I for one look forward to our Canadian overlord.— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) March 23, 2015
Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143
March 23, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following what appear to be new threats against two anti-discrimination bills recently passed by the District of Columbia Council, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she will oppose any effort to overturn the bills in the U.S. House of Representatives as strongly as she indicated last week she would oppose the disapproval resolutions introduced in the Senate. In an interview with Roll Call, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction over D.C., said about the D.C. bills, “we want to take some action in the House too” and that “we’re still working on that.” The two bills are the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, which prohibits employers in D.C. from discriminating against employees based on their personal reproductive health decisions, and the Human Rights Amendment Act, which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students from discrimination by educational institutions in the District.
“I still hope that Chairman Chaffetz will respect D.C. home rule as he said he would when he took the chairmanship of the Committee,” Norton said. “I was not surprised that Senator Ted Cruz would leap at the opportunity to introduce two disapproval resolutions last week, perhaps in anticipation of announcing his bid for presidency at Liberty University, where reproductive choice and sexual orientation are hot-button issues. I recognize that the District’s protection of employees who do not want to answer to their employers on their reproductive choices as well as its protection of LGBT students who are singled out for discrimination at their own universities may not be the policies of other jurisdictions. We who live in the nation’s capital are American citizens and demand the same respect that is given to citizens in other jurisdictions whose local governments pass similar legislation. I appreciate the more than 50 organizations that have stepped up to oppose these disapproval resolutions. The broad coalition fully recognizes that D.C. residents not only deserve their support, but also that attempts to curtail rights here can easily spread to other parts of the country.”
Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, all D.C. bills must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. The anti-discrimination bills were transmitted for a 30-legislative-day review period on March 6, 2015. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.
More lies from Catholic Church leaders urging Congress to interfere with DC anti-discrimination legislation related to LGBT students and reproductive health. These clerics do not want religious freedom, they want religious supremacy. (Reported by Roll Call)
"Dancing With the Stars" describes this clip from its Season 20 premiere: "Michael Sam & Peta Murgatroyd dance the Cha Cha to 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars." Looks fine to me. And if Vito is okay with it, then as His Holiness says, who am I to judge?
Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and James Lankford (OK) have introduced a resolution of disapproval against two bills passed by D.C., one prohibiting employer discrimination for reproductive healthcare decisions, the other protecting LGBT students. Cruz and Langford claim that the bills are attacks on religious freedom.
Cruz is setting a pattern of fibbing about legislation. Last week he demanded the repeal of the non-existent federal Common Core law. His cries of religious freedom being under attack are the opposite of the truth. He is defending discrimination. A growing GOP trend is to dress up anti-LGBT discrimination as religious freedom. What they want is not freedom but supremacy.
As you may know, one of the two targeted bills, the Human Rights Amendment Act, which among other things repeals the noxious, congressionally imposed Armstrong Amendment dating from the late 1980s, was requested by GLAA. Here are other news stories on the senators' disapproval resolution:
Those who cannot bring themselves to give President Obama credit for anything ever have to work overtime making up excuses for setting aside all the positive news.
In related news, our fab Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton stirs the pot:
Republicans: Follow principles in your new budget, support DC home rule. http://t.co/iH4rE3pRfi— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) March 17, 2015
My friend Lateefah on Facebook asked, "Ok, out of sheer curiosity, I have to ask. Have any of you been engaged in a conversation about race while in Starbucks?"
I thought of ordering a "Malcolm Xpresso and please don't weaken it with cream," but I didn't want to start trouble, and I don't like Starbucks coffee, so I skipped it. But now I keep thinking of things to say to start a dialog in the coffee line:
I'm just trying to help.
UVA honors student Martese Johnson arrested, bloodied by cops http://t.co/d26lnwD2ct— theGrio.com (@theGrio) March 18, 2015
This latest disgusting example of excessive force by police is causing outrage at UVA and across the country. If you want people to respect the system, the system must respect them.
Gay Star News reports:
A Russian man who was jailed after torturing gay teens and driving them to suicide is facing new charges.
Maxim Martsinkevich, the leader of the anti-LGBTI group Occupy Pedophilia, is being charged with robbery, hooliganism and causing property damage.
In addition the investigators have also charged the homophobic leader, also known as 'Machete', with 'inciting hatred'.
You cannot be too crazy to be taken seriously by a politician like Rick Santorum.
Associated Press explains: "Dramatic footage emerged online on Wednesday of beautiful lights in the sky filmed during a severe solar storm which hit Earth on Tuesday."
