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Kentucky AG Won’t Appeal Ruling Striking Down Marriage Ban — But Governor Will

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The Attorney General for the state of Kentucky this morning announced he will not appeal a federal court’s ruling that his state’s ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. Democratic AG Jack Conway says that if he were to appeal, “I would be defending discrimination. That I will not do.”

But the Democratic governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, moments later announced that he will appeal the ruling, and will pay outside counsel to do so. A figure has not yet been reported.

The ruling, handed down last month, forces the state of Kentucky to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

“Conway’s decision means same-sex couples in Kentucky who were married in other states will be allowed to pursue name changes, file joint tax returns with the state, and seek to have names added to birth certificates,” the AP reports.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn issued a Feb. 12 opinion that Kentucky’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause in the 14th Amendment because it treated “gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

The decision arose from a lawsuit filed by two couples who were married in other states or countries over the past 10 years. The couples sought to force the state to recognize their unions as legal. Heyburn’s ruling does not require the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; that is the subject of a separate, but related lawsuit. Heyburn expects to rule on that issue by summer.

But Gov. Beshear will have to try to find a sympathetic judge to stay the court’s ruling. In theory, legally married same-sex couples in Kentucky could be recognized by the state, then have their legal status revoked.

Conway last month had asked for a 90-day stay on implementing the federal judge’s ruling, which was denied.

The New Civil Rights Movement reported at the time that “Conway filed his motion for a delay this morning, with a tantalizing tease. He told the court he needed more time to decide whether to appeal Judge Heyburn’s decision. Making such an admission to the court may mean Attorney General Conway is considering joining at least six other Democratic state attorneys general who have announced they will not defend their states ban on marriage equality.”

Conway’s term as Attorney General ends next year. He is term-limited and cannot run again for that office.

Image of Jack Conway via Wikipedia

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Sinema Says ‘DC Solutions’ on Guns Not ‘Realistic’

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U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), one of two major roadblocks to Democrats passing President Joe Biden’s top agenda items including gun control, just one day after an 18-year old gunman massacred 21 people in Texas including 19 elementary school children, offered to be open to discussion but made clear she does not believe in a federal solution to the gun violence that plagues America.

The United States is the only country in the world with a gun crisis of this magnitude. The leading cause of death for children and teens is now a gun.

Republicans allowed the 1994 federal ban on semi-automatic weapons to expire in 2004. A 2019 study found “Mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the federal ban period.”

Senator Sinema appeared to disagree with that study in remarks to reporters late Wednesday morning.

“I asked her if she was willing to set aside the filibuster,” Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman reports. “She said she didn’t believe ‘that DC solutions are realistic here.'”

The federal assault weapons ban was a “DC solution.”

Sinema also told Sherman that “despite the fact that there is always heated rhetoric here in DC, I do think there’s an opportunity for us to actually have real conversations and try and do something. I think the conversation across America is very different than it is here.”

90 percent of Americans want Congress to pass a background check bill, which the House already has but Senate Republicans refuse to allow.  Eliminating the 60-vote threshold in the filibuster might allow that legislation to pass, as it almost did under President Barack Obama, with 54 votes.

“People at home all across America are just, they’re scared,” Sinema added, suggesting that is no reason to make changes to the way the Senate works, or to pass gun control legislation. “They want us to do something.”

Sinema committed to no action other than “to start having conversations again with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to determine whether or not there’s something we can actually do to help increase safety and protect kids across the country.”

The House has already passed multiple bills the Senate could take up and pass — or at least get Senators on the record.

Sen. Sinema’s reluctance to do anything substantive stands in clear contrast to her Arizoan Democratic colleague in the House. U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, long rumored to be a potential primary opponent when Sinema is up for re-election, on Tuesday night blasted Sinema and others, like “baby killer” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), standing in the way of gun control.

