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The Same People Who Killed Houston’s HERO Are Now Working To Repeal Dallas’ Nondiscrimination Law

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Anti-LGBT Groups Attack City’s Updated Nondiscrimination Ordinance – Dallas Could Be Next Battleground In Transgender ‘Bathroom Wars’

A week after scoring a major victory in Houston, anti-LGBT groups and Republican Texas lawmakers are threatening to try to overturn Dallas’ 13-year-old nondiscrimination ordinance, which the City Council unanimously amended Tuesday to strengthen transgender protections. 

The Dallas City Council’s vote came just one week after Houston voters overwhelmingly rejected an Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, based largely on the debunked “transgender bathroom myth” — with opponents falsely claiming the measure would lead to sexual predators entering women’s restrooms to prey on victims.

In the wake of the Houston vote, LGBT advocates said they feared anti-LGBT groups would attempt to replicate their fear-mongering Houston strategy in other places across the country, and now it appears their first target could be Dallas. However, Dallas has a significantly higher bar than Houston for repealing ordinances by referendum, which would make opponents job that much harder. 

The anti-LGBT hate group Texas Values, which was part of the anti-HERO campaign, issued a statement Tuesday calling the Dallas ordinance “a threat to safety and freedom.” Texas Values also accused the City Council of fast-tracking amendments to the ordinance, which were added to its agenda on Friday and discussed by a committee in executive session Monday. 

“This Dallas bathroom ordinance will allow men into women’s bathrooms and that’s why the Dallas City Council is deliberately trying to avoid the people,” Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz (photo, left) said. “Their fast track method of passing this dangerous bill that threatens the safety of women and children is the same strategy used in Houston to disenfranchise voters with their failed bathroom bill. Creating law behind closed doors and forcing it onto the people the next morning  is a recipe for disaster. These Obama and D.C. style tactics will not work in Texas. Get ready for a Texas-sized response.” 

The Texas Pastor Council, which was behind the petition drive and lawsuit to get HERO on the ballot in Houston, said in an email that the ordinance “removes the doors of women’s restrooms, showers and locker rooms in Dallas, as well as criminalizes businesses, employees as well as eventually, churches who attempt to keep men out.”

“We will work with Dallas pastors to determine how to appropriately respond to the wholesale catering by City Council to the radical, anti-faith, anti-family agenda of the LGBT Human Rights Campaign,’ said Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (photo, right), who spent $70,000 on a TV ad opposing HERO, called the Dallas council’s vote “mind-boggling and appalling,” accusing officials of putting “political correctness ahead of both common sense and common decency.” 

“The facts are clear,” Patrick said in a statement. “No woman wants a man to be allowed in a ladies restroom or locker room, no matter the reason. And no man wants his wife, daughter, mother, or sister to be forced by law to contend with such an uncomfortable, disruptive, and potentially dangerous intrusion. This ludicrous ordinance, like the one in Houston, reveals officials who are totally out of touch with Texas values, I have no doubt that if this issue is put to the voters, as opposed to being decided without adequate public notice and discussion, the people of Dallas – like those in Houston – will give it a resounding no.”

Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, who authored an unsuccessful bill that would have barred Texas cities from enforcing LGBT protections, has launched a petition calling for the repeal of the Dallas ordinance. 

“The City Council may have acted in good faith believing that this was a tweak or ‘clean-up,’ but I wish they had let voters fully vet the potentially far-reaching ramifications of today’s policy change,” Huffines wrote on Facebook. “Allowing men in women’s restrooms — and vice versa — is a whole-cloth social change that business owners and families will be forced to endure.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings noted that the ordinance, first approved by the council in a 13-2 vote in 2002, already prohibited discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. However, gender identity was included under the definition of sexual orientation. The amendments approved Tuesday list gender identity and expression alongside sexual orientation and more clearly define the terms. 

Rawlings also noted that in 2014, voters approved an amendment to the Dallas charter, by a margin of 77 percent, prohibiting discrimination against LGBT city employees.

“While we respect others’ points of view, our goal is to protect all of our citizens, including minority groups,” Rawlings said Wednesday. “Yesterday’s unanimous City Council vote did not change the scope of our 13-year-old anti-discrimination ordinance. We took action that is consistent with what our voters approved last year and the protections already afforded to our employees. It is not forthright or honest to minimize this issue to a question about where people relieve themselves.”

Eileen Youens, assistant Dallas city attorney, told The New Civil Rights Movement that to repeal the ordinance, opponents would have to submit an application to the city secretary with the signatures of five registered voters. Then, they’d have 60 days to gather signatures on a petition from 10 percent of the city’s registered voters, or roughly 50,000 people. In Houston, which has roughly twice as many registered voters as Dallas, HERO opponents needed only 17,269 signatures, or 10 percent of those who voted in the last election. If opponents gathered enough signatures, the Dallas council would be forced to repeal the ordinance or place it on the ballot in the next general election.  

“I just don’t see them being successful in Dallas,” City Councilman Philip Kingston said. 

