The Disintegration of DOMA – One Year Anniversary

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PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

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High court strikes down federal marriage provision

6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html

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June 28, 2013

Statement by the President on the Extension of Federal Employee Benefits

Today my Administration announced that, for the first time in history, we will be making important federal employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement benefits, available to eligible married gay and lesbian couples and their families.

This is a critical first step toward implementing this week’s landmark Supreme Court decision declaring that all married couples –gay and straight — should be treated equally under federal law. Thousands of gays and lesbians serve our country every day in the federal government. They, and their spouses and children, deserve the same respect and protection as every other family.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Holder, we will continue to move as quickly as possible to fully implement the Court’s decision.


Obama admin acts quickly post-DOMA

Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:54 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

After the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, Obama administration officials vowed to move quickly to implement the ruling throughout the federal government.

And while I believed them, I didn’t realize they’d move this fast (thanks to my colleague Cory Gnazzo for the heads-up). Chris Geidner reports:

“[T]he United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex,” OPM acting director Elaine Kaplan writes to the heads of executive departments and agencies today.

What does this mean in practical terms? The Human Rights Campaign added:

The United States Office of Personnel Management has begun the process of extending federal rights and benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees and their families…. Now that the federal government recognizes legally married same-sex couples, federal employees’ spouses and their families may now access health insurance benefits, life insurance, dental and vision insurance and retirement benefits.

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“My general view is that transgender persons, just like gays and lesbians, are deserving of equal treatment under the law. And that’s a basic principle,” the president said. “My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that — having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system and that it’s time to recognize that, under the equal protection clause of the United States, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”

2/17/15 President Obama interview with BuzzFeed

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US Marriage Equality

US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2016 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

6/9/16 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration’s Record and the LGBT Community

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 White House – LGBT

LGBT Democrats Facebook

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36 thoughts on “The Disintegration of DOMA – One Year Anniversary

  1. Friday, February 21, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    President Obama meets with Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
    White House Map Room

    11:00 AM
    11:15 AM
    President Obama attends the Democratic Governors Association Meeting
    State Dining Room

    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    President Obama has lunch with Vice President Biden

    1:00 PM
    1:15 PM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    3:15 PM
    Vice President Biden ceremonially swears in Max Baucus as U.S. Ambassador to China
    State Department

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. The Disintegration of DOMA – One Year Anniversary

    Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

    ‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

    February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

    The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

    Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

    In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

    Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

    This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

    Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

    The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

    • High court strikes down federal marriage provision

      6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

      The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

      Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

      Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

      The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

      “Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

      “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

      He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

      Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html

    • June 28, 2013

      Statement by the President on the Extension of Federal Employee Benefits

      Today my Administration announcedthat, for the first time in history, we will be making important federal employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement benefits, available to eligible married gay and lesbian couples and their families.

      This is a critical first step toward implementing this week’s landmark Supreme Court decision declaring that all married couples –gay and straight — should be treated equally under federal law. Thousands of gays and lesbians serve our country every day in the federal government. They, and their spouses and children, deserve the same respect and protection as every other family.

      Under the leadership of Attorney General Holder, we will continue to move as quickly as possible to fully implement the Court’s decision.

    • Obama admin acts quickly post-DOMA

      Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:54 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

      After the Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, Obama administration officials vowed to move quickly to implement the ruling throughout the federal government.

      And while I believed them, I didn’t realize they’d move this fast (thanks to my colleague Cory Gnazzo for the heads-up). Chris Geidner reports:

      “[T]he United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will now be able to extend benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex,” OPM acting director Elaine Kaplan writes to the heads of executive departments and agencies today.

      What does this mean in practical terms? The Human Rights Campaign added:

      The United States Office of Personnel Management has begun the process of extending federal rights and benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees and their families…. Now that the federal government recognizes legally married same-sex couples, federal employees’ spouses and their families may now access health insurance benefits, life insurance, dental and vision insurance and retirement benefits.

    • How The Supreme Court Lit A Fuse To End Gay Marriage Bans Across USA

      FEBRUARY 13, 2014 SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

      Last summer, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision equalizing the treatment of all married couples under federal law. But it opted not to address the more fundamental question in a related case: whether gay and straight couples are entitled to equal protection on the state level, where marriage law is made.

