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Almost Everything You’ve Been Told About The Idaho Wedding Chapel Story Is A Lie

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The religious right is spewing hate and lies, claiming that two ministers are being forced to marry same-sex couples–even claiming the ministers have been arrested. How is this possible?

Two ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, own a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, but say they cannot marry same-sex couples because of their faith. Now that same-sex couples can legally marry in Idaho, the Knapps face a possible issue.

Earlier this year, as you can see in this video, Donald Knapp (photo, above,) said he’d close the chapel rather than violate his faith. At the center of the controversy is their small town’s anti-discrimination ordinance. 

Bottom line, depending on how they’ve licensed their business, they likely would be exempt from the ordinance, but that hasn’t stopped the maniacal anti-gay religious right who have hitched their wagons to the Hitching Post’s story and are profiting from it — because that’s just what they do.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a right-wing Christian law firm created by the same folks who brought you anti-gay groups like the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Coral Ridge Ministries, among others. It’s headed by the guy who made his name investigating pornography during the Reagan years, under Attorney General Edwin Meese.

The ADF claims an 80 percent winning record, although it has lost many high-profile cases, including Bostic v. Rainey, which brought same-sex marriage to Virginia, Bishop v. Oklahoma, which did the same for Oklahoma, the Elane Photography case, which found that photographers cannot refuse to do business with same-sex couples, and most infamously, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which ultimately brought same-sex marriage to California.

Now, the ADF has filed suit in Idaho, claiming two ministers who own a wedding chapel have licensed it as a religious business and therefore should be exempt from their local anti-discrimination ordinance.

The suit itself would appear to contain several incorrect statements, including the extent of the Knapp’s liability, but we’re not attorneys and can’t speak to the merits of the case.

The ADF claims that last Friday the Knapps “respectfully declined” to perform a same-sex wedding “and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.”

Having read the City of Coeur d’Alene’s anti-discrimination law, I am of the opinion that the fine is $100 to $1000 per instance, not per day, and only if the City chooses to impose a fine at all.

UPDATE: Entire Hitching Post Controversy Is False: ACLU Finds Chapel Falls Under Religious Exemption

Meanwhile, the religious right and the far right media have gone to town on this story over the past few days, and the lies they’re telling are atrocious.

A story Monday at the right-wing American News is titled: “City Arrests Pastors For Refusing To Perform Gay Weddings.

That’s a lie.

A story at what appears to be Herman Cain’s website, is titled, “Idaho city tells pastors: Celebrate gay weddings or face fines, jail time.”

That’s a stretch.

It has one word in its first sentence: “Fascism.”

Bakers, photographers and florists are being forced to shut down their businesses unless they accede to demands that they join in the celebration of gay “marriages,” [sic] but so far no one has faced jail time for putting commitment to the Word of God ahead of the demands of homosexuals and their cultural champions.

Until now. A couple in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho who own a wedding chapel there declined the request of a gay couple that they perform their “wedding.” They [sic] couple did what gay couples seem to do a lot in these situations. They didn’t just go find someone else. They complained to authorities, who are now threatening to throw the pastors in jail. 

First, “being forced to shut down their businesses” is stretching the truth massively. If a business owner chooses to shut their business rather than follow the law of the state that licenses them to do business, that’ not “being forced.”

Second, there has not been any complaint filed, as of this writing, against the wedding chapel, known as “The Hitching Post.” 

Even the Alliance Defending Freedom seems to be fibbing.

Two Ministers Ordered To Perform Same-Sex Wedding Face Jail, Fines,” reads an article on the ADF’s own website. That can only be true if indeed the Knapps were “ordered to perform [a] same-sex wedding.” They have not been. Nor do they currently face jail time or fines.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, super-sleuth blogger and LGBT activist Jeremy Hooper reported that recently, the Hitching Post’s website was changed from reading:

We also perform wedding ceremonies of other faiths as well as civil weddings.

To:

The Hitching Post specializes in small, short, intimate, and private weddings for couples who desire a traditional Christian wedding ceremony.

But in an article published earlier today at none other than the Coeur d’Alene Press, the extent of the right wing’s madness seems to have been exposed.

“When contacted by The [Coeur d’Alene] Press for comment, Don Knapp said the Hitching Post is not operating as a not-for-profit religious corporation.”

So, now they have a problem.

