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Two Years After Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage Overturned, NC Still Struggling With LGBT Rights

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HB2 Shows That the Fight for Rights Is Not Over in North Carolina

When voters passed North Carolina’s Amendment One, a ballot initiative that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, in May of 2012 the state’s equality advocates considered it a crushing defeat. Just when things were finally starting to look up, conservatives had put the rights of same-sex couples to marry up to a vote, and the LGBT community lost spectacularly: 61 to 39 percent.

This was just before the tipping point was reached on same-sex marriage. In fact, just a day after Amendment One passed, President Barack Obama announced his support for marriage equality. A year before, Gallup had reported for the first time that a majority of Americans supported the legalization of same-sex marriage. From the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2013, the number of states allowing same-sex couples to marry nearly tripled.

This cultural shift is what made the overwhelming support for Amendment One so disheartening, even in a Southern state under a conservative governor. It was a setback; a disruption in a series of successes.

Two years later, on October 10, 2014, the amendment was overturned, legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn signed what one NC citizen appropriately called “the official death certificate of Amendment One,” the order striking down the state’s ban.

North Carolina’s governor Pat McCrory refused to fight the decision, saying, “The administration is moving forward with the execution of the court’s ruling and will continue to do so unless otherwise notified.”

This shouldn’t be mistaken as support for marriage rights, however, as other state legislators attempted to appeal to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear any cases related to same-sex marriage at the time.

McCrory’s response was short and to the point. “I disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, which goes against the amendment that North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved. We will continue to respect the legal process as it proceeds.”

Governor McCrory, two years later, is now most known for his devoted support to a different NC law, HB2. 

The state’s infamous anti-LGBT law is based almost entirely on a long list of misconceptions about trans people, although much of it is disguised by dog-whistle rhetoric about privacy. The law also revokes state protections against discrimination of any kind.

In spite of North Carolina beating the nation as a whole to marriage equality, it “became the most anti-LGBT state in less than a day“ with the pro-discrimination bill, aimed largely at the city of Charlotte and their year long fight to successfully protect LGBT residents.

HB2 and the resulting backlash have made headlines again and again, and this time, McCrory isn’t being sated by the court system. He did withdraw the lawsuit he filed on behalf of the state, but he remains the defendant in a separate lawsuit on HB2. That trial will begin on November 14.

In the meantime, LGBT citizens in the state are secure in their right to marry, but their right to a wedding venue, or to be secure in a job or in any public place remains up in the air. 

RELATED STORIES:

Clinton in North Carolina Hits GOP on HB2: ‘I Think the American Dream Is Big Enough for Everybody’

Pat McCrory Staged Fake Press Q&A To Answer ‘Questions’ Written by His Staff Rather Than Ones on HB2

Pat McCrory Quietly Withdraws HB2 Lawsuit He Filed Against Federal Government, Cites Costs

Image by Mark Farris via Flickr and a CC license

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BREAKING NEWS

Federal Appeals Court Rules House Can Have Trump’s Tax Returns – Committee Expects Them ‘Immediately’

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A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. ruled Tuesday that the powerful House Ways and Means Committee can be given Donald Trump‘s tax returns.

The decision is “a blow” to the former president,” as CNN reports. It comes after a Trump-appointed lower court judge had ruled against Trump, allowing the House to gain access to the documents Trump has protected for years.

The former president appealed.

READ MORE: Tax Researcher Reveals Ivana Trump Being Buried at Bedminister Gets Her Ex-Husband a Ton of Tax Breaks

The federal appeals court Tuesday morning upheld the lower court’s ruling, granting the House access. Trump can still appeal.

The House Ways and Means Committee was quick to respond, tweeting: “We expect to receive the requested tax returns and audit files immediately.”

This is a breaking news and developing story.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘God Anointed Him’: Christian Right Expert Explains Conservative Outrage After FBI Raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

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Veteran journalist Sarah Posner, who has spent years writing about religion and the Christian right, has an explanation for the outraged response from some Trump supporters over the FBI executing a legal search warrant on Mar-a-Lago.

Hours after the news broke, Florida Republican state representative Anthony Sabatini called for “an emergency legislative session” to “Sever all ties with DOJ immediately” over the FBI executing a legal search warrant of Trump’s home. “Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” he wrote, apparently unaware of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday night Trump supporters formed a small convoy driving outside Mar-a-Lago, some with Trump banners, Trump flags, or the American flag, – even one vehicle painted with the American flag – to show their support for the former president who might be facing legal consequences, as video from NBC 6 reporter Cristian Benavides shows.

READ MORE: ‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

“The GOP position is that Trump is above the law,” writes The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “That’s what the GOP position on Trump was throughout his presidency, and that’s what it is now. Say it that way. Don’t let Republicans get away with using fake outrage to obscure this fundamental reality.”

Posner has written two books on the Christian Right including “UNHOLY: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, And the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind.”

In response to Sargent’s remarks she advises: “Remember too that much of Trump’s base believes that God anointed him, that it’s God’s will that he be back in the White House. And that they need to engage in ‘spiritual warfare’ with ‘demonic’ enemies of Trump — keep this in mind as right-wing influencers call for civil war.”

READ MORE: IRS Under Trump Allowed a Decades-Old Influential Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group to Change Its Tax Status and Become a Church

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Monday night tweeted, “The FBI is raiding President Trump’s home in Maralago! This is the rogue behavior of communist countries, NOT the United States of America!!! These are the type of things that happen in countries during civil war. The political persecution MUST STOP!!!”

Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph and noted the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”

Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that mention civil war and other related calls, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”

 

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‘This Is a National Security Issue’: Former FBI Agents Note Key Details About ‘Raid’ on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

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Two former FBI agents are weighing in on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s execution of a search warrant Monday at the Florida residence of Donald Trump, the former President, which he called a “raid.”

“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.

She was pointing to a tweet by another former FBI special agent, James Harris.

READ MORE: ‘Coverup of Treason’: Trump-Appointed IG, Under Investigation, Knew of Missing Secret Service and DHS Texts Far Earlier

Harris has an extensive bio, highlights of which include his role at FBI HQ Cyber Division as a Program Manager and then Unit Chief (Acting), FBI Senior Liaison Officer to DHS Cybersecurity and Communications, and FBI Assistant Section Chief of the Counterterrorism Internet Operations Section. Earlier in his FBI career he says he “built up the largest Federal Cybercrime Task Force in the US.”

Harris points to this section of a CNN article published Tuesday morning, written by seven CNN reporters:

“In early June, a handful of investigators made a rare visit to the property seeking more information about potentially classified material from Trump’s time in the White House that had been taken to Florida. The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department, sat down with two of Trump’s attorneys, Bobb and Evan Corcoran, according to a source present for the meeting.”

READ MORE: Trump’s Legal Team Now in ‘Direct Communication’ With DOJ Officials About J6 Criminal Investigation: Report

Harris on Twitter highlights this sentence: “The four investigators, including Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at the Justice Department…”

He tweets: “All you ‘outraged’ GOPers better cool your jets. You might be walking your rhetoric back really fast when you figure out what this seems to be. The devil is in the details.”

In January the National Archives was forced to transport from Mar-a-Lago 15 cartons of documents and other items that, according to the Presidential Records Act and the National Archives, should have been turned over to the Archives.

The FBI’s execution of the search warrant and reports that they left with a large quantity of documents suggests Trump might not have turned over everything taken from the White House.

Rangappa earlier Tuesday tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence. Just saying.”

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