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Jeb Bush: Florists Must Sell Flowers To Gay Couples, Unless They’re Wedding Flowers

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Jeb Bush is wading into the wedding flowers and cakes wars, trying to appease all, and failing.

Back in April, during the middle of Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s self-created implosion over a discriminatory “religious freedom” law designed to marginalize LGBT people, Jeb Bush headed to California to try to woo high-value Silicon Valley donors. It didn’t end well, after Bush offered support for Pence’s anti-gay discrimination.

Salon’s Joan Walsh had written it was “all such bad timing – as he headed to Silicon Valley to raise megabucks for his Right to Rise PAC. Bay Area businesses like Twitter, Yelp and Salesforce, plus valley titan Apple, had all blasted the law.”

Campaigning in San Francisco on Thursday, Jeb Bush’s timing also could not have been worse.

The Republican presidential candidate, second now to Donald Trump, made a big media deal of stepping into an Uber car Thursday morning, which turned out to be the same day a judge ruled Uber should be forced to pay the State of California $7.3 million for its failure to follow state regulations.

Riding “shotgun,” Bush pulled up to a San Francisco startup, Thumbtack, where he shared his views on the third rail of politics – not “entitlements,” although he spoke to those too – but whether or not a Christian florist should have to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding, along with other wage discrimination and LGBT civil rights issues.

TIME reports that a Thumbtack employee “who identified himself to Bush as being gay asked about Bush’s position on legislation to ban discrimination of LGBT Americans. ‘I don’t think you should be discriminated because of your sexual orientation. Period. Over and out,’ he replied.”

“The fact that there wasn’t a law doesn’t necessarily mean you would have been discriminated against,” Bush told the gay employee. Small comfort to the millions of LGBT Americans who have been discriminated against, no doubt, and ignoring the fact that in more than half the states across the nation, LGBT employees have had access to no legal protections and have been fired just for being LGBT.

Bush “added that in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, the country must work to carefully balance the rights of those seeking to marry and the religious beliefs of those who oppose those unions.”

Citing the frequently-used example by religious freedom advocates, Bush said that in the case of a florist approached by a gay couple, “you should be obligated to sell them flowers, doing otherwise would be discriminatory.” But he said that the objecting florist should not be required to participate in the wedding, a fine line that he hopes will appeal to all sides of the debate.

In other words, a florist, Bush believes, cannot discriminate against gay people for being gay, but they can if the very same gay people are getting married. 

CBS News quoted Bush’s comment a bit more fully:

“If you’re a florist and you have that deeply felt belief, you should if a gay couple comes in and says I want to buy flowers you should be obligated to sell them flowers. Doing otherwise would be discrimination. But if that couple asks you to participate in the wedding, and you said, based on my conscience I shouldn’t or I won’t, you should not be fined, you should not have to close your business down.”

The religious right over the past year or more has been using the phrase “participate in” to include even the act of, say, merely arranging flowers or baking a cake for the wedding of a same-sex couple.

And Bush’s words are wholly consistent with what he told Pat Robertson’s CBN News in May, telling reporter David Brody that he supports the concept that wedding-related vendors – bakers, florists, photographers – should be given the legal right to discriminate against same-sex couples getting married, based on their professed religious or moral beliefs.

Brody asked the former Florida governor if he is “OK” if wedding vendors don’t provide their services to same-sex couples.

“Yes, absolutely if it’s based on a religious belief,” Bush had responded.

TIME goes on to note that when the gay employee “followed up to ask specifically whether he would support anti-discrimination laws for LGBT Americans for their housing and employment—the next target for gay rights marriage advocates—Bush said he would at the state level.”

“I think this should be done state-by-state, I totally agree with that,” Bush said.

Again, timing is everything.

Later in the day yesterday, the EEOC released an historic and groundbreaking ruling, stating that gay, lesbian, and bisexual employees are covered by and included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it comes to employment discrimination. In other words, at the federal level, nationally, not “state-by-state,” as Bush prefers.

Bush also agreed that wages should be equal between men and women, but insisted “there are laws to make it so, and they should be enforced,” not added to.

As for “entitlements,” what many Americans call government programs like Social Security and Medicare, CNN’s Ashley Killough tweeted what Bush had to say:

So how did Bush fare at the six-year old San Francisco startup?

International Business Times reports that the “gay employee” who asked Bush about discrimination is Jake Poses, Thumbtack’s vice president of product. 

“I appreciate him saying I shouldn’t be discriminated against, but I do believe that if he had more conviction about it, he should [handle it at the federal level],” Poses told IBTimes.

“I give him credit for understanding that startups in San Francisco are having a real and measurable impact on the lives of many Americans,” Poses said. “I probably will not vote for him, but that is because I put a premium on views on social issues. I think that actually is the pervailing view of most people in the Silicon Valley community. That’s part of the ethos of what’s out here.” 

Not the first time Bush has failed when visiting Silicon Valley. 

All in all, not a great day, some might think.

 

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Top image by  via Twitter

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Catholic Archbishop Defies Vatican by Banning Speaker Nancy Pelosi From Holy Communion – via Twitter

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Calling her stance on abortion a “most serious scandal,” and a “grave evil” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly announced Friday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose district encompasses his diocese, is now banned from taking Holy Communion.

Archbishop Cordileone, a far right activist who repeatedly has challenged Pope Francis, is now in violation of directions from the Vatican to not politicize the Sacraments. Cordileone’s very public decree – made via Twitter – comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a case that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone tweeted, an apparent attempt to embarrass to the greatest degree possible the Democrat who is second in line to the Presidency,

“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically [sic] repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in that letter to the Speaker.

Fox News calls it “an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion,” but in fact other extremist archbishops have taken the same stance against other notable Democrats.

Catholics believe the Pope is God’s infallible representative on earth. Last fall Pope Francis chastised far right Catholic bishops in America who were gearing up to ban President Joe Biden from receiving Holy Communion. In June the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) overwhelmingly voted to move toward chastising Biden for his abortion stance, despite the Vatican issuing a clear warning they were not to do so.

President Biden is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion but knows as President it is his role to uphold a woman’s right to choose, something has has worked strongly to support and strongly believes in.

“What must the pastor do?” Pope Francis said, The New York Times reported last September when a reporter asked him about President Biden and abortion. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”

“I have never refused the eucharist to anyone,” Pope Francis told reporters. The Times aded Francis said bishops should be pastors not politicians.

The Pope also told reporters, “communion is not a prize for the perfect,” and “the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”

The San Francisco Chronicle adds that Pope Francis “welcomed Biden for a private meeting at the Vatican last fall and Biden said the Pope told him he was a ‘good Catholic.’ Biden received Communion at St. Peter’s during that trip.”

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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COMMENTARY

‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’

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The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.

Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”

“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.

It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”

“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.

Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.

Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.

“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.

He adds:

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:

“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”

Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:

Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:

“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”

“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”

Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”

Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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BREAKING NEWS

Ginni Thomas Also Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Overturn 2020 Election: ‘Stand Strong’

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Far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, Ginni Thomas pressed lawmakers in Arizona to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In emails she urged them to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure,” and send a “clean slate” of electors, falsely claiming the choice is “yours and yours alone.”

“The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear,” reports The Washington Post, which broke the news Friday. “In sending the emails, Thomas played a role in the extraordinary scheme to keep Trump in office by substituting the will of legislatures for the will of voters.”

Thomas also pressed then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to overturn the election in an exchange of text messages that spanned several months.

Justice Clarence Thomas has also come under fire for not recusing himself in matters related to his wife’s actions.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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