Swing state, swing district: House seat has huge field in NH

By : wire report
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) | It’s been 16 years since there was an open seat in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District — and now more than 16 candidates are hoping to fill it.

Back when Republican Rep. John E. Sununu left to run for U.S. Senate in 2002, eight Republicans and two Democrats sought to replace him in what had long been a reliably red district. But after flipping in each of the last four cycles, it’s now a swing district in a swing state. The result? Eleven Democrats and six Republicans competing in Tuesday’s primaries.

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Kavanaugh hearings to begin Tuesday despite Trump scandals

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Despite objections to holding confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court amid the withholding of documents from his time at the Bush White House and mounting scandals facing President Trump, the Senate is nonetheless poised to begin its public questioning of the nominee next week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is moving forward with hearings — scheduled from Tuesday to Friday — as Republican leaders push to have a floor vote on his confirmation before Election Day — after which control of Congress could change.

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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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Latest ruling could give Supreme Court crack at trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal appeals court has reaffirmed its decision to keep in place an injunction barring the Trump administration from enforcing its transgender military ban, setting the stage for an initial review of the policy at the U.S. Supreme Court before U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy steps down.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied on Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department’s request to dissolve a preliminary injunction against the ban, which the administration made in the aftermath of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ report justifying President Trump’s policy

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Violence, discrimination prompts LGBTI Hondurans to migrate

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: A photo of Roxana Hernández, a transgender Honduran woman with HIV who died in ICE custody in May, hangs on a wall inside the offices of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on July 11, 2018. Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers.

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Members of Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa, an LGBTI advocacy group in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, on July 11 were sewing a transgender Pride flag for an upcoming march. On the wall behind them were the pictures of 19 local activists and community members who have been killed over the last decade.

“You can be killed at any moment in this extremely violent country,” a lesbian activist told the Washington Blade during an interview with three others affiliated with Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa who identify themselves as transsexual women.

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Trump supporter holds up homophobic sign in front of College Park man’s house

By : Colton Adkins
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ORLANDO | A Trump supporter laughed as local College Park resident Fernando Sosa recorded him sitting outside of Sosa’s home with a homophobic and racist sign July 9.

In the video, the man — identified as Matt Sherman — is holding up a sign that says, “A gay Asian with AIDS who hates America + fireworks lives here!” on one side and, “A butt hurt Trump hater lives here, who’s the keyboard warrior now?” on the other.

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The Other Side of Life: Independence Day

By : Jason Leclerc
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As holidays go, Independence Day is my favorite of the secular American celebrations. Other holidays, equally important in their own ways, like Veterans Day and Memorial Day are patriotic derivatives: without a nation, we wouldn’t have the heroes to honor.

Without that Declaration on July 4, 1776, we wouldn’t have a nation. Situated perfectly in the middle of the year, bookending Yuletides, we as a people are reminded that, like long summer days, the sun doesn’t want to set on our celebration of independence. America is not merely a “City on a hill” but, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, “shining” so: a beacon of hope to the world.

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LGBT activists join protests against Trump immigration policy

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: The Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality are among the groups that took part in the #FamiliesBelongTogether rally against President Trump’s immigration policy that took place in D.C. on June 30, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

LGBT rights advocates across the country on Saturday took part in protests against President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Director of Faith Outreach and Training Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling and the National LGBTQ Task Force staffers are among those who took part in the #FamiliesBelongTogether rally that took place in Lafayette Square across the street from the White House. Lin-Manuel Miranda is among those who spoke before a march took place on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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White House hails Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling as religious liberty win

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hailed Tuesday as a win for religious freedom the narrow ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to serve a custom-made wedding cake to a same-sex couple.

“When it comes to the bakers, we were pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” Sanders said. “The First Amendment prohibits government discriminating on the basis of religious beliefs, and the Supreme Court rightly concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to show tolerance and respect for his religious beliefs.”

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White House stays silent on Masterpiece Cakeshop decision

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t address the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling from the Supreme Court. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The entire day passed Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a major case on LGBT rights versus “religious freedom” without the White House weighing in on the outcome, even though the Trump administration has previously sided with the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

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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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Gillibrand to propose amendment against Trump’s trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) plans an amendment against Trump’s transgender military ban. Image courtesy of YouTube.

Coming off her aggressive questioning of top military leaders in committee on the transgender military ban, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) now plans to seek to amend major defense legislation against the policy.

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