Connect with us

Mississippi Lawmakers on Brink of Passing Georgia-Style Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

Published

on

GOP Governor Backs Hateful Anti-LGBT Bill as Senate Vote Looms

Although much of the LGBT community’s attention has been focused on North Carolina and House Bill 2 this week, the Mississippi Legislature is on the brink of passing an equally disgusting anti-LGBT measure. 

The GOP-controlled Mississippi Senate is expected to vote today on House Bill 1523, which has already cleared the House. Gov. Phil Bryant told Mississippi News Now he would sign the measure. 

“I don’t think it’s discriminatory,” Bryant said. “I think it gives some people as I appreciate it, the right to be able to say that’s against my religious beliefs and I don’t need to carry out that particular task.”

By “that particular task,” Bryant ostensibly means treating LGBT people with any shred of dignity whatsoever. But it’s not just LGBT people who’d be affected. HB 1523 would also open the door to discrimination against anyone who’s had extramarital sex — a category of people which, according to one study, includes 95 percent of Americans. 

Titled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” HB 1523 is a version of the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” introduced in Congress last year, and it’s similar to the bill vetoed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal this week. 

As one gay black man who protested the bill on the steps of the Mississippi Capitol on Tuesday put it, HB 1523 is essentially “Jim Crow for the gays.” 

However, the bill is also explicitly anti-transgender. HB 1523 would bar the state from taking action against individuals, religious organizations, nonprofits and other entities that discriminate based on their belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that sexual relations should be reserved to such a union, or that “male” and “female” refer to someone’s “immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

The bill not only gives schools and businesses the right to bar trans people from using restrooms and locker rooms according to their gender identity, but also specifically allows counselors, doctors and others to refuse treatment to trans people. 

According to Protect Thy Neighbor, a project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, here are a few other potential consequences of HB 1523: 

  • a government clerk could refuse to issue a marriage license to a couple because one person had been previously divorced;
  • a taxpayer-funded adoption agency could refuse to place a child with a happy and loving family because the parents lived together before they were married;
  • a taxpayer-funded organization that provides shelter to kids who have suffered child abuse could turn away a pregnant teenager;
  • a counseling group practice could refuse to see a mother and her teen who is experiencing severe depression because the woman is unmarried;
  • a counselor could refuse to help an LGBT person who called a suicide hotline;
  • a fertility clinic could refuse to treat a veteran and his partner because they are not married;
  • a car rental agency could refuse to rent a car to a same-sex couple on their honeymoon; and
  • a corporation could fire a woman for wearing pants.

After the bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, the Human Rights Campaign noted that it would also allow foster parents to subject LGBT children to “conversion therapy,” in addition to legalizing “Kim Davis-like discrimination” on the part of government employees.

HB 1523 passed the House 80-39, and today is the last day for the Senate to take it up. 

The Senate, made up of 31 Republicans and 20 Democrats, convenes at 9 a.m. Central time. Watch the proceedings live here. 

 

Image by Blake Feldman via Twitter 

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.

News

‘Unambiguous Felony’: Trump at Risk in IRS ‘Personal Vendetta’ Audit Investigation – Report

Published

on

According to a report from former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Epner at the Daily Beast, Donald Trump’s legal problems may be growing exponentially because there appears to be evidence he attempted to use the IRS to persecute political enemies before he lost re-election.

At issue, Epner wrote, are accusations from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the former president demanded the IRS look into tax returns filed by, among others, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

According to the legal expert, there is already an investigation by the IRS inspector general into the suspicious audits of the two FBI officials, with Epner writing, “As reported earlier this summer, both Comey and McCabe were subjected to highly unusual IRS audits. The odds of an individual randomly being subjected to this type of audit are similar to being struck by lightning. For both to be the subject of special audit by happenstance is about as likely as a whale falling from the sky and landing in the middle of a mountain range.”

As he notes, there is evidence Kelly is willing to provide evidence about Trump’s illegal demand, with Epner writing that “a president who unlawfully seeks to have an individual audited is subject to up to five years in prison. The crime does not require that the IRS actually carry out the audit. The crime is completed with the mere request.”

RELATED: The coming indictment of Donald Trump will break his power: former Obama lawyer

“If Trump made this demand while he was president, that is an unambiguous felony. Section 7217 of Title 26 of the United States Code makes it a crime for the ‘President’ to ‘request, directly or indirectly, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service to conduct or terminate an audit or other investigation of any particular taxpayer with respect to the tax liability of such taxpayer,'” he wrote before adding, “Based on my training and experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted tax offenses, I expect that each IRS employee along the chain of command kept detailed notes and records of who ordered them to conduct the audit, and on the facts that were cited to support that audit demand. I would not be surprised if each of those IRS employees cooperated with the DOJ, with all fingers pointing in Trump’s direction.”

He concluded that “the nice thing about prosecuting tax crimes is that the crimes are very clearly delineated. Few jurors have any sympathy for people who cheat on their taxes or wrongfully sic the IRS on an individual to carry out a personal vendetta.”

You can read more here.

 

Image by Evan El Amin/Shutterstock

Continue Reading

News

Trump Complains the ‘Fake News Went Crazy’ With Coverage of His 2-Hour Meeting With Notorious Racist He Won’t Condemn

Published

on

On Saturday evening, Donald Trump issued a fourth statement on his meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and once again refused to denounce his racism and anti-Semitism.

Trump posted to his Truth Social account, “so I help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed ‘advice.’”

“He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years. I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win. Fake News went crazy,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s dinner has already become an issue in the 2024 presidential campaign and could play a role in determining the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Trump’s ambassador to Israel condemned him dining with “human scum.”

Trump has received harsh headlines.

“Trump criticized for dining with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye,” headlined The Washington Post.

“Trump’s Latest Dinner Guest: Nick Fuentes, White Supremacist,” was The New York Times headline.

“Trump world reels after white nationalist dinner,” headlined Politico playbook.

“Trump’s former US ambassador to Israel blasts meeting with Ye, Nick Fuentes: ‘You are better than this,'” Fox News headlined.

NBC News headlined, “‘F—ing nightmare’: Trump team does damage control after he dines with Ye and white supremacist Nick Fuentes”

READ MORE: Trump’s Dinner With Kanye Also Included a Former Aide Accused in Pay-for-Pardon Play, and White Supremacist Fuentes

Continue Reading

News

‘Poisonous’: Former Advisor Says Republicans Have ‘Just Switched Trump Off in Their Brain’

Published

on

In an interview with The Guardian, one of Donald Trump’s former senior advisers stated that the word he is getting from people he has spoken to is that they want the former president to be put out to pasture after the poor midterm election results for Republicans weeks ago.

According to John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, it’s time for the GOP to move on from the former president if the party wants to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024.

Bolton, whose tenure serving under Trump ended acrimoniously, told the Guardian’s David Smith that there are a multitude of reasons to put Trump in the rearview mirror, but the impact that the former president had on GOP fortunes in the midterms seems to be the final straw with many conservatives.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton explained.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump’s new Mar-a-Lago scandal proves why aides want him to stick to a teleprompter

Elaborating, he continued, “Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don’t want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him.”

“There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer,” Bolton continued. “William F Buckley [the conservative author] once had a rule that in Republican primaries he supported the most conservative candidate capable of winning the general election and, under that theory, Trump loses.”

The Guardian’s Smith notes that Bolton “… joins Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and onetime ally Chris Christie in a growing rebellion among alumni making the case – overtly or subtly – that Trump has become an electoral liability.”

You can read more here.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.