Worse, so may the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Donald Knapp also told the Coeur d’Alene Press he doesn’t even know the ADF attorney who has been emailing with the City of Coeur d’Alene.

And even worse for the ADF’s case:

“We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind,” said city spokesman Keith Erickson.

So, from start to finish (or, til now, since the religious right sees this as a money-maker) this story has been built on one lie after another.

 

Image: YouTube

 

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News

Bombshell report on Matt Gaetz is just the beginning: ‘This is the start of a long road’

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One of the reporters who broke the bombshell Daily Beast report on Matt Gaetz doing cocaine with an escort who had a no-show state job said the story is just the first in many to come.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Jose Pagliery on Friday about the report.

“When Rep. Matt Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando, his date that night was someone he knew well: a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event, according to two witnesses. The Florida congressman’s one-time wingman, Joel Greenberg, will identify that escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex, according to a source familiar with the investigation,” The Beast reported.

“But what distinguishes this woman, Megan Zalonka, is that she turned her relationship with Greenberg into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that earned her an estimated $7,000 to $17,500, according to three sources and corresponding government records obtained by The Daily Beast. On Oct. 26, 2019, Gaetz attended the “Trump Defender Gala” fundraiser as the featured speaker at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando. Two witnesses present recalled friends reconvening at Gaetz’s hotel room for an after-party, where Zalonka prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter. One of those witnesses distinctly remembers Zalonka pulling the drugs out of her makeup bag, rolling a bill of cash, and joining Gaetz in snorting the cocaine,” The Beast reported.

“It seems to me, should this all be true, I just feel like there’s not going to be real shortage of witnesses here,” Hayes said. “Has a real open secret vibe to me right now.”

“This was an afterparty, we have identified at least half a dozen people who were there and saw this take place,” Pagliery said. “The reason that we decided to break this news and start with this one is that there are lots of other parties like this. There are more young women, more locations and more actions and bad behavior on the part of Gaetz and Greenberg that we’re going to be exposing.”

“This is the start of a long road,” he added.

Watch:

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RIGHT WING HYPOCRISY

Boebert, Cawthorn, Greene on List of 101 ‘Pro-Life’ and ‘Pro-Family’ GOPers Who Just Voted Against Pregnant Workers

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill to protect the rights of pregnant workers, but 101 Republican members of Congress who claim to be both “pro-life” and “pro-family” voted against the legislation.

The bill, sponsored by New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, was first introduced 9 years ago. It passed Friday in a 315-101 vote. All the no votes were from Republicans. No Democrat voted no.

The bill was supported by the right wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which called it “a balanced approach that clarifies an employer’s obligation to accommodate the known limitations of employees and job applicants that accompany pregnancy.”

The website Motherly put it even more simply: “No one should have to choose between their paycheck and a healthy pregnancy.”

Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida:

Apparently, 101 Republican lawmakers disagree.

Among the more notable Republicans voting “no” were Lauren Boebert (CO), Kevin Brady (TX), Mo Brooks (AL), Ken Buck (CO), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Liz Cheney (WY), Scott DesJarlais (TN), Virginia Foxx (NC), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Jody Hice (GA), Thomas Massie (KY), and Chip Roy (TX).

Here’s the list of all the lawmakers who voted against pregnant workers:

