Connect with us

Anti-Gay Texas State Lawmaker: Marriage Equality Doesn’t Exist (Audio)

Published

on

Democrat Responds To Homophobic Lawmaker: ‘Them’s The Rules, Bubby’

Anti-gay Texas Tea Party state Rep. Cecil Bell is in serious denial about same-sex marriage. 

During a panel discussion in Austin last month, Bell claimed that despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, marriage equality doesn’t exist in Texas.

Bell, (R-Magnolia), the author of failed legislation seeking to undermine the high court’s ruling, has also called for the impeachment of justices who were in the majority. He made the comments in response to a question about why he doesn’t consider Obergefell to be the law of the land. 

“In fact, our Constitution has in place provisions that say the court cannot make law,” Bell said. “So, the very laws that you’re talking about enforcing don’t exist, and the Supreme Court cannot create those laws. In order for a clerk in Texas or in any other state to have the legal authority to issue a same-sex marriage license, the state Legislature will have to act to affirm that legal right. Otherwise we have granted to the federal court system through the Supreme Court or a lower federal court the lawmaking provisions that are specifically withheld from the court.” 

Bell’s statement drew a strong rebuke from state Rep. Rafael Anchia, (D-Dallas), a staunch LGBT ally who was also a member of the panel. 

“There’s this new case, I don’t know if any of you have seen it, it’s called Marbury v. Madison,” Anchia said sarcastically, referring to the iconic 1803 case that cemented the Court’s mandate of judicial review. His comment elicited laughter from the audience.

“It kind of puts in place the judicial branch’s ability to interpret the law, and then we do have supremacy principles. Again, not very well known out there, but them’s the rules, Bubby, and that’s where we sort of end up. It’s interesting when my esteemed colleague says there are no laws in place and we should respect the constitutional principles here. Well, the constitutional principle is the 14th Amendment, and that’s what being discussed. Do people have equal protection under the law? And to me, it’s kind of straightforward in that respect.” 

Bell responded that the 14th Amendment was intended to give freed slaves equal rights, not legalize same-sex marriage. He suggested that Anchia wanted to “throw out the Constitution.”

“It may be, ‘Them’s the rules, Bubby,’ but the truth of the matter is, that’s not what our forefathers said, that’s what this generation says,” Bell said. 

LOOK: Anti-Gay State Rep. Cecil Bell Thinks Texas Sovereignty Is A Thing, Totally Trumps Federal Law

Anchia, who’s Latino, noted that the 14th Amendment also protects his civil rights, even though they weren’t contemplated at the time.

“There are a number of different groups that are covered by the 14th Amendment despite what gave rise to the ratification in 1870,” Anchia said. “I kind of like the 14th Amendment. I would not throw that out, because it protects me against bigots.”

“I think bigots have used religion to discriminate against people for a long time,” Anchia added. “Religion has been used as pretext to discriminate against African-Americans, against women, against gay people, for a very long time.”

Anchia also held up a photo of John Stone-Hoskins, who successfully sued Texas in the wake of Obergefell after he was denied an accurate death certificate for his late husband. Anchia said he was supposed to have lunch with Stone-Hoskins on the day of the panel discussion, but Stone-Hoskins died in early October. 

“When you talk about people wanting to delay and demure and fight against the implementation of civil rights, it has real impact on real people, and this is one of them,” Anchia said. 

When Anchia asked what people like Stone-Hoskins should do when they’re denied civil rights, Bell said they should “continue to live the way they’re living.”

“The do have civil rights,” Bell said. “They have the freedom to speak. They’re not a privileged class, which is the effort here.” 

The panel also featured Brantley Starr, deputy Texas attorney general; Jonathan Saenz, president of the anti-LGBT hate group Texas Values; and Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, a marriage equality supporter who issued a license to a same-sex couple in February under a court order.

Starr was asked about anti-gay Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton‘s post-Obergefell opinion encouraging county clerks to defy the ruling. 

“He was saying if clerks have religious objections, state law allows them to delegate to others in their office,” Starr said. “He was simply encouraging people to recognize those longstanding rights of the employees and the clerks themselves, and not necessarily telling offices they should shut down and not issue licenses.” 

DeBeauvoir responded that Paxton’s opinion created confusion among clerks. One Texas clerk, Hood County’s Katie Lang, was sued for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, resulting in a $40,000 settlement. 

“Many county clerks around the state read his letter to say, ‘I’m free of this now, I don’t have to do this,'” DeBeauvoir said. “With all due respect to the attorney general, he did those county clerks no favor at all.” 

Saenz suggested that DeBeauvoir should have been jailed for issuing a same-sex marriage license in February, comparing her to Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. He alleged that same-sex marriage supporters want to punish people for exercising their religious liberties.  

“It’s a dangerous environment that we live in,” Saenz said. 

DeBeauvoir responded that during her 29 years in office, she’s followed the law despite her personal beliefs. 

“I was required to discriminate against my fellow brothers and sisters and not issue marriage licenses when it was a matter of civil rights,” DeBeauvoir said. “Kim Davis was not thrown in jail for something about her religious obligations. She was thrown in jail for violating the law, for taking over her office and using it as a tool to impose her religious beliefs on everyone else in her county.” 

