Gay Marriage: North Carolina Moves Closer To Un-constitutional Discrimination
North Carolina today swiftly moved one step closer to enshrining un-constitutional discrimination into its founding document. A North Carolina House committee quickly voted in favor of a bill that would pave the way for a ballot measure to be put before its citizens allowing them to vote to ban same-sex marriage and to write that discrimination directly into their state constitution. The full House, after just three house of debate, voted in favor of the measure, 75-42. Rep, Paul Stam (image) has been the most-outspoken in favor of the discrimination, likening same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy.
The North Carolina Senate now must take up the bill, and is expected to soon. The bill is expected to easily pass.
Assuming passage, voters in a May primary will decided whether or not to add this discriminatory language into the constitution:
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”
The Raleigh News And Observer writes that the verbiage could mean a loss of benefits for some state and local employees, and adds,
Republicans initially wanted the amendment to make the November 2012 ballot. But House Speaker Thom Tillis said the May referendum date will “remove the politics from” the vote.
“There has been a lot of accusations that this was purely politically motivate to change the dynamic in November. That takes that argument off the table,” he said.
The speaker also acknowledged that date was designed, in part, to help it garner enough votes to pass.
The AP reports:
North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without a gay marriage ban in its constitution. The idea has gone nowhere in the last decade because Democratic leaders quashed Republican efforts to debate amendment referenda.
Now with Republicans in charge of the Legislature for the first time in 140 years, conservatives are making their move. Lawmakers return Monday to Raleigh to debate proposed amendments, including one to let voters next year decide if a state law already on the books defining marriage as between one man and one woman should be imprinted into the state constitution as well.
“It’s time that we settled this issue,” said GOP state Rep. Dale Folwell of Winston-Salem, the No. 2 leader in the House and a key amendment proponent.
Gay rights supporters and gay-friendly companies in the state have been attacking the proposal, saying a 2012 statewide ballot is unnecessary and would humiliate the state in a nation that’s become more accepting of same-sex relationships. They say it would discourage business from coming to North Carolina, where unemployment has crept back above 10 percent.
Michael Carmichael in The Huffington Post offers this scathing backstory:
In a replay of the Republican stealth attack on the labor movement in Wisconsin, the GOP has launched a sneak attack on the LGBT community of gays, lesbians, transgendered and bisexual citizens in North Carolina — the nation’s most embattled battleground state.
Under the guise of a debate on term limits, the Republicans will strip out the language of the bill and substitute a ban on gay marriage;
The same covert plan is operative in the NC House of Representatives and will run concurrently.
The Republicans’ covert plan was leaked to WRAL by an anonymous whistleblower, who explained the extremist rationale behind the covert legislative strategy:
“We need to reach out to them and get them (gays) to change their lifestyle back to the one we accept.”
Rumors now coursing through Raleigh’s political establishment suggest that the Republican National Committee ordered the clumsy sneak attack. Some are zeroing in on the Chairman of the RNC, Reince Preibus, who hails from Wisconsin, a state now riven by extremist carnage and Ground Zero in the stealthy Republican assault on organized labor. Because of Republican moves to advance their anti-gay marriage amendment, North Carolina is now Ground Zero in their national campaign against gays.
One senior political observer based in Raleigh said, “This sneaky ploy has Reince Preibus’s fingerprints all over it.”
While attending a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in Chicago, the Chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, David Parker was swift to respond. Parker issued a hard-hitting statement comparing this political ploy to recent Republican attempts to resegregate schools in North Carolina and to limit voting rights by requiring Photo IDs at polling places.
Regardless of how you feel about the North Carolina law that already makes gay marriage illegal, it is simply un-American to single out any group of law-abiding citizens to harass and torment. Every time we select a set of folks to exclude from America’s dream of a better life, we lose. The Founding Fathers did not let women vote. They counted African Americans as three fifths of a person. They required voters to own land. Most were fine with education being private. But times have changed. Strong women of both political parties serve us all in the US Senate, the Governor’s office, the General Assembly and in countless local offices. But the Republicans in the General Assembly want to reduce the impact of strong women. The Republicans in the General Assembly and Pat McCrory want to confuse folks with legalese on this issue. And for what reason? North Carolinians know the ban on gay marriage will not create any jobs or make their lives any better. We are tired of distractions. The Republicans in the legislature and Pat McCrory have done nothing to help the middle class in North Carolina. They’re just trying to tap dance their way through the year, distract us with their footwork, and avoid fixing our economy. Enough is enough. Grow up, Pat, and take some responsibility. If you really want to be Governor, you’re going to have focus on things other than who can vote and who can get married.
