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GLAAD on Harvey Weinstein controversy

The accused sexual harasser has contributed to and been honored by several LGBT organizations

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Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence at GLAAD Awards in 2013 (Photo courtesy GLAAD)

After former President Bill Clinton, the next most prominent and powerful men at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles in April 2013 were entertainment attorney Steve Warren, a GLAAD honoree, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and producer Harvey Weinstein, who presented Clinton with his GLAAD award, alongside actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Mostly known as the quick-and-hot tempered powerhouse producer who green-lit important indy films, Weinstein was at times awkward and downright giddy on stage as he tried to read from notecards while Lawrence mangled her reading from the teleprompter—all in good fun. But after the stunning, blockbuster New York Times revelations of allegations of sexual harassment against Weinstein by scores of women in Hollywood, the exchange between the heavyweight producer and his Oscar-winning “Silver Lining Playbook” star seems oddly awkward.

“Before we begin, I just want to congratulate Harvey and his wife Regina on the birth of their new baby boy,” Lawrence says, stroking his back. “Harvey gave us just what we needed, another—him. (Audience laughs). …If he’s anything like his dad, he’s going to be relentless, passionate and just about the best mentor an aspiring actor could ever hope for.”

“Thank you, Jen.” Weinstein says. “But you can stop kissing up to me for forgetting to thank me at the Oscars. (Laughter). Let’s just do what we’re here to do.”

After she screws up and reads his line from the prompter, with her name, Lawrence runs her hand down his arm in jest. “Sometimes I call him ‘Jennifer.’ It’s a pet name,” she jokes.

Weinstein congratulates gay attorney Steve Warren on his award. “That was an amazing speech, by the way,” Weinstein says. “I’ve seen Steve in action and I just want to say what a force he is for good and equality. He has incredible integrity in a business often filled with challenges.” (Laughter.)

That moment has its place in LGBT history, but it now has a “cringe-worthy” asterisk. “It is reprehensible to learn about Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of power and gross treatment of women, especially given his role as a frequent proponent of social justice. As the leader of an organization that advocates for women’s rights and full LGBTQ acceptance, I stand with the women who have used their voices to speak up about this and commend the free press for telling their stories,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis tells the Los Angeles Blade.

UPDATE: Jennifer Lawrence added her name to the outcry against Weinstein, telling the Daily Beast:  “I was deeply disturbed to hear the news about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations. This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.”

She added, “My heart goes out to all of the women affected by these gross actions. And I want to thank them for their bravery to come forward.”

Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company not only donated to GLAAD, but other LGBT organizations, as well. Variety reports that Weinstein contributed $10,000 to the Human Rights Campaign Equality Votes initiative last year. HRC has not returned phone calls or emails.

Though one website says Weinstein has contributed to the American foundation for AIDS Research, amFAR has not yet responded to an email request for comment. It also notes that Weinstein contributed to GLSEN, which gave Bob and Harvey Weinstein the Chairman’s Award in 2012, Douglas Flores, GLSEN’s Chief Operating Officer, tells the LA Blade: “GLSEN has not received a financial contribution from Harvey Weinstein. Thank you for reaching out.”

Unlike several Democratic politicians who are returning Weinstein’s contributions or giving the money to charities, one senior communications expert told the LA Blade that is unlikely that the LGBT groups would return funds, especially monies contributed years ago.

Weinstein has apologized,  adding: “Though I’m trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go.” But that was not sufficient to keep his job with the company he co-founded and Deadline reported Monday, his name will be taken off company TV and movie credits.

The shunning has begun. If or how long it will last is a different matter. But it appears that the old “casting couch” sex harassment no longer has legs in Hollywood.

YOUTUBE of GLAAD Awards:

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Virginia

Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate opposes marriage equality

The Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center categorized as an extremist anti-LGBTQ hate group has endorsed Youngkin

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Glenn Youngkin (Blade file photo)

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – Glenn Youngkin in an interview with the Associated Press has reiterated his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Youngkin—a Republican who is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam—said in an interview published on Friday that he feels “called to love everyone.” Youngkin then reiterated his opposition to marriage equality before he added it is “legally acceptable” in the state. “I, as governor, will support that,” Youngkin told the AP.

McAuliffe was Virginia’s governor from 2014-2018. Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Virginia a few months after McAuliffe took office.

McAuliffe in 2014 became the first governor of a Southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding. The lesbian couple who McAuliffe married recently appeared in one of his campaign ads.

McAuliffe on Friday criticized Youngkin. “As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all,” said McAuliffe in a tweet. “This type of bigotry and intolerance has no place in our commonwealth.”

The Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized as an extremist anti-LGBTQ hate group, earlier this month endorsed Youngkin, but Log Cabin Republicans are among the groups that have backed his campaign.

The Human Rights Campaign in 2019 named Youngkin’s former company, the Carlyle Group, as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index.

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Utah

Deal with LDS church promoted model for LGBTQ rights/religious liberties

The agreement led to an LGBTQ civil rights law in the state, which has Republican control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion

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Salt Lake City Utah Mayor Erin Mendenhall raises Pride Flag, June 2021 (Blade file photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – A new video from the premier LGBTQ group in Utah, challenging the idea LGBTQ rights must be at odds with religious liberty, promotes an agreement reached in the state as a potential model to achieve a long sought-after update to civil rights law at the federal level.

