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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SCOTUS Turns Down Kim Davis but Clarence Thomas Pens Scathing Attack Suggesting Same-Sex Marriage Must Be Overturned
Former Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis won’t get a hearing from the U.S. Supreme Court. A case against her, brought by several same-sex couples she refused to grant marriage licenses to, was rejected Monday by the country’s top court.
But ultra-conservative Justice Clarence Thomas took the opportunity to attack the court’s landmark Obergefell case, which found the Constitution allows same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities of marriage as their different-sex peers.
Thomas, who has a direct line into the White House via his activist and lobbyist wife Ginni Thomas, slammed the decision, suggesting the case should be overturned, as Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern reports.
Thomas claims Kim Davis “may have been one of the first victims of this Court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision, but she will not be the last.”
His words are scathing, and a direct assault on equality.
“Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws,” claims Thomas, five years after the decision.
“It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process, with the people deciding not to provide statutory protections for religious liberty under state law,” he adds. “But it is quite another when the Court forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights and its ungenerous interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.”
At the time of the Obergefell decision, same-sex marriage was supported by six out of 10 Americans.
In the 2015 Obergefell case, Justice Thomas writes, “the Court read a right to same-sex marriage into the Fourteenth Amendment, even though that right is found nowhere in the text.”
Thomas is a textualist, or originalist, adhering to conservatves’ pseudo-theory created in the 1980’s that claims the Constitution is not a living document, written broadly to stand the test of time. Rather, they believe it must be interpreted as the Founders conceived, with the words being interpreted exactly as the document’s authors intended.
“Several Members of the Court noted that the Court’s decision would threaten the religious liberty of the many Americans who believe that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman. If the States had been allowed to resolve this question through legislation, they could have included accommodations for those who hold these religious beliefs,” Thomas writes.
“The Court, however, bypassed that democratic process. Worse still, though it briefly acknowledged that those with sincerely held religious objections to same-sex marriage are often ‘decent and honorable,'” he continues, “the Court went on to suggest that those beliefs espoused a bigoted worldview.”
Believing that LGBTQ people are not equal to non-LGBTQ people is the very definition of bigotry.
Justice Thomas uses the word “bigot” four times in his dissent, which was joined by Justice Samuel Alito.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is attempting to force through the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, giving the Court a 6-3 conservative super-majority.
Trump Administration to Allow Taxpayer-Funded Shelter Providers to Ban Homeless Transgender People, Because Jesus
The Trump Dept. of Housing and Urban Development late on Wednesday moved to roll back an Obama-era regulation that bans discrimination by taxpayer-funded shelter providers against transgender people. HUD Secretary Ben Carson wants to allow anti-transgender discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.
A statement on the HUD website filled with coded language says the proposed new rule “Returns Decision Making to Local Shelter Providers,” to allow them to “establish an admissions policy that best serves their unique communities,” and “better accommodate [the] religious beliefs of shelter providers.”
In reality, the new rule would allow taxpayers to fund anti-transgender discrimination fueled by religious-based bigotry, with the federal government’s stamp of approval.
The move comes during an out of control pandemic, amid an unstable economy, and worse-than Great Depression-era unemployment.
“This important update will empower shelter providers to set policies that align with their missions, like safeguarding victims of domestic violence or human trafficking,” Secretary Carson said in the statement.
In reality, the new rule would remove protections for one of the most vulnerable populations in America, the transgender community. At some point in their lives one in five transgender people experience homelessness.
“Transgender and gender non-binary adults are more likely than cisgender adults to experience unsheltered homelessness,” CBS News notes, adding that “according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and transgender youth ‘make up a significant portion’ of homeless youth in the U.S.”
The move is yet another example of the Trump administration’s never-ending attacks on transgender Americans.
This month marks the third anniversary of President Trump’s infamous decision to ban transgender service members from the U.S. Military, which he did without consultation with the heads of the military services, and via tweet.
Last month Trump’s Dept. of Health and Human Services rolled back Obama-era protections for transgender patients, calling them “unnecessary.”
Last year Trump’s Dept. of Justice asked the Supreme Court to rule it is legal to fire transgender workers just because they are transgender. The Court last month decided it is illegal to do so.
A Defeated Donald Trump Declares ‘We Live’ After Historic SCOTUS Ruling on LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination (Video)
President Donald Trump, whose administration lobbied the Supreme Court to deny LGBTQ people civil rights, on Monday lamented the high court’s landmark ruling that finds workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans is illegal.
“They’ve ruled and we live with the decision,” Trump said, defeated and somewhat sad. “We live with the decision of the Supreme Court.”
This is the first time Trump has weighed in on the historic ruling. It took him more than six hours to say anything, and he only did after being asked about it by a reporter.
The President also claimed he had read the 170+ pages decision handed down just after 10 AM Monday.
“Very powerful decision, actually,” he added. “They have so ruled.”
In 2017 Trump’s DOJ told a federal appeals court the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect “homosexuals” from discrimination.
Last year Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the Supreme Court it is the opinion of the administration’s Dept. of Justice that a “plain text” reading of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect gay people in the workplace from discrimination, including firing for being gay or transgender.
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled it does.
Trump, who is the most anti-LGBTQ president in American history – at least modern American history, has repeatedly refused to sign the Equality Act, which the House has already passed.
Trump, who considers himself a hero to the LGBTQ+ community, is visibly upset when asked about the landmark SCOTUS decision barring employers from discriminating on the basis of sex:
"We live with their decision."pic.twitter.com/TpktjrTvDH
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) June 15, 2020
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