New HHS division slammed as tool for anti-LGBT discrimination

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Roger Severino hailed the creation of a conscience division at HHS. Image courtesy C-Span.

Consistent with media reports indicating the move was coming, the Department of Health & Human Services on Thursday formally established a conscience division that critics say will allow medical practitioners to deny abortion-related services and treatment to LGBT people on religious grounds.

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Speaker Ryan: ‘I haven’t given any thought’ to Cakeshop case

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had no comment Thursday on the pending Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court in which a baker is seeking a First Amendment right to deny wedding cakes to same-sex couples.

In response to a question from the Washington Blade on the litigation, Ryan was seemingly unaware of the lawsuit. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Tuesday.

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Rep. Hartzler wants another shot at anti-trans military amendment

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) is looking for another shot at her amendment that would have barred the Pentagon from paying for transition-related health care for transgender service members, according to Politico.

In the aftermath of the U.S. House narrowly rejecting the amendment as part of the fiscal year 2008 defense authorization bill, Hartzler is reportedly leading “a mix of GOP defense hawks and conservatives” to include the measure in a different spending bill that will soon arrive on the floor.

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White House denies urging ‘no’ vote on Hartzler anti-trans amendment

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Despite assertions from a Republican lawmaker the White House privately urged Congress to vote “no” on a proposed amendment that would have banned transgender health care in the U.S. military, a top Trump administration official said Wednesday he’s “not familiar” with any such discouragement from the White House.

Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, made the comments during a guest appearance at the regular White House briefing Wednesday in response to a question from the Washington Blade.

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House narrowly rejects Hartzler amendment against trans health care

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. House narrowly rejected on Thursday an amendment that would have barred transgender service members from being eligible for transition-related health care, including gender reassignment surgery.

The measure, which would have barred the Defense Department from expending funds on transition-related care, was introduced by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) as part of the fiscal year 2018 defense authorization bill, but rejected on a 214-209 vote.

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Rep. Hartzler seeks to bar transgender health care in U.S. military

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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On the heels of her tirade in committee over allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) has proposed an amendment that would bar the Defense Department from providing transition-related care for troops.

The amendment was among the many submitted to the House Rules Committee by the Friday deadline in anticipation of a floor vote on major defense policy legislation for fiscal year 2018. The committee is set to meet this week to review and accept amendments ahead of the vote on the $697 billion bill.

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GOP lawmakers rail against trans military service in committee

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Amid questions about whether the Pentagon will delay allowing openly transgender people to enlist in the U.S. armed forces, GOP lawmakers led by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) railed Wednesday night against transgender military service as detrimental to military readiness and limiting expenses to the U.S. government.

During the House Armed Services Committee markup of major defense policy legislation for fiscal year 2018, Hartzler proposed an amendment she said would block openly transgender service, but withdrew her measure after a brief diatribe before it could come to a vote.

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