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11 Years After Mandated By US Supreme Court, Alabama Court Strikes Down Anti-Sodomy Law

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On Friday an Alabama appeals court ruled the state’s ban on consensual same-sex intercourse unconstitutional. Prompted by the conviction of a man in 2010 and his subsequent yearlong incarceration, this decision (Dewayne Williams v. State of Alabama) comes 11 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all anti-sodomy laws in the United States unconstitutional in the case Lawrence v. Texas.

By the time of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, all but 14 states had removed their bans through legislative or judicial action. Yet, despite the Supreme Court ruling, Alabama is only the third state whose statute was overturned with the case to actually remove the anti-sodomy law from the books, along with Montana and Virginia.

LOOK: What Did Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Say About Baton Rouge Illegal Arrests Of Gay Men?

Last year, the arrest of 12 men in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, attracted national attention. The incident substantiated claims that police were using the existing statute to target gay men for persecution, despite it being a clear violation of federal law. The district attorney refused to prosecute the man, saying the law was unenforceable, and the case was dropped. Nonetheless, moves to formally repeal the ban have since beendefeated.

States that still retain their anti-sodomy laws are Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

James McDonald is a Brooklyn-native currently based in Scotland. When not pouring through the letters of Mary, Queen of Scots in pursuit of an MLitt Scottish History degree at the University of Glasgow, you’ll find him typing away. To date, his writing has been featured in Haaretz, the Huffington Post, the Lambda Literary Review, Gayletter, Thought Catalog and The Outmost, with more (hopefully) on the way. Follow him@jamesian7 

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‘No Question’: Former Top FBI Official Says Trump World Statements Are ‘An Attempt to Intimidate a Witness’

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Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi says the messages shared by Vice-Chair Liz Cheney during Tuesday’s bombshell hearing of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack are “witness tampering.”

“There is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it,” Figliuzzi said on MSNBC Friday afternoon about statements now reportedly sent or said to Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Parts of those statements read: “He wants me to let you know he’s thinking about you,” “As long as you stay on the team and do the right thing, you’ll stay in good graces,” and, “He knows you’re loyal and you’re going to do the right thing.”

Figliuzzi said “there’s little doubt here” that those are examples of witness tampering.

“This is law school first year 101 Criminal Procedure. At the very least, DOJ now has enough to open a witness tampering investigation. We can talk about whether they would win or not, who did it or not, reasonable doubt or not, but there is no question in my mind that what you just read is an attempt to intimidate a witness. No question about it. When you then add that to the fact that it appears that they provided, her initial attorney to her, Cassidy Hutchinson, you now have a without a doubt, predication to open a federal witness tampering investigation.”

RELATED: Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony

The Committee did not reveal who made those statements, but later reporting indicates Hutchinson conveyed both those messages to the Committee, suggesting she was the recipient.

On Thursday Politico reported that “Hutchinson told the committee she was contacted by an intermediary for Mark Meadows, according to a person familiar with her final deposition.” Meadows has since denied the allegation.

Pointing to that Politico article on Twitter, Figliuzzi on Thursday wrote: “This is witness tampering. Cassidy Hutchinson was the target. They picked the wrong young woman.”

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Newsmax Host Says Pride Month Makes Heterosexuals ‘Feel Marginalized,’ LGBTQ People Are No Longer ‘Persecuted’

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A Newsmax host on Thursday celebrated the end of Pride Month, declaring anti-LGBTQ attacks, marginalization, discrimination, and bullying in the past, claiming Americans were required to display the LGBTQ Pride flag or risk getting “in trouble,” while lamenting the concept of “pride” as exclusionary and “a negative thing.”

“It’s June 30. I gotta say, I’m glad that June is over. The flag, pride, whatever. What was it, Gay Pride Month, right? I mean, it was, it was too much,” said Greg Kelly, a host on the far-right-wing network.

“It was just too much, everywhere. If you had a business, if you had a building, if you had a house, if you had a dog house, you had to put a flag, a gay pride flag up, or else you could be in trouble,” he said falsely.

RELATED: Texas Attorney General Says He’s ‘Willing and Able’ to Defend Law Banning Sodomy if Supreme Court Reverses Ruling

Kelly then denounced the “relentless programming,” and the “celebration.”

“You see, this has gotten so big, that those of us who happen to be heterosexual feel excluded, feel marginalized,” Kelly insisted.

“Now, I don’t want anybody to feel that way. And I do know that gay people were persecuted unfairly, they could be targeted and canceled. But that’s not America anymore. That’s long ago,” he claimed, literally days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a civil right to privacy, with one Justice warning specifically that the constitutional right of same-sex couples to engage in intimate contact and to marry should be reviewed and the “error” corrected.

RELATED: Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Goes Into Effect Today as Schools Scramble to Avoid Parental Lawsuits

In mid-June Kelly claimed, “this Pride month is borderline out-of-control.”

On Thursday Kelly closed his commentary by saying, “when it comes to gay pride, it’s not the gay part. But frankly, it’s the pride part. Pride is actually a negative thing, isn’t it?”

Watch video below or at this link:

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Goes Into Effect Today as Schools Scramble to Avoid Parental Lawsuits

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Even before Republicans in Florida passed Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” bill some defenders of the anti-LGBTQ legislation insisted it applied only to kindergarten through third grade, and that anyone who opposed the bill – as the governor’s official spokesperson charged – was “probably a groomer.

But LGBTQ advocates, activists, and supporters made clear the purposefully broad and vague language in the bill and the threat inserted into the legislation allowing parents to sue for perceived violations would have a chilling effect.

They were right.

The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially the “Parental Rights in Education” law, goes into effect today, July 1, after DeSantis, at an event held at a charter school exempt from the legislation in March, surrounded by young children, talked about the bill and signed it into law.

Educators across the state’s 67 school districts are seeing just how extensive it is being interpreted and implemented, given the near-total lack of guidance from the DeSantis administration.

In March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a warning to Florida, saying “The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported,” he said.

But aside from that broadside, the federal government appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.

Meanwhile, reports from across Florida say districts’ legal counsel have warned that teachers should remove LGBTQ supportive materials, including rainbow and pride stickers, and even stickers denoting a particular classroom is a “safe space,” They have warned teachers should not wear anything with a rainbow and should remove any family photos if they include a same-sex spouse or partner. That same warning did not go to teachers with different-sex spouses or partners, leading some legal experts to warn of constitutional violations.

LGBTQ teachers, especially those who teach students in grades K-3, have also been warned to not discuss their family lives or even mention same-sex spouses or partners. And teachers and other school officials have been directed to look for anything LGBTQ-related, including books in school libraries.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Teachers have been told they are required to report – “out” – any student who comes out as LGBTQ.

Spectrum News reports Florida’s Orange County Public Schools “held a legal camp for 600 principals, vice-principals, and junior administrators,” specifically telling them, “Teachers must notify parents if a student comes out as gay to them.” Not an administrator, but a teacher.

ABC affiliate WFTV reports that Orange County Teachers’ Association (CTA) says “teachers will have to report to parents if a student ‘comes out’ to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow.”

Elsewhere in Florida, if there are questions about a student’s gender identity before or during overnight school trips that student will be outed not only to their own parents but to the parents of all the students in their class.

NBC News reports on Tuesday “the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is ‘open about their gender identity’ is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.”

“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” NBC reports the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”

NBC also reports that in late May, “the School District of Palm Beach County sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race, said a Palm Beach County high school special education teacher, Michael Woods. Several weeks previously, the district removed two books — ‘I Am Jazz’ and ‘Call Me Max’ — that touch upon gender identity, he said.”

 

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