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Congressman Upset Religious Freedom Law ‘Doesn’t Go Far in Enough’ to Allow Discrimination Against LGBT People

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Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) is under fire once again for comments he made as a radio talk show host, this time during which he lamented that Indiana’s religious freedom law “doesn’t go far in enough in allowing discrimination,” against LGBT people. CNN first reported on Rep. Lewis’ remarks, and last week first reported that Lewis had been upset he was no longer able to call women “sluts.”

In a 2015 blog post he railed against Indiana’s religious freedom law.

“There’s only one thing wrong with Indiana’s (or anyone else’s) Religious Freedom & Restoration Act (RFRA): it doesn’t go far in enough in allowing discrimination,” Lewis wrote in 2015, as CNN reports.

“That is, why should you have to invoke a religious exemption in order to freely determine with whom you want to associate? I might not want to hire you because your ‘lifestyle’ (gay or straight) violates the tenants of my company’s religious beliefs (the Supreme Court upheld Hobby Lobby’s decision not to offer contraceptives for the same reason), but I also might not want to employ you because your ears are large. The former is protected by RFRA, the latter is not. Why?”

Lewis, now a U.S. Congressman representing Minnesota, also attacked the Americans with Disabilities Act, actually suggesting it is responsible for an increase in workplace shootings. (That is false.)

“Because of the ADA, we have eviscerated the notion of fair play and in the process in these workplace shootings, I have the temerity today, the audacity, to suggest that that is partly responsible for these workplace shootings. In every single instance, the person had a history of mental, mental illness, something set them off and they go bonkers and kill people. So why did we not screen those people out?”

Lewis “has repeatedly demeaned recipients of welfare and government assistance, calling them ‘parasites’ and ‘scoundrels,’ and said the black community had ‘traded one plantation for another,'” CNN adds.

He also called “part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that applied to private businesses ‘unconstitutional’ as well as calling the Americans with Disabilities Act ‘one of the worst’ laws.”

House Speaker Ryan says he will not call on Lewis to apologize.

 

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BIGOTRY

Support for Same-Sex Marriage Falls Across the Board as GOP Leans Into Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric

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While support for same-sex marriage remains high overall, it’s been dropping over the last three years following GOP attacks on the LGBTQ community.

According to a new Gallup poll, overall support for same-sex marriage is at 69% among Americans. While that’s strong, it’s down two percentage points from 2022, when support hit a record high of 71%.

same-sex marriage gallup poll

Gallup’s data on Americans’ approval for same-sex marriage over time.

The dip can be seen across the political spectrum. When asked if marriage equality should be legal, Republicans’ support fell to 46% from a high of 55% in 2021 and 2022. But support even fell among Democrats and independent voters asked the same question.

READ MORE: WATCH: Moms for Liberty Chapter Chair Flips Out at Drag Queens in Viral Clip

While both demographics still overwhelmingly support marriage equality, it’s started to fall over that same period. In 2022, a record high percentage of Democrats, 87%, thought same-sex marriage should be legal. That fell 4% to 83% this year.

As for independents, in 2023, a record 77% supported marriage equality. But this year, it’s dipped 3% to 74%.

Gallup’s data on Americans’ approval for same-sex marriage over time broken out by party affiliation.

The percentage of Americans who think homosexuality is morally acceptable has also fallen since 2022’s record high. In that year, 71% thought it was morally OK to be gay, but that fell to 64% last year, and held steady at that lower number this year.

Unlike marriage equality, when the question was broken out by political affiliation, the percentage of Democrats rose since last year. In 2024, 81% of Democrats felt homosexuality was morally acceptable, an increase from 2023’s 79% — but still down from 2022’s high of 85%. Independents fell 6% to 68% when compared to last year, while Republicans only fell a single point to 40% over the same period.

The poll was conducted via phone last month. It has a sample size of 1,024 adults, and has 4% margin of error.

While Republican politicians generally have not been pro-LGBTQ, attacks against the community have increased in the last few years. Republicans have banned Pride month displays at U.S. embassies and on public infrastructure. Former President Donald Trump says if he’s re-elected, he’d end protections for queer students.

Right-wing figures like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito have framed the fight for equal rights as being anti-religious. Many states have attempted to pass drag bans. And the conservative majority of the Supreme Court has signaled it may repeal the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

 

 

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WATCH: Moms for Liberty Chapter Chair Flips Out at Drag Queens in Viral Clip

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moms for liberty california chapter

The chair of the Moms for Liberty California chapter went viral in a video clip harassing drag queens in the lobby of a Hawaiian hotel on Sunday.

The clip was first posted by Hawaii-area drag queen Marina del Rey to her Facebook profile. In the two-minute long clip, the woman, identified as Beth Bourne, begins recording video with her cell phone and starts berating drag queens that were in the lobby of the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.

The clip opens with her asking for someone to call the police, before launching into her tirade.

READ MORE: Drag Queen Story Hour Interrupted by Neo-Nazis Seen in Terrifying Video

“I’m sorry, but this is — I paid to be a customer at a hotel where I thought you believed that women were real. That because you put on makeup, because you’re wearing high heels, because you have a Barbie outfit on, that you don’t think this is degrading? This is misogyny,” Bourne says.

She says that if the hotel refunds her money, she will leave, but she’s “not going to have my children come down from the 30th floor and see what’s happening here.” A hotel representative tries to calm her down, but then she starts accosting one of the drag queens.

“Are you in the hotel? Are you dressed up? Are you a man? Are you a man pretending to be a woman?” she asks the queen, who says they’re not “pretending to be anything.”

