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Oklahoma Senate About to Vote on ‘Religious Beliefs’ Bill Creating a ‘License to Discriminate’ Against LGBT People

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The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday morning will take up on an extremely broad bill that would allow anyone to refuse service to LGBT people, merely by citing their “sincerely held religious beliefs or conscience.” 

SB 197, the Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act, protects people, businesses, and religious organizations from providing “any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges used in a marriage ceremony or celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior.”

The language is so broad that “celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior” could apply to, for example, refusing to allow children into a movie theater for a birthday party if the child’s parents are of the same sex. And celebration of a “behavior” could apply to nearly any act at all.

The bill also applies to government agencies, and could prevent, for example, a same-sex couple to be unable to get a marriage license. It specifies that government employees can refuse service based on their religious beliefs, and the employer “shall otherwise ensure that the requested service is provided, if it can be done without undue hardship to the employer.”

Undue hardship is not defined. If that particular government agency only has a handful of employees able to perform the specific function – say, issue marriage licenses – and each cites their religious objections, then the couple would be forced to visit another city or town.

The bill’s co-sponsor is Senator Joseph Silk, who has been pushing similar legislation for years. In 2015 he infamously said LGBT people “don’t have a right to be served in every single store.” 

UPDATE: 11:44 AM ET –
“We decided a long time ago in this nation, that separate but equal was always separate, and never equal,” Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson tells NCRM exclusively. “Bigotry has no place in our society, and asking us to fund bigotry with our tax dollars is more than insulting, it is unconstitutional… Never forget that when hate is defeated, it always looks for another ‘other’ to hate.”

Freedom Oklahoma has about 100 people at the Oklahoma statehouse today, lobbying against the bill. Stevenson tells NCRM, “we are hoping to keep it from being heard.”

Developing – updates to come. Stay tuned.

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Roger Stone Sought Direct Line to Jared Kushner to Coordinate Wikileaks Dumps

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According to testimony from former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, Roger Stone told him that Wikileaks had plans to release damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. As POLITICO points out, Gates’ testimony at Stone’s trial reveals that the Trump campaign was offered help from Wikileaks earlier than previously thought.

Gates says Stone passed him the info two months before Donald Trump was given the GOP nomination.

“Mr. Stone indicated that WikiLeaks would be submitting or dropping information but no information on dates or anything of that nature,” Gates said. Stone is currently on trial for lying to Congress and obstructing the Russia probe.

Stone also reportedly sought out the contact information of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, presumably to inform him about the impending info dump from Wikileaks.

“It was in a way a gift,” Gates testified, later adding the campaign was “kind of in disbelief.”

“We believed that if information were to come out, there were a number of us that felt that it would give our campaign a leg up,” Gates said.

Gates pleaded guilty in February of last year on charges of conspiracy against the U.S. and making false statements to the FBI.

RELATED STORIES:

Steve Bannon Testifies Dirty Trickster Roger Stone Was Trump Campaign’s ‘Access Point’ to Wikileaks

Roger Stone Trial Could Rain Fresh Bombshells on the President: Jurors ‘Told Case Has Something to Do With Trump’

Roger Stone Violated Gag Order: Prosecutors

 

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Steve Bannon Testifies Dirty Trickster Roger Stone Was Trump Campaign’s ‘Access Point’ to Wikileaks

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Former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon testified in court Friday that then-candidate Donald Trump’s advisor and long-time friend Roger Stone was the “access point” to Wikileaks, according to The Hill.

“I think it was generally believed that the access point or potential access point to WikiLeaks was Roger Stone,” Bannon told federal prosecutors in the Washington, D.C. courtroom as Stone faces criminal charges. “I was led to believe he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.”

Bannon reportedly also testified that Stone was the only access point and had “detailed information” on Wikileaks. He also reportedly testified that he had heard Stone was involved in the release of the emails, according to Vox Senior politics correspondent Andrew Prokop.

NBC News legal analyst weighs in:

 

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Former White House National Security Staffer: Ukraine ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Extortion Coordinated by Chief of Staff Mulvaney

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Former Special Assistant to the President Fiona Hill, a National Security Council staffer responsible for Russia and Ukraine, testified before Congress that President Donald Trump’s extortion of Ukraine was coordinated by White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

“Ambassador Sondland, in front of the Ukrainians, as I came in, was talking about how he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney for a meeting with the Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with investigations,” into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, Hill said, CNN reports, according to the House-released transcript.

Mulvaney, despite a congressional subpoena, refused to testify today.

Hill has worked for the most-recent three presidents.

Related –
Bolton Blasted Trump’s Ukraine Extortion: ‘I Am Not Part of Whatever Drug Deal Rudy and Mulvaney Are Cooking Up’

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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