Listen to the full discussion below. 

https://soundcloud.com/texas-tribune-festival/ttf15-gay-rights-states-rights

 

EARLIER:

Lawmaker Totally Certain His Unconstitutional Bill Will Override Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

GOP Lawmaker Pushes Bill To Defund Same-Sex Marriage

Texas Legislator Throws a Tantrum Trying To Stop Marriage Equality

  

Image: Screenshot via Agendawise/YouTube

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

Published

on

Having successfully obtained delays in his federal trials and his state trial in Georgia, possibly until after the November election, Donald Trump is now seeking an “insurance policy” to protect him from any future state prosecutions if he again becomes president.

The indicted ex-president who turns 78 next month “seems convinced that if he wins another four years in the White House, state prosecutors will still be waiting for him on the other side of his term — ready to put him on trial, or even in prison, just as they are now,” Rolling Stone reports.

“To avoid such risks, the former and perhaps future president of the United States wants Congress to create a very specific insurance policy that would help keep him out of prison forever, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump vaguely alluded to this idea last week outside his New York criminal hush money trial, when he said he has urged Republican lawmakers to pass ‘laws to stop things like this.'”

Trump “has pressured” Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do so, describing it as imperative that he signs such a bill into law, if he again ascends to the Oval Office.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone also notes, “Trump appears fixated on the idea of passing a law to give former American presidents the option of moving state or local prosecutions into a federal court instead, the two sources add.”

Trump “has hinted at a legislative push to limit his exposure to such criminal charges. In an improvised press conference outside the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday, Trump said he’s been telling the Republican lawmakers who want to attend his trial and show solidarity to focus on legislation instead.”

“We have a lot of ’em. They want to come. I say, ‘Just stay back and pass lots of laws to stop things like this.’”

In 1973, while still President but under the cloud of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon said, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.”

If Trump is elected in November, he can have his Attorney General drop any federal prosecutions he is currently facing. That may call into question, for some legal experts, the actions of the far-right justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who have delayed ruling on his immunity claim, and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

On May 7, Judge Cannon indefinitely suspended the Espionage Act case, also known as the classified documents case, against Donald Trump.

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf this week blasted the judge:

“Judge Cannon is not, as commentators and cartoonists would have it, just working on behalf of Trump. She is actively working on behalf of the enemies of the US who have and would benefit from the national security breaches she is effectively defending and making more likely.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this month declared, “The courts are deliberately delaying justice — and effectively denying it.”

This coming week Americans may get a verdict in the New York criminal case against the ex-president. If it comes, it may be “guilty” or “not guilty,” but it could also be a hung jury, forcing another trial which also would not likely come before the election.

If Trump is elected in November, and can get his “insurance policy” legislation passed, he could possibly avoid all criminal trials for the rest of his life.

Continue Reading

OPINION

Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Published

on

Mike Pence is defending far-right U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, whose ethics and ability to serve on the nation’s highest court are being questioned after The New York Times revealed he had been flying a highly-controversial flag used by the January 6 insurrectionists, neo-Nazis, and a far-right neo-fascist hate group. Democrats are demanding the justice recuse himself from all cases involving Donald Trump and the 2020 presidential election, and some are also demanding his resignation or impeachment.

The former Trump Vice President, in defending Alito, may have made the situation even worse for the 74-year old jurist by highlighting the flag’s ties to revolution and the overthrow of government. In his defense Pence also encourages all Americans to fly the flag: “The ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag is part or our proud heritage of Faith and Freedom and every American should be proud to fly it,” he writes.

“The Appeal to Heaven Flag” dates back centuries, to the American Revolution, but in recent years was very clearly co-opted by the radical religious right and was seen being carried by the insurrectionists during the assault on the U.S. Capitol, some of whom who chanted, “hang Mike Pence,” as he and his family were being whisked away by Secret Service on January 6:

MSNBC columnist Sarah Posner, who for years has been writing about religion and politics, on Thursday noted, “the more one knows about the background of the flag, the more chilling its presence at [Alito’s] house becomes.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Posner says the flag is “an unmistakable emblem for an influential segment of Christian nationalists who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, contrary to God’s will, and that believers’ spiritual warfare is essential to restoring God’s anointed leader to his rightful office.”

“It was one of numerous Christian nationalist flags and other iconography carried by Trump supporters Jan. 6 and at the Jericho March, a series of prayer rallies that were like jet fuel for the insurrection,” Posner explains. “The Jericho March featured right-wing evangelical and Catholic speakers alongside militants such as conspiracist Alex Jones, Trump’s disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes, now serving an 18-year prison sentence for seditious conspiracy and other crimes.”

Posner adds the flag “originated in Revolutionary times as a call to take up arms against unjust rulers who ignored the pleas of their citizens.”

