Texas GOP Adds Not One But Two Anti-Trans Bathroom Planks to Party Platform
Calls for Overturning Same-Sex Marriage, ‘Dispelling the Myth of Separation of Church and State,’ Supports Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Legislation
While Texas GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was busy railing against the Obama administration’s directiveÂ this week on transgender restroom use in public schools, delegates to the Republican Party’s state convention were quietly backing him up by approving two new anti-trans platform planks.Â
The first anti-trans plank appears in a section of the 2016 Texas GOP platform called, “Strengthening Families, Protecting Life, and Promoting Health: Celebrating Traditional Marriage.”Â
Gender Identity â€” We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individualsâ€™ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex.Â
This plank was approved by a whopping 90 percent of GOP delegates to the party’s state convention in Dallas.Â
The other anti-trans bathroom plank is under “Educating Our Children: Local Control and Transparency of Curriculum and Funding: Governance.” The mention of local control here is ironic given that Patrick, a statewide elected official, has inserted himself into the debate over a local policy on trans students in Fort Worth. But here’s what the plank states:Â
Facility Utilization-We support public school facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms andÂ showers being reserved for the use of students based on biological birth gender.Â
This plank was approved by 93 percent of delegates.Â
In addition to the anti-trans planks, the party added several that are specifically anti-gay or generally anti-LGBT, including this one calling for same-sex marriage to be overturned:Â
Overturning Obergefell v. Hodges- We believe this decision, overturning the Texas law prohibiting same sex marriage in Texas, has no basis in the Constitution and should be reversed, returning jurisdiction over the definition of marriage to the states. The Governor and other elected officials of the state of Texas should assert our Tenth Amendment right and reject the Supreme Court ruling.Â
The party also added a plethora of new anti-LGBT “religious freedom” language to the platform:Â
Protection for Religious Institutions- We believe religious institutions have the freedom to recognize and perform only those marriages that are consistent with their doctrine. …Â
Safeguarding Religious Liberties- We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity, and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the 1st Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state. Tax deductions for charitable contributions are notÂ 1521 government subsidies and give no authority for government oversight. Americans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer in public places. We urge the legislature to increase the ability of faith based institutions and other organizations to assist the needy and to reduce regulation of such organizations. We also support vigorously protecting the rights of commercial establishments to refuse to provide any service or product that would infringe upon freedom of conscience of religious expression of the commercial establishments as stated in the 1st Amendment. …Â
Adoption- We support reducing the time, bureaucracy, and cost of adoption. We oppose mandates that deny mothers a choice in selecting a traditional home for their children. We oppose mandatory open adoption. We oppose any government agency from forcing faith-based adoption or foster care organizations to place children with same-sex couples.Â
The Texas GOP is somehow getting credit in theÂ media for softening language in its infamous pro-“reparative therapy” plank. But a review of the entire document shows this credit is hardly deserved. In fact, the Texas GOP’s platform appears to be more anti-LGBT than ever â€” and that’s saying something.Â
You can read the full platform here.Â
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Favoring Right Wing Christians, Texas Judge Voids ACA’s Mandate That Insurance Cover Full Cost of HIV Drugs Including PrEP
A Texas federal judge has voided Obamacare’s requirements that insurance companies cover the full costs of life-saving HIV prevention and treatment drugs, claiming requiring Christian employers to do so violates their rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
In that same ruling on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who has a lengthy history of deciding against LGBTQ people and in favor of the far Christian right, also voided requirements insurance companies, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), cover other life-saving medications and procedures including cancer screenings, mental health services, and diabetes treatments, although for reasons unrelated to religion.
“In September,” Reuters reports, “O’Connor held that the US Preventive Services Task Force, which determines what qualifies as a covered preventive measure under the ACA, can’t validly do so because its members aren’t subject to Senate confirmation and their recommendations aren’t reviewed by constitutionally appointed government officials.”
