Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today signed a sweeping and far-reaching executive order in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage for same-sex couples.
Stating “religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans, and should be protected,” Republican Governor Sam Brownback today signed an executive order titled theÂ â€œPreservation and Protection of Religious Freedom,â€ in direct response to the Supreme Court’s Â ruling on marriage for same-sex couples.
â€œThe Kansas Bill of Rights affirms the right to worship according to â€˜dictates of conscienceâ€™ and further protects against any infringement of that right. Todayâ€™s Executive Order protects Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs,” Brownback, a staunch anti-gay religious conservative said in a statement.
â€œWhile we disagree with the decision of the Supreme Court, it is important that all Kansans be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.â€
The Topeka Capital-Journal’sÂ Jonathan ShormanÂ reports that Brownback’s executive order “appeared aimed at shielding religious and social organizations that oppose same-sex marriage from any potential loss of state aid or resources in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision granting gay couples the right to marry nationwide.”Â
Shorman further notes thatÂ conversely, Gov. Brownback’s “order does not protect organizations in favor of same-sex marriage from discrimination by the state.”
The executive order prohibits the State of Kansas from taking any action “against any individual clergy, religious leader, or religious organization on the basis that such person or organization believes or sincerely acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”
In other words, any public restaurant, hotel, school, charity, adoption agency, etc., operated by a clergy memberÂ or “religious organization” is now allowed to discriminateÂ against LGBT people, their families, and even their friends, should they wish.
If a same-sex couple wants to adopt a child, they likely just had their choices of agencies narrowed greatly. If a same-sex couple wants to enroll their children in a school operated by any religious institution, they could be refused.
Worse, let’s say you’re a gay person and are rushed to a Kansas hospital. If that hospital in any way is governed by a religious institutionÂ â€“ and a great many areÂ â€“ they might refuse you services, or refuse to allow your spouse to make decisions for you, without any fear of state government interference. And if that hospital doesn’t accept federal funds, they are entirely off the hook, allowed to treat you and your spouse any way they please.
Brownback’s order applies to any religious organization, a term that is not defined. The Hobby Lobby case comes to mind, meaning a “religious organization” might not just be your neighborhood church.
The order covers those “providing social services,” and those that “provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, celebration or recognition of any marriage, based upon or consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”
The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Jonathan ShormanÂ reports that Brownback’s executive order “appeared aimed at shielding religious and social organizations that oppose same-sex marriage from any potential loss of state aid or resources in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision granting gay couples the right to marry nationwide.”Â
Shorman further notes that conversely, Gov. Brownback’s “order does not protect organizations in favor of same-sex marriage from discrimination by the state.”
Kansas does not offer LGBT people any nondiscrimination protections.
UPDATE: 6:27 PM EDT â€“
Equality Kansas weighs in reminding us that Gov Brownback “who earlier this year criticized and rescinded former Governor Sebeliusâ€™ 2007 non-discrimination order as an abuse of executive authority, has taken it upon himself to abuse the United States Constitution.”Â
Indeed, Brownback rescinded an eight-year old non-discrimination executive order that protected LGBT people.
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‘Vice Superspreader’ Pence Accused of ‘Criminal Disregard’ for Campaigning After 5 Advisors Test Positive
Vice President Mike Pence is under fire for continuing to campaign for re-election despite five of his close advisors, including his Chief of Staff, Marc Short, have tested positive for coronavirus over the past few days.
ABC News reports “at least 5 individuals in the Vice President’s orbit have tested positive as of last night.” The New York Times has reported “up to five” have tested positive. Fox News reports “5 close to Pence test positive for coronavirus.”
The latest COVID-19 outbreak in the White House was exposed once again by Bloomberg News’ Jennifer Jacobs, who first reported Hope Hicks was positive. That report led to President Donald Trump having to admit he and the First lady had also tested positive in an outbreak that infected at least 34 people who had attended the White House Rose Garden celebration of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
But unlike Senator Kamala Harris, who was exposed to an individual who tested positive and immediately self-quarantined, Vice President Pence will not. He is back on the campaign trail, with the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, saying doctors have cleared him to campaign.
On Sunday, Meadows claimed the Vice President is an “essential worker” and therefore must continue to campaign, which is false – campaigning is not part of his job as vice president.
After several aides, including his chief of staff, tested positive for Covid-19, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows says VP Pence will keep campaigning: “Essential personnel, whether it’s the Vice President of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/2ZWMmwUHG3
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 25, 2020
Meadows admitted on Sunday the Trump administration has no intention of even attempting to control the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he told CNN. “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
Meadows also tried to hide that Pence’s Chief of Staff had tested positive. The White House claimed he first tested positive on Saturday, but Meadows on Sunday slipped, admitting “he’s been quarantining these last few days.”
Americans are furious that Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, is ignoring CDC
guidelines – and basic common sense – after coming into contact with five of his close advisors who are positive.
Here’s what many are saying:
This is the most important point this a.m. Pence is now a walking advertisement for the failure of his own task force, the recklessness of the Trump Administration and his spineless in the face of Trump. People will die because Mike Pence has neither character nor competence. https://t.co/o5kwod6vAK
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) October 25, 2020
Vice Superspreader Mike Pence can recklessly campaign all he wants, but I’m not getting within a mile of that infectious fuck
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) October 25, 2020
5 Pence aides have COVID, but Pence will stay on the campaign trail. Simply reckless. Angering.
— Voice of Reason (@RealJeffreyT) October 25, 2020
This is criminal and shows depraved indifference towards the lives of Pence Trump supporters and all Americans. Makes me wonder if Trump is still positive and willing to put his supporters at even greater risk https://t.co/kPAhIcTzJQ
— Richard Pollack (@richard_pollack) October 25, 2020
By going ahead with campaigning after at least 5 of his staff have tested positive, it’s hard to see how Pence isn’t guilty of reckless endangerment at the very least. https://t.co/Awk852ugym
— JimAndrews518 (@JimAndrews518) October 25, 2020
We are now up to at least 5 people in Pence’s orbit who have tested positive, and yet @VP is not planning to quarantine.