Moderate Black people – Barack Obama included – continue to believe that the way to bring white people into the anti-racist fold is by conceding some ground in order to gain more ground. It’s an old debate tactic, but it only works if everyone plays fair. There are two problems with this. First, those with racial privilege generally don’t play fair in racial discussions. More than that, they play downright dirty, denying the persistence of racism, trotting out erroneous statistics, blaming Black behavior for white racism. The Ferguson Police Department, for example, has conceded nothing even after being found guilty of decades of egregious, consistent and systematic violations of the rights of Ferguson’s Black citizens. Second, Capehart implicitly concedes that it is Black people who must prove that incidents are racially inflected, rather than white people who must prove that they are not. Since we now know for a fact that Darren Wilson policed in a racially hostile city and police department, and since Ferguson residents – Michael Brown included – knew that long before a Justice Department report merely affirmed their experience, it is perfectly reasonable for Black folks to view Ferguson police and police around the country with suspicion.
Joanna Rothkopf at Salon writes:
On Tuesday evening’s edition of MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” host Chris Hayes spoke with “CBS Sunday Morning’s” Nancy Giles and video blogger, writer and DJ Jay Smooth about Starbucks’ bizarre attempt at rectifying hundreds of years of systemic racism in the United States.
Score one for Jay Smooth.
WUSA9 News reports:
A bench warrant is on file in Prince George's County for D.C. icon Walter Fauntroy. The pastor and former civil rights leader is believed to be in Africa. His passport has been revoked by the U.S. State Department.
Fauntroy's disappearance has been discussed quietly around town since he apparently came close to being killed around the time of Qadafi's fall in 2011. Prior to that, I heard him give a number of delusional, self-aggrandizing speeches. He was part of the ineffectual group of ministers that opposed marriage equality in DC, and like others in that group appears to be an overcompensating closet case.
Twelve years ago I spoke to Fauntroy in the fellowship hall at Israel Baptist Church, and tried respectfully to convince him that the backers of the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment with whom he allied himself were the same people Dr. King criticized in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and that he was dishonoring his old associate Bayard Rustin in the process. I might as well have chatted up the food on the buffet table.
For years Fauntroy was a fixture at ineffectual rallies for DC Statehood. Because of his background in the civil rights movement, few criticized him publicly. His homophobia was as out of date as his boasting of his closeness to Qadafi. He lived in the past for a long time, and had many enablers. Now his mental state is in question. He has become a sad footnote in the post-Benjamin Jealous era of cooperation between the civil rights and LGBT rights movements, in which many ministers are on the side of equality, as Dr. King's widow was.
The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long enjoyed bipartisan consensus in America until now. Netanyahu appears headed to another term as PM after reversing his previous stated support for a Palestinian state and stoking racist panic to turn out the far-right base. The American far right is already in bed with him and will surely back his reckless position. Will liberals and responsible conservatives stand up to this madness, or be intimidated by charges that they are anti-Israel? Netanyahu is harming Israel's long-term interests by embracing a policy of apartheid west of the Jordan River. If we do not say that loudly and clearly, we might as well dig her grave, and the world's with it. #SupportJStreet
Presbyterians approve same-sex marriage http://t.co/NeyLDWaZ6r— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) March 18, 2015
Good for them, but it comes too late to impress me. Years and years of hand-wringing and soulful discussions and hair-pulling and whatever other drama, just to end up with the bleeding obvious. How many people did they turn away in the meantime? How many gave up and left, or stayed and repressed themselves to avoid being shunned? You can't get back lost time and lost lives and loves. Sorry, but that's how it feels to me.
One of the fatal revelations was that Rep. Schock (R-Closet) had gotten reimbursed for 90,000 more miles of work- and campaign- related driving in his Tahoe than the vehicle had been driven.
Barney Frank, who is on a book tour, commented that Schock spends far too much time in the gym for a straight guy.
The latest marriage news roundup from AFER. Our opponents grown more desperate by the week.
Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports:
D.C. police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a customer of the Capitol Hill gay bar Bachelor’s Mill, who was found unconscious on the street about two blocks from the bar about 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22.
According to a police report, Derrick Lee Powe, 46, was found “in an unconscious state” with an abrasion on the back of his head alongside 1000 7th Street, S.E., which is the address for one of the recently built U.S. Marine Corps barracks.
This is very disturbing. A friend of mine patronizes Bachelor's Mill, and the time indicated is about the time he would normally be leaving it. The police are urged to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible.
The junior senator from Arkansas actually said this today on Face the Nation: "Moreover, we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran."
Well, yes, Professor Marvel, they do indeed.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following news release on March 10 (and pardon my tardiness):
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today reaffirmed her commitment to defend two anti-discrimination bills that the District of Columbia transmitted to Congress on March 6, after the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations once again called on Congress to pass disapproval resolutions to overturn these two bills during the congressional review period. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act would prohibit D.C. employers from discriminating against employees based on their personal reproductive health decisions, and the Human Rights Amendment Act would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender D.C. students from discrimination.