Thursday’s decision is an extension of Judge O’Connor’s September ruling, in the same case, Braidwood Mgmt., Inc. v. Becerra.
Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern calls Judge O’Connor’s ruling “nothing short of catastrophic to the U.S. health care system.”
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“Millions of Americans, including many pregnant women, will have to forgo basic care if it is upheld,” he adds.
The case was brought by Dr. Steven Hotze, a far-right Republican activist and religious extremist who has attacked the LGBTQ community for decades. Last fall The New York Times identified Braidwood Management’s owner as “Dr. Steven F. Hotze, a well-known Republican donor and doctor from Houston, has previously challenged the Affordable Care Act on other grounds.”
The Times reports in that September ruling in this same case, Judge O’Connor wrote: “The PrEP mandate substantially burdens the religious exercise of Braidwood’s owners.” O’Connor, The Times added, wrote “that Dr. Hotze believes that covering PrEP drugs ‘facilitates and encourages homosexual behavior, intravenous drug use and sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman.'”
HIV is not exclusive to people who engage in same-sex intimate relations, drug use, or sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman.
In 2015, Dr. Hotze compared same-sex marriage to the Holocaust and gay people to murderers, defending his belief that Texas should ignore the impending Supreme Court ruling that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.
Just two weeks ago Dr. Hotze was “kicked out of a state senate session,” The Daily Beast reported, “after he called transgender people ‘pedophiles.'”
“Major medical and patient groups,” Bloomberg Law reported on Thursday, “had argued that a nationwide order would jeopardize health care for millions of Americans, leading to preventable deaths and higher costs for treating diseases that could have been detected earlier by free screenings.”
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According to Forbes, Judge O’Connor’s ruling on Thursday also voids required coverage for other “preventive services,” including “screenings for such cancers as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer and lung cancer, diabetes screenings, various screenings and interventions for pregnant people, statin use to prevent cardiovascular disease, vision screening for children and more.”
And yet, Judge O’Connor’s decision tossed “other arguments that tried to invalidate the contraceptive mandate in the ACA, so coverage for contraception will remain unaffected by Thursday’s ruling.”
The Biden Administration is expected to appeal, and according to Forbes because insurance policies are generally in effect for a calendar year, it’s unlikely any possible changes would be implemented before January.
Meanwhile, Judge O’Connor in 2019 overturned protections written into ObamaCare for transgender people, ruling they violate the religious rights of healthcare providers who hold religious beliefs that oppose the existence of transgender people.
Three years earlier, in 2016, O’Connor – who at that point already had a record of opposing LGBT rights – handed down a 38-page order in a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on behalf of 13 states, blocking the Obama administration from enforcing its guidance that said public schools should allow transgender students to use restroom and locker rooms based on their gender identity.
Image: Judge Reed O’Connor
New Poll Sends Trump Damning Message About 2024 if He’s Criminally Indicted
Biden Beats Trump – But Barely – in Latest Poll
A new Quinnipiac poll is offering damning news to Donald Trump: The majority of Americans think he should not even be allowed to run for president if criminal charges are filed against him.
That majority, 57%, includes nearly nine in ten Democrats (88%), more than half (55%) of independents, and even close to one-quarter (23%) of Republicans.
“Yes, say Americans, it was all about him and not the country’s well-being when Trump proclaimed he was targeted for arrest,” says Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. “And, yes he should be forever banished from office if he is charged as a criminal.”
The poll serves up even more bad news for the ex-president. Despite the right’s attempts to paint Trump’s alleged hush money payoff as a mere bookkeeping issue, or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg‘s case against him, as one GOP lawmaker said recently, “wrongful persecution,” the majority of Americans – 55% – say the accusations against Trump are “serious.”
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Conservatives’ attempts to paint the investigation as political, however, appear to be working, at least among Republicans and independents.
More than nine out of ten Republicans (93%) and 70% of independents say they believe the investigation is motivated by politics, while two-thirds of Democrats (66%) say it is motived by the law.
