Democrats regain control of Virginia General Assembly

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The Virginia State Capitol building. (Photo by Michael Key)

Democrats regained control of the Virginia General Assembly on Nov. 5. The first time since the 1990s.

Democrats gained six seats in the House of Delegates and two seats in the state Senate. The results in Virginia are widely seen as a referendum on President Trump heading into the 2020 election.

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The New York Times celebrates women in power with new book

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: “The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power,” Abrams, by The New York Times, foreword by Roxane Gay, portraits by Elizabeth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman

The 2018 midterm elections gave the United States a staggering 116th Congress, important in part for the number of women who assumed office and for the diversity among those women. The first openly LGBTQ member of the Senate to win re-election. The first two Muslim women elected to Congress. The first two Native American congresswomen. The youngest woman elected to Congress. The firsts go on, and this attractive book, “The Women of the 116th Congress: Portraits of Power” by The New York Times, documents all of them.

It is a reverential compendium that begins with a forward by author Roxane Gay that lays out many of the firsts and speaks to the importance of this Congress: “The people who have been elected to represent us are, finally, starting to more accurately reflect the American people. This matters because when a diverse range of people serve in Congress, they start to address the issues the range of Americans are facing.”

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Polish conservatives win lower house but lose Senate

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Poland’s parliament. (From Wikimedia Commons)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) | Poland’s conservative ruling Law and Justice party capitalized on its popular social spending policies to win a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament but lost control of the Senate, according to results reported Oct. 14.

When exit polls were released after voting ended Oct. 13, the ruling Law and Justice party appeared headed for a strong victory. The results from the Senate, however, indicate that the opposition will have a tool to prevent the ruling party from rushing through laws without consulting opposition parties — something it has often done during its four years in power.

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Dan Baer bows out in Colorado race for U.S. Senate seat

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Gay U.S. ambassador Daniel Baerdropped his bid for U.S. Senate in Colorado. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Daniel Baer, an openly gay foreign policy expert who served as a U.S. ambassador during the Obama administration, has dropped his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado.

Baer announced he’d suspend his campaign Sept. 12 and would endorse former Gov. John Hicklenlooper, who launched a bid to run for U.S. Senate after his failed campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

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Senate confirms anti-LGBT judicial nominee who stood up for Kim Davis

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The U.S. Senate has confirmed anti-LGBT judicial nominee Matthew Kacsmaryk (First Liberty Institute publicity photo)

Flouting the recognition of June as Pride Month, the U.S. Senate approved a Trump judicial nominee on June 19 who has a long anti-LGBT record, including defense of Kim Davis for refusing to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Senate confirmed Matthew Kacsmaryk to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas by a vote of 52-46.

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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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The US House of Representatives has passed the Equality Act

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act by a vote of 236-173 on May 17.

“It’s the first time a chamber of Congress has approved a comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights bill that would finally provide clear, nationwide protections for LGBTQ people throughout daily life,” wrote the Human Rights Campaign on Twitter shortly after the measure passed.

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Bill requiring state defense of schools bathroom policy axed

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) | A bill authorizing Tennessee’s attorney general to defend a public school’s transgender bathroom and locker room policy is dead for the year.

The state Senate cast a voice vote Wednesday to delay consideration of Republican Sen. Joey Hensley’s bill until 2020. Some senators were heard voting to keep the bill alive.

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Dems urge delay on contentious first day of Kavanaugh hearings

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, W.A. (AP) | Senate Democrats sought to put the brakes on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday as they called for a delay in proceedings on a contentious first day of his confirmation hearings.

The partisan breakdown on the Senate Judiciary Committee was clear as Democrats decried the absence of available material — an estimated 100,000 pages — from when Kavanaugh was staff secretary at the George W. Bush White House and Republicans insisted the nominee’s 12-year record as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in D.C. offered enough insight about his judicial temperament.

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Delaware Senate approves equal rights amendment

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DOVER, Del. (AP) – The state Senate has approved a proposed amendment to Delaware’s constitution guaranteeing equal rights based on sex.

The legislation failed to gain the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate last month but was recalled and approved on a 17-4 vote June 6 after lawmakers added language clarifying the intent of the legislation.

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Chelsea Manning takes steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A transgender former Army intelligence who rose to national prominence for leaking sensitive information to Wikileaks has taken steps to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland.

The Federal Election Commission website indicates Chelsea Manning on Thursday filed for candidacy to run as a Democrat in the mid-term election.

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Anti-LGBT Trump nominee to Export-Import Bank rejected by Senate

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Anti-LGBT Scott Garrett was rejected as president of the Export-Import Bank. Photo by Gage Skidmore via wikimedia

Amid objections from LGBT groups, the U.S. Senate rejected on Tuesday a Trump nominee to the U.S. Export-Import Bank with a history of anti-LGBT views.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs rejected the nomination of Scott Garrett on a bipartisan vote of 10-13. In June, Trump nominated Garrett as president of the Export-Import Bank, which provides finance assistance to help foreign entities buy U.S. exports.

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