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17-Year Old Gay Teen Commits Suicide — Father Blames Anti-Gay Bullying

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An openly-gay 17-year old boy committed suicide in Rochester, Minnesota on Sunday, and his father is blaming anti-gay bullying as “a big part” of the cause of his son’s death. Jay ‘Corey’ Jones, also known as Corey Jay Jonestrader on his Facebook page, was a student at Century High School, and was bullied for years his father, JayBocka Strader, says.

“He said all of his life they always picked on him. He’d still try to keep his head up at school, but then he’d come home and be really sad about it,” Strader says, in a report at the Post Bulletin:

Jones, a member of Century’s gay-straight alliance, had an image on his Facebook page that said, “Gay & Proud.” He was open about his sexuality and occasionally wore tight, colorful tank tops and short-shorts to school, Strader said.

“He just got really depressed about it because the guys weren’t accepting him,” Strader said.

Jones jumped from a pedestrian bridge near Century High School on Sunday, according to police.

In response to an inquiry from the Post-Bulletin, schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz issued a statement acknowledging there are issues related to bullying in the district. He did not directly address Jones’ situation.

The district is in the planning stages of providing training and support for students, staff and families, Muñoz said, and will continue anti-bullying collaborations with Gov. Mark Dayton’s recently formed anti-bullying task force, Rochester police and others in the community.

“I want everyone to have on pink shirts and remember the Corey that tried to get the rights,” Strader said. Pink was one of Jones’ favorite colors, his dad said.

“When I saw him in pink, I really liked him in pink, and he was really happy,” Strader said. “I just told him that pink looked good on him.”

A report on Minnesota Public Radio yesterday added:

Last year, Jones told his dad, Jay Strader, he was gay. Strader immediately noticed a change.

“I just saw a difference in him I saw a smile, I saw a little more energy than actually being down and out and depressed-looking,” Strader said. “To me he felt a sign of relief, like, ‘Yeah I got over the hard part, right,’ you know.”

But coming out exposed Jones to other pressures, Strader said, primarily from bullies at school. Jones moved to Minnesota from Chicago two years ago. He lived in Minneapolis for a year before moving down to Rochester.

Strader said his son was comfortable with his sexual orientation. But the teasing Jones encountered at school turned into a constant struggle for him and he was diagnosed with depression.

“I wanted him to let me know what was going on with him. I didn’t get a chance to get that,” Strader. “I didn’t get a chance to find out what was going on inside his head.”

Strader said his son’s death Sunday has not sunk in yet. It’s been an emotional week for his family and him, as well as for many high school students in southeastern Minnesota.

Minnesota is currently the stage for a contentious battle for an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The funeral for Jay ‘Corey’ Jones will be held in Chicago on Saturday.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Image: Facebook

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‘Don’t Say Gay’ Florida GOP Lawmaker Quits One Day After Pleading Not Guilty to Federal Felony Fraud Charges

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Joe Harding, the Florida Republican state representative who authored the highly-controversial and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law has just resigned, one day after pleading “not guilty” and assuring his constituents on social media he is working “for a fair and just resolution” to federal felony fraud and money laundering charges.

Harding’s resignation also comes one day after he was stripped of his committee assignments, and is effective immediately, Florida Politics reports.

The charges involve a COVID-related Small Business Administration loan for $150,000, according to the Dept. of Justice, which notes if convicted on all charges he could get 35 years in prison.

READ MORE: Worse Than It Looks: On the Same-Sex Marriage Bill Many More Republicans This Time Really Showed Up – to Vote No

“I want the public and my constituents to know that I fully repaid the loan and cooperated with investigators as requested,” Harding told his constituents via Facebook on Wednesday. “On advice from counsel, I will be unable to say anything more specific about the legal proceedings until a later date and refer any questions or concerns related to this matter to my attorney. I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers as we work for a fair and just resolution. Thank you, and may God bless you.”

Also on Wednesday Harding shuttered his Twitter account.

In another statement Harding wrote: “To my many colleagues that have reached out to me, including many I have deep policy disagreements with, thank you. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside you for the past two years.”

Florida Politics notes Harding ended his statement with a bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11-12. That verse can have several different meanings depending on the version of the Bible.

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Biblical Conservative’ Republican Likens Bestiality and Polygamy to Same-Sex Marriage in Angry Speech Against Bill

Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, responded to news of Harding’s resignation via social media: “So much harm to students, parents and teachers because of his raw political ambitions. He slandered entire communities and trafficked in lie after lie that has emboldened violent bigotry. He will have his day in court but his legacy is already a despicable one.”

Harding is not the only family member accused of criminal acts.