      That extraordinary dodge was seen by some experts as a disingenuous way of seeking a middle ground in the rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia fumed that it amounted to “legalistic argle-bargle.” And it appears he had a point: a number of federal judges from Utah to Kentucky have concluded that the Supreme Court’s legal reasoning does not leave substantial room for state-based discrimination against gay marriage.

      Recently, federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma overturned the states’ bans on gay marriage as unconstitutional, leading to chaos as gay marriage was briefly legal there before the states appealed the decisions and halted them. In Ohio, a federal judge ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates. And on Wednesday, a federal judge in Kentucky ordered the state to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.

      “I think what’s behind it all is that when you talk repeatedly in your [Supreme Court] opinion about the dignity of gay people in relationships, how do judges rule the other way?” Roberta Kaplan, the attorney who argued against DOMA before the Supreme Court, told TPM. “What possible reason could judges use for denying equality for gay people?”

      In fact, the judges “explicitly say they’re doing this because of Windsor,” she said.

      Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law, who supports marriage equality, said that “[c]ourts today are finding in Windsor strong support for the idea that denials of marriage benefits are based in anti-gay attitudes, not valid public policy goals. The Court in Windsor purposefully avoided ruling on the constitutionality of a marriage ban, so it’s not a matter of following [or] not following the Court. Kennedy purposefully kept the window open for courts to strike down marriage bans.”

      Scalia saw this coming. “In my opinion, however, the view that this Court will take of state prohibition of same-sex marriage is indicated beyond mistaking by today’s opinion,” he wrote in his barnstorming DOMA dissent. “As I have said, the real rationale of today’s opinion … is that DOMA is motivated by ‘bare… desire to harm’ couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.”

      Judges in Utah and Kentucky have, with a heavy dose of irony, referenced that comment by Scalia in their rulings against anti-gay-marriage laws.

      Some experts note that the DOMA case was about federal law and not state law, making it unremarkable for the court to avoid the latter question. But the other case heard by the justices one day earlier, Hollingsworth v. Perry, posed exactly that question. And a majority of justices opted not to rule on the merits and instead dismissed the case on standing.

      For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/supreme-court-judges-same-sex-marriage-doma

      • String of legal wins bolsters same-sex marriage

        5/26/14 By MARK SHERMAN and NICHOLAS RICCARDI – Associated Press

        WASHINGTON (AP) — One after another and in sometimes evocative language, judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents are declaring it’s too late to turn back on the topic of same-sex marriage.

        The unbroken string of state and federal court rulings in support of gay and lesbian unions takes in every region of the country, including states of the Confederacy, and brings to 26 states where same-sex couples can get married or a judge has ruled they ought to be allowed.

        It also may have pushed gay marriage to a legal tipping point, where the cause has won such wide-ranging approval that it will be hard for the Supreme Court to rule against it. The court rulings and the measured response of even elected officials who oppose same-sex marriage may be especially important for justices who have worried about acting too quickly to impose same-sex marriage nationwide.

        The latest ruling, in Pennsylvania, was followed quickly by word from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett that he would not appeal and instead let the decision take effect. Corbett, who opposes gay and lesbian marriage, is facing a tough campaign for re-election this year.

        “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III wrote last week about the Pennsylvania marriage law.

        Gay marriage opponents say they expect more of a mixed record in the courts by the time the Supreme Court gets involved, and they take issue with the notion that U.S. public opinion has shifted as dramatically as many polls show.

        All the rulings came after the Supreme Court decision last June that struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law but did not apply to bans that were then in place in roughly three dozen states. Judges, though, have had no trouble extending the high court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor to prohibit states from discriminating against same-sex couples who want to wed.

        “Judges can read the tea leaves,” UCLA law professor Adam Winkler said. “They know where the Supreme Court is going. They know where society is going. Do they want their grandkids knowing they wrote an opinion stopping gay marriage?”

        In some respects, the series of rulings is just the latest manifestation of the extraordinary change in attitudes about same-sex marriage.

        In 1972, it took the Supreme Court one sentence to dispose of an appeal asserting a same-sex couple’s constitutional right to marry. In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional. When President Barack Obama decided that his administration no longer would enforce the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2011, there were five states that allowed same-sex couples to wed. By late June, the number had jumped to 13, after the high court paved the way for gay and lesbian couples in California to get married.