Stay tuned for more.
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Fox News’ Sean Hannity Whines Charging Trump With ‘Obscure’ Obstruction Is Unfair
Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested on Tuesday’s edition of his radio show that the possibility of former President Donald Trump getting charged with obstruction of justice is unfair because President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton never had their homes “raided” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“So you know, and here’s the other problem, you know, with top secret classified documents. So what they’re doing here is they’re not going to go after what they thought was the crime. Because they didn’t raid Hillary Clinton’s residences. They didn’t raid Joe Biden’s four places where he had top secret classified information. No,” Hannity complained.
Both Clinton and Biden cooperated with federal investigators. Refusing to do so, or impeding their work, is considered obstruction, which is a felony.
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“So they’ll look to something obscure,” Hannity continued. “‘Well, as a result of the investigation, it is alleged that Donald Trump obstructed justice’ — blah blah blah blah blah. Which, by the way, I would argue, legally, he doesn’t have any obligation to cooperate with, and nor can anyone give a real definition of whether or not, you know, exactly how one president is supposed to declassify the materials anyway.”
Trump has claimed that he declassified documents psychically and that they automatically had that status once he took them from the White House. Those statements are not just false — Trump was recorded acknowledging the limits to his power to declassify certain items, such as war plans for an attack on Iran.
Hannity then said that “it’s not going to have anything to do with the documents themselves, except it’ll be a process crime. That is my prediction.”
There are many indicators that Trump could facing an espionage charge (among a litant of others), as recently highlighted by experts.
READ MORE: ‘Nihilistic moron’ Trump heading for another indictment: George Conway
“They’re gonna go down the process crime route and they won’t apply the same standards to Joe, just like they didn’t apply the same standards to the Hillary, and whatever bone they throw you on Hunter is the low-hanging fruit that does not get to the heart of the family business with a multitude of countries that they were paid a fortune from,” Hannity added. “And we still haven’t gotten the final numbers, and clearly, Hunter Biden with no experience was leading up the effort and implicates his own father. They’re gonna stay as far away from the real crux of what legality would impact Joe Biden and just go after Donald Trump, to just continue their policies of politicizing or criminalizing political differences.”
Listen below via Media Matters for America or at this link.
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Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
Double Bombshell: Mark Meadows and Trump’s Secret Service Agents Have Testified, NYT Reports
The New York Times late Tuesday afternoon published two separate reports revealing previously unknown details from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s double-pronged investigation into Donald Trump’s likely unlawful actions, including that investigators have interviewed or subpoenaed approximately two dozen people who are among those who know the ex-president best: Mark Meadows, Trump’s final White House Chief of Staff, and “more than 20” of the ex-president’s Secret Service agents.
The Times, pointing to the “surprise revelation” that a federal grand jury has been convened in Florida, reports Meadows has testified before the grand jury, presumably in Washington, D.C. The 20 or more members of the ex-president’s Secret Service detail have either testified before the D.C. grand jury or been subpoenaed to do so.
Meadows is a “key witness” who allegedly was intimately aware or involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and he is believed to also have knowledge of the ex-president’s likely unlawful handling of classified and top secret documents.
Suggesting there could be “unknown complexities” with the revelation of a Florida grand jury, The Times reports Special Counsel Jack Smith’s D.C. grand jury appears to have stopped hearing testimony recently from witnesses, while the one in the Sunshine State “began hearing evidence last month,” but has seen “only a handful of witnesses.”
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Based on “people familiar with the matter,” The Times explains, “if both grand juries are in operation, it suggests that prosecutors are considering bringing charges in both Washington and Florida. It is possible that Mr. Trump could be charged in one jurisdiction while other people involved in the case are charged in the other.”
“But if only the Florida grand jury is currently hearing testimony, it suggests two possibilities,” The Times explains. “One is that the investigation in Washington is largely complete and that prosecutors are now poised to make a decision about bringing charges there while still weighing other potential indictments in Florida.”
Other possibilities are that the Special Counsel believes Florida is the proper venue to file charges against Trump, in the documents probe, or even that the Florida grand jury was convened to accommodate “local witnesses.”
But former Deputy Asst. Attorney General Harry Litman told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace Tuesday that if the Special Counsel files charges in the wrong venue, the entire case “can go away” and cannot be retried.
