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GOP Chair Schedules Anti-Gay ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill for One Month Anniversary of Orlando Massacre

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Sweeping Anti-Gay Bill Being Pushed by NOM and Religious Extremists

A federal bill that would give special rights and protections to anyone who claims to have a deeply-held religious conviction against LGBT people has been scheduled for a hearing in the House on the one month anniversary of the nation’s worst anti-LGBT hate crime, which was also the worst terror attack since 9/11 and the deadliest mass shooting in modern times. 

The powerful House Oversight Committee Chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz, has scheduled a hearing for the First Amendment Defense Act (FAFA) for July 12, one month to the day of the attack on Pulse, an Orlando gay nightclub, as blogger Joe Jervis first noted.

The bill was first introduced in the House one year ago, and has sat dormant until now. The hearing is being denounced as “nothing more than an election-year stunt to rally conservatives at the expense of LGBT Americans,” by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island. 

“In most states, you can get married on Saturday, post photos of your wedding to Facebook on Sunday and then get fired or kicked out of your apartment on Monday just because you’re gay,” Cicilline said, as Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade reports. “FADA exacerbates this injustice by allowing religion to be used as a blanket excuse for denying LGBT people access to employment, housing, mental health care, emergency shelters and other essential services. This is wrong. Fairness and equality are core American values.”

The bill, if passed, literally would give license to anyone to refuse to interact with, serve or do business with any adult who is not in a different-sex monogamous marriage, unless they can prove they are not having or have not ever had sex.

The First Amendment Defense Act “prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage,” according to a summary. 

Currently, only anti-gay witnesses have been invited to testify before Chairman Chaffetz’s committee hearing on July 12, as the Blade reports. They include heroes of the anti-gay religious right, including former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, fired for not obtaining permission to publish and distribute to his employees a virulently anti-gay book steeped in religious dogma, while using his title and position to promote the book. Also invited is Alliance Defending Freedom’s Kristen Waggoner, who represents  Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist who refused to provide flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding and refused to settle the case for $1000. Waggoner repeatedly and falsely claims Stutzman may lose her home, business, and life savings because she refused to sell flowers to a same-sex couple.

NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, has been pushing for lawmakers to pass the bills and fundraising off their efforts to do so.

 

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NOT EVEN CLOSE

Sean Spicer Bitterly Complains the Press Is Treating Jen Psaki Better Than They Did Him

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As part of a deep dive into the growing popularity of White House press secretary Jen Psaki who has a legion of admirers on social media due to her handling of press, former Donald Trump press secretary Sean Spicer complained to the New York Times that she has gotten a free pass from the media that he never got.

According to the report, even Peter Doocy of Fox News had high praise for Psaki despite his almost daily battles with Psaki that have become widely shared on Twitter and evening newscasts.

“It never feels like I’m getting smacked down or vice versa,” Doocy admitted. “I understand why it looks like that, some of the ways that stuff gets clipped, but it doesn’t feel like that in the room.”

He added, “When I got back from my wedding she made a point to tell everybody in the briefing room that I just got married. That’s a transcript I can print out and show to my kids one day.”

As for Spicer, who eventually resigned following combative press conferences that were famously mocked on Saturday Night Live — with actor Melissa McCarthy portraying a bullying and manic Spicer — he thinks he was held to a higher standard than the current press secretary.

“‘I walked into the lion’s den every day — she walks into a bunch of kittens,'” Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s first press secretary and now the 6 p.m. anchor on Newsmax, said in an interview,” the Times’ Michael Grynbaum wrote.

Spicer also took exception to Psaki taking a dig at him during a press conference after President Joe Biden asked him to resign from the board of the United States Military Academy when she was asked about his performance in her job as well as appearances by Kellyanne Conway defending Donald Trump.

Psaki replied, “I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified.”

That led Spicer to complain, “Jen chose to stand and question my qualifications and services to this country. Once she did that, the gloves were off.”

