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Exclusive: GetEQUAL Announces Exciting And Important Leadership Change



Heather Cronk has served as the Managing Director of GetEQUAL and today she announces an important change at the LGBT civil rights organization, in this exclusive op-ed.

Today, GetEQUAL is undergoing a transition of leadership.

Starting today, Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez and I will begin serving as co-directors of GetEQUAL. This decision has been a long time coming and has resulted in some incredible conversations with our board members. For a board to trust the leadership of the organization to a young female seminary graduate from the South and a young undocumented man from Brazil is a brave move — but it also marks a shift that I hope becomes the norm for the LGBTQ movement.

I didn’t always have the urgency for LGBTQ equality that I do today — that I developed three years ago. I came to GetEQUAL after having worked in the progressive movement for years, but had always seen myself as an “infrastructure builder” and not an “organizer.” That all changed for me in 2010 when I started watching four brave young undocumented immigrants walking from Miami to DC, risking life and limb along the way, to draw attention to the need for the DREAM Act.

These four folks caught my attention not because of what they were saying (though that was powerful, too), but because of where they were walking. I’m from Kentucky and have lived all over the Southeast. I went to college in Georgia and have visited most of the state with college friends at one time or another. I knew the towns these four folks were walking through, and those towns weren’t going to be kind to them. These are towns where the KKK is alive and kicking — towns where sheriffs pride themselves on roughing up anyone who isn’t white. The four folks were risking their lives because they believed in their own moral equality, but they needed America to recognize that moral equality and therefore grant them legal equality. What, I asked myself, the f*&k am I doing for my own equality?

At the same time that this Trail of Dreams was happening, I had connected with Kip Williams and Robin McGehee — two crazy radicals who had just organized the National Equality March (with a legion of volunteers) and believed that LGBTQ folks not only *should* be equal under the law, but *could* be equal under the law. The crazy part was that they believed that could happen in short order — it didn’t have to take a generation, as most of our national LGBTQ organizations believed. I was skeptical. I lived in DC and was well-acquainted with the political calculus that LGBTQ issues were “the third rail of politics” and all other manner of euphemisms for “DON’T TOUCH THAT ISSUE WITH A TEN-FOOT POLE!”

But I started talking with Kip and Robin, and I started to see the organizers they were attracting — folks from states like Texas and Mississippi, folks who had been left behind by the rest of the movement, folks who were working two and three jobs to get by, but could always figure out a way to organize and take action and dream. I started to realize that there was a moment in front of us — something was simmering below the surface but, if we did thingsright, we could raise that simmer to a rolling boil. We could get equal.

Three years later, I’ve met some of the most incredible folks who are organizing at great risk to themselves, their families, and their livelihoods. GetEQUAL organizers have lost their jobs because of their activism, they have been passed over for jobs because their names are “Googable” now, and they have had enormous strain put on their families because they’ve been so “out” in their communities. This work is no joke.

I’m thrilled that I get to work every day with one of the people who inspire me the most — someone who has shown incredible courage and who has unrelenting energy for this work. Felipe was one of a small group of folks across the country who created the moral crisis around immigration that has resulted in today’s prospect of comprehensive immigration reform. I have no doubt that, as we embark on this new phase of GetEQUAL’s work, we’ll be working like mad to do exactly the same thing for LGBTQ equality — creating the moral crisis that will open up a conversation about solutions to the problem of inequality.

As Felipe and I head into our new roles as co-directors, we hope that we can continue to inspire folks just as Robin and Kip and so many of GetEQUAL’s organizers have done over the past three years. As Gaby and Carlos and Juan and, yes, Felipe walked through the South three years ago to inspire me to take action, I hope that we can do the same for the LGBTQ community and our allies. It’s time to rise up, it’s time to realize our own moral equality, and it’s time to translate that into the struggle for our legal equality. It’s time to get equal — will you join us?

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Gaetz Needs Just Five Republicans to Oust McCarthy – He Already Has Three



After weeks of “chaos” within the House Republican conference that led to a down-to-the-wire near-shutdown of the federal government, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has spent the past two days vowing to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy for reaching across the aisle to pass legislation keeping the government running.

Gaetz’s own future is in question with some of his Republican colleagues vowing to expel him should an unfavorable report be released by the House Ethics Committee on his possible sexual misconduct and illicit behaviors including possible drug use and possible public corruption.

“Several Republicans,” CNN’s Manu Raju reports, are “expected to back motion to eject McCarthy,” who “will very likely” need Democrats to keep his Speakership.

READ MORE: ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws

“House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries has not said if his caucus would join right-wing Republicans to help topple McCarthy or if Democrats might support him in exchange for political or legislative favors,” Reuters reported late Monday afternoon. “Democrats, in theory, could demand that McCarthy honor his spending deal with Biden, drop the impeachment inquiry, or hold votes on gun and immigration legislation.”

But Gaetz already has three publicly declared votes to oust Speaker McCarthy. In addition to himself, far right Republican Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona responded “Let’s roll” Sunday afternoon to Gaetz’s announcement he would file a “motion to vacate” against McCarthy.

