Welcome to the new world, a world where top political leaders stand up and demand America gives LGBT people full equality.
Just past noon today, a dozen top Democratic lawmakers gathered to announce the introductionÂ in the House and SenateÂ brand new legislation to protect LGBT people. This, just two decades after virulently discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation, like the Defense of Marriage Act, and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” were being signed into law.
The federal Equality ActÂ would protect LGBT people from discrimination in important areas including public accommodations, employment, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federal funding.Â
Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is among the dozen lawmakers who are championing the Equality Act.Â
“What we are doing here today is very patriotic. Itâ€™s very American. And itâ€™s a proud day for all of us,” the former Speaker said this afternoon, noting that the Equality Act also “has very strong protections for women in it.”Â
Pelosi also reminded the room that this is the fourth cog in the battle against discrimination for LGBT people.
“It wasnâ€™t been that long ago when we passed in the Congress the hate crimes legislation â€“ fully inclusive hate crimes legislation.Â That was step one and it was a big step. And then we had the repeal of â€˜Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€™ with the help of President Obama taking the lead. And we salute him for his courage and leadership there. And then the [Supreme] Court. We had four issues: again, hate crimes, â€˜Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€™, ENDA and marriage equality.Â Well, the Court and the public took care of the marriage equality issue but more work needs to be done.”
Supporting the bill are 155 members in the House and 40 members in the Senate.
All Democrats, no Republicans currently.
Also speaking at today’s event were the bill’s sponsor in the Senate,Â Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and the bill’s sponsor in the House,Â David Cicilline (D-RI), along with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI),Â Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ),Â House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA),Â Jared Polis (D-CO), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)and Mark Takano (D-CA).
Rep. Steny Hoyer, in a well-orchestrated attempt to win Republican votes for the legislation, offered anÂ emotionalÂ plea, reminding the audience about the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s.
“There were some in America who thought it was an opportunity to discriminate against those who became sick. And President Reagan was asked at a press conference, ‘What do you think about discriminating against those with AIDS?,'” Hoyer said. “And Ronald Reagan’s answer was, ‘I don’t believeÂ in discrimination against anybody. Next question.’ That’s what this bill says,” Hoyer reminded the audience.
“This bill says that America will mean what it has said through the centuries,” Hoyer continued. “This is about bringing us together.”
Also speaking were LGBT Americans who have been subjected to discrimination, includingÂ Jami and Krista Contreras of Oak Park, Michigan. Their well-publicized story took place in their pediatrician’s office, when, having just given birth, and having met with and chosen a pediatrician weeks earlier, they were told that after much prayer she had decided she could not be their infant girl’s doctor.
The bill also has the support of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Prop 8 attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, Apple, Inc.,Â the National Center for Transgender Equality,Â National Partnership for Women & Families,Â Equality Federation,Â American Federation of Teachers,Â National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and other civil rights groups and corporations.
The video itself is long, but it is vitally important. It signals this is a new world, one where America is more equal. And strong leaders are here to help support us.
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Ginni Thomas Testifies Today Before J6 Committee
Far-right-wing activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, who held a months-long pressure campaign with Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to force him to somehow overturn the 2020 election, and sent numerous emails to GOP lawmakers in multiple states also trying convince them to overturn the election, will testify today before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Were Thomas merely a far-right wing extremist, or even a wealthy and powerful lobbyist, her actions would have received less scrutiny, but given she is married to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who was the sole vote opposing the release of January 6 documents to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, many see her actions as concerning and deserving of investigation.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney broke the news Thomas will testify before the Committee today. Her testimony will be virtual. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell adds, it is “voluntary.”
Calling Thomas “one of the panel’s most high-profile outstanding witnesses,” Politico reports, “Lawmakers took interest in her connections to John Eastman, a legal architect of former President Donald Trump’s last-ditch plan to subvert the 2020 election. She’d invited Eastman to speak to an activist group in the aftermath of the election, though Eastman has denied ever discussing Supreme Court-related matters with Thomas.”
In a March opinion piece on MSNBC, Wayne Batchis, associate professor of political science at the University of Delaware, examined the Supreme Court’s “Clarence Thomas (and Ginni Thomas) problem.”
“It turns out that Thomas not only sat on the board of an organization that promoted the dangerous fiction that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from former President Donald Trump through fraud, she also attended the rally attempting to vindicate this paranoid propagandistic fantasy (and said she left before Trump took the stage),” Batchis wrote.
” All the while, in what might resemble the coordinated efforts of synchronized swimmers, husband and wife seemingly sought to thwart the investigation into the democratically perilous events of Jan. 6. Ginni Thomas signed on to a letter seeking the expulsion of Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference for joining the House Jan. 6 investigation committee; Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter — standing in opposition to the rest of the court, including its three Trump appointees — in a decision allowing for the release of Jan. 6-related documents to said committee.”
“Without trust in the courts,” he warns, “American democracy does not stand a chance.”
