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President Obama Supports Efforts to Ban Harmful LGBTQ 'Conversion Therapy' for Minors

The White House tonight responded to a "We the People" petition urging the government to"Enact Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy" after it reached more than 120,000 signatures.

Blue_obamaA quote from President Obama was included with the White House response:

“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let's say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he's held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us -- on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.”

Said White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett:

We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth...As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors...This Administration believes that young people should be valued for who they are, no matter what they look like, where they’re from, the gender with which they identify, or who they love.

The White House statement adds:

"As part of their duty to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens, several states have taken their own steps to protect minors from the potentially dangerous effects of conversion therapy. California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have all banned licensed professionals from using conversion therapy on minors. Since last year, lawmakers in 18 other states have introduced similar legislation.

In a 2013 signing statement for his state’s legislative ban, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expressed that “exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of the benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”[3] In February 2015, a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled that advertising a service that could change a person’s sexuality is fraudulent and violates the state’s consumer protection laws.

While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken by these states will lead to broader action that this Administration would support.

The petition was named for trans teen Leelah Alcorn, who took her own life in December by walking in front of a semi truck near her home outside Cincinnati. After Alcorn's parents refused to allow her to begin transitioning when she turned 16, she decided to come out as gay. They then tried to send her to conversion therapy.

The NYT adds:

Officials also announced the creation of an “all-gender restroom” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where many of the White House staff members work, to provide an additional option for transgender individuals who are not comfortable using either the men’s or women’s restrooms.


Jeremy Bernard, First Male and First Openly Gay White House Social Secretary, to Step Down

Jeremy Bernard, who was appointed White House Social Secretary in February 2011 and is the first man and the first openly gay person to hold the position, will step down next month, the Washington Post reports:

BernardBernard, 53, broke a gender barrier when he stepped into a job that had always been held by women. He was also the first openly gay secretary in the job. At once, he melded into the fabric — hanging back as he oversaw Michelle Obama’s vision of transforming the White House into a more casual “people’s house” — and became a popular figure on Washington’s social scene, frequently dining at trendy 14th Street restaurant Le Diplomate and regularly attending events at foreign embassies. He even showed up in the pages of Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue.

Politico adds:

While no one, least of all Bernard, is sure of his next move, friends speculate that time off is in the cards, and then, perhaps, a return to political consulting and fundraising, which he did before joining the Obama White House in his current role.

Said First Lady Michelle Obama in a statement:

"For the last four years, Jeremy has worked tirelessly to open the doors of the White House to as many people as possible and to make each and every event in the White House one to remember, not only for Barack and me, but for the tens of thousands of guests who pass through our doors each year.  I was lucky to have such a talented individual on my team, and I am equally lucky to have made a lifelong friend in Jeremy. Jeremy will be missed, and Barack and I wish him the very best in all of his future endeavors."

Bernard released a statement as well:

"It has been an honor to serve the President and Mrs. Obama as Social Secretary for the last four years.  From State Dinners to Student Workshops to celebrating the holiday season, Mrs. Obama has welcomed every guest to the White House with her signature warmth, grace and style.  I feel so privileged to have worked for such an extraordinary President and First Lady."

Prior to his job in the White House, he was a California Finance Consultant for the Obama for American campaign.  Appointed by President Clinton, Bernard also served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2009.  He previously served as a board member of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.  He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's LGBT Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Police LGBT Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee.


White House Voices Concerns Over Indiana’s Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law

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The White House voiced concerns today over the passage of Indiana’s religious freedom law that could potentially allow discrimination against LGBT people reports Metro Weekly. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law yesterday by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence raises legitimate concerns for companies considering doing business in the state and is a step backward for all Americans.

Said Earnest:

"I have seen that there are a number of private businesses and nonprofit organizations that have said that the signing of this law prompts them to reconsider doing business in the state of Indiana. All those business and some of those who are considering having conventions in Indiana have raised concerns about whether all of their employees can count on being treated fairly in Indiana. 

