EXCLUSIVE: Passage of unconstitutional, discriminatory, anti-gay legislation leads one Georgia company to take a stand.
Georgia state senators on Friday passed a highly-controversial bill that would enshrine into law special protections for people of faith who are opposed to same-sex marriage and LGBT people. Erroneously named the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), HB 757, according to legal experts, is likely unconstitutional and extends legal cover to both individuals and corporations â€“ including taxpayer-funded non-profits â€“ who wish to claim they have a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits them from serving LGBT people or same-sex couples.
The passage of the bill led at least one Georgia company to announce their intention to exit the Peach State.
â€” 373K, Inc. (@373KInc) February 19, 2016
373K is a telecom company based in Decatur, Georgia. Co-founder Kelvin Williams stands by the tweet and its message.
“I’m gay, our CFO is gay, we have people from every walk of life working here,” Williams toldÂ The New Civil Rights Movement in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve got Muslims, Buddhists, atheists here,” he added. “We’ve got great Christians working for us. They’ve never thought of not serving anyoneÂ â€“ that’s not the message of Christ.”
“We don’t tolerate that crap,” he said, explicitly, of discrimination.
Williams says the anti-gay bill is “not conducive for Georgia,” lamenting that the “business environment in the state is not that great anyway.”
“It’s sad our state government wants to take us back in time,” Williams says. “I wish Georgia would wake up.”
“If you’re not a white married Christian heterosexual, prepare to be persecuted,” he warned.
Asked if he were concerned his tweet might lose business for his company, Williams said he doesn’t care, and that he doesn’t want to do business with those who support the legislation, whom he calls “fake Christians.”
373K Client Relations Manager Brian Greene echoed the sentiment, tellingÂ The New Civil Rights Movement that “what’s wrong is wrong and sometimes you have to take a stand.”
He denounced “uninformed governing bodies continuing to act this way,” adding he’s “uncomfortable” with the environment manifested by the bill.
Asked if 373K were truly considering relocating, Greene says they’re “definitely seriously considering” it, no longer feeling “comfortable” in “paying taxes to the State of Georgia.”
The tweet and the sentiments behind it might come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with the national battle over anti-gay “religious freedom” bills, which many have labeled licenses to discriminate, but to those who remember the international attention a similar battle in Indiana drew last year, it doesn’t.
The CEO of the $4 billion corporation SalesForce last year announcedÂ he was canceling “all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination,” after another “religious freedom” bill passed and GOP Gov. Mike Pence said he would sign it into law.
Other companies around the nation expressedÂ similar condemnation of Indiana’s attempt to enshrine anti-gay discrimination into the law. Among them were Nike, Apple,Â Fortune 500 member Cummins,Â Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., and NASCAR.Â
373K’sÂ Kelvin Williams says, “we’re hoping Coca-Cola” takes similar steps in denouncing the legislation. TheÂ Coca-Cola Company, now 130 years old, is based in Atlanta, Georgia. On social media many have asked the $44 billion multi-national corporation to speak out.
Across Georgia, literally hundreds of top corporations that do business in the state are doing so, having signed the Georgia Prospers pledge.
“We believe that in order for Georgia businesses to compete for top talent,” the pledge states in part, “we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for all people, no matter oneâ€™s race, sex, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
During debate on Friday, Democratic lawmakers warned their Republican colleagues who had fast-trackedÂ HB 757 that the world is watching Georgia, and the anti-gay bill could cost the state millions in lost revenue from companies refusing to hold meetings and conventions there.
The bill passed by a huge majority, 38-14. The House, having already passed an earlier version of the bill will likely give it the thumbs up this coming week. GOP Gov. Nathan Deal hasn’t said if he would sign it but chances are strong he will.
Image by Liz Flowers via TwitterÂ
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Federal Appeals Court Rules House Can Have Trump’s Tax Returns – Committee Expects Them ‘Immediately’
A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. ruled Tuesday that the powerful House Ways and Means Committee can be given Donald Trump‘s tax returns.
The decision is “a blow” to the former president,” as CNN reports. It comes after a Trump-appointed lower court judge had ruled against Trump, allowing the House to gain access to the documents Trump has protected for years.
The former president appealed.
The federal appeals court Tuesday morning upheld the lower court’s ruling, granting the House access. Trump can still appeal.
The House Ways and Means Committee was quick to respond, tweeting: “We expect to receive the requested tax returns and audit files immediately.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Veteran journalist Sarah Posner, who has spent years writing about religion and the Christian right, has an explanation for the outraged response from some Trump supporters over the FBI executing a legal search warrant on Mar-a-Lago.
Hours after the news broke, Florida Republican state representative Anthony Sabatini called for “an emergency legislative session” to “Sever all ties with DOJ immediately” over the FBI executing a legal search warrant of Trump’s home. “Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” he wrote, apparently unaware of the U.S. Constitution.
Tuesday night Trump supporters formed a small convoy driving outside Mar-a-Lago, some with Trump banners, Trump flags, or the American flag, – even one vehicle painted with the American flag – to show their support for the former president who might be facing legal consequences, as video from NBC 6 reporter Cristian Benavides shows.
— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) August 9, 2022
“The GOP position is that Trump is above the law,” writes The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “That’s what the GOP position on Trump was throughout his presidency, and that’s what it is now. Say it that way. Don’t let Republicans get away with using fake outrage to obscure this fundamental reality.”
Posner has written two books on the Christian Right including “UNHOLY: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, And the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind.”
In response to Sargent’s remarks she advises: “Remember too that much of Trump’s base believes that God anointed him, that it’s God’s will that he be back in the White House. And that they need to engage in ‘spiritual warfare’ with ‘demonic’ enemies of Trump — keep this in mind as right-wing influencers call for civil war.”
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Monday night tweeted, “The FBI is raiding President Trump’s home in Maralago! This is the rogue behavior of communist countries, NOT the United States of America!!! These are the type of things that happen in countries during civil war. The political persecution MUST STOP!!!”
Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph and noted the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”
Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that mention civil war and other related calls, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”
‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
Two former FBI agents are weighing in on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s execution of a search warrant Monday at the Florida residence of Donald Trump, the former President, which he called a “raid.”
“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.
She was pointing to a tweet by another former FBI special agent, James Harris.
Harris has an extensive bio, highlights of which include his role at FBI HQ Cyber Division as a Program Manager and then Unit Chief (Acting), FBI Senior Liaison Officer to DHS Cybersecurity and Communications, and FBI Assistant Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Internet Operations Section. Earlier in his FBI career he says he “built up the largest Federal Cybercrime Task Force in the US.”
Harris points to this section of a CNN article published Tuesday morning, written by seven CNN reporters:
“In early June, a handful of investigators made a rare visit to the property seeking more information about potentially classified material from Trump’s time in the White House that had been taken to Florida. The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, sat down with two of Trump’s attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source present for the meeting.”
Harris on Twitter highlights this sentence: “The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department…”
He tweets: “All you ‘outraged’ GOPers better cool your jets. You might be walking your rhetoric back really fast when you figure out what this seems to be. The devil is in the details.”
In January the National Archives was forced to transport from Mar-a-Lago 15 cartons of documents and other items that, according to the Presidential Records Act and the National Archives, should have been turned over to the Archives.
The FBI’s execution of the search warrant and reports that they left with a large quantity of documents suggests Trump might not have turned over everything taken from the White House.
Rangappa earlier Tuesday tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence. Just saying.”
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