News Round-Up: September 11, 2018

 Some news items you might have missed:

• The memory of 9/11 has been at the forefront of my mind all day. It was an attack on my home of many years; it was an attack on all Americans. #Remember

• A man in St.Petersburg, Florida, stabbed his friend in the neck after the two had sex.

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington wondered to the press at the Toronto International Film Festival why we can’t have an openly gay actor play a Marvel super-hero?

• Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, tells the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, “We’re going to get our country back.” Griffin says he’s never seen such grassroots energy as we approach the midterm elections.

• Remembering Father Mychal Judge, the openly gay priest who was the first official casualty of the horrific 9/11 terror attack.

• Keiynan Lonsdale, star of The Flash and Love, Simon, asked his 837,000 fans on Instagram “Why is it deemed wrong to not wear clothes?” as he posted a nude pic.

A post shared by 🌳🌊❤️💫🌸 Keiynan Lonsdale 🔑🎶👁🌈🌳 (@keiynanlonsdale) on Sep 9, 2018 at 6:10pm PDT

HRC President Chad Griffin Addresses DNC 2016

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, addressed the 2016 Democratic National Convention today.

I love that Chad notes how difficult it was for Donald “Ask The Gays” Trump to even say LGBTQ, when Hillary has been telling the world for years that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

Chad also notes the vast diversity of our community – as diverse as all America.

Here’s the full text of his remarks:

Last month, our nation was rocked to its core by a senseless and hateful attack that claimed the lives of 49 LGBTQ people and allies at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. They were brothers and sisters, they were sons and daughters. Above all, they were human beings.

Yet while the nation mourned, Donald Trump strutted before the cameras, and exploited our national tragedy. He had the audacity to tell the American public that he was the true champion for LGBTQ people in this race, and that our community would be better off with him in the White House. He even challenged his skeptics to, and I quote – “ask the gays.”

Well, since he asked…Here goes:

While Donald Trump has threatened to strip away our rights, the Hillary Clinton I first got to know as a closeted kid growing up in Arkansas has always been willing to stand up for the voiceless, and she’s made fighting for equality a cornerstone of her campaign.

While Donald Trump has promised to legalize Kim Davis-style discrimination in all 50 states… Hillary Clinton has promised to sign the Equality Act into law.

While Donald Trump chose as his running mate a governor who tried to divert HIV funding in order to finance the abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy”… Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is committed to stopping the spread of HIV, banning conversion therapy for minors, and ending the hate and violence our community still faces.

And long before Donald Trump struggled to read “LGBTQ” off a teleprompter last week, Hillary Clinton stood before the United Nations and boldly declared that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.

I want to remind Donald Trump of one more thing. The LGBTQ community is as diverse as the fabric of our nation. We are Muslim. We are Jewish. We are women. We are black, white and Latino. We are immigrants and we are people with disabilities. And when you attack one of us, you are attacking all of us.

And that, my friends, is why together we are all with her.

Human Rights Campaign President To Speak On Final Night Of Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Committee has released a preliminary list of speakers at this weeks’ Democratic National Convention.

You’ll note the vast diversity of speakers, including Congressman Keith Ellison (first Muslim American elected to Congress), Chad Griffin (president of the Human Rights Campaign), and Sarah McBride (transgender LGBT activist).

Via press release:

Monday, July 25 – “United Together”
Congressman Keith Ellison (Minnesota)
National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia
Congressman Raul Grijalva (Arizona)
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (Iowa) and candidates of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry
Congressman Joe Kennedy (Massachusetts)
Chair of the Democratic Governors Association Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy
Building Trades President Sean McGarvey
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (California) and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
AFSCME President Lee Saunders
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten
Senator Bernie Sanders
First Lady Michelle Obama

Tuesday, July 26 – “A Lifetime of Fighting For Children and Families”
Democratic National Committee Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation Donna Brazile
Former State Senator Jason Carter (Georgia)
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) and the Democratic Women of the House
Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards

