Wednesday, May 31, 2017
A Republican congressman has broken ranks with his party to support a bill to introduce LGBT non-discrimination protections.
The Equality Act, which was reintroduced to Congress earlier this year, would introduce federal-level protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
At current the issue is only covered by a patchwork of state laws, meaning in more than 30 states it is still legal to fire people for being gay.
The law has amassed the support of nearly 200 Democrats in the House and 43 in the Senate, but Republicans have been reluctant to back the law.
To date the only Republican to openly declare support was Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is not seeking re-election in 2018.
However, another Republican has this week agreed to co-sponsor the law.
GOP Rep. Scott Taylor, the Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 2nd district, announced he would become a co-sponsor.
He said: “Discrimination anywhere is an injustice. I’m proud to support the Equality Act and will work to ensure that all are treated the same under the law.”
The politician, who is the Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 2nd district, was praised by the Human Rights Campaign.
HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said: “The growing support for the Equality Act by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents proves that LGBT equality is not a partisan issue.
“All Americans should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination.
“We are grateful for Rep. Scott Taylor’s leadership and support for this crucially important legislation that will finally ensure LGBT people are protected from unjust discrimination.”
HRC hailed the congressman as “a leader in standing up for LGBT non-discrimination protections throughout his career”.
While a state lawmaker in Virginia, the politician was one of the lead sponsors of legislation to protect LGBT people from discrimination under Virginia’s Fair Housing Law. In Congress he also tabled a measure to amend the Fair Housing Act by adding sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination protections.
Polling shows overwhelming support for LGBT discrimination protections.
Polling released last year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
The polling also showed that even among voters who opposed equal marriage, a plurality support nondiscrimination legislation.
49 percent of people who don’t support same-sex marriage believe that gay people should still be protected from discrimination – with just 45 percent opposed.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Emmanuel Macron made the announcement during a joint press conference with the Russian president in Versailles yesterday (29 May).
Macron, who was elected three weeks ago, said he had raised concerns over the treatment of gay men and transgender people in Chechnya.
During their meeting the two presidents discussed the reports of ‘collective punishment’, according to the New York Times, and agreed on ‘regular monitoring’ of the situation.
‘Collective punishment’ is a euphemism for Chechnya’s six concentration camps, where at least 200 men were believed to be held illegally.
These camps have now been destroyed and prisoners were taken to an unknown location, sparking fears amongst activists.
‘I emphasized to President Putin…how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities,’ Macron said.
‘We spoke about the cases of LGBT people in Chechnya… I told President Putin what France is expecting regarding this issue, and we agreed to regularly check on this subject.’
Putin had already said he would have talks with members of his government about an investigation.
But speaking to Macron, the Russian president is quoted as vowing to find ‘the whole truth’.
‘President Putin told me… he had undertaken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya,’ Macron said.
‘With measures aimed at establishing the whole truth about the activities of local authorities.’
Macron also said he would be ‘constantly vigilant’ about the situation in Chechnya.
While Putin did not dispute any of Macron’s statements, he also did not mention gay people even just once throughout the press conference.
On 1 April, Russian newspaper Novoya Gazeta published an article alleging Chechnya was operating a concentration camp for gay men.
At least 100 men were believed to be detained, and three had been killed.
Later in April, news broke that the number of camps had gone up to six, with at least 200 men illegally held.
Survivors reported being subject to violence and torture, in one case by using a homemade ‘electric chair’, so they would give up the names of other gay men.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Whitehouse Staffers Omit Same Sex Spouses Name Of Luxembourg's Prime Minister In Posted Photo Cedits
The White House on Saturday released a photo of NATO first spouses taken during President Donald Trump's first overseas trip without naming the same-sex spouse of Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
The photo includes 10 first spouses, including Bettel's husband Gauthier Destenay. The photo was also dated incorrectly, listing the year as 2917.
The White House initially did not identify Destenay but later edited him in. Other spouses in the photo include first lady Melania Trump.
A White House spokesperson called the omission of Destenay's name “an oversight.”
“Thousands of photos were taken over the course of a very big, very busy international trip,” Stephanie Grisham said.
And might I add, who wouldn't want to come home to him every night?