Connect with us

Texas Lawmaker Working to Write Anti-LGBT Discrimination Into State Constitution

Published

on

Right-Wing Rep. Matt Krause is Undeterred by Economic Backlash in North Carolina

Despite economic backlash over House Bill 2 in North Carolina, one right-wing Texas lawmaker wants to write anti-LGBT discrimination into the state Constitution. 

And Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is signaling that he would sign the measure if it passes the House and Senate. 

Texas already has a strong Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits the government form substantially burdening a person’s free exercise of religion unless it has a compelling interest. 

GOP Rep. Matt Krause (shown above with Sen. Ted Cruz, whom he supports for president) is an attorney who previously worked for Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group, and has compared gays to Nazis. Last year, Krause authored a proposal to remove the word “substantially” from the law, and enshrine it in the Constitution. Now, in the wake of overwhelming opposition from businesses to anti-LGBT bills in North Carolina and Georgia, Krause is vowing to introduce his proposed amendment to the state constitution when the Texas Legislature meets again in 2017. Only one other state in the nation, Alabama, has an RFRA in its Constitution. 

“Nobody should be forced to go against their conscience or religious beliefs,” Krause told The Austin Statesman. 

Gov. Abbott’s press secretary, John Wittman, told the Statesman: “To imply that religious liberty cannot be protected without hurting a business’ bottom line is inherently false and goes against the principles our country was founded on. Gov. Abbott has always sought to protect and expand religious liberty and economic freedom in Texas, and he looks forward to continuing that work in the 85th legislative session.”

In addition to sanctioning anti-LGBT discrimination, experts say Krause’s measure would open the door to a host of unintended consequences, such as domestic abusers using it as a defense to criminal charges; medical professionals refusing to provide life-saving treatments based on their beliefs; and workers being fired for violating the tenets of an employer’s faith. 

“A lot of lawyers would say that the word ‘substantial’ has some real meaning to it, and that dropping it means that you’re going to give any litigant the right to say, ‘I feel burdened,’ and that will be that with regard to forcing the state to show the compelling interest,” said Sanford Levinson, a law professor at the University of Texas. “If that’s not what you’re out to do, then I’m not sure what the point of the amendment would be, because the state RFRA seems to be quite strong, so why do we need this?” 

The Texas Association of Business, the state’s chamber of commerce, opposed Krause’s measure last year and is already speaking out against any potential anti-LGBT legislation in 2017. 

“We certainly don’t want Texas to appear to be unwelcoming for future talent, and that’s what I think we’ll get if something like North Carolina’s bill is taken up by our Legislature,” TAB President Chris Wallace told The Texas Observer. 

Seven hundred of the state’s employers, including 30 from the Fortune 500, have joined the pro-LGBT coalition Texas Competes. 

“In how many states does this have to happen before it becomes clear that legislation that goes this far, that extremist legislation that specifically targets LGBT people for discrimination, is something that has negative consequences from an economic and a business standpoint?” said Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas. 

 

Image via Facebook 

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

Trump Could Face 20 Years Behind Bars for ‘Serious Felonies’ at Mar-a-Lago: Legal Analyst

Published

on

A legal analyst for ABC News pointed out that former President Donald Trump is potentially facing 20 years in prison for “serious felonies” after the search of his Mar-a-Lago home.

Dan Abrams told ABC host Jonathan Karl that the Department of Justice could indict Trump for multiple crimes after finding classified documents during the search.

“They’re very serious,” Abrams said of the charges. “And the one that’s being talked about most is this espionage act because it has the word espionage in it. But the truth is that when it comes to potential criminal sentences, the obstruction of justice statute is the one with the most potential prison time.”

“There you’re talking about up to 20 years behind bars,” he added. “So these are not sort of minor crimes we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the potential for serious felonies with regard to all three of the crimes being investigated.”

But Abrams threw cold water on the idea that a Trump prosecution would be easy.

“The fundamental question is going to be intentionality,” he opined. “How much do they believe that they did this on purpose? Were they intentionally ignoring subpoenas? Were they literally destroying documents?”

Watch the video below from ABC.

 

Continue Reading

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

New Analysis Breaks Down GOP’s Flawed Response to the Mar-a-Lago Search

Published

on

Republican lawmakers are reportedly at an impasse on whether or not they should be defending former President Donald Trump amid his latest flurry of legal woes. The party is also facing challenges with navigating some lawmakers’ critical assessments of law enforcement over the Trump investigation.

A new analysis is breaking down Republicans’ seemingly flawed response and how it underscores the cracks in the political party’s foundation.

According to Axios, the analysis comes shortly after documents released on Friday, August 12, offered details about the search which reportedly involved “highly classified materials believed stored in violation of the law at the ex-president’s private residence.”

Prior to the release of those documents, Republicans serving on the House Intelligence Committee participated in a press conference where they continued to criticize the investigation, describing it as being politically motivated.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) scrutinized the investigation deeming it a “complete abuse” of authority as she suggested it was being conducted because the former president is considered to be “Joe Biden’s most likeliest political opponent in 2024.”

However, some Republicans on the committee have offered a more leveled approach to the situation. Per The New York Times, “Trump allies have told top Republicans to tone down their criticism of the Justice Department ‘because it is possible that more damaging information related to the search will become public.'”

“It’s incumbent upon everybody to act in a way that’s becoming of the office they hold,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a former FBI agent, “And that’s not casting judgment on anything until you know all the facts.”

Others have attempted to defend the former president. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said, “You can say nuclear weapons, but there are things that are highly, highly classified, there are things that are not extremely classified.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is now selling merchandise on her website in support of a call to “defund the FBI” while Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI.”

 

Image: Elise Stefanik with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago via Facebook

Continue Reading

News

Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama

Published

on

Donald Trump is responding to news reports he is under FBI investigation for actions covered by the Espionage Act by making apparently false claims about his mishandling of classified documents and about former President Barack Obama.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump says in a post on his Truth Social site, a claim legal experts say is incorrect. For any president to declassify documents, experts say, there is a process that involves actions being taken on each individual document. They also say the president does not have legal authority to declassify documents related to nuclear weapons.

“Number two,” Trump continues, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”

READ MORE: FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report

Again, according to reports, that too is false. DOJ issued a subpoena after the National Archives tried to get all the documents back and Trump still did not comply.

“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continues in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”

Again, multiple reports say they did, numerous times.

READ MORE: DOJ Served Trump With Grand Jury Subpoena for Classified Documents Months Before FBI Raid: Report

None of his responses explain why he had at Mar-a-Lago what we now know were at least 35 cartons – 20 retrieved on Monday and 15 earlier this year – of items including confidential, classified, and top secret documents that were required by law to have been handed over to the National Archives.

“The bigger problem is,” Trump says, “what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”

That is also false.

The National Archives on Friday issued a statement after Trump repeatedly spread the false claim that former President Barack Obama had 33 million documents in his possession.

“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” was one of Trump’s false attacks on his Truth Social site.

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the Archives said in a statement posted to its website Friday.

“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” the Archives added. “Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.