Gay married couple in Md. sues after daughter denied US citizenship

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The Kivitis, photo via Twitter.

A gay married couple from Maryland on Sept. 12 filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department over its refusal to recognize their daughter’s U.S. citizenship.

Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase married in California in 2013. Their daughter was born via surrogate in Canada in February.

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Gay State Dept. official oversees sale of military tech to allies

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Assistant Secretary Cooper consults with a senior U.S. Air Force Pilot as he tours the U.S. corral at the Paris Air Show. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

If you hear about the United States announcing the sale of military technology to a foreign ally, R. Clarke Cooper will have had a hand in it.

As assistant secretary for political-military affairs at the State Department, Cooper is charged with advancing national security interests by coordinating with allied nations the sale of U.S. conventional weapons, such as F-35 aircraft, bombs, missiles and firearms. Each year, his bureau facilitates more than $190 billion in U.S. defense transfers.

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Lawmakers ‘deeply concerned’ over State Department human rights commission

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Fifty members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday said they are “deeply concerned” over the State Department’s new human rights advisory commission.

The lawmakers—including U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.)—in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his “plan to establish a Commission on Unalienable Rights is an attempt to make an end run around career experts, statutorily established State Department structures and widely accepted interpretations of human rights law to push a narrow, discriminatory agenda that decides whose rights are worth protecting and whose rights the administration will ignore.”

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Activists: State Department ‘has abandoned full support of LGBTI people’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Dozens of activists in a letter to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say the State Department under his leadership “has abandoned full support of LGBTI people within its global human rights policy.”

Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley, Preston Mitchum of Advocates for Youth, American Jewish World Service President Robert Bank, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Margaret Huang, Sharon Nazarien of the Anti-Defamation League, Winnie Stachelberg of the Center for American Progress, Center for Health and Gender Equity President Serra Sippel, Bishop Joseph W. Tolton of the Fellowship Global, GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard, LGBTQ Victory Institute President Annise Parker, Rev. Jim Merritt of the Metropolitan Community Church’s Global Justice Institute, Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy, Human Rights First Senior Vice President for Policy Rob Berschinski, Immigration Equality Executive Director Aaron Morris, InterACT Executive Director Kimberly Zieselman, International Women’s Health Coalition President Françoise Girard, Darrel Cummings of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights Executive Director George Ayala, National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce President Justin Nelson, OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern, PFLAG Executive Director Brian Bond, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy and Synergía-Initiatives for Human Rights Executive Director Stefano Fabeni signed the letter that was sent to Pompeo on June 20.

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Pence backs ban on Pride flags at U.S. embassies

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Vice President Mike Pence, who’s widely known for having a notoriously anti-LGBT record, has signaled his support for a State Department policy barring the display of Pride flags on the official flagpoles at U.S. embassies.

In an interview Monday with Kristen Welker and Josh Lederman at NBC News, Pence reportedly said the State Department policy against Pride flags is “the right decision.”

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Bisexual Bruneian man speaks out against country’s new penal code

By : Michael K. Lavers Of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National LGBT Media Association
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A bisexual man in Brunei on April 5 said his country’s new penal code that calls for the death penalty for anyone convicted of consensual same-sex sexual relations is “weaponizing religion.”

“Our religion is one of peace and one of tolerance,” he told the Washington Blade during a WhatsApp interview from Bandar Seri Begawan, the Bruneian capital. “I don’t see it as righteous or pious … it’s weaponizing religion.”

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US ‘deeply concerned’ over arrests of LGBTI people in Azerbaijan

By : Michael K. Lavers Of The Washington Blade, Courtesy Of The National LGBT Media Association
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A State Department spokesperson on April 4 said the U.S. is “deeply concerned” over reports that indicate more than a dozen LGBTI people in Azerbaijan have been arrested.

Reuters cited an Azeri LGBTI advocacy group that said police this week arrested four transgender sex workers. Freedom House in a press release said police in Baku, the country’s capital, on April 1 arrested “at least 14 LGBT+ people.”

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State Department releases annual human rights report

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The State Department’s annual human rights report that was released on Wednesday notes anti-LGBTI violence and discrimination remained widespread around the world in 2018.

The report cites statistics from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights that indicate nine transgender women and eight gay men were killed in “hate crime homicides” in Mexico’s Veracruz state in the first eight months of 2018. The report also notes activists in the city of San Luis Potosí have said “homophobia in police ranks” has hindered the investigation of the case of a man who was allegedly beaten to death by a group of 10 taxi drivers outside a gay bar on Aug. 5, 2018.

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New State Department diplomatic visa policy takes effect

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A new State Department policy that requires partners of foreign mission personnel and employees of international organizations to be married in order to qualify for a diplomatic visa took effect on Oct. 1.

A State Department letter the Washington Blade obtained last month states, “consistent with internal Department of State policy changes, partners accompanying officers and employees of international organizations or seeking to join the same must be married in order to be eligible for a derivative G-4 nonimmigrant visa or to seek a change into such status beginning October 1, 2018.” The letter also says the State Department “will only accept the accreditation of spouses of newly arrived officers and employees of international organizations, both same-sex and opposite-sex, as members of the family of the respective international organization.”

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Trump names former Log Cabin chief to senior State Dept. post

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: President Trump has nominated R. Clarke Cooper to senior State Department position. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

President Trump has nominated a former head of Log Cabin Republicans to a senior position at the State Department for political and military affairs.

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State Department spokesperson acknowledges Spirit Day

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 Thursday acknowledged a campaign that seeks to combat bullying.

Nauert at the beginning of a press briefing told reporters that “today, along with many of my colleagues here at the State Department, including members of the LGBTI community, in association with GLIFAA (a group that represents LGBT and intersex Foreign Service members), we are — many of us are wearing purple today to celebrate Spirit Day.”

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Gay former U.S. ambassador drops congressional bid

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A gay foreign policy expert who worked on international LGBT rights and served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe has dropped his short-lived bid for a congressional seat in Colorado.

Daniel Baer, who had sought the Democratic nomination to run in Colorado’s 7th congressional district, announced in a statement Thursday he’d suspend his campaign in the aftermath of incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) deciding to run for re-election.

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