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Law Created To ‘Protect’ Magistrates From Marrying Same-Sex Couples Now Target Of Federal Lawsuit

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Three same-sex and different-sex couples have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a North Carolina law they say is unconstitutional.

Earlier this year the North Carolina legislature passed a “religious freedom” bill designed to “protect” magistrates from having to marry same-sex couples. Republican Governor Pat McCrory vetoed it, citing the U.S. Constitution. Lawmakers overrode the veto, and SB2 became law. Now, magistrates can cite a “sincerely held religious objection” to same-sex marriage and opt out of performing their duties.

Wednesday morning, three couples filed a federal lawsuit, A​nsley v. North Carolina, declaring the law is unconstitutional.

Luke Largess, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, in a statement charges that SB2 “expressly declares” that the religious beliefs of North Carolina magistrates “are superior to their oath of judicial office to uphold and support the federal constitution,” as Matt Comer first reported today. 

“And the law spends public money to advance those religious beliefs. That is a straightforward violation of the First Amendment,” Largess added. 

The lawsuit itself states SB2’s “obvious purpose and timing” was “an effort to give magistrates who oppose constitutionally-protected, equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians an exemption from their mandatory judicial oath to support and uphold the federal constitution.”

It also says the law, known officially as the Act To Allow Magistrates And Registers Of Deeds To Recuse Themselves From Performing Duties Related To Marriage Ceremonies Due To Sincerely Held Religious Objection, “authorized the expenditure of public funds to accomplish the goal of exempting magistrates from their oath of office on religious grounds.”

And it notes that, “By opting out of performing marriages, these magistrates in McDowell County and across North Carolina renounced the oath to uphold the United States Constitution, as they rejected and refused to defend, support, uphold and be bound by the Fourteenth Amendment rights of same sex couples to marry.”

 

EARLIER:

Every Magistrate In This North Carolina County Refuses To Marry Same-Sex Couples

Citing US Constitution, NC GOP Governor To Veto Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

North Carolina Passes Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ For Magistrates Bill

 

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WAR CRIMES

‘One Minute to Live, Sir’: Trump Shared Details of Soleimani Assassination With Top Dollar Donors at Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser

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President Donald Trump shared moment-by-moment details of his assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with top high-dollar donors at  Friday night’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. The Commander-in-Chief also revealed he authorized the killing, not because of any supposed “imminent threat,” as he has previously asserted, but because intelligence reports, he said, found Solemiani was “talking about bad stuff.”

Killing Solemani as an act of retribution instead of as a preventative measure against imminent attack could be a war crime, legal experts have said.

The Washington Post reports Trump “spoke broadly about Soleimani as ‘the father of the road side bomb’ responsible for ‘every young, beautiful man or woman who see walking around with no legs, no arms.'”

Soleimani “was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’” Trump said, to applause.

The president also gave a blow-by-blow account of Soleimani’s killing.

“‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ Then all of a sudden, boom,” Trump told the group of donors, according to audio recordings the Post received.

The Post also revealed that at Friday’s fundraiser, “Trump is heard boasting about increasing the defense budget by $2.5 trillion. To those who criticized his spending and the growing national debt, Trump said, ‘Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.'”

 

 

 

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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

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In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.

Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”

According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.

“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.

As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.

“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”

You can read more here.

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GOP DISINFORMATION MACHINE

Rod Rosenstein Admits He Authorized Release of Strzok-Page Texts That Spawned Preposterous GOP Conspiracy Theories

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In a court filing released on Friday, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted that he authorized the release of the text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Strzok and Page, who were involved in the Russia investigation prior to dismissal by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and whose extramarital affair inflamed Fox News’ outrage for months, revealed a dislike of President Donald Trump in their text messages, which formed the basis of GOP conspiracy theories that the FBI had been secretly working to bring down the president with the Russia investigation.

Subsequent investigations have failed to find any evidence that Strzok, Page, or any other FBI officials tried to politically target Trump with the power of the agency. However, a recent inspector general report suggests some of their surveillance practices may have been improper and require reform.

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