“The Heritage Foundation and its social conservative allies are trying to start a new social issues war using District of Columbia local laws in a Congress that has yet to show it can govern the nation,” Norton said. “They picked the wrong jurisdiction, and they picked the wrong issues. We are not going to have our local citizens answering to employers on their personal reproductive health care decisions. And we are not going to have our LGBT students stigmatized and denied by their own universities and schools. We are already working with a broad coalition representing local and national organizations to defend D.C.’s local anti-discrimination laws from congressional interference.”
Bill 20-0790, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, was transmitted to Congress on March 6 for its congressional review period. The projected Law Date is April 17.
Bill 20-0803, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014--which was written at the request of GLAA and (among other things) repeals the congressionally-imposed Armstrong Amendment--was transmitted to Congress on the same date, and has the same projected law date of April 17.
The right-wing group Heritage Action issued an alert attacking these two bills on January 29. Its characterization of the bills is inaccurate. GLAA is working with Congresswoman Norton and allied groups to defend both bills from congressional interference.
Here are news stories about GLAA's candidate ratings for the April 28 special election in D.C.:
There are a few candidates who still promise to give us their questionnaire responses. We will rate them as promptly as we can and issue an update as necessary.
Gary Gutting in NYT writes:
Last month, Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, made controversial changes to a handbook for Catholic high school teachers in his jurisdiction. The changes included morals clauses, one of which forbids those teachers from publicly endorsing homosexual behavior. There are plausible legal and educational objections to this move. But there is a deeper issue, one that raises fundamental questions about Catholic teachings on homosexuality and other sexual matters.
The archbishop has justified of his decision on the grounds that homosexual acts are “contrary to natural law.” Unlike many religions, Catholicism insists that its moral teachings are based not just on faith but also on human reason. For example, the church claims that its moral condemnation of homosexual acts can be established by rigorous philosophical argument, independent of anything in the Bible.
The primary arguments derive from what is known as the “natural-law tradition” of ethical thought....
Bah. "Natural Law" is religious dogma in pseudoscientific drag. If Cordileone were interested in nature, he would observe the widespread presence of homosexuality to be found in it, rather than dictating to nature as he does. He is lecturing past the graveyard.
Even most Catholics ignore Church teachings on sex, which are outdated and centered on control, not understanding. The RCC morally bankrupted itself with decades of facilitation and coverup of child rapes, and worsened it by evading justice and hiding money to avoid paying judgments. Many bishops remain arrogant, corrupt, intolerant, and steeped in misogyny.
If there is a sin, it is acting like sheep when God did not make us sheep. Let the bishops get their minds around that, respect the laity and women's religious, and stop their bullying, or they will slide further into irrelevance.
My Blade column this week examines the state of justice in America fifty years after Selma. Here is an excerpt:
The Edmund Pettus Bridge gleamed in the afternoon light when President Obama spoke there on March 7 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Yet Transportation for America includes it on a map of America's 70,000 structurally deficient bridges. Completed in 1940, it is named for a former U.S. Senator who was a Confederate general and a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan.
The back side of a billboard welcoming Obama featured one from admirers of Klan founder and Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Beneath an equestrian portrait of Forrest was the slogan, "Keep the skeer on 'em." Thus as we honor nonviolent resistance, others wax nostalgic about lynching.
Obama did not mention the Forrest billboard but did mention last week's Justice Department report on the Ferguson Police Department. He said that while the report shows that the fight for justice is not finished, America has made a lot of progress. He cited advances not only by African Americans but also by women and gay people. "To deny ... this hard-won progress ... would be to rob us of our own agency, our own capacity, our responsibility to do what we can to make America better."
Obama tacitly rebuked the right wing's patriotic posturing by celebrating the reforming impulse: "It's the idea held by generations of citizens who believed ... that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what is right, to shake up the status quo."
Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate Sheila Bunn, who has served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, dominated the field in the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) candidate ratings for the April 28 special election, earning a score of +9. She has the highest rating of any candidate in this election cycle. The top-rated candidate in the Ward 4 race is Dwayne M. Toliver, who earned a +7. No candidate earned GLAA's hard-to-get championship point in this election.
One response common among many candidates was their hedging on the "Death with Dignity Act of 2015," introduced by Councilmember Mary Cheh and endorsed by GLAA. There were virtually no other issues of controversy in the questionnaire, judging by the responses.
The following are explanations of individual ratings. Note: Ratings marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a candidate who did not return a questionnaire and provided no information regarding his or her record on LGBT issues.
