President Biden Urges Swift Passage Of Equality Act

President Joe Biden issues a statement of full support to LGBTQ+ people on National Coming Out Day
President Joe Biden

In an official statement from the White House, President Biden calls on Congress to “swiftly pass” the Equality Act:

I applaud Congressman David Cicilline and the entire Congressional Equality Caucus for introducing the Equality Act in the House of Representatives yesterday, and I urge Congress to swiftly pass this historic legislation.

Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all.

Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society.

The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law.

On my first day in office, I was proud to sign an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. I directed agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling, and fully enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Now, it’s time for Congress to secure these protections once and for all by passing the Equality Act — because no one should ever face discrimination or live in fear because of who they are or whom they love.

The Equality Act, formally reintroduced in the House on Thursday, would ban anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination throughout the nation. The act would amend existing civil rights laws to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The legislation passed in the House in 2019 with a bipartisan 236-173 vote but was never given a vote in the Senate.

(via WhiteHouse.gov)

Jon Ossoff Projected As Winner Of Georgia Runoff Election

Jon Ossoff projected to win his Senate race in Georgia

Jon Ossoff projected to win his Senate race in Georgia

It’s official – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff has been projected as the winner of his race in the Georgia runoff elections.

His win, a final backhand to Donald Trump, will give Democrats control of the Senate.

From the New York Times:

The Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated Senator Kelly Loeffler, becoming the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from the South. And Jon Ossoff, the 33-year-old head of a video production company who has never held public office, defeated David Perdue, who recently completed his first full term as senator.

Both Democrats now lead their defeated Republican opponents by margins that are larger than the threshold required to trigger a recount under Georgia law.

Georgia: Warnock Wins, Ossoff Victory ‘Very Likely’

Jon Ossoff & Rev. Raphael Warnock
Jon Ossoff & Rev. Raphael Warnock
L-R Jon Ossoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock (images via Twitter)

Democrat Raphael Warnock has been projected to win his Senate race in Georgia beating Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and fellow Dem Jon Ossoff is currently leading in his race against GOP Sen. David Perdue by 17,000+ votes.

The remaining votes to be counted are mainly in Democratic strongholds, so it’s expected that Ossoff and Warnock will only increase their leads.

From the New York Times:

At a news conference, Gabriel Sterling, a top official from the Georgia secretary of state’s office, refers to Jon Ossoff as “Senator to be, probably, Ossoff.” Sterling says he anticipates that all but a few votes will be counted by 1 p.m. today and that Jon Ossoff will very likely defeat David Perdue.

With more than 60,000 absentee votes uncounted, mostly from Democratic-leaning counties, a Georgia elections official says Ossoff is the likely winner and no recount will likely be necessary.

The energy in the race has been enormous with the two Dems outpacing the Republicans in fundraising during the weeks leading up to the runoff election.

Warnock becomes only the 11th Black U.S. Senator in the history of the nation and the first from Georgia.

If he wins his race as expected, Ossoff will be the youngest Democratic senator to be elected since – Joe Biden.

With the two wins, the U.S. Senate will be comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans leaving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes.

Say it with me: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Raphael Warnock declared the winner of his Senate race in Georgia
(graphic via NY Times)
Democrat Jon Ossoff his Senate race in Georgia
(graphic via NY Times)

Dems Outpacing Repubs In Fundraising For Georgia Senate Runoff

A prosecutor in Georgia is reportedly in the early stages of investigating Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the election results in the state

A highway sign reading Georgia where Democrats are leading in fundraising ahead of the upcoming Senate runoff elections

The two Democratic candidates in the Georgia Senate runoff races for U.S. Senate are far outpacing their Republican opponents in fundraising.

From Fox News:

Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is taking on Republican Sen. David Perdue, took in more than $106 million from Oct. 15 through Dec. 16, according to his latest campaign finance report.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Democrat trying to unseat Sen. Kelly Loeffler, was close behind with a little over $103 million.

Perdue reported $68 million over the same two-month span, with Loeffler collecting just under $64 million. Three of the campaigns reported their financial data on Thursday. Loeffler submitted hers a day earlier.

The two races will determine which party will control the Senate in 2021.

If the Democrats win both seats, there will be 50 Dems and 50 Republicans in the chamber, but with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris – who serves as president of the Senate – control would swing to the Democrats.

News Round-Up: October 12, 2020

Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joins fellow NFL players in letting closeted players "When you're ready, so are we."

Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joins fellow NFL players in letting closeted players "When you're ready, so are we."

Some news items you might have missed:

Pink News: The pharmacy chain Superdrug has launched the UK’s first-ever PrEP service and it will be fully remote (utilizing online doctors) in an effort to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Superdrug will, however, require that people accessing PrEP through its new service adhere to blood monitoring tests to ensure that they can safely take the HIV-preventing drug.

Back2Stonewall: It has been confirmed that the new HBO Max reboot series of the Green Lantern will feature the first Green Lantern character, Alan Scott – and, like in the Earth-2 comics, the character will be openly gay.

