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Justice Dept. Supports Anti-Gay Baker – Says He Can Refuse to Make Wedding Cakes for Same-Sex Couples

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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 Phillips (photo), owner of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cake Shop, has the right to refuse service to same-sex couples because 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 in 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. 

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 for Charlie Craig and David Mullins. He was found to be in violation of 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.

“Even in an administration that has already made its hostility” toward the gay community clear, Melling said, “I find this nothing short of shocking.”

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 Bladethe First Amendment protects the right of free expression for all Americans.”

“Although public-accommodations laws serve important purposes, they — like other laws — must yield to the individual freedoms that the First Amendment guarantees,” Ehrsam added. “That includes the freedom not to create expression for ceremonies that violate one’s religious beliefs.”

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin offered his thoughts via Twitter:

ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford highlights a portion of the DOJ’s 41-page amicus brief:

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Salute Their Flags’: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Appears to Attack LGBTQ Americans and BLM During Angry GOP SOTU Response

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Arkansas GOP Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders appears to be targeting the LGBTQ community and its allies, Black Lives Matter activists and supporters, and all of the “left-wing” Tuesday night as she takes a national platform as the Republican Party’s chosen representative to deliver its response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address.

“Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols.. all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is -your freedom of speech,” the former Trump White House press secretary is expected to say, based on excerpts from her prepared remarks. “That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”

The excerpts do not specify the “rituals,” “flags,” or “false idols” Huckabee Sanders is referring to, but no one on the left salutes the LGBTQ pride flag or Black Lives Matter flags or banners, and no one on the left forces anyone to worship or partake in any rituals.

“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country,” she will also say, in remarks that sound like the ex-president’s.

READ MORE: ‘Progress and Resilience’: Biden in SOTU Will Remind Americans He Is ‘Building an Economy Where No One Is Left Behind’

“And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day. Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight. Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols.. all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is -your freedom of speech. That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”

And yet, Huckabee Sanders, ignoring her own direct attack on some American families during her State of the Union response, will then say: “Republicans believe in an America where strong families thrive in safe communities. Where jobs are abundant, and paychecks are rising. Where the freedom our veterans shed their blood to defend is the birthright of every man, woman, and child.”

 

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‘Progress and Resilience’: Biden in SOTU Will Remind Americans He Is ‘Building an Economy Where No One Is Left Behind’

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President Joe Biden will remind Americans what life was like two years ago when he took office, and paint his vision of the future that builds on his long list of accomplishments as he delivers the State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

He is expected to focus on the economy, which has been greatly strengthened during his two years in office, as unemployment has dropped to a level not seen in nearly 54 years, and as the inflation that infects the globe continues to drop dramatically.

The President will also urge Republicans to continue to work with him — Biden has a historic record of bipartisan successes despite “razor-thin majorities.”

“The story of America is a story of progress and resilience,” the President is expected to say, according to excerpts from the White House. “We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it. That is what we are doing again. Two years ago our economy was reeling. As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs – more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years. Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much. Today, COVID no longer controls our lives. And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.”

READ MORE: Trump Pushes Meme Accusing DeSantis of ‘Grooming High School Girls’

President Biden will also say his “economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten.”

“Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible. Maybe that’s you watching at home. You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away. I get it. That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind. Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of the choices we made in the last two years. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives.”

And he will call Republicans, who have already begun investigating him, his “friends,” saying: “To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress. The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere. And that’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America: the middle class, to unite the country. We’ve been sent here to finish the job!”

READ MORE: ‘Breathtaking’: Economists Stunned by Job Growth ‘Boom’ as Unemployment Drops to Level Not Seen Since 1969

The State of the Union begins at 9 PM ET.

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Trump Pushes Meme Accusing DeSantis of ‘Grooming High School Girls’

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Donald Trump is pushing a meme alleging when Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis was a schoolteacher he was “grooming high school girls with alcohol.”

The meme (below) appears based off a 2021 article by the HillReporter website that alleges DeSantis “was photographed partying with underaged students.”

“Darlington is a boarding and day school, for grades Pre-K through 12,” the report states. “In 2001, when DeSantis joined the staff of the high school, he’d have been in his twenties, with college and work in politics already under his proverbial belt. His students would have been high school co-eds, teenagers, some of whom would have been living on-campus. According to our whistleblower, he had a reputation among students for being a young ‘hot teacher’ who girls loved, and the girls in the photo are believed to have graduated in 2002, making them seniors at the time.”

READ MORE: Warmongering GOP Congressman Declares China Spy Balloon a ‘Sputnik Moment’ for America

Trump reposted the meme on his Truth Social platform Tuesday afternoon, writing: “That’s not Ron, is it? He would never do such a thing!” His remarks appear to be sarcastic. In a separate post Trump also wrote, “No way!”

In November, Insider, citing a New York Times article, reported, “Former students of Ron DeSantis said he was a ‘total jock’ who partied with students and thought it was ‘very special’ that he graduated from Yale.”

It also alleges, “Some students recalled DeSantis fondly while others remembered ‘unthinkable’ pranks he pulled on students.”

“Multiple students told the Times that DeSantis frequented parties with Darlington high school seniors and attended some events with graduates where alcohol was served,” Insider added.

READ MORE: Paul Pelosi Among White House’s Carefully-Crafted State of the Union Guest List

A former student of DeSantis, who is now a teacher himself, said of DeSantis, “There’s a cruelty to the sense of humor. There’s a cruelty to the mentorship.”

That Times article on DeSantis also notes, “some students were taken aback by his comments on the Civil War and abortion.”

The Daily Beast, also citing Times’ reporting, adds that DeSantis’ former students “have accused the Florida governor of being ‘mean and hostile’ towards Black students, playing ‘devil’s advocate’ when teaching lessons about the Civil War, and teaching factually incorrect history to students.”

The Times piece also uncovers DeSantis’ future goals.

“DeSantis, then a 23-year-old graduate from Yale University, used to tell his students that he was bound for the White House,” The Times adds, citing his own students.

See the meme above or at this link.

 

 

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