        For more: http://news.yahoo.com/string-legal-wins-bolsters-same-sex-marriage-151058964.html

    • Gay marriage: High court sets stage for historic ruling

      1/16/15 Mark Sherman – AP

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting the stage for a potentially historic ruling, the Supreme Court announced Friday it will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.

      The justices will take up gay-rights cases that ask them to declare for the entire nation that people can marry the partners of their choice, regardless of gender. The cases will be argued in April, and a decision is expected by late June.

      Proponents of same-sex marriage said they expect the court to settle the matter once and for all with a decision that invalidates state provisions that define marriage as between a man and a woman. On the other side, advocates for traditional marriage want the court to let the political process play out, rather than have judges order states to allow same-sex couples to marry.

      Same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/justices-must-act-fast-gay-marriage-settled-june-083801891.html

    • With Sweeping New Ruling, Marriage Equality Must Begin in All 50 States

      June 26, 2015 by HRC staff

      In a historic 5-4 ruling, today the Supreme Court of the United States found bans on marriage equality to be unconstitutional—and that the fundamental right to marriage is a fundamental right for all. The majority’s opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, represents a clear mandate for governors, state attorneys general and officials everywhere to cease their attempts to uphold these discriminatory statutes.

      “Today’s ruling makes perfectly clear that there is no legal or moral justification for standing in the path of marriage equality. Couples from Mississippi to North Dakota to Texas shouldn’t have to wait even a moment longer to be treated equally under the law,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “State officials across the country must act swiftly to ensure that every obstacle to obtaining a marriage license is removed. To do anything less is a shameful attempt to cement their state on the wrong side of history. But what’s clear today is that our work isn’t done until every discriminatory law in this nation is wiped away. The time has come in this country for comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination protections. We now have to work harder than ever before to make sure LGBT Americans cannot be fired, evicted or denied services simply on the basis of the marriage license that they fought so hard to achieve.”

      Named plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, also issued the following statement in reaction to the ruling:

      “Today I could not be prouder of my country, more grateful for the memory of my late husband John, and more indebted to the incredible lawyers, advocates and fellow plaintiffs who made this landmark day possible. The fact that the state I have long called home will finally recognize my marriage to the man I honored and cherished for more than 20 years is a profound vindication—a victory I’m proud to share with countless more couples across the country. Thanks to the Supreme Court, a period of deep injustice in this nation is coming to a close, but it’s also clear today that there is still so much work to do. As long as discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is tolerated—whether in the seeking of a marriage license, the pursuit of fairness on the job, or the fight for equal treatment at a restaurant or business—we haven’t truly guaranteed equal justice under the law. But today’s victory proves that anything is possible, and I could not be more hopeful about the capacity of this country to change for the better.”

      For more: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/with-sweeping-new-ruling-marriage-equality-must-begin-in-all-50-states

    • June 26, 2015

      Remarks by the President on the Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

      Rose Garden

      11:14 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times — a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single American.

      Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.

      This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love.

      This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move [to] or even visit another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.

      In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision.

      This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come.

      And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/06/26/remarks-president-supreme-court-decision-marriage-equality

    • Release No: NR-272-15

      July 13, 2015 dod.gov

      Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on DOD Transgender Policy

      Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.

      The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.

      Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.

      As I’ve said before, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military’s future strength depends on it.

  3. West Wing Week 02/21/14 or “Don’t Make Small Plans, Make Big Plans”

    Published on Feb 20, 2014

    This week, the President traveled to the North American Leaders Summit in Toluca, Mexico, to California to address the current drought and to meet with the King of Jordan, and to Upper Marlboro, Maryland to announce an increase in fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks.

  4. Abused Native American Women, New Law Provides A ‘Ray Of Hope’

    February 20, 2014 by HANSI LO WANG – NPR

    This Thursday, three Native American tribes are changing how they administer justice.

    For almost four decades, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling has barred tribes from prosecuting non-American Indian defendants. But as part of last year’s re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a new program now allows tribes to try some non-Indian defendants in domestic abuse cases.

    It will be another year before the program expands to other eligible federally-recognized tribes around the country in March 2015. But the Department of Justice has selected three tribes to exercise this authority first, including the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, and the Tulalip Tribes, located north of Seattle.