Instinct Magazine: Current and former pro football players (Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski above) took part in this terrific PSA for National Coming Out Day. “Today, on National Coming Out Day, we come together with one clear message,” say the athletes direct to camera. “To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we. It takes all of us and you deserve to be all of you.”

Politico: South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison raised a staggering $57 million in the third quarter of this year, shattering the previous record for a Senate candidate as he seeks to unseat GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham, who has not released his third-quarter fundraising totals, raised $8.4 million in the second quarter and had $15 million in the bank as of June 30.

AP News: Here’s a bit of a warning sign for Donald Trump who won the 65+ vote by 9 points in 2016. The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community located in battleground state Florida, recently held a 300+ golf cart parade in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The Hill: Donald Trump’s son Eric told ABC News’s Jon Karl on Sunday his father’s treatment for COVID-19 a “vaccine” that he further claimed the president helped create from “day one.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Eager Georgia voters swarmed to polling places Monday morning for the start of three weeks of early voting before Election Day. Voters filled parking lots and waited in lines to lock in their choices in advance of November 3. As the tweet below notes, 410,000 absentee ballots have already been returned versus a total of just over 200K in 2016.

Georgia Senate Races Could Result In Run-Off Elections

A prosecutor in Georgia is reportedly in the early stages of investigating Donald Trump for attempting to overturn the election results in the state

A new poll by Public Policy Polling shows the two Senate races in Georgia may well end in run-off elections in January.

Georgia is one of seven that require a run-off election if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in a primary election.

Not saying a Democrat will necessarily win, but I found this interesting as a possibility.

Senate Unanimously Calls For Release Of Whistleblower Complaint

The US Senate has unanimously approved a non-binding resolution calling for the release of whistleblower complaint

The US Senate has unanimously approved a non-binding resolution calling for the release of whistleblower complaint

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed (both pictured above), a voice vote in the U.S. Senate calling for the release of the whistleblower complaint received on August 12 that began the current Ukraine/Trump scandal.

The non-binding resolution was approved unanimously.

Meanwhile, Trump tweeted that he’s already ordered the release of the “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of his phone call with the Ukrainian president.

‘Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…’

Alabama Senate Candidate: “We’re Too Interested In Homosexual Activities”

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill

A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama told supporters over the weekend the problem with the United States today is Americans are too “preoccupied with homosexual activities” and “the wife swap shows.”

It would seem the Senate race is also a race to prove who is the most homophobic politician in Alabama…

John Merrill, currently serving as Alabama’s Secretary of State, is one of many Republicans looking to unseat Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the 2020 election cycle.

The senate seat was held for 20 years by former Donald Trump toadie, Jeff Sessions, who vacated the position to become U.S. Attorney General, which didn’t work out too well for him, but that’s another story.

At a town hall event in DeKalb County this past weekend, Merrill was asked his thoughts on “culture shift” in the country (that’s code for the gays emergence in the mainstream) and the erosion of moral principles.

“[T]hat’s what we’ve allowed to happen,” said Merrill first reported by YellowHammerNews. “How have we allowed it to happen? There are no more good TV shows on like ‘Gunsmoke,’ ‘Bonanza,’ ‘The Virginian,’ ‘Andy Griffith,’ ‘I Love Lucy.’”

“We don’t have those shows anymore,” continued Merrill. “We’re too interested in homosexual activities. We’re too interested in seeing how this family’s finding a way to mess on this family or to see how people are trying to date on TV, or having wife-swapping on TV. That’s what we watch.”

Bolding is mine.

So, basically, Merrill longs for the good old days of TV shows that glorified guns and had wives stay at home in the kitchen.

The comments were confirmed by Alabama news site AL.com on Monday evening during a phone interview.

“The foundational principles which we have grown up as a nation are no more,” lamented Merrill. “There’s no more TV shows like ‘Gunsmoke’ or ‘Bonanza’ or ‘The Virginian’ or ‘I Love Lucy’ or ‘Andy Griffith.’ I said people are too interested in homosexual activities. They’re too interested in the wife swap TV shows and the shows that are not morally uplifting. That’s the problem.”

Asked by reporter Howard Koplowski what exactly that means, Merrill repeated himself.

“I meant what I said. People are too interested in anything that is not uplifting, edifying. They’re too busy being preoccupied with homosexual activities and the wife swap shows.”

According to Koplowski, Merrill demurred from offering any specific examples of how Americans are too preoccupied with “homosexual activities.”

The secretary of state did bemoan about the lack of TV shows “that are based on biblical foundations,” however.

I guess we should have seen that coming.

“Shows that promote family and culture with a father, a mother and children based on biblical teachings and biblical principles on which our nation was founded,” explained Merrill.

Merrill also told USA Today, “There are too many TV shows preoccupied with people’s sexual orientation instead of messages that edify our basic moral foundation.”

The Human Rights Campaign’s Project One America Director Meghan Kissell issued this statement regarding Merrill’s comments:

“This attack on LGBTQ people and our values only further underscores the fact that the Alabama Senate Republican primary is becoming a race to the bottom and a competition for who is the most virulently anti-LGBTQ. Alabamians deserve a leader who fights for the equality of everyone and every community, not someone who would feel more comfortable in America’s oppressive past.”