Instead, he plans to continue getting on a plane with staff, Secret Service agents & military personnel in order to keep campaigning in this final stretch https://t.co/kw3L1BkyMV
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) October 25, 2020
MOST RECENT DAILY CASE COUNT:
VICE-PRESIDENT PENCE’S STAFF: 5 https://t.co/TDUxD1UyuT
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) October 25, 2020
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 25, 2020
BREAKING: The coronavirus has turned the corner…..and was last seen driving straight into Mike Pence’s office, as 5 of his aides have now tested positive.
— cαηα∂α нαтεs тя☭мρ (@Trump_Detester) October 25, 2020
Has Pence’s office tested the fly? That might make 6 cases, not 5.
— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) October 25, 2020
@VP @realDonaldTrump This is criminal level disregard for the health and well-being of the people who are around you. This is the most selfish and irresponsible administration in the history of the United States. I can hardly wait to vote you out!!! https://t.co/mqpxJWjAyo
— Tom Corn (@MrTomCorn) October 25, 2020
NYT reports VP Pence CoS, others in close contact, have tested positive for COVID19. All should be in quarantine. Hitting the campaign trail is an act of depraved indifference. https://t.co/6HLiyche70 https://t.co/fRBhO52gWR
— Dan Yurman (@djysrv) October 25, 2020
Mike Pence is coming to Minnesota on Monday after 5 of his staff tested positive for Coronavirus. We don’t want him here . He’s bad and toxic energy and is going to get people sick. Rally after rally is a catastrophic mistake.
— Jesse Lifson (@DoYouEvenLif) October 25, 2020
Makes you wonder–Is Pence the head of the “Coronavirus task force” or is he the head of the “Coronavirus super spreader force”.
— Oreo (@OreoBuffy5) October 25, 2020
‘We Are Not Going to Control the Pandemic’: Trump Top Aide Meadows Makes Damning Confession During CNN Interview
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows waved the white flag on Sunday morning, admitting the administration has all but given up on trying to “contain” the coronavirus pandemic, saying they are directing their efforts to “vaccines and therapeutics.”
With “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper pointing cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, Meadows attempted to attack CNN over their coverage of the pandemic, to which Tapper replied, “It’s coming from all sorts of places because the pandemic is out of control.”
“So here’s what we have to do,” Meadows attempted. “We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation.”
“Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?” Tapper pressed.
“Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu,” Meadows shot back with Tapper insisting, “But why not make efforts to contain it?”
“We are making efforts to contain it,” said Meadows at which point the CNN host interrupted with, “By running all over the country and not wearing masks? That’s what the vice president is doing.”
Saying the administration needs to focus on “therapies or vaccines or treatments,” Meadows then changed the subject to attacking presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.
MEADOWS: We're not going to control the pandemic
TAPPER: Why not?
M: Because it's a contagious virus
T: Why not make efforts to contain it?
M: What we need to do is make sure we have the proper mitigation factors to make sure people don't die pic.twitter.com/0DYgk4rB3T
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 25, 2020
Court Slaps Down Trump’s Attempt to Intimidate Pennsylvania Voters
At a Friday night rally, Republican President Donald Trump talked about his attempts to have “poll watchers” in the swing state of Pennsylvania, an attempt that a local court recently ruled as illegal.
“I think we’re leading everywhere,” Trump said at the rally. “We think in Pennsylvania doing great. We got to be very careful Philadelphia. They play games in Philadelphia, and they won’t let us watch the count in Philadelphia… So we’re watching Philadelphia.”
Trump then told his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to “please watch Philadelphia … because I don’t like what I’m hearing about Philadelphia…. I don’t like what I see going on in terms of what’s gone on over the past, and probably what’s going on. Think of it. They fought like hell that we can’t watch them. Count the vote, what’s wrong with watching? why can’t we have poll watchers? And so we’re in court right now poll watches in Philadelphia. But we’re doing great in Pennsylvania, gotta watch Philadelphia.”
"Why can't we have poll watchers? And so we're in court trying to have poll watchers in Philadelphia." — Trump pic.twitter.com/E4xCSFJqEk
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 24, 2020
First off, the so-called poll watchers are needless seeing as there’s zero evidence of voter fraud at polling places, so Trump’s “watchers” are little more than intimidators meant to make Democratic voters nervous.
Second off, it’s not Meadows’ job to handle poll monitoring, election monitors or lawsuits. The White House Chief of staff serves as a “liaison among members of the President’s cabinet and the White House [and is] is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the President.”
Third off, on Friday, local Judge Gary Glazer ruled that the Trump campaign’s attempt to have poll-watchers at the state polls isn’t allowed under state law. The Trump campaign had sent unauthorized poll watchers into satellite poll offices where local election officials register voters and help people fill out their mail-in ballots, but the officials kicked the watchers out.
Trump said his watcher should be allowed to monitor such offices, but a bipartisan Philadelphia City Commission said that the satellite locations don’t qualify as official polling stations and therefore don’t qualify as a place allowed by state law to have poll watchers. Judge Glazer agreed.
On September 27, Politico wrote that Trump had hired dozens of lawyers from three major law firms and recruited thousands of volunteer attorneys to contest election results in 17 key states considered vital to his re-election.
In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Michael Gwin told the publication, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”
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