 

 

 

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Avowed White Nationalist’ Republican Criticized as ‘Unfit for Office’ Over False Claim Shooter Was LGBTQ, Undocumented

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U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is being criticized after falsely identifying the Uvalde, Texas shooter who massacred 19 children and two adults at an elementary school as being a “leftist,” undocumented, and LGBTQ.

Last year Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) called Gosar an “avowed white nationalist.” Gosar appeared by video at an event run by a far-right activist who has been labeled a white nationalist and a white supremacist.

In a tweet posted very early Wednesday morning, well after the identity of the alleged shooter was widely reported, the far-right Arizona Congressman said the 18-year-old who slaughtered 21 people was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien.”

Many hours earlier Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott had specifically said at a news conference the shooter (NCRM will not name him here) was a U.S. citizen. There is no indication he was “transsexual,” as Gosar falsely claimed, or “leftist.”

Former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski posted a screenshot of Gosar’s tweet, which has since been deleted after massive outcries.

Reporting on his tweet, Huffpost called Gosar “an anti-immigration hardliner who routinely cozies up to white nationalists, ” and “was apparently promoting a false claim circulating on right-wing networks.”

The lawmaker was censured and stripped of his committee assignments last year after he posted an anime video depicting him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and threatening President Joe Biden. Only two Republicans voted with Democrats on the measure.

Meanwhile, in response to the false tweet an opinion writer for The Arizona Republic, Laurie Roberts, called Gosar “Arizona’s reigning king of disinformation,” and “a gossip of the worst kind – one who delights in distorting the facts to fit his own warped view of the world.”

“The congressman – already censured for his sick anime video in which he shows himself killing a congresswoman and threatening the president – has shown himself, yet again, to be completely unfit for office.”

Roberts added: “Not a single Republican leader in this state will denounce him,” and “He’ll be re-elected in a landslide.”

EARLIER:
Florida Republican Levies ‘Threat’ Against Biden Over Guns After Being Investigated for Cyberintimidation

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Florida Republican Levies ‘Threat’ Against Biden Over Guns After Being Investigated for Cyberintimidation

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Florida State Representative Randy Fine, a Republican from Brevard County, Wednesday morning posted what some say appears to be a threat against President Joe Biden. Tuesday evening the President addressed the nation just hours after 19 second, third, and fourth-grade school children and two teachers were massacred in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings.

“We as a nation have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby. When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” President Biden implored Americans as he spoke barely more than one hour after landing at the White House after a five-day Asia trip.

Early Tuesday morning Rep. Fine tweeted: “I have news for the embarrassment that claims to be our President — try to take our guns and you’ll learn why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.”

Some online are seeing that as an apparent threat.

“This sounds like a threat against the President,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Is this a threat Randy?” asked another.

Several reported the tweet to Twitter Safety, and more responded by tweeting it to the FBI and Secret Service.

One user whose bio says she is an Internet Safety Expert tweeted “18 U.S.C. §871(a).” That is the federal law for ‘Threats against President and successors to the Presidency.”

Rep. Fine has been investigated but not prosecuted for cyberintimidation, among other allegations.

In February, “prosecutors announced that after an exhaustive investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a thorough review by Chief Assistant State Attorney Stacey Salmons …, no criminal charges would be filed in allegations leveled at State Representative Randy Fine by Brevard County School Board Member Jennifer Jenkins, and Publisher Robert Burns,” the Florida State Attorney’s Office stated.

“Jenkins and Burns alleged that between July and August of 2021, Fine had committed the offenses of Corruption by Threat Against a Public Servant; Cyberintimidation by Publication; Stalking; Residency Qualification Violations; Campaign Finance Violations; and Voter Fraud (Oct. 2019 – Nov. 2020).”

The State Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against Fine, but State Attorney Phil Archer added: “Although no criminal charges are being filed, I am concerned that the continued use of heated rhetoric on social media and public statements by both sides, could produce a volatile and dangerous escalation we should all seek to avoid.”

 

 

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