    ‘Going To War’

    Deborah Parker serves as the Tulalip Tribes’ vice chair. For three years, she flew back and forth between Washington state and Washington, D.C., giving speeches and knocking on doors — an experience that she says felt like “going to war.”

    “You got to go to battle,” Parker says, “and you have to convince a lot of people that native women are worth protecting,”

    And that protection, Parker was convinced, had to come from Congress. So she pushed for legislation allowing American Indian tribes to prosecute non-Indian defendants in domestic violence cases.

    About four out of every ten women of American Indian or Alaskan Native descent have “experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s an alarming statistic that Parker knows all too well from growing up on the reservation.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/02/20/280189261/for-abused-native-american-women-new-law-provides-a-ray-of-hope

  5. Obama to host Dalai Lama on Friday at White House

    2/21/14 By JOSH LEDERMAN – Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will host Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for a meeting on Friday, the White House said, in a move that could rankle already tense relations between the U.S. and China.

    The exiled leader, who is in the U.S. for a speaking tour, is famed for his peaceful struggle for greater Tibetan autonomy that is bitterly opposed by China. The last time he met with Obama, in 2011, China blasted the meeting and said it had damaged Chinese-American ties. China was similarly irked when the two met in 2010.

    Friday’s meeting was likely to draw further protest from Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in the past, Chinese authorities have denounced the spiritual leader as a separatist and blamed the Dalai Lama for instigating self-immolations by Tibetans inside China.

    Obama was to host the Nobel laureate for a private, morning meeting in the White House’s map room. Traditionally, when Obama meets with presidents and prime ministers, he hosts them in the Oval Office and allows reporters to witness a short portion of the meeting. The decision to hold the meeting elsewhere and to close the meeting to reporters could signal an attempt to avoid the appearance of a formal meeting between two heads of state.

    Seeking to stave off potential controversy, the White House reiterated late Thursday that the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and doesn’t support Tibetan independence. At the same time, officials said they were concerned about tensions and deteriorating human rights in China’s Tibetan areas, urging Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama or his followers without preconditions.

    “The United States supports the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’ approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-host-dalai-lama-friday-white-house-004620386.html;_ylt=AuOb9unH6LnqcspryuHKeQTQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBsMDM3a2wyBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwM0BHNlYwNzcg–

  6. 10:00 AM ET
    President Obama meets with Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama
    White House Map Room

    • February 21, 2014

      Readout of the President’s Meeting with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

      The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President reiterated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach. The President stressed that he encourages direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans. In this context, the President reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China and that the United States does not support Tibet independence. The Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government will resume. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and constructive relationship between the United States and China.

      dalai-lama-pbo

  7. 11:15 AM ET
    President Obama attends the Democratic Governors Association Meeting
    State Dining Room

    • February 21, 2014

      Remarks by the President before Meeting with Democratic Governors

      State Dining Room

      11:20 A.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s wonderful to have America’s governors in town. Michelle and I look forward to hosting with their spouses our annual Governors’ Reception here and dinner. And it’s always a great opportunity to exchange ideas and hear what’s happening at the local level.

      Today we did bring Democratic governors to the White House to spend some time talking about a couple of issues that are of critical importance to our constituencies and, I think, to the country. And one of those is the issue of minimum wage and what we can do to give America a raise.

      Many of the governors in this room are pushing to raise their state’s minimum wages to benefit more working families and help to grow their economies. Governor Abercrombie, Governor Inslee, Governor Malloy, Governor O’Malley, Governor Patrick, Governor Quinn all focused on this in their State of the State addresses.

      In my State of the Union address, obviously I promised that I would do what I could as the head of the executive federal government, and have already signed an executive order saying that if you want to do business with the federal government as a federal contractor then you need to be paying your employees $10.10 an hour. We don’t want somebody who is washing dishes for our troops or helping in some ways to care for them to be living in poverty when they’re working full-time.

      And what we discovered in looking at this issue is that, increasingly, businesses recognize that raising wages for their employees is a smart business issue because they end up having lower turnover rates, higher productivity, higher morale, folks stay longer and are more focused on the job rather than having to worry about whether or not they can pay their bills at the end of the month.

      And this is not just good policy; it also happens to be good politics, because the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of Americans think that raising the minimum wage is a good idea. That is true for independents; that is true for Democrats; and it’s true for Republicans. So, in fact, where we’ve seen some of these issues going to referendum — for example, in New Jersey, even though the Republican governor opposed it, it passed by 60 percent.