Pence also refers to the Revolutionary War in his defense of Justice Alito, ignoring that the Revolutionary War was won several hundred years ago, and ignoring that a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice promoting the very concept of taking up arms against rulers, unjust or otherwise, is, as constitutional scholar and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, Laurence Tribe wrote, “close to treason.”

Pence calls the “controversy” of Justice Alito’s flag-flying “absurd and anti-historical.” He quotes English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, promoting his idea of the right to revolution, to replace a government.

In its Bombshell report Wednesday announcing the existence of a second Alito flag tied to the insurrectionists, The New York Times explains the Locke tie to the “Appeal to Heaven” flag.

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

“Since its creation during the American Revolution, the flag has carried a message of defiance: The phrase ‘appeal to heaven’ comes from the 17th-century philosopher John Locke, who wrote of a responsibility to rebel, even use violence, to overthrow unjust rule. ‘It’s a paraphrase for trial by arms,’ Anthony Grafton, a historian at Princeton University, said in an interview. ‘The main point is that there’s no appeal, there’s no one else you can ask for help or a judgment.'”

Coincidentally or not, Grafton’s “trial by arms” seems to echo Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani’s January 6 speech in which he specifically called for “trial by combat.”

Religious studies scholar Matthew Taylor, quoted in The New York Times’ report on Alito’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag, told CBS News (video below) Christian nationalist leader Dutch Sheets “was given one of these flags and he believed that he received a prophecy when he received this flag, that it was a symbol of a revolution that would take place in America, a spiritual revolution that would reconstitute the United States as a truly Christian nation.”

He adds the “Appeal to Heaven” flag has become a “very potent symbol of Christian nationalism, Christian Trumpism, opposition to abortion, opposition to gay marriage, and the desire for a more Christian America.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

Continue Reading

OPINION

‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Published

on

A senior U.S. district judge is denouncing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito‘s flying of two insurrection-related flags at his homes in Virginia and New Jersey, declaring the actions “improper. And dumb.”

Judge Michael Ponsor, 77, who has served on the federal bench since 1984, writes in a Friday New York Times op-ed that he has “known scores, possibly hundreds, of federal trial and appellate judges pretty well,” and “can’t think of a single one, no matter who appointed her or him, who has engaged or would engage in conduct like that.”

“You just don’t do that sort of thing, whether it may be considered over the line, or just edging up to the margin. Flying those flags was tantamount to sticking a ‘Stop the steal’ bumper sticker on your car. You just don’t do it.”

Justice Alito’s first flag scandal came late last week, when The New York Times reported an upside down U.S. flag had flown at his Virginia home jut days before Joe Biden was sworn in as President. That flag is associated with the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. As of January, more than 1200 who were there that day have been arrested and charged with crimes.

Alito blamed his wife, claiming she made the decision to fly the flag upside down, which according to the U.S. flag code should only be done to signal distress. Martha-Ann Alito, her husband claimed, had gotten into an argument with a neighbor and manifested her anger by flying the “Stop the Steal” flag.

READ MORE: ‘Investigate Now’: As Alito Scandal Grows Pressure Mounts on ‘MIA’ and ‘AWOL’ Judiciary Chair

The second flag scandal came on Wednesday, when The Times again revealed an Alito insurrection-related flag, this time at his New Jersey home, where the Alitos were flying the “Appeal to Heaven” flag which has ties both to the insurrectionists, and to extreme right Christian nationalists.

Justice Alito has not made any public comment defending his second flag.

Judge Ponsor offered up a hypothetical to counter Justice Alito’s claim his wife was to blame, in this case, an example of him presiding over a death penalty case.

“Let’s say my wife was strongly opposed to the death penalty and wished to speak out publicly against it. I’m not saying this is true, but let’s imagine it. The primary emotional current in our marriage is, of course, deep and passionate love, but right next to that is equally deep and passionate respect. We would have had a problem, and we would have needed to talk,” Ponsor explained.

“In this hypothetical situation, I hope that my wife would have held off making any public statements about capital punishment, and restrained herself from talking about the issue with me, while the trial unfolded. On the other hand, if my wife had felt strongly that she needed to espouse her viewpoint publicly, I would have had to recuse myself from presiding over the case, based on the appearance of partiality.”

READ MORE: ‘Going for the Jugular’: Legal Scholar Warns ‘Trumpers’ Want to End Major Civil Right

Note he mentions as a sitting federal judge he would have applied the same standards that jurors are expected to observe: to not discuss the case with anyone, including their spouses.

And should there have been a discussion, or if she were to air her views publicly, he would be forced to recuse himself from the case.

Justice Alito has not recused from any 2020 presidential election cases, any Trump-related cases, any insurrection-related cases.

That includes the Trump “absolute immunity” case the Supreme Court heard in April, for which they have yet to rule.

The Supreme Court “recently adopted an ethics code to ‘guide the conduct’ of the justices,” Ponsor observes. “One of its canons states that a justice should ‘act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.’ That’s all very well. But basic ethical behavior should not rely on laws or regulations. It should be folded into a judge’s DNA. That didn’t happen here.”

READ MORE: Trump Adviser Scanned and Saved Contents of Box That Had Classified Docs: Report

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.