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Texas Gay Marriage Plaintiff Snubs Gov. Abbott On Wedding Invite

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Issue still divides former law school buddies.

Anti-gay Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and Mark Phariss were good law school buddies at Vanderbilt University in the early 1980s. 

In fact, when Abbott was hit by a falling tree limb while jogging in 1984, leaving him paralyzed, Phariss (image, left) flew from Tulsa to Houston to visit his bedside.

But after Phariss became a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ same-sex marriage ban in 2013, their relationship grew strained. Abbott, then the state’s attorney general, vigorously defended the law, fighting to deny equal rights to his old friend. 

On Friday, Phariss and his partner of 18 years, Vic Holmes, finally obtained their marriage license after prevailing in the lawsuit. The couple now plans a “Texas-sized wedding” in November, but Phariss says even though he’s continued to exchange Christmas cards with the governor over the years, Abbott won’t be on the list of invitees. 

“We want people there who are supportive,” Phariss told The New Civil Rights Movement. “We don’t want a zoo for a wedding, and having Greg there, while that would be a plus in terms of how we’re moving people along, he would never come anyway.” 

When Abbott was asked in early June if he’d attend a same-sex wedding, he dodged the question by saying, “A gay marriage in Texas would be illegal, and so I’d probably would not attend an illegal event.”

A spokesman for Abbott’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday about whether the governor would have attended Phariss and Holmes’ wedding had he been invited. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a GOP presidential candidate who opposes same-sex marriage, attended the wedding of a gay friend earlier this year. Other GOP presidential candidates have also said they’d attend a same-sex wedding. 

But for Abbott, a devout Catholic who leads the nation’s largest red state, attending a same-sex wedding could be politically risky. 

“The Supreme Court has abandoned its role as an impartial judicial arbiter and has become an unelected nine-member legislature,” Abbott said in a a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. “Five Justices on the Supreme Court have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the Court’s previous decisions reserve to the people of the States.”

Phariss said both he and Abbott were invited to discuss the Texas marriage case at the Vanderbilt law school’s upcoming reunion in October, but Abbott declined.  

Although Abbott won’t be on hand for the wedding, plenty of other dignitaries will. They include Texas marriage co-plaintiffs Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman, openly gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Phariss said. DOMA-busting attorney Robbie Kaplan is a maybe, but Neel Lane, who represented the couples in the Texas lawsuit, will deliver a toast.   

Phariss and Holmes, an Air Force veteran, obtained their marriage license Friday from the Bexar County Clerk’s Office in San Antonio, where they were turned away in 2013 and told, “We don’t do that in Texas.” Bexar County Clerk Gerard “Gerry” Rickhoff, one of the few Republican elected officials in the state who publicly supports marriage equality, personally issued the license to Phariss and Holmes. 

“That was the law of the land back then and so today I’m happy to be on the right side of history where we have an enlightenment attitude,” said Rickhoff.

Phariss said 250-300 people are expected to attend the wedding in their hometown of Frisco, a conservative Dallas suburb. 

“Our rings — wedding bands with one diamond embedded in each from diamonds previously included in a ring of my deceased father — will be carried on two flags, both courtesy of Sen. Harry Reid’s office,” Phariss said. “One flew over the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2015, the date SCOTUS held hearings in Obergefell, and the other flew over the U.S. Capitol on June 26, 2015, the date SCOTUS issued its decision in Obergefell.

“This is what the marriage equality fight was all about — enabling couples who loved each other to marry, a right the U.S. Supreme Court correctly said is fundamental to us all,” he added. “Love, equality and justice won.”

Sadly, in addition to Abbott, some of the couple’s closest relatives will be absent from the ceremony, including Phariss’ twin sister and Holmes’ parents, due to their opposition to same-sex marriage.  

“To be honest, he’s kind of lower on my list of who I care about who’s not coming to my wedding,” Phariss said of the governor. “I’m more offended by Vic’s parents and my sister.”

 

Image by Scott Hagar, courtesy of the couple
Video via Fox San Antonio

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

John Eastman Will Face Charges if Continues ‘Frivolous Argument’ Against Capitol Riot Probe: Adam Schiff

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John Eastman, the far-right lawyer who authored Trump’s “coup memo,” announced on Friday that he would be defying a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee.