Aderholt (Alabama)
Allen (Georgia)
Armstrong (North Dakota)
Arrington (Texas)
Babin (Texas)
Baird (Indiana)
Banks (Indiana)
Barr (Kentucky) NAY
Bishop (North Carolina)
Boebert (Colorado)
Brady (Texas)
Brooks (Alabama)
Buck (Colorado)
Budd (North Carolina)
Burchett (Tennessee)
Cammack (Florida)
Carl (Alabama)
Carter (Georgia)
Carter (Texas)
Cawthorn (North Carolina)
Cheney (Wyoming)
Cline (Virginia)
Cloud (Texas)
Clyde (Georgia)
Crawford (Arkansas)
Davidson (Ohio)
DesJarlais (Tennessee)
Donalds (Florida)
Duncan (South Carolina)
Dunn (Florida)
Fallon (Texas)
Fitzgerald (Wisconsin)
Foxx (North Carolina)
Franklin, C. Scott (Florida)
Fulcher (Idaho)
Gibbs (Ohio)
Gohmert (Texas)
Good (Virginia)
Gooden (Texas)
Gosar (Arizona)
Graves (Missouri)
Green (Tennessee)
Greene (Georgia)
Grothman (Wisconsin)
Guest (Mississippi)
Harris (Maryland)
Harshbarger (Tennessee)
Hern (Oklahoma)
Herrell (New Mexico)
Hice (Georgia)
Higgins (Louisiana)
Jackson (Texas)
Johnson (Louisiana)
Jordan (Ohio)
Joyce (Pennsylvania)
Keller (Pennsylvania)
Kelly (Pennsylvania)
LaHood (Illinois)
Lamborn (Colorado)
LaTurner (Kansas)
Letlow (Louisiana)
Long (Missouri)
Loudermilk (Georgia)
Luetkemeyer (Missouri)
Mace (South Carolina)
Mann (Kansas)
Massie (Kentucky)
Mast (Florida)
McClain (Michigan)
McClintock (California)
McHenry (North Carolina)
Miller (Illinois)
Miller (West Virginia)
Moore (Alabama)
Nehls (Texas)
Norman (South Carolina)
Palazzo (Mississippi)
Palmer (Alabama)
Pence (Indiana)
Perry (Pennsylvania)
Pfluger (Texa)
Posey (Florida)
Reschenthaler (Pennsylvania)
Rice (South Carolina)
Rodgers (Washington)
Rogers (Alabama)
Rose (Tennessee)
Rosendale (Montana)
Rouzer (North Carolina)
Roy (Texas)
Scott, Austin (Georgia)
Sessions (Texas)
Smith (Nebraska)
Smucker (Pennsylvania)
Steube (Florida)
Taylor (Texas)
Timmons (South Carolina)
Van Duyne (Texas)
Walberg (Michigan)
Weber (Texas)
Westerman (AR)

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WHAM!

‘Vaccines Work’: Jen Psaki Brilliantly Smacks Down Fox News Reporter Suggesting New CDC Mask Guidance Is ‘Political’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki once again was forced to explain basic facts to Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, as his network has been suggesting without any evidence the CDC’s decision to change mask guidance was a political decision to distract from other issues.

These are two of Fox News’ mobile alerts on the decision to announce fully vaccinated Americans can now forgo social distancing protocols including mask wearing.

Here’s how the conservative network’s White House correspondent Peter Doocy, who is not a medical doctor, immunologist, virologist, or scientist, tried to make news.

“There are a lot of questions about the timing of the CDC’s announcement yesterday,” he said, after Fox News for the better part of a year has been actively spreading false information on masks and the coronavirus. “So, did somebody at the Biden administration or in the Biden administration update this guidance for political reasons?”

“No,” Psaki replied.

“What was the medical or scientific reason – what was the big breakthrough to do this yesterday?” Doocy asked.

(Yesterday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky spent about 30 minutes discussing with the American people in a nationally-televised news conference the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., and the reasons why CDC has decided to change its guidance now. Among those reasons are two studies that show the incredible effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.)

“Well, I know that Dr. Walensky did an extensive number of interviews yesterday to answer exactly that question, but as we’ve talked in here quite a bit about the CDC not just Dr. Walensky but her entire team of health and medical experts are constantly reviewing the data to ensure that they can provide accurate and up to date guidance to the American people,” Psaki explained. “So, based on three factors as she talked about yesterday, vaccines work in the real world, we’ve seen a lot of studies done on that including internally in the federal government. Vaccines stand up to the variants which at various times, has been a concern about the need to continue to mask, even as you, after you’re vaccinated and vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus – that’s how they came to the decision, and that’s what she conveyed yesterday when she announced the decision.”

Ignoring all the science and the reasons both Dr. Walensky and Psaki offered, Doocy delivered his own reasons for why he seemed  to think the mask mandate should continue.

“Just looking at the CDC website, on the way up here only 45.6% of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated as of yesterday, only 58.9% of the adult population has, has at least one dose. So, what happened to President Biden’s saying in March that he thought, lifting mask mandates before every adult American goes and gets a shot is ‘Neanderthal thinking’?”

“Well first let me say that the President our North Star has been listening to the guidance of our health and medical experts in teams and that’s exactly what we’re doing in this case. And just to reiterate, the CDC, the doctors and medical experts there were the ones who determined what this guidance would be based on their own data, and what the timeline would be. That was not a decision, directed by made by the White House. It was informed the White House was informed of that decision, just to give people assurance of that,” Psaki added.

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