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DOMA: Maggie Gallagher Needs To Actually Read The First Amendment



Maggie Gallagher, Chuck Grassley, heck, maybe all conservatives (including Sarah Palin!) and anti-equality fear-mongers need to actually read the First Amendment. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you have, but since Gallagher has been known to stop by here, I’ll post it here for her to see:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

See? It’s short — only 45 words. Not hard to read, right? How long did it just take you?

So why is it that Maggie Gallagher — certainly a learned woman — felt the need yesterday to pen, “The Chilling of Our First Amendment Rights,” over at the National Review, in response to Senator Chuck Grassley’s mistaken testimony? (A great deal of the senior Senator from Iowa’s testimony Wednesday at the DOMA hearing was mistaken.)

“I’d like to note that one of our witnesses describes the serious threats that were made against ordinary citizens who exercise their First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances when California judges forced that state to adopt same-sex marriage,” Grassley said at Wednesday’s DOMA hearing. “The minority very much hoped to call a witness today, at this hearing, to testify in support of DOMA. I’m sure she would have done an excellent job. She declined, however, citing as one reason the threats and intimidation that have been leveled against not only her but her family as a result of her support of DOMA. She will continue to write on the subject but will no longer speak publicly. This chilling of the First Amendment rights is unacceptable.”

Clever how Grassley sticks First Amendment in there, first plausibly, since it states, as you well know now, that,

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,”

then totally incorrectly.

If someone is invited by Congress to testify in front of Congress, are their First Amendment rights violated if they choose to not testify, for whatever reason — be  it fear, perceived threats or perceived intimidation? No.

Is it wrong — possibly a crime — if someone is threatened to not speak in front of Congress? Of course!

But is this a “chilling of their First Amendment rights?” No.

Gallagher, and Grassley, should know better, just as should Sarah Palin, who infamous claimed in 2008,

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

And just as Palin was sadly mistaken in 2010, when she defended Dr. Laura’s right to be a hate monger, saying, via Twitter, “Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)”

(Dr. Laura herself needs to read the First Amendment. The embattled conservative radio show host, explaining her resignation, stated she was quitting to “regain my First Amendment rights.” She never lost them — just the good sense to treat people well, and to tell the truth. Sadly, those two attributes make for popular conservative talk show hosts.)

But Maggie Gallagher, the Chairman of NOM  — the National Organization for Marriage that works hard not to save or protect marriage, but to ensure same-sex couples are unable to be included in the institution — gets around all this, (just as she gets around anything she doesn’t like, by creating a false narrative,) stating,

“The First Amendment is more than a legal guarantee. It is a culture — a key American value — which holds that in a decent and free society, law-abiding citizens should not face reprisals for speaking up with civility for the moral good as they see it.”

See, just like Grassley sneaks the First Amendment reference into his comments, Gallagher likes to redefine the meaning — when it suits her purpose.

(Why is it conservatives, who generally claim to be strict Constitutionalists when it comes to the Constitution — and the Bible — like to interpret when it’s convenient? Redefine the First Amendment? Go ahead! “Redefine” marriage? Hell no!)

I certainly agree that Americans “should not face reprisals for speaking up with civility for the moral good as they see it,” as long as their “speaking up” doesn’t incite violence, or create a culture of fear and hate — which is what Gallagher’s pals like Bryan Fischer do, almost daily.

And yes, I’m aware courts disagree, most recently in fact, stating it’s OK to level a death threat on a presidential candidate under the guise of “free speech.”

“Sen. Chuck Grassley’s remarkable opening statement in today’s Senate hearing on a bill to repeal DOMA called attention to a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife,” Gallagher claimed yesterday.

Is there “a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife?”

There certainly is a growing embrace of same-sex marriage — now that we have six major nationwide polls over the past twelve months that find that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Is it intolerant to be intolerant of the Right’s intolerance?

(Speaking of tolerance and intolerance, I’ll take a moment to direct your attention to “I Do Not Deserve Your Tolerance,” my post years back on the very subject.)

“An unfortunate aspect of the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage in the civil forum is that it carries aspects of intolerance,” writes Roman Catholic canon lawyer and professor Nicholas P. Cafardi in the National Catholic Reporter. “Yes, I realize that the opposite is true. The church could say that those pushing same-sex civil marriage on those of us who, because of our faith, are unalterably opposed to it are also intolerant of our religious beliefs. But in the scales of intolerance, the weight will always go against those who would prevent rather than those who would permit.”

And make no mistake. Gallagher’s NOM may downplay its religious roots, but they’re deep — in culture and in finance. NOM states it is “a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” Those faith communities —  widely-believed to be both the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church — have sustained NOM, financially.

Gallagher has the audacity to state,

“The death threats and hateful mail New York state senator Rev. Ruben Diaz says he has received are not unusual. Whole professions are in the process of being closed to anyone who espouses — and acts — on the view that marriage is the union of husband and wife.”

New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz is the man who stood idly by while Maggie Gallagher’s NOM-sponsored anti-gay hate rally — prior to the New York State marriage equality win last month — featured a preacher who actually advocated for the genocide of the LGBT community.

