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A Final Word On The Great Nationwide Kiss-In

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2009 will surely be christened the year of gay rights. We’ve added four states to the same-sex marriage list, bringing the total to six, and the White House, rumor has it, will soon move to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and DOMA. There’s also still hope the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill will make it to President Obama’s desk.

Sadly, 2009 will also be known as the year of anti-gay harassment and violence against gays.

Gay-bashings, and their severity, are on the rise. So is anti-gay rhetoric, and child-suicides related to anti-gay bullying. And, as we learned back in June and July, gays are being harassed, detained, and even arrested, after kissing in public.

In mid-July, I wrote a call-to-action, challenging gay rights groups, bloggers, and the media to find ways of keeping positive images of the LGBTQ community in the public eye during the month of August. Called, “Fill The Void,” it warned that the right would try to hijack the gay rights conversation in this country over the summer, since, with Congress and state legislatures out of session, there would be no opportunities for the media to focus on the gay rights debate.

Unfortunately, I was a bit off.

A late June, Gay Pride Day police harassment incident involving Texas local law enforcement officers incorrectly threatening a same-sex couple with arrest, simply for kissing was quickly followed by an even more egregious July 10 incident in Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake incident went beyond the pale. On their way home from a concert, walking through Main Street Plaza, Mormon Church property that serves as a pedestrian thoroughfare, a gay couple was detained and subsequently arrested.  What initiated this obscenity? They were kissing.

True to form, and casting the first stone, despite what the Bible teaches, the Mormon Church, dissatisfied with the direction of growing public opinion against it after the same-sex kissing arrest, began a nasty smear campaign.

A full eight days after the arrest, the Church claimed the same-sex couple was drunk and violent:

“They engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had obviously been using alcohol […and] they became belligerent.”

Fortunately, the Salt Lake City Prosecutor saw through the Church’s hypocrisy, and not only dropped all charges against the two men, but publicly chastised the Church for not marking the pedestrian mall as “private property.”

When I read about the Texas Gay Pride Day incident, in which, by the way, it was the same-sex couple and their friends who called police, I was upset. When I read about the Salt Lake City incident, I was angered. But after doing more research, I found other cases of harassment and arrest for kissing, and I was outraged.

So, on July 13 I called for a national kiss-in to protest these incidents. After writing, “It’s Time For A Nationwide Kiss-In!” I contacted a friend who happens to be the director and co-founder of Join The Impact, a dynamic (in their first week they amassed one million members) grassroots LGBTQ activist organization that was formed just after Prop 8 passed last November. Then, another friend, David Mailloux, a fellow writer who blogs at DYM SUM joined us, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In less than five weeks, The Great Nationwide Kiss-In became a movement. More than 4600 people joined us, and together, we held “Kiss-Ins” to affirm and celebrate everyone’s right to share acts of simple affection with their loved ones, in public.  In more than fifty cities across America, in major metropolitan areas like New York and Boston, and smaller towns like Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Athens, Georgia, people joined together. And we went international, holding an event in Canada, and one in Saipan, capitol of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

So, what was the point of all this? Simple, really.

Studies tell us that gay-rights opponents, or those sitting on the fence, are far more likely to alter their opinion in favor of gay rights once they get to know us. (As I like to say, to know us is to love us!) We wanted to educate the public, to help them see, literally, straight couples standing alongside gay couples, and all kissing their loved ones at exactly the same time, across the country. (Which, by the way, meant 4:00 AM in Saipan!) Personally, I can’t imagine a more powerful statement, or a more beautiful one.

It’s important to note that this was not a “gay event.” A great many of our organizers and participants were straight couples. Which was exactly the point. We showed that love knows no boundaries, no gender, makes no distinctions. Nor did we.

Did we make a difference? I can honestly say, “yes!” The public response and support was overwhelming. Stories from participants about the attitudes of passersby were almost wholly positive.

