Breaking: Indiana Republicans Advance ‘Super RFRA’ Bill Masquerading As LGB Civil Rights Legislation
Bill Offers Zero Protections For Transgender Hoosiers,Â Repeals Last Year’s Disastrous RFRA But Also Hard-Fought LGBT ProtectionsÂ
After nearly five hours, Indiana Senate Republicans voted for legislation claiming to advance civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual Hoosiers that is opposed by both the religious right and LGBT organizations. In a 7-5 vote, lawmakers on the Senate Rules and Procedures Committee decided to pass onto the full senate a bill that repeals the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the hard-fount protections for LGBT people, and replace it with a bill that has zero protectionsÂ for transgender people, plus increased carve-outs that enable religious discrimination.
“Lawmakers still aren’t listening,” Freedom Indiana campaign manager Chris Paulsen said in a statement sent to NCRM after Wednesday night’s vote.Â “Tonight, they took a bad bill and made it worse for LGBT people in our state who have to live each day in fear that they could be fired, denied housing or turned away from a public place for who they are.”
Tonight, legislators took a bad bill and made it even worse for the hardworking #LGBT Hoosiers who live in fear of discrimination. #INLegis
â€” Freedom Indiana (@freedom_indiana) January 28, 2016
Ahead of the bill’s hearing today, Lambda Legal labeled the bill, SB 344, a “super” RFRA “that would facilitate religious discrimination.” ItsÂ religious exemptions “are broader thanÂ the religious refusal law passed last springÂ that has marked Indiana as a state of intolerance, tarnished the stateâ€™s reputation, and deprived it of convention revenue,”Â Camilla Taylor, Counsel at Lambda Legal had warned.
Calling SB 344 “big step backwards for all LGBT Hoosiers, but particularly transgender people, Lambda Legal adds the bill “would erode local authority to protect people from discrimination through municipal and county ordinances,” “permit publicly funded discrimination by social service agencies,” and “permit businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples celebrating a wedding or anniversary.”
During the extensive hearing, the religious right brought significant out-of-state support. Speakers included infamous icons of the anti-gay establishment. Among them, Melissa Klein, owner of Sweetcakes by Melissa, who was ordered to pay damages to a same-sex couple, and floristÂ Barronelle Stutzman, who also refused to service a same-sex couple.
The legislation was authored by Senate RepublicansÂ Travis Holdman and Brandt Hershman.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
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‘Restore My Account Immediately’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries After Twitter Suspends Her Over Anti-Trans Tweets
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is lashing out at Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk after the social media company, she says, suspended her official government account for seven days for posting apparently anti-transgender tweets. At least four of her tweets appear to have been deleted.
Rep. Greene appears to have been promoting an unverified claim that “Antifa” and transgender activists are planning a “Trans Day of Vengeance.” Fox News is also claiming there is a “Trans Day of Vengeance,” and a website the report links to says it will be on April 1.
“My Congressional account was suspended for 7 days for exposing Antifa, who are organizing a call for violence called ‘Trans Day of Vengeance.’ The day after the mass murder of children by a trans shooter. Restore my account immediately,” Greene demanded, tagging Musk, Twitter Safety, and the head of Twitter Safety, Ella Irwin.
There is no evidence that “Antifa” which is not an actual group, has anything to do with the alleged Trans Day of Vengeance.
The Independent adds Greene made “unfounded” claims “about the Nashville school shooting being a product of ‘Antifa’ and ‘trans-terrorism.'”
According to The Hill, Congresswoman Greene tweeted a poster of the alleged event, and Twitter removed the post, so she repeatedly reposted it, only to have Twitter remove it.
This is a lie.
My Congressional account was suspended for 7 days for exposing Antifa, who are organizing a call for violence called “Trans Day of Vengeance.”
The day after the mass murder of children by a trans shooter.
Restore my account immediately. @elonmusk @ellagirwin… https://t.co/p9XZLtuuDF pic.twitter.com/svViCYUyhm
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) March 28, 2023
Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, tweeted: “We had to automatically sweep our platform and remove >5000 tweets /retweets of this poster. We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them. ‘Vengeance’ does not imply peaceful protest. Organizing or support for peaceful protests is ok.”
On her personal Twitter account, Greene also promoted a similar, baseless claim:
“In the wake of a transgender shooter targeting a Christian school and murdering kids, every American should know the threat of Antifa driven trans-terrorism. Twitter should not whitewash the incitement of politically motivated violence,” she said, pointing to another of her tweets that had been removed.
Greene on Monday made anti-trans remarks in the wake of the the Nashville shooting.
“How much hormones like testosterone and medications for mental illness was the transgender Nashville school shooter taking? Everyone can stop blaming guns now,” she said.
Currently, numerous right-wing and far-right wing Twitter accounts are linking the alleged Trans Day of Vengeance to Monday’s horrific Covenant Presbyterian elementary school shooting in Nashville, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death. The shooter allegedly identified as transgender, according to Nashville police.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Troubling Questions’: Experts Slam Ginni Thomas’ Group That Waged Cultural War Against the Left via Web of Dark Money Orgs
Legal experts are responding to bombshell reporting from The Washington Post revealing Ginni Thomas, the spouse of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House and Oval Office, for years headed a secretive right-wing activist organization funded through a web of dark money groups, whose purpose was to wage a culture war against the left.
The Post reports the organization, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, took in nearly $600,000 in anonymous funds to fuel its efforts to battle “cultural Marxism,” as Ginni Thomas, who headed the group, called their mission.