      And the reason that this is important is not because everybody is going to be benefiting from a hike in the minimum wage — the truth is, is that most working Americans make more than the minimum wage already. But people, I think, instinctually understand that part of what this country should be about is if you’re working hard and taking responsibility that you can get ahead and that you can look after your family. And raising the minimum wage will help up to 16 million Americans, and that’s a big deal. And that could give a boost to our economy as a whole.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/21/remarks-president-meeting-democratic-governors

  8. 3:15 PM ET
    Vice President Biden ceremonially swears in Max Baucus as U.S. Ambassador to China
    State Department

  9. lets-move

    The First Lady Wants to See How You Move! #LetsMove

    February 20, 2014 Posted by Elyse Cohen, Deputy Director, Let’s Move!

    This week, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a celebration around the fourth anniversary of Let’s Move!, starting on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon tonight and running through all week next week!

    Since launching Let’s Move! in February 2010, the initiative has helped move our nation in a healthier direction. And today, this healthy movement is becoming the new norm all across the country. From child care centers through high school, from sun up to sun down the country is moving toward a healthier future.

    On this anniversary, to demonstrate the national scope of this movement, the First Lady is encouraging people of all ages, to show her how they move – through their everyday fitness routine, making better food choices, or by moving their community toward that new norm – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine using #LetsMove.

    How are you, your family, and your community moving toward a healthier, new norm? The First Lady wants to see!

    Be sure to follow @FLOTUS and @LetsMove on Twitter and @MichelleObama on Instagram for live updates throughout the next week.

    Ready, set, #LetsMove!

    February 20
    First Lady Michelle Obama tapes an appearence on the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”
    New York, NY

    February 25

    11:00 AM ET
    First Lady Michelle joins Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an announcement on school wellness
    Washington, DC

    4:30 PM ET
    First Lady Michelle visits a local parks and recreation center to make a major announcement about healthy out-of-school time.
    Miami, FL

    February 27

    11:00 AM ET
    First Lady Michelle makes an announcement regarding proposals to help parents and other consumers make healthier choices.
    Washington, DC

    2:30 PM
    First Lady Michelle makes an announcement with a local child care facility.
    Bowie, MD

    • Young Child Obesity Rate Dropped By 43 Percent Over Last Decade

      FEBRUARY 25, 2014 CAITLIN MACNEAL – tpm

      The obesity rate in children between ages two and five dropped by 43 percent over the past decade, the New York Times reported.

      “This is the first time we’ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group,” Cynthia Ogden, a researcher for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report, told the Times.

      About 8 percent of two to five-year olds were obese in 2012, compared to 14 percent in 2004, according to the report.

      While there is evidence that child obesity leads to obesity later in life, Ogden said that the overall obesity rate has remained about the same.

      Experts attributed the drop to multiple factors such as a reduction in children consuming sugary drinks and an increase in the number of women breast-feeding.

      First Lady Michelle Obama, who launched her “Let’s Move!” campaign to combat childhood obesity in 2010, said she was pleased by the CDC’s findings.

      “I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans,” she said in a CDC statement.

    • Michelle Obama Reveals What Really Made Her Say “Ew” as a Kid—Plus, What Song Makes Her Happy?

      3/3/14 by BRUNA NESSIF – eonline.com

      We can probably all agree that seeing Michelle Obama on Jimmy Fallon’s “Ew!” sketch with Will Ferrell was one of the best things ever. Right? Right.

      Along with bringing the funny, FLOTUS just seemed like such a natural when it came to ew-ing things, and that’s because she had her fair share of saying “ew” to some specific dinner options when she was younger.

      Like what, you ask? “Brussel sprouts. Uh, liver,” Obama began to tell Rachael Ray (airing March 5). “Liver was a dark day in our household. It was dark…We were angry.”

      Liver: Ew! Unless you actually enjoy eating liver—like Ray, who said she “grooved on liver”— then it would be—liver: cuuuuuute. Wait. That didn’t work.

      “Oh, I love Pharrell’s ‘Happy,’ ” FLOTUS said. “It’s just such a happy song. I mean, it literally makes you happy.” (Right?! Who can resist jumping up and doing a little dance to that beat?)

