People are angry with Georgia’s new anti-LGBT bill that also protects the KKK. So far, one company has vowed to leave the state.Â
You’d think Republicans would have learned their lesson after Indiana was on the receiving end of a huge backlash for trying to make it legal to discriminate against LGBT people. Well, they didnâ€™t. In what appears to be a direct reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, legislators across the country have been working overtime to find new ways to attack the LGBT community. Earlier this month, we reported that the state of Oklahoma broke a record by submitting at least 26 anti-LGBT bills! Now, Georgia is stepping up to the plate to hit a home run with their latest hate-filled legislation, and they are quickly seeing the consequences.
Georgia state senators on Friday passed a controversial bill that allows any individual or ‘faith-based’ business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage. Basically, itâ€™s a license to discriminate against the LGBT community without legal repercussions. For those of you thinking this law is just about “protecting” anti-gay bakers from having to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples, think again.
Remember that doctor in Michigan who refused to treat a newborn last year because the baby had two moms? That could also be legal with this new bill. Georgiaâ€™s First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), or HB 757, would allow doctors to refuse treatment to patients if the doctor didnâ€™t agree with that patientâ€™s (or their family members) sexual orientation. It would allow foster and adoption agencies to deny qualified parents from adopting children, thus justifying using tax dollars to keep children homeless.
As if that weren’t enough to make you cringe, GOP Sen. Greg Kirk (photo) acknowledged his bill would protect members of the KKK from their hate-filled actions, and he had no problem with that.
â€œCouldnâ€™t that organization, if they chose to do so, identify themselves as â€˜faith basedâ€™?â€ State Senator Emanuel Jones asked referring to the KKK, an organization with a history of calling itself faith-based.
â€œIâ€™m not an attorney,â€ Kirk responded. â€œI guess they could, Senator. Iâ€™m not sure. I donâ€™t know what would stop them.
â€œSo thereâ€™s nothing in your legislation that would stop them, is that correct?â€ asked Jones.
â€œThatâ€™s right,â€ Kirk said.
â€œDoes that present a problem for you, Senator?â€ Jones continued.
After a long pause, Kirk simply said, â€œNo.â€
Many people took to Twitter to express their outrage over the senate passing the discriminatory bill.
A few companies in Georgia, including Delta, Coca-Cola, and Home Depot, appealed the legislature to table the bill, insisting it will hurt their ability to attract employees and customers, but the Republican-dominated legislature didnâ€™t seem to care. HB 757 passed the Georgia Senate on Friday with a vote of 38-14. The above companies have yet to make a statement since the billâ€™s passing, but one telecom company, 373K, has announced it is moving because of it.
“I’m gay, our CFO is gay, we have people from every walk of life working here,” co-founder Kelvin Williams toldÂ The New Civil Rights Movement in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon. The company has decided to move to Nevada.
“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.”
Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance also spoke out in an editorial in Saturday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“No one in Georgia wants to go through what Indiana experienced. It is a little-known fact that Georgia state law offers no nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. In other words, this bill will take Georgia law from a â€œsee-no-evilâ€ approach to discrimination to tacit approval. That could prove devastating for our reputation as a great place to do business.”
GOP Gov. Nathan Deal made a public commentÂ on the legislation and explained that theÂ measure is still evolving. He mentioned he was working with his top aides, House Speaker David Ralston, also a Republican, and other legislative leaders, but declined to discuss specifics about the possible changes.
â€œWeâ€™re working with the leadership of the General Assembly now as that bill is continuing to move through the process,â€ he said. â€œSo weâ€™ll see.â€ He also added, â€œI donâ€™t comment until things are finalized, and, by far, itâ€™s not finalized yet.â€
Since the governor seems to have concerns about the bill, that’s all the more reason to add pressure to companies and organizations to speak out. Daily KosÂ noted that the NCAA has been noticeably quiet about HB 757 and they are urging people to put pressure on the organization to stand up against the bill.
â€œThe NCAA recently awarded their College Football Championship to Atlanta for January 2018. The NCAAâ€™s nondiscrimination policy and threats of sanctions against the state of Indiana helped win the fight against Indianaâ€™s RFRA last year. A similar threat to revoke the CFB championship would likely drive the GA legislature into a tizzy to kill this bill.â€
Daily Kos is urging people to signal boost and tweet at NCAAâ€™s press/media/legal contacts. We support that too. Feel free to use the following tweet:
Finally, here’s Gov. Deal’s contact information as well. Make sure you tell him that you don’t agree with state sanctioned discrimination.