Thomas had stepped away from her previous non-profit right-wing activist group “amid concerns that it created potential conflicts for her husband on hot-button issues before the court,” The Post says, and yet, she led Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, which creates the same concerns. Where is the money coming from? What is the group doing with it? How much crossover is there between her activism and the group’s targets and efforts, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ work?
According to The Post, in tax filings of its think tank sponsor, Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty is described as an “informal, unincorporated nonprofit association which serves as an incubator for ideas across a network of conservative leaders, cultural entrepreneurs, and cultural influences.”
READ MORE: ‘Heist’: Ginni Thomas Tells J6 Committee Election Was Stolen, Says She Never Discussed Efforts to Overturn With Spouse
It appears great efforts were made to ensure the donors to Thomas’ Crowdsourcers group would not be able to be publicly identified.
“In 2019, anonymous donors gave the think tank Capital Research Center, or CRC, $596,000 that was designated for Crowdsourcers, according to tax filings and audits the think tank submitted to state regulators. The majority of that money, $400,000, was routed through yet another nonprofit, Donors Trust, according to that organization’s tax filings. Donors Trust is a fund that receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes,” The Post explains.
Thomas, who is reportedly active in another secretive far-right wing group, the Council for National Policy, brought two well-known far-right wing activists from CNP into Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty: former Trump attorney, ally, and advisor Cleta Mitchell, and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
The New York Times last year described the Council for National Policy as an organization that “brings together old-school Republican luminaries, Christian conservatives, Tea Party activists and MAGA operatives, with more than 400 members who include leaders of organizations like the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council.”
But despite all the obvious red flags, an attorney for Ginni Thomas, Mark Paoletta, told The Washington Post she was “proud of the work she did with Crowdsourcers, which brought together conservative leaders to discuss amplifying conservative values with respect to the battle over culture.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas ‘Intertwined’ With ‘Vast’ Campaign Pressuring Supreme Court to Overturn Roe: Report
“She believes Crowdsourcers identified the Left’s dominance in most cultural lanes, while conservatives were mostly funding political organizations,” Paoletta also told The Post.
“There is no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas,” he claimed.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is also an attorney, responded to The Post’s report by mocking Paoletta’s claim there is no conflict of interest.
“Donors Trust was central to the far-right Court-packing operation, and now they pass secret donor funds to a justice’s spouse, but ‘no plausible conflict of interest’? Please.”
Sen. Whitehouse went on to explain his additional concerns.
“Plus, remember that the secrecy conduits like Donors Trust keep the *public* from knowing what’s happening, but nothing prevents the secret donor from telling the spouse or the justice, ‘Hey, that money that secretly came through to you — that’s me.'”
Adam Smith, Vice President for Democracy Initiatives at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), observed: “Seems like the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice shouldn’t be able to hide the source of huge donations that could be from people with business before the court.”
READ MORE: Ginni Thomas’ Attempts to Influence Overturn of Election Even Wider Than Previously Known
CREW’s President, Noah Bookbinder, a former federal corruption prosecutor, adds: “Hundreds of thousands in anonymous donations to an activist group led by Ginni Thomas, spouse of a Supreme Court justice, raises all kinds of troubling questions about who could be influencing decisions that affect all of us.”
Attorney and Slate Magazine senior writer covering courts and the law, Mark Joseph Stern, pushed back against any idea the nearly $600,000 funding came from small donations.
“Ginni Thomas’ various political ventures have never had any small/grassroots donors. They have ALWAYS been funded by a handful of ultra-wealthy individuals and organizations who are very obviously trying to curry favor with her husband,” Stern said.
Former White House aide and CNN commentator Keith Boykin, also an attorney, called for Justice Thomas to recuse from certain cases: “If Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had to recuse herself from the Harvard affirmative action case, then Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from all the cases on right-wing issues in which his activist wife, Ginni Thomas, is involved.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Christian Nationalist Group Working to Get Its ‘Biblical Worldview Spread Across the Nation’
Last week, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. That legislation was crafted by the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, a right-wing organization that seeks to elect “godly leaders in our nation at every level” and then use them to “restore the Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation.”
Following the signing of this legislation into law, Jason Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist who founded the NACL, took a victory lap, crediting his organization for the law and celebrating its success in pushing back “against the things of the devil in our country.”
As Rapert reported, this legislation had first been proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting and then brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
On Friday, Rapert interviewed Bentley on his “Save The Nation” program, where she celebrated the NACL’s efforts “to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
“Thank goodness we’ve got some common sense left here in Arkansas,” Bentley said. “[It was because of the NACL] that we were able to get that passed as model policy and bring it forth. I just love seeing grassroots come together and school board members coming to the capitol and going to the governor’s desk and just seeing it all work and flow just exactly how we want to. So, for the folks that are supporting NACL and what we’re doing, this is what we want to do across the country.”
“This is an example of the power of the NACL’s ability with model legislation,” Rapert replied. “This was brought by one of our members, and this policy actually could be immediately adopted by school boards in every school district across this country. If the school board wanted to adopt it, this is the model that they can utilize. And in addition to that, just like you did, go and pass it for the state so that this is going to apply to all the school boards in your state.”
Rapert and Bentley agreed that Arkansas has now blazed the trail on this issue, thereby making it easier for legislatures in other states to enact the same law.
“That’s what happens when you can be a leader,” Bentley asserted. “Once you make a trail, it’s a lot easier for people to follow once you get that trail made.”
“Thank you again for being a part of the NACL,” Bentley declared. “It’s just what we need in this nation right now to have it moving forward, to get our biblical worldview spread across the nation.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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