"I think that is a testament to the kind of reaction I think a lot of people all across the country had, which is that the signing of the bill doesn’t seem like it’s a step in the direction of equality and justice and liberty for all Americans. Again, that’s not just the view of the administration, I know that’s the view of the Republican mayor of Indianapolis and a whole host of nonprofit and private sector companies who have legitimate concerns about the impact of this legislation."

Earnest added that he hasn’t spoken to President Obama directly regarding Indiana’s new law, or the "Kill the gays," ballot initiative that California Attorney General Kamala Harris is currently fighting.

 


DNC's Openly Gay National Political Director Sounds Off On LGBT Rights: VIDEO

Alvillar_insert_ccourtesy_White_House2

Last March, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz named longtime operative Raul Alvillar as the party's new political director. 

Alvillar, the first Latino to serve in the position, is also openly gay. 

He previously worked for Vice President Joe Biden and served as interim LGBT liaison for the White House for three months in 2011. Alvillar also worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 and for the John Kerry campaign in 2004, according to a story about his appointment in The Washington Blade.  

In an interview with Fox News Latino published Friday, Alvillar — who grew up in southern New Mexico — sounded off on LGBT rights:  

“Growing up LGBT in a small town, you didn’t talk about it,” Alvillar said. “Especially as a Hispanic male, there’s this expectation that you will have a wife and three kids and a minivan … That’s just how I grew up. Not knowing any other folks who were gay, you kind of feel like it’s not a ‘normal’ thing.

“I didn’t come out until I was in college, and even then I only came out to my sister,” he admitted. “I didn’t come out to my mother until I went back to New Mexico for my 10-year high school class reunion. I told her, ‘There’s something I have to tell you because I don’t want you to feel I haven’t been honest.’ She was immediately concerned and then I told her, ‘I’m gay.’ She was like, ‘Oh, okay,’ and was totally relieved. She thought I was going to tell her I was sick.”

But Alvillar notes that even in rural America, attitudes are changing:  

“I think people in Smalltown, USA,” he said, “recognize that there are people who are their brothers and sisters and cousins – people who are important to them, who they embrace, who are everyday people – who happen to be LGBT.”

He added, “Does that mean that the fight is over? No. Have we accomplished everything we need to for full inclusion in this country? No, there’s still a lot that we need to do. But the country is a better place.”

In fact, things have changed so much that Alvillar believes coming out actually helped him professionally. From an interview with Pink News last year: 

“I think for me, coming out was an advantage for me [in my job]. I think that the Democratic Party embraces diversity and is looking for that diversity. It was something that was advantageous to me. Not to say that it was the only reason why I’m in the positions I’m in. I’ve always said in the past that I’m Raul, I’m not gay Raul and I’m not Hispanic Raul. I’m just Raul. I’m here, I’m doing my job and we’re doing our jobs to get Democrats elected, whatever ethnicity or whatever sexual preference you might be.”

Watch a White House video of discussing his first job, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "DNC's Openly Gay National Political Director Sounds Off On LGBT Rights: VIDEO" »


Rick Santorum Has Awkward Encounter with Bats--t Lady Ranting About 'Communist Dictator' Obama: WATCH

Santorum

Because when you spend years hammering it into dimwitted voters' heads that President Obama is a "tyrant" who sides with "militant socialism," sooner or later you're going to come face to face with the f--ked up fan club you helped create.

Watch as Rick Santorum fields a rambling question from a "lifelong political activist" who believes Obama wasn't born in America and that POTUS tried to nuke Charleston last month, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rick Santorum Has Awkward Encounter with Bats--t Lady Ranting About 'Communist Dictator' Obama: WATCH" »


Jimmy Kimmel Gets Bystanders to Rant and Rave About Fake Obama-Related Current Events: VIDEO

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In a special President Obama edition of Lie Witness News, the Jimmy Kimmel Live crew ventured out onto Hollywood Blvd this past week to ask bystanders their thoughts on an assortment of made-up, Obama related current events.

Here what people have to say about Joe Biden's "Yo Mama" joke to Vladimir Putin, Obama's decision to not circumcise his newborn son, and more AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jimmy Kimmel Gets Bystanders to Rant and Rave About Fake Obama-Related Current Events: VIDEO" »


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