READ MORE: Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
“I think Smith has made all his decisions,” Litman added. “The fact that there was this meeting yesterday, only happens when everything’s final. I think there’s a draft indictment and everything, but a very important strategic decision is venue, and I think that they’re pursuing something separate in the Southern District of Florida.”
Meanwhile, The Times notes that “Mr. Meadows has kept largely out of sight, and some of Mr. Trump’s advisers believe he could be a significant witness in the inquiries.” Apparently, even Trump has “at times asked aides questions about how Mr. Meadows is doing, according to a person familiar with the remarks.”
Meadows’ attorney, George Terwilliger, played coy when asked about his client’s possible grand jury testimony. Terwilliger told The Times, “Without commenting on whether or not Mr. Meadows has testified before the grand jury or in any other proceeding, Mr. Meadows has maintained a commitment to tell the truth where he has a legal obligation to do so.”
In addition to his knowledge, if not participation in efforts to overturn the election, and his knowledge of Trump’s mishandling and possible attempts to obstruct the Dept. of Justice’s investigation into the classified documents, Meadows “tangentially” is involved in a meeting that Special Counsel Smith now has recorded audio of. Although he was not present, that meeting was about Meadows’ book. In the audio, Trump allegedly made clear he knew the highly-classified Pentagon document had not been declassified, shattering his stated defense, and he allegedly said he wanted to share it, which could lead to more legal troubles for him.
Andrew Weissmann, a former top DOJ official, tweeted in response to the Times’ story on Meadows, “Did he plead or was he given immunity?”
Professor of law at NYU Law, Ryan Goodman, a former Special Counsel for the Dept. of Defense, served up this equation:
“Put these 2 things together and what do you have? 1) Meadows ‘has testified before a federal grand jury…in the investigations being led by the special counsel’s office’! 2) Meadow’s actions seem to be kept secret from Trump team! Answer: A cooperator?”
Buttigieg: Republicans Are Targeting LGBTQ People Because They ‘Don’t Want to Talk About’ Their Own ‘Radical Positions’
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg blasted Republicans attacking the LGBTQ community on Tuesday, saying the reason right-wing lawmakers have decided to target them is they don’t want to talk about their “radical positions,” including opposing President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure law and other accomplishments, like $35 insulin.
Appearing on MSNBC, Secretary Buttigieg was asked to weigh in on the Human Rights Campaign’s declaration earlier in the day, of a national emergency in the U.S. for LGBTQ people.
“We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year,” the organizations says on its website. “More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.”
HRC also published a detailed chart by state on various issues, including bans on gender-affirming care, sports participation, drag, or support for forced student outing.
And while HRC points to the more than 75 bills that have been signed into law this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says it’s currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country.
READ MORE: Bill Barr Slams Trump: DOJ Not ‘Conducting a Witch Hunt’ – ‘He Jerked Them Around’ – ‘No Excuse for What He Did’
“Our country is at a very real risk of backsliding on freedom and equality but that is exactly why we continue to push. There has been extraordinary work that’s been done just in this presidency,” Buttigieg said, responding to HRC’s national emergency declaration. He specifically pointed to “the President being able to sign the Respect for Marriage Act.”
“And if you zoom out to the progress that’s been made in the last 10 or 15 years, including the ability of somebody like me to be standing here doing this job, it’s extraordinary, and yet, now you see the attacks on the LGBTQ community, especially on the trans community and what they’re going through,” Buttigieg, who is the first out gay U.S. Cabinet Secretary, told MSNBC’s Chris Jansing.
“And I think it’s being done out of the perception that it is politically convenient to target vulnerable groups. And honestly, I think where it largely comes from is folks who don’t want to talk about why they were against the infrastructure loans, building roads and bridges. They don’t want to talk about why they were against $35 insulin that the President delivered for Medicare recipients. They don’t want to explain why they were for these radical positions that speak to what those people are worried about their everyday lives.”
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“So they’re focused on targeting some of the people who already do not have a very easy time going about everyday life,” he said.
“Think about how hard it is to be a teenager to begin with. But think about how hard it is to be a teenager when you realize that you are different when you’re coming to terms with your gender identity or you’re coming to terms with realizing that you’re gay or lesbian.”
“The last thing you need in your life are politicians trying to score political points by making things worse for you. We’re gonna stand together, whether it’s pride or just on any given day and say no, we’re going to expand, not withdraw, the freedoms and equalities we won in this country, and we’re going to build on them.”
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