Liberty Counsel Has Been Working With Right Wing Lawmakers to Draft and Pass Anti-LGBT Legislation in at Least 20 States
Right now there are over 200 anti-LGBT bills making their way through at least 34 states across the nation. Many are so-called “religious freedom” bills, all somehow seek to “protect” people from having to serve, interact with, or even share public accommodationsÂ with LGBT people.Â
CBS News reports that one group is responsible for some of the anti-LGBT legislation in most of those states.
“Liberty Counsel has been helping to draft legislation for conservative lawmakers in at least 20 states,” CBS’ Dean Reynolds and Scott Pelley reported Wednesday.
Liberty Counsel, whichÂ came to national attention by defending Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, has “helped author many of those measures protecting religion over sexual orientation,” CBS reports. The anti-LGBT Christian legal groupÂ appears on theÂ Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groupsÂ â€“ a fact left out of CBS’s reporting.
“It is only about being free to pursue your faith,” Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’sÂ founder and chairman, told CBS. “We have no interest in discriminating against anyone.” He says all his legislation has “the same intent and that is to protect religious freedom.”
But is that true?
One group questions Liberty Counsel’s motives, especially when it comes to so-called “bathroom bills” than ban transgender people from using restrooms that comply with their gender identity.
“This is Liberty Counsel’s attempt to retain donors and relevance. After losing marriage equality, they’re hitting back by attacking our most vulnerable population – the transgender community,” Eliel Cruz, Executive Director of Faith In America, told The New Civil Rights Movement via email.
“Liberty Counsel is using ‘religious freedom’ as a guise to legislate ignorance and hate. And yet, there is not one single verse in the bible that speaks to transgender identities. In order for Liberty Counsel, and any other Christian, to claim trans identities go against their religious beliefs they would have to invent scripture that’s simply isn’t there. This is not about religious freedom and just like with marriage equality — they’ll lose these battles too,” Cruz says.Â
Watch CBS News’ report:
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‘Taking Us All for Fools’: Critics Decimate Greg Abbott’s Claims and Defense of His Actions in Wake of School Shooting
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in a press conference that left reporters frustrated defended his actions and insisted his earlier praise for law enforcement’s widely criticized response to the Uvalde school massacre was the result of being “misled.”
“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott declared, blaming others for his “recitation of what people in that room told me.”
“I was misled … the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I’m absolutely livid about that” — Greg Abbott on his initial false statement portraying Uvalde first responders as heroes pic.twitter.com/dUIdxnicjm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 27, 2022
Critics aren’t buying his claims.
Abbott, who’s in the middle of a heated re-election campaign, appeared extremely defensive when reporters asked him questions.
“Let’s be clear about one thing. None of the laws I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all,” Abbott told reporters when asked if he would call the legislature back for a special session, as The Texas Tribune’s Sewell Chan noted.
“No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun,” Abbott insisted.
“The answers fell pretty flat,” opined MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, who noted the press event lasted just 36 minutes, less time than the police officers “stood outside and did nothing,” which was 47 minutes.
Abbott ended the press conference with many reporters almost begging him to take more questions. As the governor got up and left one frustrated reporter was caught on a hot mic saying “unbelievable.”
Chan, who is the editor in chief of the Tribune, added on Twitter: “Abbott rejects background checks as a simplistic and ineffective fix. Wouldn’t have prevented Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe shootings, he says. Tries to turn focus to broken mental health system.”
Former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi on MSNBC delivered a strong rebuke to Governor Abbott’s remarks.
“No amount of free flights, no amount of free caskets, no amount of mental health counseling is going to bring back any one of those murdered children,” Figliuzzi said, referring to Abbott’s announcement an anonymous donor is putting up $175,000 for funeral expenses of those who were murdered in the shooting and said the state will pay for mental health treatment.
Abbott also insisted that since Texas became a state it’s been legal for 18-year-olds to buy long guns.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, blasted Abbott:
.@GregAbbott_TX responding to a question on long rifles “it seems like only in the past decade or two we have had school shootings.” Governor, the assault weapons ban ended in 2004. See the connection? You have actively helped to sell millions of weapons since then.
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) May 27, 2022
And long guns of today, as Figliuzzi noted, are often semi-automatic “killing machines.”
“The governor seems completely unable to understand that he can easily make a distinction when you’re talking about whether an 18-year-old should buy an assault rifle or not. And all he cares about is a century of history in Texas on long guns. We didn’t have the AR-15 style assault weapons back then. He can easily make a distinction and say, ‘you can go hunting, here are the rifles you can do, you can buy, you can possess – and here’s an assault-style rifle.'”
“If he thinks that people are stupid and unable to understand that there is a clear distinction between a killing machine and a hunting rifle, that he’s taking us all for fools.”
‘I Apologize for Interrupting Your Press Conference’: Tearful Texas Democrat Urges Greg Abbott to ‘Do Something’ on Guns
The Texas Democratic State Senator who represents Uvalde stood up during Greg Abbott’s Friday afternoon press conference and almost begged the Republican Governor to “do something” about gun violence after Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School that took 21 lives.
Abbott was trying to place the blame for the school shooting on mental health despite the gunman having no documented issues, and told attendees, “we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”
That was not good enough for Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who politely introduced himself and said, “I’m not making a political speech.”
“My colleagues are asking for a special session, you’re getting a letter tomorrow,” from the Senate Democratic Caucus.
“We’ve asked for gun control changes – I’m asking you now, bring us back in three weeks.”
Gutierrez grew emotional, sounding as if he was choking up, and added, “I apologize for interrupting your press conference about the needs of this community. I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials – this county judge has been working his ass off,” he continued.
“I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to,” he added.
“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said, all but begging the governor to take action, and saying his “own colleagues are calling me and telling me this is enough.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt your press conference… you have to do something” pic.twitter.com/OiRI1OQZWQ
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 27, 2022
Watch: Right Wing Host at NRA Convention Likens 18 Year Olds Buying Guns to 3rd Graders Deciding Gender
A host from a right-wing streaming service covering the NRA convention in Houston decided to compare conservatives’ growing active opposition to the rights and existence of transgender people, to the majority of Americans demanding expanded gun control legislation.
“We are being told by the left that a third-grader has the knowledge to determine if they were born a boy or they were born a girl, whether or not they want to stay that gender that they were born with,” said Brian Glenn, Right Side Broadcasting’s director of programming and correspondent.
“And if we feel like at a third grade you can make decisions on your gender, then I think by the time you’re 18 you should have enough maturity – assuming you’re not a complete psychopath – to buy a handgun and exercise your Second Amendment.”
Of course, that hypothetical third-grader is harming exactly no one and later can reverse that decision if they choose, which the vast majority do not.
That hypothetical 18-year old, or, in the case of this week’s horrific tragedy, an actual 18-year old, buying two AR-15 style assault weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition within three days of their 18th birthday, gunning down 21 people including 19 elementary school children, cannot reverse any of those decisions.
Right-wing broadcaster inside NRA convention says if young people are allowed to choose their gender, then 18 year-olds should be allowed by buy assault weapons. pic.twitter.com/Fog4lZBgHW
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) May 27, 2022
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