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BREAKING: Attorney General Issues Sweeping Order Prioritizing ‘Religious Liberty’ Over Civil Rights of LGBT People

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Ensures the Rights of People of Faith Supersede the Rights of LGBT People

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday issued a 25-page memo that establishes the Trump administration’s interpretation of federal law and regulations in an attempt to deliver to religious conservatives the widest possible license to discriminate, especially against the LGBT community. The AP calls it “an order that undercuts protections for LGBT people.”

Sessions quoted President Trump saying his administration “will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.”

The new DOJ memo is “an attempt to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pledge to his evangelical and other religious supporters,” the AP reports, saying it “effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held.”

It makes clear the Trump administration across all executive branch agencies and departments will ensure the rights of people of faith supersede the rights of LGBT people.

“Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override concerns for the civil rights of LGBT people and anti-discrimination protections for women and others,” the AP explains. “The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.”

“This is putting the world on notice: You better take these claims seriously,” said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This is a signal to the rest of these agencies to rethink the protections they have put in place on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The Attorney General’s memorandum includes 20 “Principles of Religious Liberty.” 

The anti-gay hate group Alliance Defending Freedom “called it ‘a great day for religious freedom.’ The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT-rights group, called the guidelines an ‘all-out assault’ on civil rights and a ‘sweeping license to discriminate.'”

Politico adds that this new legal guidance “could affect health care, gay rights, political action by churches,” and says it takes a “muscular view of religious freedom rights.”

Naturally, a top Trump support, Tony Perkins of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, praised the administration’s new interpretations of law.

“President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom,” said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. 

“President Trump and the Department of Justice are putting federal government agencies on notice: you will not only respect the freedom of every American to believe but live according to those beliefs,” Perkins added. “As President Trump continues to follow through on his promises on these core issues, he will continue to have the support of social conservatives on his policy initiatives.”

Based on the Session memo earlier Friday the Trump administration issued a sweeping rollback of the ObamaCare contraception mandate, that requires nearly all employers to ensure health insurance plans provide contraception at no out-of-pocket cost to employees or those on their plans. Now, any employer can claim a religious or moral objection and opt out of covering contraception. 

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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News

Trump Says He Will Make SCOTUS Nomination Next Week – Appears He Will Use Seat to Strengthen Where He Is Weak in Polls

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President Donald Trump says he will announce his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “next week.”

He made clear his primary deciding factors will be to help him in the polls.

Trump told reporters Saturday afternoon “most likely” he will choose a woman.

CNN reports he is leaning towards choosing a woman mostly because he is doing poorly in the polls with women.

Trump spoke about two women judges. He talked about Barbara Lagoa, noting she is Hispanic and from Florida. He is struggling in the polls with Hispanics and in Florida.

Reporters also asked about Amy Coney Barrett, a far right wing anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ extremist. Trump spoke positively about her as well. Reports say she is the current frontrunner.

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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'SOUNDS ABOUT WHITE'

Republican state leaders threaten violence in “coming war” with Black Lives Matter

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Michael Brown, member of the Johnson Country commission

This week, two local Republican leaders published and then deleted social media posts which threatened violence in an imminent right-wing clash against Black Lives Matter and Antifa (anti-fascist) activists.

First, Iron County, Utah commissioner Paul Cozzens published a now-deleted picture showing a soldier with a gun and the words: “Warning to BLM & Antifa—Once you’ve managed to defund & eliminate the police, there’s nobody protecting you from us. Remember that.”

Cozzens later told Newsweek that he never supports violence against protestors but merely wanted to say that “If we defund the police, fathers and mothers will be forced to protect their families and properties which would descend us into anarchy.”

What Cozzens may not realize is that many Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists already believe that police do a terrible job protecting them from right-wing violence. Such activists have sometimes been subject to violence from the police themselves, bringing into doubt the whole question of whether police “protect” them from anything.

Second, Michael Brown — a Republican member of the Johnson County Commission in Kansas City, Missouri — published a now-deleted Facebook message in which he urged his followers to “buy a firearm and ammunition” for “the coming war” that is both “inevitable” and caused by left-wing police reform activists and Democratic leaders who are “silent” and “weak.”

“[This] isn’t a joke or hyperbole,” Brown wrote. “I’d rather fight and die than live in their dictated world.”

In response, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas wrote on Twitter, “At a time when heated rhetoric rarely surprises me, I have to admit shock in seeing something like this from a local elected. Gross distortions; encouraging constituents to prepare for armed war w/political opponents? This is reckless. This is racist. This is wrong. Just stop.”

Brown later said that he had made the post in response to Monday reports of a gunman who opened fire on a parked sheriff’s squad car, killing two officers in Los Angeles. Brown said he was “speaking out against violence and calling on other electeds, community leaders and citizens to do the same.”

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EDUCATION

Dept. of Education threatens to withhold $18 million from schools that let transgender athletes compete

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Betsy DeVos at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE), led by Betsy DeVos (pictured above), is threatening to withhold $18 million in federal funds from three Connecticut school districts unless they stop following the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s guidelines allowing transgender athletes to compete in sports.

The DOE’s Office for Civil Rights sent a letter to the Groton, Hartford and New Haven school districts telling them that allowing trans students to compete in sports teams matching their gender identities violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a subsection of the law that requires federally funded institutions not to discriminate on the basis of sex.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has pledged to “vigorously oppose” defunding efforts, but the state’s Democratic Governor Ned Lamont has said he doesn’t want to lose federal dollars over the policy, potentially placing it at risk.

The anti-LGBTQ legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is currently suing five Connecticut school districts over the same policy for the same reasons. The suit, brought by the parents of three cisgender female track athletes makes the same Title IX claims as the DOE and claims that trans girls have an unfair physical advantage which could prevent their daughters from advancing in competitions and winning college scholarships.

Earlier in her tenure, DeVos rolled back Obama-era protections allowing trans students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. She later admitted that she did this even though she knew that it could lead to increased harassment, depression, and possibly suicide among transgender students.

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