Importantly, we got people talking. We reminded people that there is more than one way to make a point. In the midst of this summer’s babbling “birther” and “death panel” stories in the media, against a backdrop of out-of-control screaming town halls and gun-toting attendees, we stood up and used a peaceful demonstration – not a protest, but a demonstration of love – to educate and combat hatred and homophobia.

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Nikki Haley Continues Her IVF Evolution With Yet Another Policy Position 

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Nikki Haley is now on her fourth in-vitro fertilization (IVF) policy position. In a period of less than two weeks the trailing Republican presidential candidate has gone from saying embryos are “babies,” to distancing herself from the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that claims embryos are “children,” to saying she supports IVF but it’s an issue for the states, to calling for federal protections for IVF.

After the extreme Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declared human embryos to be “children,” the former Trump UN Ambassador quickly announced she agreed that embryos are “babies.”

“When you talk about an embryo, you are talking about, to me, that’s a life. And so I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that,” Haley had said.

But public sentiment runs strongly against the Alabama Court’s February 16 ruling and Haley’s concurrence February 21.

Haley, who is trailing Trump in the polls by strong double digits, pulled back from aligning herself with the toxic Alabama decision.

RELATED: Republicans Kill Bill to Protect IVF After Claiming They Fully Support It

“Well first off all, this is, again, I didn’t say that I agreed with the Alabama ruling. The question that I was asked is, ‘Do I believe an embryo is a baby?’” Haley told CNN, as The New Republic reported. “I do think that if you look in the definition, an embryo is considered an unborn baby. And so yes, I believe, from my stance, that that is.”

That appears to not have been sufficient, because she quickly switched her stance yet again.

“We don’t want fertility treatment to shut down, we don’t want them to stop doing IVF treatment, we don’t want them to stop doing artificial insemination,” said Haley, again to CNN, on February 22. “But I think this needs to be decided by the people in every state. Don’t take away the rights of these physicians and these parents to have these conversations.”

And now, another switch.

“We don’t need government getting involved in an issue where we don’t have a problem,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on Friday. “We don’t have a problem with IVF facilities. If you have a certain case, let that case play out the way it’s supposed to but don’t create issues and that’s what I feel like it’s happened with this.”

READ MORE: ‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

But there is a problem, and it was caused by Republicans. Specifically, by the Dobbs case and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Alabama Supreme Court majority opinion mentioned Dobbs over a dozen times.

“I think we want IVF to be as accessible as possible to parents who are wanting those blessings of having a baby,” she also said Friday, adding a religious element to her remarks. “I don’t know the details of any of the bills, so I can’t weigh to that. But what I can tell you is, we don’t want to take that away from parents who desperately want to have a child.”

“Michael and I got our children from fertility processes. We need to make sure that those are available, that they’re protected, that it’s personal, and that the whole situation is dealt with respect,” she added, echoing pro-choice concepts while applying them to IVF.

Asked, “should there be a federal protection” for IVF, “or do you think it should be left to the states?” Haley replied: “Well, I think there should be federal protection that we allow for IVF places to be able to function.”

She added, “I think that the people need to decide if they want to get into the details of it or not. It’s the same thing of, do they want to decide, you know, exactly how many embryos or anything like that. I hope they don’t get into that. I want to see that decision between the parents and the doctors. But I think the only thing that the federal government should do is make sure that IVF places are protected and available.”

Professor of law Joyce Vance said recently, “It’s pretty simple. If life begins at conception, IVF is off the table. If you make an exception for IVF then we’re just having a conversation about who you’re willing to make exceptions for.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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‘Trump’s Lawyers Got It Dead Wrong’: Espionage Act Trial Will Not Be Stalled by DOJ Rule

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Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Donald Trump in the Espionage Act case, which will be tried in Florida, will not be stalled by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s policy on not taking certain actions 60 days before an election. The case, often referred to as the classified documents case, includes 31 charges under the Espionage Act.

MSNBC legal analyst and contributor Katie Phang Friday afternoon reports on the “BIG news out of Ft. Pierce.”