And U.S. Rep. Bob Good of Virginia has also declared he would “never” vote to let McCarthy keep the Speaker’s gavel.

Other far right Republicans, including U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Byron Donalds, and Chip Roy, have indicated they would not support ousting McCarthy, at least not right now.

But Gaetz may have time on his side.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

While he on Monday acknowledged he probably doesn’t have the votes yet, the math could line up differently by the end of the week.

The Senate will not be in session after Wednesday, with many Senators expected to travel to California for the funeral of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“This could create some level of havoc on House side — dozens of [House] members will also want to fly out to SF,” noted Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane. “Maybe even McCarthy, but mostly House Dems. If the motion to vacate vote is Wednesday or Thursday, attendance could be haphazard.”


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‘Sodom and Gomorrah’: ND Republican Unleashes Anti-LGBTQ Christian Nationalist Rant Calling for ‘Christ Is King’ Laws



North Dakota state Representative Brandon Prichard, a Republican who co-sponsored legislation that was passed in to law that bans all gender confirming surgeries and medication for minors in his state, went on an anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist tirade including a call for state ordinances to declare “Jesus Christ is King.”

“Every conservative state should put into code that Jesus Christ is King and dedicate their state to Him. Force RINOs to say no to Jesus and then brutalize them in elections. We need a government of Christians, not fakers,” wrote Rep. Pritchard Sunday evening.

Pushback came swiftly, from politicos including former Republican and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who responded saying, “Not in this country. Never. Our Constitution won’t allow it. And that’s a damn good thing. Shame on you.”

Rep. Pritchard’s remarks in recent days have taken on a similarly strong Christian nationalist theme.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

“Here is a simple test to determine if you are conservative: Should the church of Satan or satanic temple be allowed the freedom to worship in the same way as Christians? If you answer yes, you need to rethink your claimed political identity because you are not conservative,” he wrote Friday.

Later that same day he added, “Real conservatives will never put the constitution above natural law. The constitution is only useful insofar as it forces our government to limit power and pursue objective truth. It is a powerful means to an end, nothing more, nothing less.”

Over the weekend Pritchard issued a call to ban pornography, saying it “serves no positive benefit in society, destroys men, and treats women as objects.”

A social media account that appears to be for the adult site Just for Fans mocked him, writing on social media, “If you want to cancel an account, please contact our customer service department.”

READ MORE: McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report

Also over the weekend Pritchard called for any Republican who thinks children should be allowed to attend drag shows be “censured or expelled from the party.”

He then wrote he was “extremely disappointed” with North Dakota State University “over their decision to have two homecoming kings and NO homecoming queen. People will be mad when I introduce a bill next session to say that state-funded schools cannot pick homecoming royalty of the same sex, but I didn’t start the fight.”

Pritchard also declared, “All schools should have LGBTQ history taught and lesson one should be Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Monday morning the lawmaker claimed, “All I want is to buy some land, raise a family, and mind my own business. Everything changes when you realize the left is militantly against this existence and will do everything to destroy our families and religion. We must take power or risk being controlled, it’s simple.”

The North Dakota state constitution requires lawmakers to take an oath that reads: “‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of North Dakota; and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of _________ according to the best of my ability, so help me God’ (if an oath), (under pains and penalties of perjury) if an affirmation, and any other oath, declaration, or test may not be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.”



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‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars



Inside New York’s State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Donald Trump unleashed his anger on the first day of Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million civil fraud lawsuit that has already led to the judge ordering the ex-president’s business licenses be revoked and his businesses dissolved.

One of Trump’s rants was highly-criticized by a fascism expert who compared it to language used by authoritarian strongmen including “Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, Erdogan.”

Trump told reporters Monday the New York fraud case “is a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time.” He described Justice Arthur Engoron as a “rogue judge” and Attorney General James as a “racist attorney general” and a “horror show,” and the case against him “a scam” and “a sham.”

READ MORE: McCarthy ‘Could Be a Former Speaker by the End of This Week’: Report

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University professor of history and Italian studies, responded to Trump’s remarks, saying “the witch hunt/victimhood rhetoric is part of the authoritarian playbook and was/is used by the following corrupt leaders: Mussolini, Hitler, Berlusconi, Erdogan. If extended to the whole country being victimized, add Putin, Xi, and more.”

Fascism expert Federico Finchelstein, a historian and history department chair at New York’s New School for Social Research, responded to Trump’s comments: “Fascist lies are about the projection onto others of what fascists are/do. Trump today as usual displayed his wannabe fascist mindset.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) exclaimed, “So he’s in the courthouse calling the judge ‘rogue’ and calling the prosecutor ‘racist.’ Not on the steps outside the courthouse (bad enough) but inside the very courthouse.”

READ MORE: ‘These Are Our National Secrets’: Democrat Slams GOP for Ignoring Trump Classified Documents Found ‘In the S——’

Trump also told reporters at the courthouse Monday that he’s been indicted because he’s running for president. Multiple reports have revealed he announced his White House run in an effort to avoid prosecution.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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