‘The Language Is Very, Very Strong’
PresidentÂ Donald Trump is expected to sign an anti-LGBT “religious freedom executive order on Thursday, the National Day of Prayer. Some believe Vice President Mike Pence, in partnership with anti-gay hate groups, is behind the push for him to sign it this week.
Politico first reported the scheduling of the signing, noting it “would represent a major triumph for Vice President Mike Penceâ€”whose push for religious-freedom legislation backfired mightily when he served as governor of Indianaâ€”and his allies in the conservative movement.”
The White House is planning on having the president sign it during Thursday’sÂ gathering of national faith leaders and “family friendly” Christian organizations, according to sources in the administration who tell NCRM that the language of the Executive Order remains essentially unchanged from the draft leaked last February to The Nation magazine.
The language of the original executive order drew national outrage, especiallyÂ among the LGBT community and equality supporters. It could gut President Barack Obama’s executive orders prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, which employ millions of workers across the U.S.Â
The Nation’s Sarah Posner, who originally reported on the leaked draft earlier this year, described it as seeking “to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity,” and noted it “seeks to curtail womenâ€™s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.”
After Trump failed to sign the order, anti-LGBT extremists, includingÂ Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the anti-gay hate groupÂ Family Research Council andÂ domestic policy chair ofÂ the Trump transition team toldÂ Michelangelo Signorile atÂ The Huffington PostÂ the order was far from dead.
“Pence and a small team of conservative allies quickly began working behind the scenes to revise the language, and in recent weeks have ratcheted up the pressure on Trump to sign it,” Politico notes. “The new draft is being tightly held, but one influential conservative who saw the text said it hasnâ€™t been dialed back muchâ€”if at allâ€”since the February leak. ‘The language is very, very strong,’ the source said.”
The ACLU has already weighed in, promising to challenge it in court:
â€” ACLU National (@ACLU) May 2, 2017
UPDATE I: 4:57 PM EDTÂ â€“
Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden adds:
â€œWe will fight this with everything we have,â€ Lambda Legal senior counsel Camilla Taylor said Tuesday, adding, â€œWe are prepared to sue in a very short timeframe if the executive order closely resembles the leaked drafts.â€
James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & HIV Project, added in an interview, â€œWe are ready to sue if they do something that authorizes discrimination. If Trump signs an order like the one that we saw a couple months ago, it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.â€
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‘Don’t Say Gay’ Florida GOP Lawmaker Quits One Day After Pleading Not Guilty to Federal Felony Fraud Charges
Joe Harding, the Florida Republican state representative who authored the highly-controversial and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law has just resigned, one day after pleading “not guilty” and assuring his constituents on social media he is working “for a fair and just resolution” to federal felony fraud and money laundering charges.
Harding’s resignation also comes one day after he was stripped of his committee assignments, and is effective immediately, Florida Politics reports.
The charges involve a COVID-related Small Business Administration loan for $150,000, according to the Dept. of Justice, which notes if convicted on all charges he could get 35 years in prison.
“I want the public and my constituents to know that I fully repaid the loan and cooperated with investigators as requested,” Harding told his constituents via Facebook on Wednesday. “On advice from counsel, I will be unable to say anything more specific about the legal proceedings until a later date and refer any questions or concerns related to this matter to my attorney. I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers as we work for a fair and just resolution. Thank you, and may God bless you.”
Also on Wednesday Harding shuttered his Twitter account.
In another statement Harding wrote: “To my many colleagues that have reached out to me, including many I have deep policy disagreements with, thank you. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside you for the past two years.”
Florida Politics notes Harding ended his statement with a bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11-12. That verse can have several different meanings depending on the version of the Bible.
Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, responded to news of Harding’s resignation via social media: “So much harm to students, parents and teachers because of his raw political ambitions. He slandered entire communities and trafficked in lie after lie that has emboldened violent bigotry. He will have his day in court but his legacy is already a despicable one.”
Harding is not the only family member accused of criminal acts.
“Harding’s indictment follows a September guilty plea from his brother-in-law, Patrick Walsh,” Florida Politics notes. “As reported by Fresh Take Florida, Walsh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges connected to his receipt of nearly $8 million in disaster relief loans.”
Worse Than It Looks: On the Same-Sex Marriage Bill Many More Republicans This Time Really Showed Up – to Vote No
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the Respect for Marriage Act a second time, approving even stronger religious liberty protections after the legislation was changed in the Senate. But this time was different – this time Republicans really showed up, in even bigger numbers, to vote no.
