Connect with us

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

Published

on

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 

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.

NOT EVEN CLOSE

Sean Spicer Bitterly Complains the Press Is Treating Jen Psaki Better Than They Did Him

Published

on

As part of a deep dive into the growing popularity of White House press secretary Jen Psaki who has a legion of admirers on social media due to her handling of press, former Donald Trump press secretary Sean Spicer complained to the New York Times that she has gotten a free pass from the media that he never got.

According to the report, even Peter Doocy of Fox News had high praise for Psaki despite his almost daily battles with Psaki that have become widely shared on Twitter and evening newscasts.

“It never feels like I’m getting smacked down or vice versa,” Doocy admitted. “I understand why it looks like that, some of the ways that stuff gets clipped, but it doesn’t feel like that in the room.”

He added, “When I got back from my wedding she made a point to tell everybody in the briefing room that I just got married. That’s a transcript I can print out and show to my kids one day.”

As for Spicer, who eventually resigned following combative press conferences that were famously mocked on Saturday Night Live — with actor Melissa McCarthy portraying a bullying and manic Spicer — he thinks he was held to a higher standard than the current press secretary.

“‘I walked into the lion’s den every day — she walks into a bunch of kittens,'” Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s first press secretary and now the 6 p.m. anchor on Newsmax, said in an interview,” the Times’ Michael Grynbaum wrote.

Spicer also took exception to Psaki taking a dig at him during a press conference after President Joe Biden asked him to resign from the board of the United States Military Academy when she was asked about his performance in her job as well as appearances by Kellyanne Conway defending Donald Trump.

Psaki replied, “I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified.”

That led Spicer to complain, “Jen chose to stand and question my qualifications and services to this country. Once she did that, the gloves were off.”

You can read more here.

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Gov. Kristi Noem Won’t Make Kids Wear Masks in Schools But She Is Trying to Make Them Pray

Published

on

South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem refuses to mandate masks for schoolchildren and teachers but she’s trying to make students pray in public. Gov. Noem, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024, has let the coronavirus run rampant in her state of just 886,667 people – a population so small New York City’s is ten times larger. And yet coronavirus is running rampant in South Dakota, which ranks number eight in the nation for coronavirus cases per capita.

Governor Noem just made clear she does not see herself as a government or political leader, but as a religious one. Speaking to Real America’s Voice personality David Brody, Noem declared she will bring back prayer in schools (even though voluntary prayer has always been legal) and thinks political leaders are supposed to “minister” to their constituents.

Complaining that the actions other government leaders are taking “are not biblical,” Noem says they are supposed to “line up with God,” which is false.

“I think that it’s really time for all of us to look at the actions of our leaders and see if they line up with the word of God,” Noem said, “see if they’re biblical and if they really are following through on those actions that God’s called us to do to protect people, to serve people, and to really minister to them.”

Protecting, serving, and ministering – but not in the fight against the deadly pandemic.

“We’ve seen our society, our culture, degrade, as we’ve removed God out of our lives, and people become what they spend their time doing,” Noem declared. “When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday morning, every night, every Wednesday night in church, we were our church, family was a part of our life, we read the Bible every day as a family together, and spent time with each other, recognizing that we were created to serve others.”

Again, Noem makes clear she does not believe serving and protecting others has anything to do with COVID-19.

“I don’t know families do that as much anymore and those biblical values are learned, in the family, And they’re learned in church when the doors are open so people can be there and be taught.”

“We in South Dakota, have decided to take action to really stand for biblical principles. We had a bill that was passed during legislative session two years ago that put the the motto ‘In God We Trust’ in every single school building it is displayed. Now in every K-12 school building in the state of South Dakota.

“I have legislation that we’ll be proposing this year that will allow us to pray in schools, again, I really believe that focusing on those foundational biblical principles that teach us that every life has value every person has a purpose will recenter our kids and help us really heal this division that we see taking over our country.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, “given that the United States is a democracy, and not a theocracy, officials’ actions are supposed to line up with the Constitution and the rule of law, not how some people interpret scripture.”

“What the governor seemed to be suggesting, however, isn’t a system in which students pray on their own,” he adds, “but one in which school officials intervene in children’s religious lives. In the United States, that’s not legal: As my friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently explained, ‘The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the state’s public schools in 1929. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1962 and ’63.'”

 

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Also Criticized ‘Court-Invented Rights to Homosexual Behavior and Same-Sex Marriage’

Published

on

The architect of what is now Texas law, Governor Greg Abbott‘s “heartbeat” legislation that bans all abortion after six weeks, attacked the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marriage, and sex between persons of the same sex, in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer. In that brief he also called same-sex marriage a “judicial concoction,” and argued that women should merely abstain from sexual intercourse as a method to “control their reproductive lives.”

Former Texas solicitor general and Federalist Society member Jonathan Mitchell, The Guardian reports, “who played a pivotal role in designing the legal framework of the state’s near-total abortion ban, also argued on behalf of anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life that women would still be able to terminate pregnancies if Roe was overturned by traveling to ‘wealthy pro-abortion’ states like California and New York with the help of ‘taxpayer subsidies.'”

“Women can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse,” Mitchell wrote in the brief. “One can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court’s decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.”

“In the same brief, which calls for Roe to be overturned,” The Guardian adds, “Mitchell and co-counsel Adam Mortara, an anti-abortion activist and lawyer who clerked for the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, said such a decision could open the door for other ‘lawless’ rights and protections to be reversed, including the right to have gay sex and the right to same-sex marriage.”

In their July, 2021 Supreme Court amicus brief, Mitchell and Mortara also call “interracial marriage” one of several “supposed constitutional ‘rights’ that have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice.” Among them, “court-imposed ‘substantive due process’ rights whose textual and historical provenance are equally dubious.”

On same-sex marriage and sex their opinion was devastatingly ruthless.

“The news is not as good for those who hope to preserve the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage,” the amicus brief reads. “These ‘rights,’ like the right to abortion from Roe, are judicial concoctions, and there is no other source of law that can be invoked to salvage their existence.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.