 

Image via Facebook 

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COMMENTARY

First Lady Unveils White House Christmas ‘Gifts from the Heart’ Decorations – as Some Remember ‘Creepy’ Trump Holidays

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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Monday unveiled the White House’s 2021 Christmas decorations.

“Inspired by the acts of kindness and experiences that lifted our spirits this year, decorated rooms in the White House reflect the Gifts from the Heart that unite us all: faith, family, friendship, the arts, learning, nature, gratitude, service, community, peace, and unity,” Dr. Biden said in a social media post, which included photos.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano posted some images from today’s tour:

In a monumental gesture of inclusiveness and spirit of bipartisanship the Bidens even included a nod to Donald Trump and Melania Trump, the former President and First Lady.

But some were quick to remember the disturbing Christmas decorating efforts of the former White House occupants:

Related:

Video of Trump Saying ‘Christmas Will Be Canceled’ if Biden Wins Goes Viral After President Refuses to Sign COVID Bill

‘Praise Be!’: Melania Mocked for ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ White House Christmas Trees Video

After ‘Give Me a Break’ Complaint Melania Mocked for ‘Pretending to Like Christmas’ as White House Tree Is Delivered

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

DeSantis Courts Anti-Vaxx Voters by Changing Unemployment Rules to Give Them Benefits if They Get Fired: Report

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Florida’s DeSantis administration is expanding the Republican governor’s anti-vaxx policies by altering state unemployment insurance rules to allow those fired for refusing the coronavirus vaccine to be eligible for benefits.

“Extending unemployment benefits to the unvaccinated is just the latest in a series of proposals aligning the GOP with people who won’t get a COVID shot,” Axios reports, noting that Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee have also changed their rules to favor anti-vaxxers.

“Republicans see a prime opportunity to rally their base ahead of the midterms. No matter how successful their individual efforts, the campaign is a powerful messaging weapon,” Axios adds.

Up until now being fired for cause – for refusing an employer’s requirements, including being vaccinated – has made terminated employees ineligible for unemployment benefits.

“The general proposition is that it is lawful for an employer to mandate the vaccine and so if an employee doesn’t get it, it’s a choice,” labor attorney Domenique Camacho Moran told CBS News in October.

“It’s like if your employer said, ‘Come in at 9 o’clock and you said, ‘Thanks for sharing, I’ll come in at 11.’ If you engage in deliberate misconduct like that, you won’t be entitled to unemployment benefits which are designed to be provided to those who are separated through no fault of their own,” he added.

But DeSantis and his administration have been downplaying COVID and the coronavirus vaccine, promoting expensive COVID treatments over vaccines – treatments that financially benefit one of his top political donors.

Related:

DeSantis Hires New Surgeon General: A Hydroxychloroquine-Pushing Physician Who Appeared in ‘Demon Sperm’ Doc’s Video

Revealed: Ron DeSantis Has Been Taking COVID Advice From a California Psychiatrist Pushing Ivermectin

DeSantis Says ‘Deal With’ It as Coronavirus ‘Waves’ Rage Through Florida

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM LOOKS LIKE

Trump Supporters Have New ‘Ambitious Plan’ to Have Loyalists Oversee Elections Across America: Report

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Donald Trump and his supporters are enacting an “ambitious plan” to place loyalists in key positions overseeing elections after his unsuccessful efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.

“In Michigan, local GOP leaders have sought to reshape election canvassing boards by appointing members who expressed sympathy for former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 vote was rigged. In two Pennsylvania communities, candidates who embraced election fraud allegations won races this month to become local voting judges and inspectors,” The Washington Post reported Monday. “And in Colorado, 2020 doubters are urging their followers on conservative social media platforms to apply for jobs in election offices.”

The report comes as Trump continues to push his “Big Lie” of election fraud, releasing a Sunday statement falsely claiming the “2020 Election was rigged and stolen.”

“Citing the need to make elections more secure, Trump allies are also seeking to replace officials across the nation, including volunteer poll watchers, paid precinct judges, elected county clerks and state attorneys general, according to state and local officials, as well as rally speeches, social media posts and campaign appearances by those seeking the positions,” the newspaper reported. “If they succeed, Trump and his allies could pull down some of the guardrails that prevented him from overturning Biden’s win by creating openings to challenge the results next time, election officials and watchdog groups say.”

READ: Trump has a plan to make it easier to ‘subvert the will of the voters’ in 2024: CNN

There are QAnon-linked candidates running for secretary of state to oversee elections, including Rachel Hamm in California, Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kristina Karamo in Michigan, Mark Finchem in Arizona, and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) in Georgia.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) warned how the focus has shifted from overturning the last election to overturning future elections.

“The attacks right now are no longer about 2020,” Griswold explained. “They’re about 2022 and 2024. It’s about chipping away at confidence and chipping away at the reality of safe and secure elections. And the next time there’s a close election, it will be easier to achieve their goals. That’s what this is all about.”

Read the full report.

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