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

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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

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McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats

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Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying he will not allow the House to take up a compromise bill supported by a large and bipartisan majority of Senators that would allow the federal government to continue operating past the midnight Saturday deadline.

“I don’t see the support in the House,” for the Senate’s proposed continuing resolution, McCarthy said on Wednesday, according to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman. He also reports that “this is the most explicit he’s been” in saying “he won’t take it up and pass it as is.”

Chad Pergram, the Senior Congressional Correspondent for Fox News reports, “McCarthy says he won’t allow the House to consider the Senate’s stopgap spending bill to avert a gov’t shutdown for 45 days. 77 bipartisan senators supported the package on a test vote last night.”

Earlier Wednesday, inside the House Republican Conference’s meeting, Sherman reported that Speaker McCarthy “said he told” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “that he cannot take up a bill that funds Ukraine and doesn’t fix the border.”

READ MORE: ‘Fire Sale Prices’: Biographer Predicts Trump ‘May Soon Be Personally Bankrupt’ and Could See His Assets ‘Liquidated’

“In other words,” Sherman adds, “if it wasn’t clear, the CR [continuing resolution] the Senate is taking up is dead on arrival in the House.”

Meanwhile, House Republicans, and especially Speaker McCarthy, are attempting to blame the likely shutdown on Democrats. House Democrats, Senate Democrats and most Senate Republicans have been working to avert a shutdown but Speaker McCarthy’s most extreme members have been pushing to shut down the federal government. Political observers say he could keep the government running by putting together a majority of House Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans to pass a continuing resolution, but would likely lose his Speakership as a result.

“A shutdown would furlough millions of federal employees, leave the military without pay, disrupt air travel and cut off vital safety net services, and it would be politically punishing to lawmakers whose job it is to fund government,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday. “The Republican McCarthy, pushed by a hard-right flank that rejects the deal he made with Biden and is demanding steep spending cuts, showed no interest in the Senate’s bipartisan effort — or the additional money for Ukraine.”

“’I think their priorities are bad,’ he said about the Senate effort.”

Political pundit and journalist Bill Kristol, a Republican who became a Democrat in 2020, Wednesday afternoon pinned the expected, coming shutdown on Speaker McCarthy.

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

“One man, Kevin McCarthy, is responsible for the looming government shutdown, because he won’t bring to the House floor a funding bill supported by a majority of senators from both parties, the administration, and a majority of House members. It’s the Speaker’s Shutdown.”

Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported, “Facing a potential government shutdown in four days triggered by House Republicans’ inability to unite to pass spending bills, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is trying out a new strategy: shifting the blame.”

“McCarthy is starting to point fingers at Democrats in a bid to pin a shutdown on disagreements over border security. It’s an attempt to rewrite the record of the past several weeks, during which House Republicans have been unable to pass a short-term bill to prevent a shutdown — even one that includes the border security policies his conference overwhelmingly supports.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

 

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‘Fire Sale Prices’: Biographer Predicts Trump ‘May Soon Be Personally Bankrupt’ and Could See His Assets ‘Liquidated’

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Donald Trump, the one-term, twice-impeached ex-president who is running for the White House while facing four criminal indictments that include 91 felony counts across three jurisdictions, “may soon be personally bankrupt,” according to a journalist who has written two books on the man he calls a “self-proclaimed multibillionaire.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, author of “The Making of Donald Trump,” and “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” reported on Tuesday’s decision by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. The judge ruled Trump had committed fraud for years, by massively inflating the value of his assets. He ordered Trump’s business certificates revoked and his assets dissolved.

“Donald Trump is no longer in business,” Johnston writes at DC Report. “Worse, the self-proclaimed multibillionaire may soon be personally bankrupt as a result, stripped of just about everything because for years he engaged in calculated bank fraud and insurance fraud by inflating the value of his properties, a judge ruled Tuesday.”

READ MORE: Trump Goes on Wild Rant Targeting Judge and Attorney General After Being Found Liable for Fraud

The ex-president’s “gaudy Trump Tower apartment, his golf courses, his Boeing 757 jet and even Mar-a-Lago could all be disposed of by a court-appointed monitor, leaving Trump with not much more than his pensions as a one term president and a television performer,” Johnston wrote.

Trump will likely appeal any ruling, but Johnston, who has chronicled Trump for years, says it’s “highly unlikely” an appeals court will reverse Justice Engoron’s decision.

“Barring a highly unlikely reversal by an appeals court, Trump’s business assets eventually will be liquidated since he cannot operate them without a business license. Retired Judge Barbara Jones was appointed to monitor the assets, an arrangement not unlike the court-supervised liquidation of a bankrupt company or the assets of a drug lord,” Johnston writes. “The various properties are likely to be sold at fire sale prices and certainly not for top dollar when liquidation begins, probably after all appeals are exhausted.”

READ MORE: House GOP Shutdown Demands Include Gutting Billions From Dept. of Education, Costing Over 200,000 Teachers Their Jobs

Johnston last year said “that the former president ‘knowingly’ committed dozens of tax crimes over the past several years,” according to Newsweek. Johnston’s comments in December came “shortly after Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee held a vote to publicly release Trump’s tax return documents,” and “published a report showing that Trump was not properly audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) while he was president. The IRS has a policy requiring that a sitting president is audited each year while in office.”

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Trump Goes on Wild Rant Targeting Judge and Attorney General After Being Found Liable for Fraud

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Donald Trump unleashed a wild rant Wednesday morning, targeting the New York attorney general and the Manhattan Supreme Court judge in the State of New York’s $250 million civil case against him. The judge on Tuesday declared the ex-president had committed fraud for years in building his real estate empire and ordered his business certificates revoked and holdings dissolved.

Trump has been warned to not make public attacks against or attempts to intimidate witnesses or officers of the court, or prejudice jurors in one of the criminal cases he is currently facing. Two weeks ago, after appearing to not heed those warnings, the Special Counsel prosecuting the ex-president for his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election asked the judge presiding over that case to limit his speech.

Wednesday morning, Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James “Racist.” He called Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “Deranged,” and “Trump Hating,” alleging he had “made up this crazy ‘KILL TRUMP’ decision, assigning insanely low values to properties.” Trump wrote the judge valued his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence at $18 million, and claimed (in all-caps) “it is worth possibly 100 times that amount.”

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

The judge, however, according to The Hill, “found Trump consistently overvalued Mar-a-Lago, inflating its value on one financial statement by at least 2,300 percent. The ruling pointed to a Palm Beach County Assessor’s appraisal from 2011-2021, which estimated Mar-a-Lago’s value between $18 million and $27.6 million.”

“In his order,” The New York Times reported Tuesday, “Justice Engoron wrote scathingly about Mr. Trump’s defenses, saying that the former president and the other defendants, including his two adult sons and his company, ignored reality when it suited their business needs. ‘In defendants’ world,’ he wrote, ‘rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air.'”

“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” the judge concluded.

At the end of his diatribe Wednesday, Trump declared: “There is also an IRONCLAD DISCLAIMER CLAUSE!”

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General
 

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