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Beto O’Rourke releases plan for LGBTQ equality, aiming to overturn Trump policies

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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke released a proposal Wednesday morning to achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans and reinstate protections abandoned by President Donald Trump.

The plan — O’Rourke’s sixth major policy rollout — is heavy on executive actions he would pursue to support the LGBTQ community. It also prescribes legislation he would champion and steps that can be taken on the global stage.

“We must ensure all Americans are treated equally no matter who they are or who they love,” the former El Paso congressman said in a statement on the proposal, which comes amid LGBTQ Pride Month and arrived hours before he was set to lead a “Pride Run” in New York City.

Among the executive actions that O’Rourke would take: overturning Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, reversing the “deploy or get out” policy that critics say discriminates against HIV-positive service members, and bringing back U.S. Education Department guidance that sought to protect LGBTQ students. O’Rourke would also act to crack down on conversion therapy, update blood donation requirements for LGBTQ people, increase LGBTQ representation in the census and install more pro-LGBTQ people in government, especially in the judiciary.

O’Rourke’s plan puts an emphasis on protecting transgender people — specifically transgender women of color — calling for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate crimes against them and making sure law enforcement agencies get the right training to respond. Dallas in particular has been roiled by a recent string of slayings involving transgender women of color.

When it comes to legislation, O’Rourke backs measures such as the Equality Act, a sweeping bill passed last month by the Democratic-led House that would overhaul the Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ Americans. O’Rourke also wants to make sure LGBTQ people have equal access to health care and insurance as part of any universal health care system that his administration would pursue in Congress.

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And on the international front, O’Rourke proposes things like collaborating with allies to craft a global treaty through the International Law Commission of the United Nations that would shield LGBTQ people from persecution. O’Rourke also would create a “special envoy for the human rights of LGBTQ+ people” in the U.S. State Department.

Looking to stand out as his poll numbers remain low, O’Rourke has been producing policy papers at a steady rate. He previously released proposals on climate change, abortion rights, criminal justice, voting rights and immigration.

Immigration continues to be a focus in O’Rourke’s latest plan. His proposed executive actions include clarifying that LGBTQ people fleeing persecution are a “vulnerable population” that can use the U.S. asylum process.

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2020 Election

George Conway warns Nikki Haley about replacing Pence on GOP’s 2020 ticket without vetting the rape allegations against Trump

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The husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway warned former Ambassador Nikki Haley against running for vice president on Donald Trump's ticket in 2020.

There has been speculation that Trump could replace Vice President Mike Pence on the ticket as a way to shore up poor poll numbers.

Republican strategist Amanda Carpenter downplayed the notion that a substitution would be successful.

"If you think putting Nikki Haley on a ticket with Donald Trump will solve his problems with women voters, you don’t understand the problems women voters have with Donald Trump," Carpenter explained.

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2020 Election

Joe Sestak is the 24th Democratic candidate to enter the 2020 race

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Former Pennsylvania Representative and 3-star general in the US Navy, Joe Sestak, 67, has made history - as the 24th candidate to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The field is already saturated with candidates young, old, black, white, gay, straight, and every descriptor in between. Diversity - it's a thing - and we embrace it. But 24?

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2020 Election

Let the debates begin: Time for progressive candidates to seize the moment

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On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 Democratic candidates for president will file onto the stage of a Miami theater for the first formal debates of the primary season. There are so many contenders that the DNC and hosts NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo must platoon them in, 10 per a night. Each debate lasts two hours and has two moderators, three panelists, commercials and theme music, leaving each candidate, on average, nine minutes of airtime. It's not the ideal format for a party desperate for a real debate.

This article was originally published at Salon

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