Still more troubling news for the Trump team.
Exposing the growing partisan divide across the country, the majority of Americans, nearly six in ten (58%) say Trump has had a mainly negative impact on the Republican Party.
But inside the GOP, the view is far different.
The vast majority of Republicans (72%) say Trump has had a positive impact. Just 21% say he has had a negative impact. (The poll does not appear to take into account former Republicans who left the GOP because of Trump.)
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Echoing the “positive impact” they believe Trump has had on their party, 79% of registered Republicans say they are supporters of his MAGA movement. The poll does not appear to define “support,” nor the various “levels” of support some Republicans now express, including “ultra MAGA.”
Meanwhile, when offered a choice between Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, or 11 other Republican candidates or potential candidates, Trump gets a plurality of voters: 47%. DeSantis gets one-third, 33%. Pence gets just 5%, and Haley – who has already officially declared she is running – gets even less, at 4%.
There’s little change when GOP voters are asked who they would choose in a head-to-head matchup between Trump and DeSantis. Trump gets 52%, DeSantis 42%.
And even more bad news for Team Trump: In a head-to-head matchup among registered voters, President Joe Biden would beat Donald Trump, although by a slim margin: 48% to 46%.
There is one piece of good news for the DeSantis campaign, which technically does not exist yet. DeSantis would beat Biden, also by a slim margin: 48% to 46%.
But some believe DeSantis will not run, especially given his poor campaign pre-launch. Others, like top Trump critic and former Republican George Conway, say DeSantis shouldn’t even bother.
“It makes no sense for DeSantis to run this cycle,” Conway said Thursday morning, unrelated to the Quinnipiac poll. “To beat Trump, DeSantis would have to go hammer and tong in a one-on-one race against him. DeSantis isn’t capable of that, it isn’t going to be one-on-one, and even if he were and it was, DeSantis would end up alienating a good chunk of the GOP base. And no matter what, Trump would try to destroy the GOP if it ever became clear he wouldn’t get the nomination. Trump would run as a third-party candidate to take the GOP nominee down. The smart play for DeSantis is to fleece donors by pretending to run, and pocket the cash for 2028, when he’ll still be only 49.”
House Republican Suggests Coordinating With Trump Legal Team Over Bragg’s ‘Wrongful Persecution’
Republicans are stepping up their war against Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg as he considers charges against Donald Trump.
House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has already called for committees to delve into Bragg’s investigation of Trump’s hush money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, and GOP lawmakers are weighing subpoenas for the county prosecutor to testify about his probe, reported The Daily Beast.
“It is pretty clearly a wrongful persecution of a free American citizen who happens to be the former president of the United States,” Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) told the website. “Because of those circumstances, I think it’s appropriate for Congress to inquire into what drove that decision making process for Bragg.”
Higgins suggested that Republicans would coordinate their timing on a potential Bragg subpoena with the former president’s legal team to avoid interfering with their defense.
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“[A subpoena] would be an interesting conversation amongst my colleagues,” he said, “[but] the appropriate timing of something like that should include consideration whether or not that case is moving towards permanent closure, and allow that to happen.”
However, other Republicans are pressing for a more extreme response to Bragg’s grand jury investigation, which some of them have suggested is funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros.
“It’s time to arrest Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg for prosecutorial misconduct after hiding hundreds of pages of exculpatory evidence,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. “Bragg is on the verge of indicting an innocent former President and top Presidential candidate against the opposing ruling party. Bragg is breaking the law and trying to incite civil unrest with his Soros funded political war. Hold him accountable!”
Republican senators don’t have the power to go after Bragg as the minority party, and some House Republicans seem to think their pressure has already had an effect on Bragg’s probe.
“But you know, [Bragg] seems like he’s kind of, you know, maybe, I don’t know, maybe backed off a little bit,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX). “But we’ll have to see, we’ll see what he does.”
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