“Harding’s indictment follows a September guilty plea from his brother-in-law, Patrick Walsh,” Florida Politics notes. “As reported by Fresh Take Florida, Walsh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges connected to his receipt of nearly $8 million in disaster relief loans.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Worse Than It Looks: On the Same-Sex Marriage Bill Many More Republicans This Time Really Showed Up – to Vote No

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Respect for Marriage Act a second time, approving even stronger religious liberty protections after the legislation was changed in the Senate. But this time was different – this time Republicans really showed up, in even bigger numbers, to vote no.

And it’s worse than it looks.

The bill once again did pass, and will now be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

But how we got here does not bode well for the future of civil rights.

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Biblical Conservative’ Republican Likens Bestiality and Polygamy to Same-Sex Marriage in Angry Speech Against Bill

On July 19, the bill passed the House 267-157, with 47 Republicans voting yes and all 157 no votes also coming from Republicans.

On Thursday the bill passed in a 258-169 vote, with just 39 Republicans voting yes and all 169 no votes again coming from Republicans.

Just looking at the overall vote totals, comparing the vote in July to the vote on Thursday, it’s easy to think eight Republicans (47 minus 39) switched their yes vote to no.

It’s a bit more complicated.

And it’s the no votes that are striking. Because in reality, this time a lot more Republicans voted no.

READ MORE: Watch: Speaker Pelosi Excitedly Announces House Passage of Same-Sex Marriage Protection Bill – 169 Republicans Vote No

Eight Republicans who did not vote in July showed up this time to vote no. Only one who did not vote in July voted yes on Thursday.

Another six Republicans switched their vote from yes in July to no on Thursday.

Two who voted yes in July did not vote on Thursday.

One switched from no to yes.
One switched from yes to present.
One who voted no in July is now deceased.

Republicans on the House floor on Thursday made their message clear.

Republicans like Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, a former anti-LGBTQ activist who worked for an organization created to block same-sex marriage. She literally cried own the floor begging her colleagues to vote no. And Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who said practically everything wrong in society can be traced back to same-sex marriage.

Here’s the breakdown. (If they are not listed they voted no.)

Here’s how we get to eight fewer yes votes:

Bentz Republican Oregon Yes to No
Mast Republican Florida Yes to No
Meuser Republican Pennsylvania Yes to No
Perry Republican Pennsylvania Yes to No
Salazar Republican Florida Yes to No
Van Drew Republican New Jersey Yes to No

Owens Republican Utah Yes to Present

Kinzinger Republican Illinois Yes to Did Not Vote
Zeldin Republican New York Yes to Did Not Vote

Herrera Beutler Republican Washington No to Yes

Here’s how we get a lot more no votes:

Babin Republican Texas Did Not Vote to No
Burchett Republican Tennessee Did Not Vote to No
Diaz-Balart Republican Florida Did Not Vote to No
Finstad Republican Minnesota Did Not Vote to No
Hartzler Republican Missouri Did Not Vote to No
Lucas Republican Oklahoma Did Not Vote to No
McKinley Republican West Virginia Did Not Vote to No
Miller (WV) Republican West Virginia Did Not Vote to No

Gallagher Republican Wisconsin No to Did Not Vote

Sempolinski Republican New York New Member to No
Yakym Republican Indiana New Member to No

Brady Republican Texas No to Did Not Vote
Walorski Republican Indiana No to deceased

 

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Kellyanne Conway Serves up Some Alternative Facts About Herschel Walker’s Failed Election Bid

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Kellyanne Conway, a political strategist who also served as White House advisor to former President Donald Trump, recently delivered critical remarks leveled at Republican senators.

According to Conway, Republican lawmakers did not stand behind Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker in the days leading up to the state’s highly publicized election runoff.

Walker, who was endorsed by Trump, lost the election by less than 100,000 votes.

On Wednesday, December 7, Conway appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” where she voiced her concerns about the election.

According to Mediaite, Conway also “railed against Walker’s fellow Republicans for abandoning him.”

“To the 49 Republican senators, where were most of you?” Conway asked while appealing to other Republican lawmakers to support members of the party. “Why weren’t you in Georgia?”

Conway continued:

“They all should have been because they should’ve been there in some form, town hall, in person, saying the following: ‘I serve in the United States with Raphael Warnock. He’s a terrible senator. He doesn’t represent Georgia. He’s not fit to serve. He votes with Joe Biden. He voted for the Inflation Reduction Act that doesn’t do that. He said nothing when they pulled out of Afghanistan. He said nothing that Joe Biden has been to Delaware 174 days and down to the border zero days.’ That’s what needs to happen. Where were the other senators to say, ‘I want Herschel Walker, not Raphael Warnock in the Senate with me?'”

Conway’s remarks come shortly after another prominent conservative went on a rant about Walker; however, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) perspective is starkly different from Conway’s.

Speaking to far-right influencer Steve Bannon, Greene said that Walker’s campaign rarely reached out for assistance; something she describes as “insulting.” During the interview, Greene insisted, ″They only asked me a couple of times in my own district, which I find extremely insulting.”

 

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