      Speaking of working out, the first lady admitted that her daughters don’t work out with her, but they get plenty of physical activity on their own. “You know, we’re blessed to have our kids in a school system where they play sports and they have PE, and then they have activities outside of school so they, you know, are pretty much done…But we do things on vacations…We hike. All the kids are old enough now where going on hikes is a really fun family thing.”

      She continues, “You get to talk on those long hikes and in ways that you’re not distracted. You’re out in nature, you get to hear what’s going on in your kids’ lives, so the older they get, the more we can do that together.”
      Hiking with family? Super-cute!

  10. Saturday, February 22, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
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    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  11. Weekly Address: Time to Lift the Minimum Wage and Give America a Raise

    Remarks of President Barack Obama
    Weekly Address
    The White House

    February 22, 2014

    Hi, everybody.

    Restoring the idea of opportunity for all requires a year of action from all of us. Wherever I can act on my own, I will – and whenever I can ask more Americans to help, I’ll do that too.

    In my State of the Union Address, for example, I asked more business leaders to take action to raise their employees’ wages. Because even though our economy is growing, and our businesses have created about eight and a half million new jobs over the past four years, average wages have barely budged.

    So it’s good news that, earlier this week, one of America’s largest retailers, The Gap, decided to raise wages for its employees beginning this year. Their decision will benefit about 65,000 workers in the U.S. That means more families will be able to raise their kids, finish their studies, or keep up on their bills with a little less financial stress and strain.

    Gap’s CEO explained their decision simply – he said, “[It’s] right for our brands, good for our people, and beneficial to our customers.” And he’s right – raising Americans’ wages isn’t just a good deed; it’s good business and good for our economy. It helps reduce turnover, it boosts productivity, and it gives folks some more money to spend at local businesses.

    And as a chief executive myself, that’s why I took action last week to lift more workers’ wages by requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.

    In the year since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, six states have passed laws to raise theirs, and more states are working on it as we speak. But only Congress can finish the job and lift Americans’ wages across the country.

    Right now, there’s a bill before Congress that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. That’s easy to remember – “ten-ten.” That bill would lift wages for more than 16 million Americans without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending. But even though a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans across the country support raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress don’t want to give it a vote.

    Hardworking Americans deserve better than “no.” Let’s tell Congress to say “yes.” Pass that bill. Give America a raise. Because here in America, no one who works hard should have to live in poverty – and everyone who works hard should have a chance to get ahead.

    Thanks, and have a great weekend.

  12. Sunday, February 24, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
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    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosts the 2014 National Governors Association Dinner
    State Dining Room

    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  13. Sunday talk show tip sheet

    2/21/14 5:59 PM EST By POLITICO STAFF

    “Meet the Press” on NBC
    • National Security Adviser Susan Rice

    “Face the Nation” on CBS
    • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D)
    • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)
    • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

    “This Week” on ABC
    • Former President George W. Bush
    • Team Rubicon co-founder Jacob Wood

    “Fox News Sunday” on Fox
    • Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
    • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
    • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)
    • Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D)

    CNN “State of the Union”
    • Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
    • Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R)
    • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D)
    • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D)
    • “Scandal” actor Joe Morton

    “Political Capital” on Bloomberg TV
    • New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D)
    • Former Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.)
    • Former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe

    “Newsmakers” on C-SPAN
    • Interim NAACP President Lorraine Miller

    “Al Punto” on Univision
    • Rep. Mario Díaz Balart (R-Fla.)
    • Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.)

  14. GOP WRONG WAY

    Conservatives Look To Curb EPA Power To Limit Carbon Emissions In Court

    FEBRUARY 23, 2014 MARK SHERMAN – tpm

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Industry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration’s sole means of trying to limit power-plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

    As President Barack Obama pledges to act on environmental and other matters when Congress doesn’t, or won’t, opponents of regulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases cast the rule as a power grab of historic proportions.

    The court is hearing arguments Monday about a small but important piece of the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to cut the emissions — a requirement that companies expanding industrial facilities or building new ones that would increase overall pollution must also evaluate ways to reduce the carbon they release.

    Environmental groups and even some of their opponents say that whatever the court decides, EPA still will be able to move forward with broader plans to set emission standards for greenhouse gases for new and existing power plants.