Former GOP Congressman Has ‘Legitimate Concerns’ Clarence Thomas Was Involved in ‘Push to Overturn the Election’
Questions surfaced after Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the release of Mark Meadows’ texts and information to the Jan. 6 committee. It turned out that in those text messages that the justice didn’t want revealed were communications with his wife.
Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), wrote in his new book that he thinks Justice Thomas is far more involved in his wife Ginni Thomas’ 2020 election overthrow attempts.
Riggleman, who left the committee in April, included many of the text messages that had previously been released from Ginni Thomas, along with the note that he had a difficult time trying to get the House Select Committee to sound the alarm on her actions.
“Supreme Court spouses are typically low profile. Ginni’s involvement with political groups had already led to questions about whether Clarence would need to recuse himself in cases with a political component,” wrote Riggleman. If Clarence had been in the logs, it would be a much bigger deal than all that. When I began to suspect Ginni and Clarence had texted with Meadows, I put together a technical brief outlining how we might be able to cement the identifications.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) called him to express concern that telling Americans that such an influential figure had gone full-Q. Cheney was worried it would turn the whole committee into a political sideshow and overshadow all of the other work the committee was doing. The release of Riggleman’s book has left the committee members furiousover possible leaks after spending a year with so few.
Riggleman persisted in pressing Cheney to tell Americans about the Thomases.
“The committee needed to show the American people that there was an organized, violent effort to reverse the election—and that there were indications it could have been directed by the White House,” he wrote. “Thanks to their prominence, Ginni and Clarence would make a lot of headlines, but those headlines might overwhelm the other important work we were doing.”
The conversation with Cheney didn’t go well, with the two “type A personalities” duking-out their arguments. Riggleman argued that data wasn’t political. It wasn’t right or wrong.
“I also thought that, given Clarence’s position and Ginni’s prominence in conservative circles, the American public had to know what she had been up to,” argued Riggleman. “Some of the messages went beyond simply cheering Meadows on. It was legitimate for me to have concerns as to whether a Supreme Court justice had been involved in the legally questionable push to overturn the election. Was it possible that one of the country’s nine top judges was on board with an authoritarian interpretation of the Constitution? The implications were overwhelming. Cheney found it all improbable. I think she still had more faith in the institutional GOP than I did at that point.”
Riggleman’s book, The Breach, is on sale now and Raw Story has complete coverage here.
‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books
A Tennessee Democratic state lawmaker is responding to a viral video of a Christian woman in her home state railing against “perversion,” apparently upset with LGBTQ-themed books being in a local public library, while ranting about Satan and “revelation prophecies.”
Rep. Gloria Johnson, a retired special ed teacher, blasted the young woman who spoke in the video for about three minutes berating, lecturing, and preaching to her fellow Maury County, Tennessee residents about books she believes the public library should not have.
After introducing herself as “Stephanie” (her last name was not discernible), the young woman in the undated video declares, “I speak on behalf of God Almighty, my husband, the daughter in my womb and every law abiding God fearing taxpaying citizen here in Maury County.”
She admitted she is not from Maury County, but she did feel very comfortable telling Maury County locals what to do and think.
“We moved here from Indiana to start our family,” she said. “I will not raise kids in a county that has sexual oriented books on the counter,” she insisted, later stating, “My taxes pay [for] this place.”
“The kingdom of God is within reach,” Stephanie went on to preach. “It is within here and we live not for heaven but from heaven. What that means is when perversion permeates our county, that is when the devil gets our children. If you don’t see this you are blind. We must understand that there cannot be perversion in this county, in this country. Obviously revelation prophecies are occurring right before our eyes. But what you need to know first and foremost, that obviously the future generation is our children.”
By the end of her lengthy rant she decreed, “God sees everything and by the grace of God, we will rise above this, but I’m not gonna let my children be raised – I’m gonna homeschool, you better believe it. I will not let my children be raised in a county like this. If we’re having sexual oriented books. You can even ask the gay community, a lot of them say why would you want to bring kids to the bars? They already think of pedophilia, why would you want them to come to the bars?”
“Understand that you serve our country second. You serve our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob first,” she concluded.
She also flew into a false screed straight out of recent Fox News reports.
Saying, “I speak on behalf of millennials my generation,” she claimed, “We already have so many illegal aliens here who are bringing fentanyl they are killing our children, our youth.”
A right-wing think tank, the Cato Institute states: “Fentanyl is primarily trafficked by U.S. citizens.”
Rep. Johnson, who served in the Tennessee state House from 2013-2015, and is again serving, since 2019, also served up strong criticism against the woman in the video.
“She is welcome to monitor the books her children read, but she doesn’t get to tell the rest of the county what they can read,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson is apparently a strong supporter of public libraries. This was posted to her Facebook page just days ago:
Watch the viral video below or at this link.
A Christian woman in Maury County, Tennessee argues against LGBTQ-themed books at her library and tells everyone they’re going to hell pic.twitter.com/F6McXs8Gs4
— Marjorie Gaylor Queen 🏳️🌈 (@Tim_Tweeted) September 28, 2022
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