Ward 4 Councilmember
Democratic candidate Dwayne M. Toliver (+7) has a strong questionnaire and a good record on LGBT issues as an attorney for the Department of Human Resources. In his answer to GLAA's first question, Toliver showed a strong grasp of the issues surrounding the District's repeal of the congressionally-imposed Armstrong Amendment, which repeal GLAA had urged.
Democratic candidate Edwin W. Powell (+6.5) turned in a strong questionnaire, including a good discussion on healthcare, and documented a pro-LGBT record.
Democratic candidate Brandon Todd (+5.5) turned in a solid questionnaire but showed little by way of a record on LGBT issues.
Democratic candidate Acqunetta Anderson (+3) agrees with GLAA on most of the issues but offered little substance and no record on LGBT issues.
Democratic candidate Renee L. Bowser (+2.5) agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered little substance and showed no LGBT-specific record.
Democratic candidate Leon T. Andrews, Jr. (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Democratic candidate Ron Austin (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Democratic candidate Gwenellen Corley-Bowman (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.
Democratic candidate Judi Jones (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.
Socialist Workers Party candidate Glova Scott (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.
Democratic candidate Douglass Sloan (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Democratic candidate Bobvala Tengen (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Ward 8 Councilmember
Democratic candidate Sheila Bunn (+9) has a strong questionnaire and a solid record on LGBT issues as a senior staffer to both Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and former mayor Vincent C. Gray.
Democratic candidate Marion C. Barry (+4.5) agrees with GLAA on all the issues and provided some substance, but has a limited record on LGBT issues.
Democratic candidate "S.S." Sandra Seegars (+4.5) agrees with GLAA on most issues but provided limited substance. She has a record of supporting LGBT issues.
Democratic candidate LaRuby May (+4) agrees with GLAA on all the issues but provided limited substance. She documented no LGBT-specific record.
Democratic candidate Eugene D. Kinlow (+3.5) agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered almost no substance. He has been an ally on LGBT issues.
Independent candidate Keita Vanterpool (+3.5) agrees with GLAA on the issues but provided little substance or LGBT-related record.
Democratic candidate Stuart Anderson (+3) agrees with GLAA on the issues but provided little substance or LGBT-related record.
Democratic candidate Jauhar Abraham (+2) agrees with GLAA on the issues but offered no substance or LGBT-related record.
Democratic candidate Greta Fuller (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.
Democratic candidate Anthony Muhammad (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Democratic candidate Leonard Watson, Sr. (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Democratic candidate Trayon "WardEight" White (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on his record.
Democratic candidate Natalie Williams (0*) did not return a questionnaire and provided no information on her record.
A coalition of LGBT groups in D.C. today issued their Report Card: Status of Metropolitan Police Department Implementation of Recommendations from the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force and Community Response.
The groups signing the report card include Casa Ruby, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, DC Trans Coalition, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, HIPS, and Rainbow Response Coalition. GLAA is proud to be in this company. Thanks to Jason Terry of DCTC for drafting the community response. He is presenting the report card at today's Performance Oversight Hearing on MPD being held by the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary.
Here is the report card's introduction:
In February 2014, Chief Cathy Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) released the findings of the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force (HCATF) she convened in December, 2011, accompanied by the departmentʼs response to the Task Forceʼs recommendations. Shortly thereafter, a coalition of community organizations released its own response, including recommendations not addressed in the HCATF reportʼs findings. Less than a week later, on March 19, 2014, MPD presented to the community a plan outlining “Next Steps” in its efforts to implement the Task Forceʼs recommendations. Now, nearly a year out from these proposed actions, we (the community) revisit the recommendations made by the Task Force and Community Response to evaluate what progress has been made.
The HCATF report highlighted serious problems in the functioning and effectiveness of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) and Affiliate Liaison program, a growing lack of trust in the police among transgender residents and the broader LGBTQ communities, the absence of a comprehensive, standardized training curriculum on LGBTQ hate crimes and cultural competency, the ineffectiveness of the Critical Incident Team (CIT), and several other issues requiring departmental action. In addition to these, the community coalition identified other outstanding issues not mentioned in the report but central to LGBTQ communitiesʼ relationship ￼￼with MPD and included recommendations for action. These included both elaboration on matters included in the report and issues not addressed such as LGBT intimate-partner violence (IPV), interactions with LGBTQ youth, and interactions with sex workers.
To facilitate the review of the recommended actions put forth last March, we have prepared a list organized by topic and source of recommendation following the structure of the HCATF report and the MPD and community responses. Our assessment reflects information shared with community organizations by MPD. We offer this report card as a way to assess how much progress has been made over the last year, and to invite MPD to respond with updates on its activities to date.
Sometimes an apology comes too late.
President Obama spoke today at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. A very fine moment.