Wednesday, July 27 – “Working Together”
Congressman GK Butterfield and members of the Congressional Black Caucus
Congresswoman Judy Chu (California) and members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
NARAL President Ilyse Hogue
Rear Admiral John Hutson (Ret. USN)
Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson
Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and candidates of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey
EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock
Center for American Progress Action Fund President Neera Tanden
Vice-President  Joe Biden
President Barack Obama

Thursday, July 28 – “Stronger Together”
General John Allen (ret. USMC), former Commander, International Security Assistance Forces, and Commander, United States Forces – Afghanistan
Candidates of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski
Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (New York) and LGBT rights activist Sarah McBride
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland) and the Democratic Women of the Senate

Human Rights Campaign Advocates For LGBT Supreme Court Justice

Today in an op-ed for The Advocate, HRC President Chad Griffin called on President Obama to build on his legacy of LGBT equality by nominating an openly LGBT Supreme Court justice.

From Griffin’s op-ed:

If the president truly wanted to be bold and bring in greater diversity to the bench, he could look to the LGBT leaders outside of the federal judiciary. We can look to our publicly elected officials for brilliant legal minds who have fought for LGBT equality on behalf of their constituents. Like Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first elected openly-LGBT U.S. Senator who introduced the Equality Act in the Senate. Or Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who championed a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” in the state, protecting LGBT children. Or Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who spearheaded the state’s challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. These elected officials bring experience to the bench not only as members of the LGBT community, but as people with legislative and federal experience that has largely lacked from previous Supreme Court justices. And of course, there are more qualified candidates from across the legal and political realms whose lived experiences as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender would inform their time on the bench.

Despite the overwhelming support for full LGBT equality, millions in our community are still at risk of discrimination and violence in their daily lives all across the country.

It is time for an openly LGBT justice on our Supreme Court who will both affirm and symbolize our country’s commitment to full legal equality for its LGBT citizens.’

Marriage Equality On ABC’s THIS WEEK

HRC President Chad Griffin and Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson spar over same-sex marriage on George Stephanopoulos’ THIS WEEK in advance of the upcoming Supreme Court arguments tomorrow on marriage equality.

The piece also notes that the latest polls shows support for marriage equality at a record-high 61%.

Don’t miss TV – ABC News’ “This Week” this Sunday

This Sunday only on “This Week,”

• WikiLeaks founder and international man of mystery Julian Assange speaks out on the latest on Edward Snowden’s run from the law after his blockbuster leaks on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs. How has Assange and WikiLeaks aided Snowden as he seeks safe passage from Russia? Should Snowden and WikiLeaks’ partners be considered whistle-blowers or law-breakers? And what is the future of WikiLeaks as its controversial efforts remain under scrutiny around the world?

• Following this week’s historic Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown come to “This Week” to debate the future of same-sex marriage in the U.S.

• Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis reflects on her epic filibuster that drew national headlines and her fifteen minutes of fame.

(Via press release)

Human Rights Campaign names Chad Griffin as new president

Chad Griffin

Chad Griffin, the Los Angeles-based political consultant whose central role in the Proposition 8 lawsuit turned him into a national LGBT rights figure, has been named president of the Human Rights Campaign.

A major fundraiser for the Obama campaign who began his career in the early days of the Clinton White House, Griffin will replace current president Joe Solmonese at the helm of the $40 million organization on June 11, HRC announced Friday following a board of directors vote. Solmonese, who joined HRC as president in 2005 and said in August that he would leave after his contract expires at the end of this month, will continue in his role until June. Solmonese was named a national co-chair for the Obama campaign last month.

In its pick of Griffin as president, HRC has chosen someone who was shaped from an early age by Washington political culture yet who is not defined by it, having spent the vast majority of his career outside the Beltway.

Griffin, 38, is a fervent supporter of President Obama with personal ties to White House officials, but has pushed the bipartisan case for marriage equality, notably hiring former George W. Bush solicitor general Theodore Olson to co-lead the Prop. 8 suit and aligning with conservatives including gay former Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman, who has raised money for the legal effort.

Griffin has been openly critical of the president’s ‘evolving’ position on marriage equality, calling Obama’s indicated support for state’s rights on deciding who can marry “a step backwards.” And, central to the job, Griffin has a proven ability to be a formidable fundraiser.