Discrimination and bullying are emotionally and physically harmful, and can lead to death. The U.S. Senate today had a chance to literally save lives of LGBT students, and almost all of theÂ RepublicansÂ chose not to.
In September of 2010, the nation was stunned by what the media called a “rash” of LGBTQ student suicides resulting from bullying. At the time, the mainstream media reported there had been five bullying-related LGBT teen suicides, but NCRM counted at least ten that month. Some of the names you probably remember:Â Tyler Clementi,Â Billy Lucas,Â Seth Walsh,Â Asher Brown, to name a few.Â
September of course is the heightÂ of the back-to school season, and back-to-school for too many LGBTQ students can mean back-to-being-bullied.Â
Since 2010 the nation in many respects has changed dramatically. LGBT people are, overall, far more accepted. Gay people can serve openly in the military, marry, and generally live a life somewhat reduced of discrimination and bullying.
Kids, however, still have far less protections than adults, and with social media and constant access to the Internet, the bullying can be, literally, 24/7. For them, in many cases, it hasn’t gotten better.
That’s why LGBTQ students need protection from discrimination and bullying.
Al Franken, a Democratic US Senator from Minnesota, yesterday deliveredÂ a powerful address to his colleaguesÂ about anti-LGBT bullying and discrimination. That’s him above, standing next to a photo ofÂ Seth Walsh, a gay teen, one of the too many who in September of 2010 succumbed to suicide after relentless bullying.Â
â€œBy seventh grade, taunts and verbal abuse were a constant part of Sethâ€™s day,â€ Franken told his fellow Senators. â€œStudents called him faggot and queer. He was afraid to use the restroom or to be in the boysâ€™ locker room before gym class.â€Â
â€œAnd in September of 2010, Seth hanged himself from a tree in his familyâ€™s backyard,â€ Franken announced. â€œHe was 13. Seth left a note expressing his love for family and friends but also his anger at the school.â€
â€œThis amendment would simply provide LGBT kids with the same legal remedies available to other kids under our federal civil rights laws,â€ Franken said.
â€œIf a black child was referred to by a racial slur at school, would we say kids will be kids?â€ Sen. Franken asked his colleagues yesterday. â€œIf a Jewish student got beat up because he wore a yarmulke to school, would we wave it off and say boys will be boys? If a shop teacher told a female student she didnâ€™t belong in his class, would we be fine if the school just looked the other way? No, we would not. In fact, there are federal civil rights laws that are specifically designed to stop this kind of conduct.â€
Sen. Franken offered his colleagues an opportunity today to help reduce bullying against LGBTQ youth in public schools, by voting for a bill to “end discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.”
They said, in response to helping save lives of LGBTQ students, “no.”
Literally, 45 RepublicansÂ â€“ and only RepublicansÂ â€“ all voted to let LGBTQ kids continue to be bullied and discriminatedÂ against in our nation’s school. Six Republican Senators did cross the aisle to vote for Sen. Franken’s legislation, an amendment attached to a bill updating No Child Left BehindÂ â€“ an appropriate gesture, in fact, but eight more Republicans were needed to bring to vote to 60 “yeas.”
The Washington Post credits Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander with leading the charge against Sen. Franken’s SENDA legislation,Â the Student Nondiscrimination Act, claiming it would lead toÂ â€œcostly lawsuits.â€
Apparently, fear of possible lawsuits outweighs Senator Alexander’s concern about the actual emotional and physical harm being visited upon LGBTQ youth.
Here’s the list of all U.S. Senators who this afternoon voted to allow our nation’s LGBTQ youth to continue to be bulliedÂ â€“ these are the NAY’s. You’ll notice that each NAY is from a Republican Senator, headed by Sen. Alexander:
Here’s the list of all the US Senators who voted to help protect LGBTQ youth from bullyingÂ â€“ these are the YEAs:
Not voting were U.S. Republican Senators and 2016 presidential candidates Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio. Also not voting was U.S. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who has been out after undergoing cancer surgery Monday.
You can also seeÂ the full listÂ at Congress.gov.
You can and should contact your U.S. Senator to let them know how you feel about theirÂ vote. If they voted yes, thank them and urge them to vote yes again. If they voted no, please explain to them why their vote literally is putting children in harm’s way.
You can also tweet your Senators, or look them up on Facebook.