“The DOJ advises Judge Cannon that the ’60-day rule’ does NOT apply in Trump’s case as he has already been indicted & the case is already being litigated,” Phang writes. “So, no reason to delay taking him to trial, even with elections in November.”

Phang notes professor of law and her fellow MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance has been making that point.

“Read the policy for yourself,” Vance added Friday. “it doesn’t apply after a case is indicted, when the judge, not DOJ, is in charge of the schedule. Trump’s lawyers got it dead wrong.”

Vance points to her own Substack newsletter’s commentary, where she explains: “At the start of his filing, Trump tries to invoke DOJ policy as a justification for not having a trial this year. But he gets the analysis dead wrong. Trump tries to claim the protection of a DOJ policy against interfering in elections—a huge irony in light of Trump’s efforts to corrupt DOJ after the 2020 election and get the Justice Department to legitimize his false election fraud claims.”

READ MORE: Trump Swore Under Oath He Had $400 Million in Cash – Now He’s Telling a Court a Different Story

“Trump argues that ‘Given President Trump’s status as the presumptive Republican nominee and President Biden’s chief political rival, a trial this year would also violate Justice Manual § 9-85.500, which applies to the Special Counsel’s Office, and prohibits ‘Actions that May Have an Impact on an Election.’ ‘”

“The provision Trump references reads as follows: ‘Federal prosecutors and agents may never select the timing of any action, including investigative steps, criminal charges, or statements, for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party,'” Vance notes.

She adds that the timing of a trial is controlled by a judge, not the DOJ.

READ MORE: ‘Injustice’: Experts Condemn Supreme Court’s ‘Fundamentally Corrupt’ Trump Decision

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Tuberville: Secure the Border Because Immigrants ‘Know Nothing About God’

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U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville says America must put God back into the country and the government, and right now the government isn’t honoring our “Judo” Christian values. The Alabama freshman Republican, a Christian nationalist, also says God cannot be put back into this nation currently because immigrants, who “know nothing about God,” are crossing the southern border illegally.

Sen. Tuberville is also calling for massive cuts to the federal government, saying only the “mentally unhealthy,” “elderly,” “veterans,” and “farmers” should be eligible for financial support from the government.

Tuberville told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that “the federal government is not here to take care of every person in this country. We have to take care of the mentally healthy, mentally – mentally unhealthy. We have to take care of our elderly, our veterans. Everybody else needs to go get a job. They need to get off that couch. We’re paying so many people. Maria, we have turned into so much of a socialist country headed to communism.”

He insisted there is no “free speech” in America. “They’re taking all of our rights away.”

READ MORE: Bartiromo Blasts Biden Administration for Encouraging Americans to Register to Vote

“We need to ask God for help, our country needs help,” Tuberville said in a separate interview. “We’re in a tough situation right now. I’m right here in the middle of it. I get to see it every day.”

“We live in a constitutional republic that’s trying to do things without our Judo-Christian [sic] values. And that’s how this country was built. And we got to get back to that. If we don’t, we won’t make it,” Tuberville claimed.

“The biggest thing right now I will tell you is what’s going on at our southern border. When you’ve got a country without borders, you don’t have a country. And it goes back to one thing: God is not in this building. We’ve got to get God back in this building and we’re gonna get God back in our country. We’ve got to get the God back in the nuclear family. We have to get moral values back into our country. And you can’t do that when you have a million people every couple of months come into this country that know nothing about God, that know nothing about our laws and constitution.”

Back in October, Tuberville said European countries have been “lost” to “immigration” as he praised Christian nationalist authoritarian Viktor Orbán of Hungary. Tuberville has a history of promoting white nationalism and has said he sees a white nationalist as a “Trump Republican.” The Senator also declared immigrants “don’t assimilate,” and are “globalists” who “don’t go by the laws.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Jaw Dropping’: Democratic Senator Slams Tuberville’s ‘Open’ Talk About ‘White Supremacy’

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