You can read more here.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

GOP Gov. Kristi Noem Won’t Make Kids Wear Masks in Schools But She Is Trying to Make Them Pray

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South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem refuses to mandate masks for schoolchildren and teachers but she’s trying to make students pray in public. Gov. Noem, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024, has let the coronavirus run rampant in her state of just 886,667 people – a population so small New York City’s is ten times larger. And yet coronavirus is running rampant in South Dakota, which ranks number eight in the nation for coronavirus cases per capita.

Governor Noem just made clear she does not see herself as a government or political leader, but as a religious one. Speaking to Real America’s Voice personality David Brody, Noem declared she will bring back prayer in schools (even though voluntary prayer has always been legal) and thinks political leaders are supposed to “minister” to their constituents.

Complaining that the actions other government leaders are taking “are not biblical,” Noem says they are supposed to “line up with God,” which is false.

“I think that it’s really time for all of us to look at the actions of our leaders and see if they line up with the word of God,” Noem said, “see if they’re biblical and if they really are following through on those actions that God’s called us to do to protect people, to serve people, and to really minister to them.”

Protecting, serving, and ministering – but not in the fight against the deadly pandemic.

“We’ve seen our society, our culture, degrade, as we’ve removed God out of our lives, and people become what they spend their time doing,” Noem declared. “When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday morning, every night, every Wednesday night in church, we were our church, family was a part of our life, we read the Bible every day as a family together, and spent time with each other, recognizing that we were created to serve others.”

Again, Noem makes clear she does not believe serving and protecting others has anything to do with COVID-19.

“I don’t know families do that as much anymore and those biblical values are learned, in the family, And they’re learned in church when the doors are open so people can be there and be taught.”

“We in South Dakota, have decided to take action to really stand for biblical principles. We had a bill that was passed during legislative session two years ago that put the the motto ‘In God We Trust’ in every single school building it is displayed. Now in every K-12 school building in the state of South Dakota.

“I have legislation that we’ll be proposing this year that will allow us to pray in schools, again, I really believe that focusing on those foundational biblical principles that teach us that every life has value every person has a purpose will recenter our kids and help us really heal this division that we see taking over our country.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, “given that the United States is a democracy, and not a theocracy, officials’ actions are supposed to line up with the Constitution and the rule of law, not how some people interpret scripture.”

“What the governor seemed to be suggesting, however, isn’t a system in which students pray on their own,” he adds, “but one in which school officials intervene in children’s religious lives. In the United States, that’s not legal: As my friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently explained, ‘The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the state’s public schools in 1929. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1962 and ’63.'”

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Also Criticized ‘Court-Invented Rights to Homosexual Behavior and Same-Sex Marriage’

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The architect of what is now Texas law, Governor Greg Abbott‘s “heartbeat” legislation that bans all abortion after six weeks, attacked the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marriage, and sex between persons of the same sex, in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer. In that brief he also called same-sex marriage a “judicial concoction,” and argued that women should merely abstain from sexual intercourse as a method to “control their reproductive lives.”

Former Texas solicitor general and Federalist Society member Jonathan Mitchell, The Guardian reports, “who played a pivotal role in designing the legal framework of the state’s near-total abortion ban, also argued on behalf of anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life that women would still be able to terminate pregnancies if Roe was overturned by traveling to ‘wealthy pro-abortion’ states like California and New York with the help of ‘taxpayer subsidies.'”

“Women can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse,” Mitchell wrote in the brief. “One can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court’s decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.”

“In the same brief, which calls for Roe to be overturned,” The Guardian adds, “Mitchell and co-counsel Adam Mortara, an anti-abortion activist and lawyer who clerked for the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, said such a decision could open the door for other ‘lawless’ rights and protections to be reversed, including the right to have gay sex and the right to same-sex marriage.”

In their July, 2021 Supreme Court amicus brief, Mitchell and Mortara also call “interracial marriage” one of several “supposed constitutional ‘rights’ that have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice.” Among them, “court-imposed ‘substantive due process’ rights whose textual and historical provenance are equally dubious.”

On same-sex marriage and sex their opinion was devastatingly ruthless.

“The news is not as good for those who hope to preserve the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage,” the amicus brief reads. “These ‘rights,’ like the right to abortion from Roe, are judicial concoctions, and there is no other source of law that can be invoked to salvage their existence.”

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