Battlelines over LGBT Rights Just Drawn By Congress, White House

As Donald Trump's second hundred days get underway, a battle over LGBT rights has unexpectedly broken out between Congress and the White House.

On Tuesday, 241 members of Congress, led by Rep. David Cicilline in the House, and Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker in the Senate, re-introduced the Equality Act to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Currently, 30 states lack state laws that would protect LGBT citizens against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, jury service, and public education.  The Equality Act would prohibit such discrimination nationwide.

On the same day as the Equality Act was introduced, the Trump administration announced that President Trump would sign a "religious liberty" executive order on Thursday that opponents say would amount to a license to discriminate against LGBT Americans.

While administration officials insist the order has not been finalized, a draft order leaked in February would have exempted anyone claiming religious freedom from anti-discrimination laws, giving them broad protections to discriminate against the LGBT community.

The ACLU wasted no time in condemning such an executive order, saying in a statement: “The ACLU fights every day to defend religious freedom, but religious freedom does not mean the right to discriminate against or harm others. If President Trump signs an executive order that attempts to provide a license to discriminate against women or LGBT people, we will see him in court.”

This latest executive order is seen as a victory for Vice President Mike Pence, whose effort to push through such an order earlier this year was scuttled. The signing ceremony will be attended by faith leaders who will be at the White House that day to celebrate the National Day of Prayer.

While the Equality Act is led by Democratic members of Congress, the bill is technically bipartisan, boasting one lone Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen made news herself this week when she announced she'll be retiring from Congress at the end of this term.


Shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that representatives would begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took the podium to defend the President and the Republican party as a whole.

It could've gone better.

Keep reading... Show less
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images // MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

One day after the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a press conference announcing that the House would begin drafting articles of impeachment, with a possible floor vote as soon as Christmas.

The press conference signaled the beginning of the end of the impeachment inquiry in the House.

Keep reading... Show less
Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee, in its public impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, consulted four constitutional scholars for greater insight to the legal implications of the President's Ukraine scandal—and whether they merit impeachment.

Three witnesses, called by Democrats, each made compelling arguments for the articles of impeachment with which Trump could be charged.

George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley—invited by Republicans—was the lone dissenter.

Keep reading... Show less
gbuck_jr/Twitter; National Archives

The Republican Party again raised ire and eyebrows with yet another GOP candidate advocating violence against members of Congress in official campaign materials.

This time it is George Buck Jr. of Florida. The GOP politician is running for the 13th congressional district—a seat currently held by Democrat Charlie Crist.

Keep reading... Show less
Win McNamee/Getty Images // Hogan Gidley/Twitter

President Donald Trump's press team is working overtime to discredit media coverage of the impeachment hearings against their boss.

The House Judiciary Committee began its hearings today, with four constitutional scholars—Pamela Karlan, Michael Gerhardt, Noah Feldman, and Jonathan Turley—tasked with testifying about the constitutionality of impeaching Donald Trump. The former three were invited by Democrats, who hold the majority, while Turley was invited by Republicans.

Keep reading... Show less

The House Intelligence Committee submitted to the House Judiciary Committee its 300 page report of information gleaned from fact witnesses so far in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

In addition to reiterating the testimony of several witnesses regarding Trump's corrupt dealings with Ukraine, the report also highlighted call records between numerous key players in the Ukraine scandal.

Keep reading... Show less