    But a court ruling against the EPA almost undoubtedly would be used to challenge every step of the agency’s effort to deal with climate change, said Jacob Hollinger, a partner with the McDermott Will and Emery law firm in New York and a former EPA lawyer.

    For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/conservative-epa-supreme-court

  15. The Problem with “Earned Benefits”

    February 22, 2014 | Posted by Spandan Chakrabarti – ThePeoplesView

    With elements of the New Deal and Great Society under constant attack from conservatives who refer to things like Social Security and Medicare as ‘entitlements’, a fairly new liberal counterbalance has risen up in the war of words: we are urged to refer to these essential programs that comprise the American social compact as “earned benefits.” The logic for this is two-fold: (a) we pay Social Security and Medicare taxes (payroll taxes) throughout our working lives, and have therefore earned those benefits in our golden years, and (b) if a benefit is earned, it is spared from the negative connotation of welfare and entitlement.

    The logic may seem sound, but it is dangerous. In the first place, it allows conservatives frames of argument to define – and degrade – the concepts of social welfare and economic rights (better known as ‘entitlements’). This isn’t something liberals should surrender to conservative loudmouths. The word ‘conservative’ isn’t mentioned in our Constitution, but it charges our government with a specific purpose to “promote the general welfare.” Allowing conservatives to defile what ‘welfare’ means is an affront to the very idea of America, and it should offend every liberal.

    Secondly, using a frame of ‘earned benefits’ is a double-edged sword. Though it may offer some rhetorical relief to attacks against Social Security and Medicare (in reality it will do exactly nothing to stop conservative attacks against both), it makes defending and expanding the rest of the social safety net that much more difficult. It stratifies the social compact into “earned” benefits and other benefits, which, presumably are not earned and therefore less deserving of defense or even existence. These other essential components of the social safety net include:

    * Medicaid and CHIP – essential components of the safety net to ensure that the poor, children, and disabled Americans do not have to go without medical care because of the size of their bank accounts,

    * SNAP and free and discounted school lunch – programs designed to ensure that poor single parents and children in America do not have to go hungry,

    * Extended unemployment benefits – while the initial six months is covered under insurance paid for by employer portion of taxes, the extended benefits are not,

    * Section 8 and other housing assistance programs, and yes –
    The Affordable Care Act – a law that provides subsidies for individuals and families to buy health insurance, massively expands Medicaid and reins in industry abuses.

    For more: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2014/02/the-problem-with-earned-benefits.html

    • February 23, 2014

      Remarks by the President at the National Governors Association Dinner

      State Dining Room

      7:11 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. Please have a seat. Have a seat. Well, welcome to the White House. Everybody looks fabulous. I am truly honored to be one of Michelle Obama’s guests tonight here at dinner. (Laughter.) I want to thank all the governors and their better halves for being here tonight, especially your chair, Mary Fallin, and your vice chair, John Hickenlooper. (Applause.)

      Tonight, we want to make sure that all of you make yourselves at home, to which I’m sure some of you are thinking that’s been the plan all along. (Laughter.) But keep in mind what a wise man once wrote: “I am more than contented to be governor and shall not care if I never hold another office.” Of course, that was Teddy Roosevelt. (Laughter.) So I guess plans change.

      I look forward to working with each of you not just in our meetings tomorrow, but throughout this year, what I hope to be a year of action. Our partnership on behalf of the American people, on issues ranging from education to health care to climate change runs deep, deeper than what usually hits the front page.

      Being here tonight, I’m thinking about moments that I’ve spent with so many of you during the course of the year — with Governor Patrick in a hospital in Boston, seeing the survivors of the Boston bombing, seeing them fight through their wounds, determined to return to their families, but also realizing that a lot of lives were saved because of the preparations that federal and state and local officials had carried out beforehand; with Governor Fallin at a firehouse in Moore, thanking first responders who risked their lives to save others after a devastating tornado, but once again seeing the kind of state-federal cooperation that’s so vital in these kinds of circumstances; spending time with Governor O’Malley at the Naval Academy graduation last spring and looking out over some of our newest sailors and Marines as they join the greatest military in the world, and reminding ourselves that on national security issues, the contributions of the National Guard obviously are extraordinary and all of you work so closely with them.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/23/remarks-president-national-governors-association-dinner

  16. *******************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ” Opportunity for All: Ready to Work″

    ********************

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