And it’s worse than it looks.
The bill once again did pass, and will now be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
But how we got here does not bode well for the future of civil rights.
On July 19, the bill passed the House 267-157, with 47 Republicans voting yes and all 157 no votes also coming from Republicans.
On Thursday the bill passed in a 258-169 vote, with just 39 Republicans voting yes and all 169 no votes again coming from Republicans.
Just looking at the overall vote totals, comparing the vote in July to the vote on Thursday, it’s easy to think eight Republicans (47 minus 39) switched their yes vote to no.
It’s a bit more complicated.
And it’s the no votes that are striking. Because in reality, this time a lot more Republicans voted no.
Eight Republicans who did not vote in July showed up this time to vote no. Only one who did not vote in July voted yes on Thursday.
Another six Republicans switched their vote from yes in July to no on Thursday.
Two who voted yes in July did not vote on Thursday.
One switched from no to yes.
One switched from yes to present.
One who voted no in July is now deceased.
Republicans on the House floor on Thursday made their message clear.
Republicans like Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, a former anti-LGBTQ activist who worked for an organization created to block same-sex marriage. She literally cried own the floor begging her colleagues to vote no. And Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who said practically everything wrong in society can be traced back to same-sex marriage.
Here’s the breakdown. (If they are not listed they voted no.)
Here’s how we get to eight fewer yes votes:
Bentz Republican Oregon Yes to No
Mast Republican Florida Yes to No
Meuser Republican Pennsylvania Yes to No
Perry Republican Pennsylvania Yes to No
Salazar Republican Florida Yes to No
Van Drew Republican New Jersey Yes to No
Owens Republican Utah Yes to Present
Kinzinger Republican Illinois Yes to Did Not Vote
Zeldin Republican New York Yes to Did Not Vote
Herrera Beutler Republican Washington No to Yes
Here’s how we get a lot more no votes:
Babin Republican Texas Did Not Vote to No
Burchett Republican Tennessee Did Not Vote to No
Diaz-Balart Republican Florida Did Not Vote to No
Finstad Republican Minnesota Did Not Vote to No
Hartzler Republican Missouri Did Not Vote to No
Lucas Republican Oklahoma Did Not Vote to No
McKinley Republican West Virginia Did Not Vote to No
Miller (WV) Republican West Virginia Did Not Vote to No
Gallagher Republican Wisconsin No to Did Not Vote
Sempolinski Republican New York New Member to No
Yakym Republican Indiana New Member to No
Brady Republican Texas No to Did Not Vote
Walorski Republican Indiana No to deceased
Kellyanne Conway Serves up Some Alternative Facts About Herschel Walker’s Failed Election Bid
Kellyanne Conway, a political strategist who also served as White House advisor to former President Donald Trump, recently delivered critical remarks leveled at Republican senators.
According to Conway, Republican lawmakers did not stand behind Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker in the days leading up to the state’s highly publicized election runoff.
Walker, who was endorsed by Trump, lost the election by less than 100,000 votes.
On Wednesday, December 7, Conway appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” where she voiced her concerns about the election.
According to Mediaite, Conway also “railed against Walker’s fellow Republicans for abandoning him.”
“To the 49 Republican senators, where were most of you?” Conway asked while appealing to other Republican lawmakers to support members of the party. “Why weren’t you in Georgia?”
“They all should have been because they should’ve been there in some form, town hall, in person, saying the following: ‘I serve in the United States with Raphael Warnock. He’s a terrible senator. He doesn’t represent Georgia. He’s not fit to serve. He votes with Joe Biden. He voted for the Inflation Reduction Act that doesn’t do that. He said nothing when they pulled out of Afghanistan. He said nothing that Joe Biden has been to Delaware 174 days and down to the border zero days.’ That’s what needs to happen. Where were the other senators to say, ‘I want Herschel Walker, not Raphael Warnock in the Senate with me?'”
Conway’s remarks come shortly after another prominent conservative went on a rant about Walker; however, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) perspective is starkly different from Conway’s.
Speaking to far-right influencer Steve Bannon, Greene said that Walker’s campaign rarely reached out for assistance; something she describes as “insulting.” During the interview, Greene insisted, ″They only asked me a couple of times in my own district, which I find extremely insulting.”
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