Gays are worthy of death,” Reverend Ariel Torres Ortega preached, in Spanish, back in May.

Gallagher, whose organization sponsored the event, said little more than, “I whole-heartedly and unreservedly denounce any suggestion of violence against gay people, or anyone in the gay marriage debate,” — on my site, in the comments section, not in a press release — far the the eyes of most.

New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz refused to even acknowledge the genocidal raving, much less denounce it.

Like so many conservatives, Gallagher sees what she wants to see, ignorant of the concept of cause and effect.

Have there been incidents of angry verbal and written attacks on those who voted for Prop 8? Of course. Have there been incidents of angry verbal and written attacks on those who speak for or against equslity? Of course.

In a nation that embraces the right of a man to suggest he will put a .50 calibre bullet into the head of the nation’s first African-American president, and chalk it up to free speech, surely no one should be surprised if those on both sides of any question get verbally hostile. (Let me make perfectly clear, I find disgusting and morally offensive both someone threatening violence, and a ruling that says it’s OK to do so.)

But no one is “chilling” the First Amendment rights of anyone in the battle for marriage equality. To say so is just another of the right’s orchestrated campaign of falsehoods.

The bottom line is simple. You probably figured this out by now. Gallagher and Grassley and Palin, and Dr. Laura, and all the others, all claim First Amendment rights are being compromised, because they don’t like what their critics have to say — or because there are fewer people who are saying what they want to hear.

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Ten Commandments Governor Declares No Church-State Separation in Rough Fox News Interview



Louisiana Republican Governor Jeff Landry appeared surprised in a Friday Fox News interview when asked to defend his newly-signed law requiring the Bible’s Ten Commandments to be posted in every public school classroom throughout the state, which critics say is unconstitutional.

Speaking about the First Amendment principle of separation of church and state, which the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed at least a half-dozen times, Landry declared: “I challenge anyone who says that to go find me those words in the First Amendment. They don’t exist.”

He went on to claim those who want to “extract” what he claims are America’s Judeo-Christian principles “out of the foundation of this country…really and truly want to create the chaos that ultimately is the demise of this nation.”

On Thursday in a signing ceremony Landry declared the Bible’s Moses is the “original lawgiver,” a claim some challenged as a cultural choice and not an accurate one, given there are others that date back earlier, to ancient Greece, Babylon,  and India.

READ MORE: ‘Ominous Opinion’: Same-Sex Marriage Targeted Again in Latest SCOTUS Ruling, Expert Warns

“You’ve heard the criticism, it seems to be pouring in. Was it still the right thing to do?” Governor Landry was asked Friday afternoon.

“I mean, I didn’t know that living the Ten Commandments is a bad way to live life,” Landry replied, not touching the obvious and likely unconstitutional nature of the legislation he proudly signed 24 hours earlier. “I didn’t know that it was so vile to obey the Ten Commandments. I think that that speaks volumes about how eroded this country has become. I mean, look, this country was, was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and every time we steer away from that we have problems in our nation. I mean, right now schools teach, basically treat kids like critters and get the Ten Commandments is something bad to put in schools? It just it’s amazing.”

The founders clearly intended to create a secular, not religious government and took great care, including in the First Amendment, to ensure no religion was favored and individuals had the right to observe any faith, multiple faiths, or none at all.

RELATED: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

“For those listening right now, they’re wondering, what’s the goal?” Fox News host Sandra Smith continued. “Because it’s not as if this is going to be taught in every school and classroom. This is just being displayed on the walls. So my question to you is, how is this going to improve the school environment and the performance of kids in those schools? When Governor, I pull up the report cards of these public schools and Louisiana is struggling, I mean, it is at the bottom of the country. The education system is failing these kids. I mean, Louisiana is 43, 44th in math and reading. So is this gonna help what is a very big problem in Louisiana?”

“Look, I think it’s part and parcel for helping kids anywhere around the country, if other states followed our suits, but at the same time that we signed that bill into law, we signed a string of others assign 20 bills, including this one, to reform Louisiana schools.”

Experts note that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law in 1980.

Sandra Smith’s remarks about Louisiana failing are accurate. According to U.S. News and World Report, Louisiana ranks 47th in education, 50th in crime, 49th in the economy, 46th in health care, and overall, it ranks last, at number 50.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

RELATED: ‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms


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‘Ominous Opinion’: Same-Sex Marriage Targeted Again in Latest SCOTUS Ruling, Expert Warns



In a 6-3 decision along partisan lines the right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court once again targeted the landmark 2015 Obergefell same-sex marriage decision, leading liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor to sound “alarm bells” on marriage equality in her dissent a legal expert says, warning that they may try to “roll it back.”

The case involves Sandra Muñoz, a U.S. citizen who argued that the federal government’s denial of a visa for her husband, who lives in El Salvador, deprives her of her constitutionally protected right to liberty.

The right-wing majority in a decision written by Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled: “A citizen does not have a fundamental liberty interest in her noncitizen spouse being admitted to the country.”

