports about his intended plan earlier in the day.

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Pence criticized for excluding media from breakfast with gay Irish PM

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Vice President Mike Pence (center) and Second Lady Karen Pence (right) met with the gay Irish PM Leo Vardakar for St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. Photo courtesy Twitter.

Vice President Mike Pence is taking heat for excluding the media from his breakfast meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who is gay.

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Pence breaks tie to confirm anti-LGBT Brownback nomination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was confirmed as U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.

In his role as president of the U.S. Senate, Vice President Mike Pence had to break the tie Wednesday to confirm Sam Brownback as U.S. ambassador at-large for religious freedom.

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Trump asserts support for LGBT equality in Log Cabin letter

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Despite a first year of an administration marked by anti-LGBT policies, President Trump expressed support equality for LGBT people in a letter recently unveiled by Log Cabin Republicans.

The letter, dated Dec. 21 and made public this week by the LGBT Republican group, is signed by Trump and congratulates the organization on its 40th anniversary.

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Social conservatives thank Trump at White House for anti-LGBT policy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Social conservatives like James Dobson thanked President Trump at the White House for his anti-LGBT policy. Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson

A host of anti-LGBT leaders met with the President Trump on Monday afternoon to thank him for keeping his promises from Election 2016, including his administration’s actions against LGBT people.

The meeting at the White House was timed with Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a move long sought by social conservatives that many leaders in the international community have warned is dangerous.

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Lawmaker proposes during Australian same-sex marriage debate

By : wire report
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian lawmaker giving a speech on same-sex marriage proposed to his gay partner Monday during Parliament’s debate on a bill that is expected to soon legalize marriage equality across the country.

Tim Wilson, a 37-year-old lawmaker in the conservative coalition government, was among the first lawmakers to join the House of Representatives debate and toward the end of his speech popped the question to his partner of seven years Ryan Bolger, who was watching from the public gallery.

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Mississippi anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ law takes effect

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A Mississippi law enabling sweeping anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom” took effect Tuesday as a result of a federal appeals court decision throwing out a legal challenge to the statute.

The law, House Bill 1523, was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant last year in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. The purported intent of the law is to protect individuals who have religious beliefs contrary to the ruling, but the measure approaches that in a way that would allow anti-LGBT discrimination.

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Michigan sued over anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ adoption law

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law religious freedom adoption bills. (Photo by Major.guy2012; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The state of Michigan is facing a first-of-its-kind lawsuit contesting its anti-LGBT “religious freedom” adoption law, which allows taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse placement to LGBT families.

The 22-page complaint was filed Wednesday in federal court in Michigan by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of two same-sex couples denied service by Catholic adoption agencies and a Michigan resident raised in foster care who believes she would have been unable to find home placement if the law were in place years ago.

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No answers from White House on trans ban, ‘religious freedom’ EO

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Amid ongoing media reports about the White House plan to bar transgender people from the U.S. military, President Trump’s top spokesperson had no answers Thursday on the status of the proposal.

During her regular news conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged in response to a question about how close the administration is to finalizing the policy and the discretion the Defense Department will have in implementing it.

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Sessions: DOJ guidance on ‘religious freedom’ on the way

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Guidance from the U.S. Justice Department assuring protections for “religious freedom” — which is considered code among conservatives to mean anti-LGBT discrimination — is coming shortly, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week.

Sessions said the guidance is coming soon during closed-door remarks before a “religious freedom” summit in Orange County, Calif., hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT legal group. Although the Justice Department refused to make the speech public, the Federalist, a conservative website, published a copy Thursday.

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Sessions to rally crowd at anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ summit

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — known for his anti-LGBT record — was set to speak Tuesday at an event for the anti-LGBT legal group representing before the U.S. Supreme Court a Colorado baker that denied a wedding cake to a same-sex couple for religious reasons.

Media outlets, including Buzzfeed, reported Sessions’ public schedule was updated Tuesday during his trip to California to include on the same day at 5:30 local time a speech in Orange County at Alliance Defending Freedom’s “religious freedom” summit. The remarks were closed to press.

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