Image: Screenshot via UpTakeVideo/YouTube
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Right-Wing Dark-Money Group Gives Trump Timely Political Cover With $1 Million Attack on Merrick Garland
Just days after FBI agents carried out a search warrant for secret documents wrongly being held at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, a right-wing dark-money group that helped secure a far-right majority on the Supreme Court launched a $1 million digital and cable ad campaign attacking Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The Judicial Crisis Network has been at the core of the massive and secretly funded dark-money campaign by right-wing funders and groups like the Federalist Society to secure ideological domination of the Supreme Court and federal judiciary. The group backed former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s abuse of power to prevent the Senate from considering former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Garland to the Supreme Court, and then spent tens of millionspromoting confirmation of Trump’s nominees. More recently, JCN led attacks on the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and dishonest smears against several of President Joe Biden’s Justice Department nominees.
The new JCN ad seeks to undermine Garland’s credibility, accusing him of “cowering to the woke mob.” A press release announcing the ad buy claimed that Garland has “consistently bowed to the radical left’s agenda.” In a statement, the group’s president Carrie Severino repeated a false right-wing talking point accusing Garland of “calling concerned parents ‘domestic terrorists.’”
The ad also claims that Garland has betrayed his former judicial colleague Brett Kavanaugh by not stopping activists from protesting outside the Supreme Court justice’s home. As CNN noted, the rarely enforced law that JCN and right-wing politicians are demanding Garland use against protesters could also be interpreted to forbid the kind of protests at the Supreme Court that anti-abortion groups mobilized for years. The JCN ad notably does not mention that Garland supportedrecent legislation to beef up security for Supreme Court justices and their families.
Right-wing media outlets have given JCN’s campaign a boost, with Fox News reporting JCN’s assertion that the Garland ad is part of a broader $10 million campaign attacking Democrats over the court that will include “paid advertising, earned media, research, grassroots activity, and a coalition enterprise.”
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This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
DeSantis’ Divisive Press Secretary Christina Pushaw Resigns to Work on His Campaign
Christina Pushaw, the divisive far right press secretary to Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has submitted her letter of resignation as she moves to head rapid response on his re-election campaign.
The Florida Standard, first to break the news, published her resignation letter.
“You gave me latitude to respond to media narratives in direct and often unconventional ways, allowing me to redefine this role for a leader whose actions speak for themselves,” she wrote.
Among those unconventional ways was to popularize against LGBTQ people the dangerous label of “groomer,” during the heated debate over the governor’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which he later signed into law.
“The bill that liberals inaccurately call ‘Don’t Say Gay’ would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill,” Pushaw tweeted in March.
“If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules,” she added.
Just one month later the “groomer” label had been weaponized to such a degree it was prevalent across many social media sites and being used to attack LGBTQ people.
Her two-page resignation letter takes a long trip down her short 15 months in office.
She calls it “unconscionable that anyone would be required to get Covid jabs to eat at a restaurant, enroll in college, keep a job, or compete in the Special Olympics.”
She also claimed that “Florida fought back against the biomedical security state and won. If not for our Governor daring to lead with evidence-driven policy and stand up for freedom – amid relentless attacks from legacy media and ‘experts’ – our country would have remained under perpetual threat of lockdowns and vaccine passports, a two-tiered feudal dystopia,” which is false.
Earlier this year Pushaw was forced to retroactively register as a foreign agent.
Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss – Trump Org and Ex-CFO Weisselberg Criminal Fraud and Tax Evasion Case Will Proceed
Former Trump Organization longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg‘s request to dismiss his case on charges that include conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records has been denied by a New York State judge. The Judge ruled Friday morning the criminal fraud and tax evasion case against Weisselberg and The Trump Organization will proceed.
“Weisselberg and the company CBS News reports. “The Trump Organization and Weisselberg accused prosecutors of targeting them ‘based on political animus’ toward former President Donald Trump.”to dismiss all 15 counts charged against them. Judge Juan Merchan dismissed one of several tax fraud counts against the Trump Organization, but allowed all others to remain,”
“Prosecutors accuse Weisselberg of a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities of $1.76 million in ‘off-the-books’ compensation. These included $359,058 in tuition expenses for multiple family members, $196,245 for leases on his Mercedes Benz automobiles, $29,400 in unreported cash, and an unspecified amount in ad hoc personal expenses, according to his indictment,” Law & Crime adds.
Weisselberg, who was Trump’s top accountant, handled a large portion of his business interests, and was co-trustee of the trust set up when Trump became president, will have his next hearing September 12. Jury selection will begin October 24.
Weisselberg began working for Trump’s father, Fred Trump, in 1973.
Indicted ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has walked into the Manhattan criminal courthouse. pic.twitter.com/BhbFW5dYYa
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) August 12, 2022
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