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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State Dept. sued for denying citizenship to same-sex couples’ children

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Elad and Andrew Dvash-Banks, second and third from left, with their twins Aiden, first from left, and Ethan, fourth from left. Photo courtesy of Immigration Equality.

Two binational same-sex couples on Monday filed federal lawsuits against the State Department after their children were denied U.S. citizenship.

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Tillerson acknowledges Transgender Day of Remembrance

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday issued a statement that acknowledges the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the United States honors the memory of the many transgender individuals who have lost their lives to acts of violence,” said Tillerson.

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Senate committee unanimously approves Chechnya resolution

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution that condemns the anti-LGBT crackdown in Chechnya.

U.S. Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced the resolution in June. The U.S. House of Representatives in the same month approved an identical resolution that U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) introduced.

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Tillerson raises anti-gay Chechnya crackdown with Russian counterpart

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The State Department on Tuesday confirmed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed concern about the ongoing anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya with his Russian counterpart.

The Washington Post in a Sept. 1 article about a transgender Chechen woman who has received asylum in the U.S. noted Tillerson wrote a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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LGBT envoy to remain in State Department overhaul

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday indicated the special U.S. envoy for the human rights of LGBT and intersex people will remain in place under a State Department overhaul.

Tillerson in a letter to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the position “will be retained and continue to be organized under the” State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Tillerson wrote the position “will continue to be held by a deputy assistant secretary.”

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Russian group claims to have evacuated 64 people from Chechnya

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A Russian LGBT advocacy group says it has evacuated 64 people from Chechnya over the last four months.

A 31-page report the Russian LGBT Network released on Monday notes those it has helped leave the semi-autonomous Russian republic in the North Caucuses “were relocated” to shelters in central Russia. The Russian LGBT Network, which is based in St. Petersburg, also said more than 130 people from Chechnya and neighboring republics have “requested assistance of a different nature because of the persecution from the local authorities and hostile relatives.”

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State Dept. dodges question about Tillerson’s silence on Chechnya

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday did not say why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has yet to publicly condemn the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya.

Nauert noted to the Washington Blade during a press briefing the State Department has urged the Russian government to conduct an investigation into the crackdown.

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Trump meets with Putin at G20 summit

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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It remains unclear whether President Trump on Friday raised the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the G20 Summit.

The Associated Press reported Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who attended the meeting in the German city of Hamburg that lasted more than two hours, told reporters Trump raised the Kremlin’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

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Tillerson acknowledges Pride month

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday issued a statement that acknowledges Pride month.

“The Department of State affirms its solidarity with the human rights defenders and civil society organizations working around the world to uphold the fundamental freedoms of LGBTI persons to live with dignity and freedom,” he said.

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Wasserman Schultz: U.S. foreign policy must promote human rights

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) on Saturday said the promotion of human rights must remain part of U.S. foreign policy.

The Florida Democrat who is the former chair of the Democratic National Committee pointed out in her remarks at the World OutGames Miami Human Rights Conference in Miami Beach that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this month said the U.S. “would have to sacrifice possibly America’s values when dealing with other countries in order to achieve sort of greater good or more broad goals, even if it meant sacrificing our values that matter to us when it comes to human rights.”

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