Friday’s ruling “undermines same-sex marriage,” Bloomberg Law reports Justice Sotomayor’s dissent warns.

Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern has covered the courts since 2013, and is the author of a 2019 book on the Roberts Supreme Court.

“Justice Sotomayor, in dissent, accuses the conservative supermajority of cutting back the rights guaranteed in Obergefell—the same-sex marriage decision—and of repeating ‘the same fatal error’ it made in Dobbs,” Stern writes. “A very ominous opinion.”

READ MORE: ‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms

The “fatal error” in Dobbs was ignoring precedent.

“Justice Sotomayor says the burden of today’s decision will ‘fall most heavily’ on same-sex couples, many of whom cannot safely reside in the non-citizen’s home country,” Stern adds. “Her dissent is littered with alarm bells about Obergefell.”

He points to this from Sotomayor’s dissent, a citation from the Obergefell decision:

“A traveler to the United States two centuries ago reported that ‘‘[t]here is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America.’ ‘ ”

“Today,” Sotomayor continued, “the majority fails to live up to that centuries-old promise. Muñoz may be able to live with her husband in El Salvador, but it will mean raising her U. S.-citizen child outside the United States. Others will be less fortunate. The burden will fall most heavily on same-sex couples and others who lack the ability, for legal or financial reasons, to make a home in the noncitizen spouse’s country of origin.”

Again quoting Obergefell, she adds, “For those couples, this Court’s vision of marriage as the ‘assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other’ rings hollow.”

Stern warns: “I think Justice Sotomayor is clearly correct that the Supreme Court’s gratuitous attack on the constitutional rights of married couples in Muñoz—especially same-sex couples—suggests that the conservative justices hate Obergefell and may roll it back.”

Sotomayor began her dissent also with a quote from Obergefell: “The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition.”

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

She warns that the right-wing majority could have appropriately issued a narrow ruling but instead chose to hand down a broad decision:

“The majority could have resolved this case on narrow grounds under longstanding precedent,” she writes. “Instead, the majority today chooses a broad holding on marriage over a narrow one on procedure.”

Justice Sotomayor again points to same-sex marriage:

“Muñoz may be able to live in El Salvador alongside her husband or at least visit him there, but not everyone is sovereign lucky. The majority’s holding will also extend to those couples who, like the Lovings and the Obergefells, depend on American law for their marriages’ validity. Same-sex couples may be forced to relocate to countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage, or even those that criminalize homosexuality.”

She also noted, “The constitutional right to marriage has deep roots,” and “The constitutional right to marriage is not so flimsy,” while warning “the majority departs from longstanding precedent and gravely undervalues the right to marriage in the immigration context.”

Two years ago almost to the day, when the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade and stripping away the constitutional right to abortion, Stern warned the Court, especially Justice Thomas, would come for contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage:

Two years before Dobbs, Stern also warned Justice Thomas was targeting same-sex marriage, writing that “Thomas (joined by Alito) wrote a jaw-dropping rant taking direct aim at Obergefell and suggesting that SCOTUS must overturn the right to marriage equality in order to protect free exercise.”

READ MORE: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

Image via Shutterstock

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‘Desperately Needed’: Trump Wants ‘Revival’ of Religion and Ten Commandments in Classrooms



Jumping on Louisiana’s controversial and likely unconstitutional new law mandating posters of a specific version of the Bible’s Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom, Donald Trump overnight declared the nation “desperately” needs a religious “revival” and called for the religious text to be placed in classrooms across America.

Critics point out that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 found a similar law unconstitutional.

“The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose,” the Associated Press reports.

And while some lawmakers are insisting it is a historical document, remarks by Republican Governor Jeff Landry and the bill’s co-author, Republican state Rep. Lauren Ventrella, would appear to undermine that defense.

RELATED: ‘Christian Theocracy’: Ten Commandments Lawmaker Who Can’t ‘Fathom’ Outrage Gets Schooled

“I love the Ten Commandments in public schools, private schools, and many other places, for that matter. Read it — how can we, as a nation, go wrong??? This may be, in fact, the first major step in the revival of religion, which is desperately needed, in our country. bring back TTC!!! MAGA2024” Trump wrote on Truth Social in his all-caps post.

Some critics have been noting Trump has violated many if not most of the Ten Commandments. Some have listed the Ten Commandments and what they say are Trump’s actions in comparison to them.

MSNBC‘s Steve Bennen observed, “Trump is touting the Ten Commandments, despite the fact that he’s broken most of them. No graven images? Check. Honoring the Sabbath? Check. No adultery? Check. No stealing? Check. No bearing false witness? Big ol’ check. No coveting a neighbor’s wife? Check.”

Retired North Carolina Supreme Court justice and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Judge Bob Orr wrote: “The GOP and Trump want parents controlling the books that are in schools NOT educators…but their ok with educators being responsible for teaching children to follow the Ten Commandments – a responsibility that belongs at home with the parents and the church.”

Earlier this week, before Trump’s declaration, The Lincoln Project posted a video on Trump’s relationship to the religious document.

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn




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