Appearing on CNN later in the day, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made clear that Eastman is free to plead the Fifth if he has a good-faith reason to fear he could incriminate himself — but that doesn’t entitle him to a free pass to ignore investigators.

“Eastman says the partisan makeup of the committee, he says makes it invalid and doesn’t need to cooperate,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “What do you say to that?”

“Well, that was a frivolous argument,” said Schiff. “If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, he will be in contempt of the committee, simple and straightforward. So we’ll be seeing with each witness… whether they’re properly invoking a privilege or to stall and delay for the former president, and will make the judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear the testimony.”

READ MORE: Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark postpones Capitol riot testimony due to ‘medical condition’

This comes after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was indicted on contempt charges for ignoring the committee, and as former DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark faces an upcoming contempt vote by Congress.

Watch below:

 

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COMMENTARY

Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries She’s the ‘Most Attacked’ – Less Than 24 Hours After Labeling All Democrats ‘Communists’

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If it seems like it was just yesterday that U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the President of the United States and in fact every Democrat in the country “communists,” it was, which is why it might seem strangely hypocritical that the Republican from Georgia minutes ago was labeling herself the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history.

“Joe Biden is a communist,” Greene declared strongly Thursday evening. “And that’s who the Democrats are – they’re communists.”

“You know, a lot of people are swallowing down the word ‘socialist,’ but that’s not a good enough word for Democrats – they are communists,” Greene told her supporters, clearly ignorant of the words’ meanings.

“That’s the word we need to keep using with them,” she continued. “Because they’re using these unprecedented, authoritarian, tyrannical controls on the American people to force people to comply.”

But Greene was singing a very different tune Friday afternoon.

“I have been the most attacked freshman Member of Congress probably in United States history,” Greene cried in a video she posted to social media. “The media has defamed me. They have completely smeared my character. Called me names and labeled me horrible things, none of which I am. None of the things they have said are true about me.”

What has been said about Congresswoman Greene in the legitimate media? Unlike her videos, there’s a high degree of likelihood it’s mostly true.

Here’s a portion of what The New York Times wrote in January:

Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime.

“That’s another one of those Clinton murders,” Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.

Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018.

Ms. Greene suggested in a 2018 Facebook post, unearthed this week by Media Matters, that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

Ms. Greene has repeatedly claimed in multiple videos and social media posts that several school shooting massacres were “false flag” events perpetrated by government officials in an attempt to drum up support for gun control laws. In an October 2020 video surfaced on Friday by Mother Jones, she said that the “only way you get your freedoms back is it’s earned with the price of blood.”

Ms. Greene is perhaps best known for having endorsed QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement that claims that Mr. Trump was facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles.

That was almost an entire year ago. You’re probably more familiar with all the baseless and unfounded attacks she has made since.

Greene has made lying about and attacking Democrats part of her weekly, if not daily routine. Sometimes those attacks have been very personal – and very close. Like when she followed Parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg around the streets of D.C. He said he felt she was threatening him. Or more recently, when she verbally assaulted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of Congress. That was one of her countless attacks against the New York Democrat who Greene seems disturbingly obsessed with.

But if indeed Greene is the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history, she has only herself to blame.

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BREAKING NEWS

On the Lam?: FBI Now Searching for Parents of Michigan Accused High School Shooter – Sheriff Says They’re ‘Missing’

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James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of accused high school mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, appear to be “missing,” according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Sheriff Bouchard says his office is now searching for the Crumbleys, but they cannot be found and are not returning calls from their attorney.

MSNBC reports the FBI and U.S. Marshals are currently searching for them.

The Crumbleys will face four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. Their son, Ethan, is facing murder and terrorism charges, in addition to other charges.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald Friday afternoon detailed the alarming note and drawings that led to school administrators summoning the Crumbleys to the school. Among the words on the note, “the thoughts won’t stop help me,” “blood everywhere,” and “The world is dead.”

Watch:

EARLIER:

‘Blood Everywhere’ and ‘The World Is Dead’: Prosecutor Details Accused School Mass Shooter’s Alarming Note

Prosecutor Reveals Disturbing Texts, Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Against Parents of Michigan High School Accused Shooter

Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Mom Thanked Trump for Right to Bear Arms in Vulgar 2016 Open Letter

 

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