“What do you think about my son, who might think that he can put on makeup and put on fancy clothing and high heels and have his penis cut off and take estrogen so he can grow fake boobs like those?” she continues.

She keeps yelling at the hotel representative, announcing she paid $3,000 to stay in the hotel and that the sight of the drag queens is “degrading.” The queens start to chuckle at the awkward situation, which sets her off again. She starts asking for the drag queens to identify themselves and tell her “why you think it’s okay to put on a clown costume and do this to young children.” It should be mentioned, no children can be seen in the clip.

She again asks to speak to the police — and she apparently got her wish. Del Rey says that Bourne was handcuffed and escorted out of the hotel for causing a disturbance. Bourne was not actually arrested or charged, del Rey said, but the hotel did trespass her from the property.

In another post, del Ray said that the queens were there to record a video for a pageant. The premise of the video was that the drag queens were posing as hotel staff while in full drag.

“This woman saw us filming and came to a slow burn and then she popped off. Her rant went on and on – possibly with the attempt to get a riled angered response. She didn’t get one. In this video – you see my perspective. In her video – u will see three drag queens surrounded by staff and guests – just sitting down,” del Rey wrote.

She also had kind words for the real hotel staff and the witnesses who “extended compassion of which I’m very very grateful.”

Bourne herself reposted the queens’ video to X. She says that “several other Alohilani hotel guests told me they also found it offensive so I spoke up to the manager yesterday.” She also posted her own video, showing the queens sitting in the lobby.

Her video shows the beginning of the conversation, which starts calmly, with her attempting to debate the queens. But she gets more and more angry — one of the queens even points out that Bourne is “shivering.” Bourne also films the concierge desk so “everyone” will know what the hotel is.

“I paid $3,000 so I can believe in biological reality! I am a real woman! You are fake!” Bourne says.

“I know!” the queen fires back.

The last minute of Bourne’s video overlaps with Marina del Rey’s video, providing the context. In the clip, we can clearly see the drag queens acting calmly.

Bourne is the chair of the California chapter of Moms for Liberty, which has been designated a far-right extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her bio on X describes herself as a “Mom questioning gender ideology in CA schools,” and clarifies that her views are her own, “not my employer, UC Davis where 1/22 kids is trans.”

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told Hawaii News Now that he was “proud” of the drag queens.

“The video was upsetting, no question. I am proud of the performers from Hawai’i’s LGBTQIA community who maintained their dignity and integrity in the face of such a hostile attack. This type of behavior is unacceptable. It is not aloha, and we will not tolerate it from anyone,” Green said.

Bourne’s employer, UC Davis, released a statement later on Tuesday, condemning Bourne’s actions.

“We are aware of a widely circulated video in which a university employee makes a number of offensive statements. We condemn these statements as deeply hurtful. While the employee’s comments are protected by the First Amendment, they do not reflect the values of respect and belonging that form the foundation of our campus community,” the statement read.

“To the LGBTQ community, UC Davis is a place where you should feel seen and supported. June is when the nation celebrates Pride Month, and at UC Davis we’re committed to making sure this community has every opportunity to thrive and flourish on our campus.”

Update (6/25/2024, 7:30 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to include UC Davis’ statement.

Featured image taken from a screenshot of Marina Del Rey’s video.

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Rep. Tim Walberg Tells Uganda to ‘Stand Firm’ on ‘Kill The Gays’ Law Ted Cruz Called ‘Horrific’

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Tim Walberg Uganda Kill The Gays Law

Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) delivered a speech in Uganda to defend the country’s President Yoweri Museveni and the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, better known as the “Kill the Gays” law.

Walberg traveled to Uganda in October to attend a national prayer breakfast organized by the Fellowship Foundation, also known as The Family, which also covered the cost of his trip, according to TYT. In the speech, transcribed by the blog Take Care Tim, he told the attendees to “stand firm” in the face of criticism.

“Whose side do we want to be on? God’s side. Not the World Bank, not the United States of America necessarily, not the UN. God’s side,” Walberg said. “I think as we go on here, it says, ‘So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.’ – Who’s gonna do that? God is gonna do that. Your esteemed President, his excellency, President Museveni needs a nation that stands with him and says, though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm. Stand firm.”

READ MORE: Mike Johnson Once Agreed to Speak at ‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor’s Conference – Until an NCRM Report

Walberg made it clear he knew his view would be unpopular in the United States.

“Now, this will probably get back to the national media in the United States, and I expect some pushback, but I’m not gonna give in to them. … I know that your President is a warrior. I like that about him. We’re in a battle, folks. We are in a battle,” he said.

Though Uganda has had homophobia enshrined in its legal code since it was a British protectorate, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 is a drastic escalation. Previously, homosexuality was punished with life in prison, according to the Advocate. The new law allows the death penalty for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” It also bans “promotion of homosexuality,” much like Russia bans queer “propaganda”.

The law is so draconian that Republican Senator Ted Cruz—no ally to the queer communitycondemned it. In May, shortly after Museveni signed the law, Cruz called the law “horrific” on X, formerly Twitter.

This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ,” Cruz tweeted.

Attempts to pass a similar bill to the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 started in 2014, with a bill also called the “Kill the Gays” law. That form of the bill was built by anti-LGBTQ activist Scott Lively, who previously claimed then-President Barack Obama was secretly gay.

While it didn’t go into effect then, the bill and ones like it kept popping up on Uganda’s parliamentary agenda. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden threatened to cut nearly $1 billion in annual aid to Uganda if the bill passed.

A previous version of this story credited Salon with the initial reporting; Salon had republished the article from TYT. The sourcing has been corrected; NCRM regrets the error.

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