The video, published Friday by Equality Utah, focuses on a 2015 agreement in Utah between the supporters of LGBTQ rights and the Mormon Church to enact a compromise acceptable to both sides. The agreement by those two sides led to an LGBTQ civil rights law in the state, which has Republican control of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion.

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, says in the video dialogue is key to achieving meaningful success, whether its among the people of Utah, a state legislature or lawmakers in Congress.

“When you are working with LGBT rights in a state like Utah, and you want to advance legal equality, you can’t do it without working with Republicans, with conservative, with people of faith,” Williams says

Williams, speaking with the Washington Blade over a Zoom call, said the main audience for the video is people on “the center right and the center left” willing to listen to other side when it comes to LGBTQ rights and religious liberty.

“People that have the courage to reach out to each other, and sit down across from each other and say, ‘Hey look, let’s hammer this out,” Williams said. “That’s who my audience is.”

Not only did Utah enact non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, but the state under a Republican governor administratively banned widely discredited conversion therapy for youth. When lawmakers proposed legislation that would ban transgender youth from competing in school sports, the proposal was scuttled when Gov. Spencer Cox (whom Williams called a “super Mormon”) said he’d veto it after it came to his desk.

Marina Gomberg, a former board for Equality Utah, is another voice in the video seeking dispel the narrative religious liberty and LGBTQ rights are in conflict.

“in order to protect LGBTQ people, we don have to deny religious liberty, and in order to provide protections for religious liberties, we don’t have to deny LGBTQ people,” Gomberg says. “The idea that we do is a fallacy that Utah has dismantled.”

In July, new polling demonstrated the surprisingly the Utah, despite being a conservative state, has the second highest percentage of state population in support for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The data Public Religion Research Institute from 77 percent of Utah residents support LGBTQ people, which is just behind New Hampshire at 81 percent.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the pro-LGBTQ American Unity Fund, said the Utah agreement demonstrates the possibility of reaching an agreement at the federal level once “second order” issues are put into perspective.

“The first order question has to be how are we winning the culture,” Deaton said. “Do people even want to pass the bill? And if they do, you then figure out the details.”

The American Unity Fund has helped promote as a path forward for LGBTQ non-discrimination at the federal level the Fairness for For All Act, legislation seeking to reach a middle ground on LGBTQ rights and religious freedom. Polling earlier this year found 57 percent of the American public back a bipartisan solution in Congress to advance LGBTQ civil rights.

Supporters of the Equality Act, the more established vehicle for LGBTQ rights before Congress, say the Fairness for For All Act would give too many carve-out for LGBTQ rights in the name of religious freedom. The Equality Act, however, is all but dead in Congress and has shown no movement in the U.S. Senate.

Skeptics of the Utah law would point out the law doesn’t address public accommodations, one of the more challenging aspects in the fight for LGBTQ rights and one or remaining gaps in civil rights protections for LGBTQ people in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County. As a result, it’s perfectly legal in Utah for a business owner to discriminate against LGBTQ coming as patrons.

Williams, however, shrugged off the idea the lack of public accommodations protections in Utah make the agreement in the state makes it any less of a model, making the case the spirit behind the deal is what matters.

“I think copying and pasting Utah’s law doesn’t work for lots of reasons,” Wililams said. “What’s most important is a model of collaboration because when you are sitting around the table with each other — Democrats and Republicans, LGBTQ people and people of faith — that’s when the transformation happens. That is when the mutual respect is really forged.”

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U.S. Federal Courts

U.S. Supreme Court will hear Texas abortion ban- won’t block enforcement

“Every day the Court fails to grant relief is devastating, both for individual women and for our constitutional system as a whole.”

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Blade file photo by Michael Key

WASHINGTON – The United States Supreme Court Friday ruled that it will hear oral arguments in two separate filings next month over the Texas abortion ban, known as SB8, which bans abortion after six weeks, a point that most women are not even aware they are pregnant. This is also a point that is counter to what the high court has allowed in pervious rulings.

The Court however in granting the petitions declined to enjoin the law prompting Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor to write in her dissent, “Every day the Court fails to grant relief is devastating, both for individual women and for our constitutional system as a whole.”

The U.S. Justice Department had filed an emergency writ of centori in United States v. Texas, asking the justices to block enforcement after the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined a lower court ruling that blocked enforcement of the Texas anti-abortion law on Tuesday.

The Justice Department is seeking the high court’s review in order to block the law while legal litigation continues over the controversial law while a lower Federal court in Austin, Texas, addresses the underlying constitutional questions raised in the challenge to the law.

The second case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, SCOTUSblog journalist Amy Howe reported;

Texas abortion providers have asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the law’s unusual enforcement mechanism, which deputizes private individuals to bring lawsuits against anyone who either provides or “aids and abets” an abortion. In a rare procedural move, the providers urged the court to take up the question without waiting for a final ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where the case returned after the justices rejected the providers’ earlier request to block the law from going into effect.

Although the providers came to the Supreme Court in late September, the justices did not act on their request to fast-track consideration of their appeal for nearly a month. But shortly after the Biden administration filed its application on Monday to block enforcement of S.B. 8, the court ordered Texas officials to respond in both S.B. 8 cases by noon on Thursday – suggesting that the justices may act on both at the same time.

The court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a separate high-profile abortion case on Dec. 1. That case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks. Mississippi and its supporters have asked the court to overturn Roe v. Wade 

That case Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

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