Barbara Boxer Hub




Sen. Barbara Boxer Sends Letter to Vladimir Putin, Slams Russian Anti-Gay Laws

BoxerIn a letter sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) blasted Russia's anti-gay 'propaganda' ban and urged the country to repeal its laws and policies infringing upon the rights of LGBT individuals. Boxer, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee that oversees human rights, said Putin's anti-gay regime has become an "affront to fundamental principles of equality."

From the letter:

"I support a strong United States-Russia bilateral relationship and believe we must work to strengthen this important relationship whenever possible. However, I cannot stay silent while your country works to put in place deeply discriminatory laws and polices undermining the rights of LGBT individuals, which have already had tangible and dangerous consequences. I have been shocked by images of Russian LGBT individuals - including young men and women - being harassed threatened and severely beaten. If these laws and policies are not repealed, the consequences for human life and human dignity could get even worse.

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the significant detrimental impact of these laws on the Winter Olympic Games that Russia is scheduled to host next year. The United States - like many other countries - will be sending both LGBT athletes and spectators to the Games. I firmly expect Russia to support the Charter of the Olympic Games, which refers to sport as a human right that should be practiced without 'discrimination of any kind.' Any attempt at discrimination will be met with significant protest and will leave a dark stain on Russia's international image for decades to come."

Those protests, however, may hit a roadblock if Putin has his way. Earlier today, we reported on Putin issuing a decree banning all "meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets" before and during the Sochi Olympics.  


Schumer, Boxer Get Behind Hagel Nomination, Cite His 'Sensitivity and Understanding' of Gay Military Issues

New York Senator Charles Schumer and California Senator Barbara Boxer are getting behind the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary.

HagelPolitico reports that Boxer has been swayed by a persuasive letter and "extensive" phone conversations:

“First and foremost, he has pledged without reservation to support President Obama’s polices — policies that I believe have made our world safer and our alliances stronger,” Boxer said in a Monday night statement.

“I asked him about a number of issues — including America’s special relationship with Israel, the threats posed by Iran to the world and the treatment of women and gay and lesbian members of our military — and his answers were reassuring and show a sensitivity and understanding of these issues.”

Boxer added Hagel would meet with her about the Pentagon’s efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, presuming he’s confirmed by the Senate.

The outreach shows how the White House has placed a premium in wooing key Democrats early in the confirmation process — even ones like Boxer, who does not serve on the Armed Services Committee.

And Schumer says he's now on board too, saying, in part:

On issues related to female and LGBT service members, Senator Hagel provided key assurances as well. He said he is committed to implementing the Shaheen amendment to improve the reproductive health of military women. He also supports the full repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In general, I believe any President deserves latitude in selecting his own advisors. While the Senate confirmation process must be allowed to run its course, it is my hope that Senator Hagel’s thorough explanations will remove any lingering controversy regarding his nomination.

Read Schumer's full statement here.

Read Hagel's letter to Boxer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Schumer, Boxer Get Behind Hagel Nomination, Cite His 'Sensitivity and Understanding' of Gay Military Issues" »


Sen. Boxer, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Support Ryan Andresen, Scout Denied Eagle Status For Being Gay

Andresen

Ryan Andresen has some new heavy weights behind his campaign to win the Eagle Scout status that is rightfully his. Andresen has been in the Boy Scouts for twelve years and should be an Eagle Scout, but the tenaciously discriminatory Scouts denied him the award because 17-year old Andresen is openly gay.

Since the story broke, bold-faced names like Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper have come out for him. And now so have Sen. Barbara Boxer, San Francisco Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and 33 California state lawmakers, including State Senator Leland Yee.

For her part, Senator Boxer wrote a letter to Ryan sharing her support. "Your perseverance to raise awareness against bullying is commendable. I admire your courage to stand up for who you are, as well as the bravery you have demonstrated in the face of intolerance," she wrote.

Newsom took a more direct approach, writing to the Boy Scouts of America, "In defending this hurtful and discriminatory policy barring gay youth and leaders, the Boy Scouts of America are simply standing on the wrong side of history. And in doing so, the Boy Scouts are hurting the very people that you aim to serve: the young men who participate in your programs."

He went on, "Scout leaders who are speaking out against this hurtful policy inspire me. I urge the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council to follow the brave precedent established by other local councils by ending anti-discriminatory practices and approve the Eagle Scout award Ryan so justly deserves."

State Sen. Yee and his colleagues, meanwhile, had this to say to the BSA: "We ask that Ryan Andresen receive the honor that he has rightfully earned. To deny him the title of Eagle Scout denigrates his efforts, and cheapens the title for his fellow Eagles."

"To hold him to a different standard, to say he is unworthy of this honor because of his sexual orientation is as offensive and un-American as it would be to do so because of the color of his skin."


Bill To Extend COBRA Benefits Introduced Into Congress

A bill to extend equal COBRA health benefits to LGBT families was introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY). The Washington Blade reports on the legislation, known as Equal Access to COBRA Act.

Hor In a statement, Boxer highlighted the necessity of passing the legislation to help ensure LGBT people have health care coverage.

“All of our families deserve equal access to health insurance,” Boxer said. “This bill would help ensure that domestic partners and their families will be able to keep their health coverage if their partner loses their job.”

The measure would apply to companies that already offer health coverage to employees with same-sex partners to ensure they have access to Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act benefits if they lose their job.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, praised the introduction of the legislation.

“In these troubled economic times, social safety-net benefits like COBRA continuation coverage are even more important to American families,” Solmonese said. “LGBT people should have the equal ability to maintain those critical benefits for their families during difficult times.”

According to Boxer’s office, more than half of Fortune 500 companies cover domestic partners under their health plans.


Towleroad Guide To The Tube #746

THE LAND OF DREAMS: A mash-up of Liza Minnelli's most amusing moments from last night's Larry King Live.

UGLY IN ANY LANGUAGE: National Organization for Marriage has released a Spanish-language ad attacking Barbara Boxer.

YOU KNOW WHO I AM: Barack Obama cracks a joke after the Presidential Seal falls from his lectern. 

WHAT A DAMSEL: Remember Penelope Pitstop and her amazing boots?

For more Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Watch: NOM Attacks 14 Heroes Who Voted Against DOMA in 1996

Boxer

One Man, One Woman, a NOM affiliate, looks back to 1996 in a new ad attacking Senators Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold, and their votes against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: NOM Attacks 14 Heroes Who Voted Against DOMA in 1996" »


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