DOJ Says ‘Forcing’ Baker to ‘Create Expression for and Participate in a Ceremony That Violates His Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs’ Violates the First Amendment
The Justice Department says baking a wedding cake is First Amendment protected expression. In a briefing filed Thursday for a pivotal Supreme Court case the DOJ says Jack PhillipsÂ (photo), owner of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cake Shop, has the right to refuse service to same-sex couples becauseÂ same-sex violates his religious beliefs.
“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote inÂ the Justice Dept. amicus brief, as Buzzfeed reports.
Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ is using language taken directly from the religious right’s talking points, claiming that baking a wedding cake is “participating” in that wedding, and is an act of expression, rather that the creation of a cake.Â
Earlier Thursday four Congressional Republicans joined Phillips, Washington State florist Barronnelle Stutzman who has a similar case, and their attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom, on the steps of Capitol Hill. The group spoke at length on religious liberty, announcing that 86 Republicans had signed an amicus brief also siding with Phillips.
Phillips’ case, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall, began when he refused to bake a cake in 2012 forÂ Charlie Craig and David Mullins. He was found to be in violation ofÂ Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
The Washington Post notes that the Dept. of Justice’s “decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.”
But Louise Melling, the deputy legal counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the couple, said she was taken aback by the filing.
â€œEven in an administration that has already made its hostilityâ€ toward the gay community clear, Melling said, â€œI find this nothing short of shocking.â€
Since taking office, President Trump has moved to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and his Department of Education has done away with guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students.
Justice Department spokesperson Lauren Ehrsam told The Washington Blade “the First Amendment protects the right of free expression for all Americans.”
â€œAlthough public-accommodations laws serve important purposes, they â€” like other laws â€” must yield to the individual freedoms that the First Amendment guarantees,â€ Ehrsam added. â€œThat includes the freedom not to create expression for ceremonies that violate oneâ€™s religious beliefs.â€
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin offered his thoughts via Twitter:
Trump admin arguing for a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people is shocking and wrong. https://t.co/WZJWHhLHdb
â€” Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) September 7, 2017
ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford highlights a portion of the DOJ’s 41-page amicus brief:
The Trump administration actually argues that anti-gay discrimination isn’t as bad as racial discrimination. pic.twitter.com/uiKdwyr5en
â€” Zack Ford (@ZackFord) September 7, 2017
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1/6 Committee Issues Subpoena With Damning Revelation About Trump’s Focus to Former White House Spokesperson
A top Trump White House spokesperson who pushed the “Big Lie” and reportedly has “firsthand knowledge” of then-President Donald Trump’s behavior on the day before and day of the insurrection has been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who earlier Friday issued subpoenas to 14 Republicans believed to have submitted false and forged Electoral College claims, has sent a subpoena to former Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere, CNN reports.
The Committee indicated to Deere it wants to focus on the day before the attempted coup, and “specifically said it wanted to speak with him about the January 5 staff meeting in the Oval Office with the President.”
In a damning revelation, Chairman Thompson’s letter “said it had obtained information that Trump repeatedly asked in the meeting: ‘What are your ideas for getting the RINOs to do the right thing tomorrow? How do we convince Congress?'”
U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who sits on the January 6 Committee, Friday evening told CNN, the Committee thinks Deere “had a hand in formulating the strategy and some of the media discussions on the day of Jan. 6 and the president’s response.”
Jan. 6 select committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar on the committee subpoenaing former Trump White House spokesman Judd Deere: “We … think he had a hand in formulating the strategy and some of the media discussions on the day of Jan. 6 and the president’s response.” pic.twitter.com/yUviNrecXy
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) January 28, 2022
Watch: Anti-Vaxx ‘Expert’ Claims COVID-19 Vaccines Will Turn People Into ‘Transhumanist Cyborgs’ Controlled by 5G
Sherri Tenpenny is an influential religious-right anti-vaccine activist who has testified before the Ohio state House, appeared on Charlie Kirk’s podcast, and been a speaker at multiple ReAwaken America events, where she has shared the stage with the likes of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Eric Trump, Mike Lindell, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and Alex Jones.
Recently, she has begun to claim that COVID-19 vaccines are designed to create “quantum entanglement” between those who take them and the internet in an effort to turn humanity into “transhumanist cyborgs.”
“The stated goal is to depopulate the planet and the ones that are left, either make them chronically sick or turn them into transhumanist cyborgs that can be manipulated externally by 5G, by magnets, by all sorts of things,” Tenpenny said during an appearance on “The Stew Peters Show” Thursday night. “I got dragged through the mud by the mainstream media when I said that in May of last year in front of the House committee in Columbus, [Ohio]. Well, guess what? It’s all true.”
“The whole issue of quantum entanglement and what the shots do in terms of the frequencies and the electronic frequencies that come inside of your body and hook you up to the ‘Internet of Things,’ the quantum entanglement that happens immediately after you’re injected,” she continued. “You get hooked up to what they’re trying to develop. It’s called the hive mind, and they want all of us there as a node and as an electronic avatar that is an exact replica of us except it’s an electronic replica, it’s not our God given body that we were born with. And all of that will be running through the metaverse that they’re talking about. All of these things are real, Stew. All of them. And it’s happening right now. It’s not some science fiction thing happening out in the future; it’s happening right now in real time.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
1/6 Committee Subpoenas 14 Republicans Who Allegedly Submitted Forged Electoral Certificates
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Friday afternoon announced the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has issued subpoenas to 14 Republicans from seven states who submitted the forged and “bogus” Electoral College certificates falsely claiming Donald Trump and not Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election in their states.
The Chairman appeared to suggest the existence of a conspiracy as well, noting the “the planning and coordination of efforts,” saying “these so-called alternate electors met,” and may know “who was behind that scheme.”
He adds that “groups of individuals met on December 14th, 2020 in seven states carried by President Biden.”
“The so-called alternate electors from those states then transmitted the purported Electoral-College certificates to Congress, which multiple people advising former President Trump or his campaign used to justify delaying or blocking the certification of the election during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6th, 2021.”
Some legal experts have said their actions may constitute a felony.
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