Image via the Georgia Senate
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Trump Calls on FDA to Fast-Track Coronavirus Vaccine Approvals
President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly called on the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approvals of coronavirus vaccines after a fourth American drug company’s COVID-19 vaccine entered the final clinical trials stage. The call came just one day after the U.S. saw its 200,000 coronavirus death.
“Big news,” Trump tweeted. “Numerous great companies are seeing fantastic results. @FDA must move quickly!”
Trump then retweeted other tweets praising the Johnson & Johnson drug trial.
Many see Trump’s actions as inappropriate pressure on what is supposed to be an independent, non-partisan federal agency, and some see them as dangerous.
A Washington Post reporter noted the FDA on Tuesday said it was raising the bar on coronavirus vaccine approvals.
WaPo yesterday: “FDA poised to announce tougher standards for a covid-19 vaccine that make it unlikely one will be cleared by Election Day”https://t.co/2FfzadGUhe
Trump today: “FDA must move quickly!” https://t.co/vlt6JdwNjY
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) September 23, 2020
But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday issued a draconian order hamstringing the FDA and requiring all moves to be approved by him.
Here’s former Obama Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel, issuing a warning:
The meaning of this ‘power grab’ is not murky but clear. At Trump’s behest, Azar will over-rule FDA scientists to approve emergency use of a vaccine before the election even if it’s unsafe, risking even more lives for one goal: Trump’s re-election. #VOTE https://t.co/4ij6DmrYqm
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) September 21, 2020
GOP Senator’s Hyped Report on Biden and Ukraine Is a Dud With ‘Minimal, if Any, Evidence’: Reporter
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been hyping up a report that purportedly implicates Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in corrupt activities in Ukraine.
But according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, Johnson’s report is not going to be nearly as explosive as Republicans hoped, and he describes it as “an 87-page rehash of previously known allegations (with minimal, if any, evidence), news articles and impeachment testimony.”
In fact, the report leads off with impeachment testimony from State Department official George Kent, who said it was “awkward” to have Biden working on Ukraine-related issues while he was serving as vice president even as his son, Hunter Biden, had taken a job on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
However, Kent also testified that Biden’s work in Ukraine was part of official American foreign policy and was not about serving his personal interests.
Additionally, Cheney reports that “ten of the interim report’s 87 pages are dedicated to countering Democratic attacks and pushing back on reporting that [Johnson was] fueling narratives that dovetailed with a Russian disinformation effort.”
Image via Shutterstock
Pence Suggests Unnamed Trump SCOTUS Nominee Should Skip Committee and Just Be Confirmed Before ‘Election Issues’ Arise
Vice President Mike Pence is in full campaign mode now, making the rounds on news channels and holding re-election rallies. On Tuesday the Indiana Republican told Fox News Business’ Lou Dobbs that perhaps President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-named Supreme Court nominee should just skip the usual Judiciary Committee hearings and get confirmed by the U.S. Senate immediately.
Pence said the nominee should get a committee hearing, but only “if needs be.”
He might have been thinking that since Chairman Lindsey Graham has already said there are enough votes to confirm, even though no one knows who the nominee is, why take up valuable time when the outcome has, for the first time in U.S. history, been preordained without even a facade of interest in vetting.
Insisting that Trump has “a duty” under “the Constitution to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court,” Vice President Pence said, “we respect the role of the Senate to advise and consent but President Trump truly believes that the Senate should move thoroughly thoughtfully and quickly and and move to consideration a hearing, if needs be and ultimately to a floor vote because we you know we have, we have major issues in the country today.”
What are the major Supreme Court issues?
“You know, Lou with all of the talk about universal unsolicited mail and validating where we see states around the country that are now, extending the deadline,” Pence said, referring to President Trump’s lie that voting by mail will make the election “rigged.”
“There is a possibility that election issues may come before the Supreme Court in the days following the election and all the more reason why we should have nine justices on the Supreme Court to, to be able to resolve any issues that may arise then or on any other matters.”
In other words, Trump wants a justice on the nation’s top court prepared to hand him the election.
Mike Pence urges the Senate to confirm SCOTUS nominee quickly, with “a hearing if needs be,” because there may be litigation following the election pic.twitter.com/FHjqfxu8iC
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) September 22, 2020
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