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Jeff Sessions Tells Anti-Gay Hate Group ‘You Are Not a Hate Group’ – Gets Schooled by Group Tracking Hate Groups

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Attorney General Falsely Claims the ‘Hate Group’ Label Is Being Used to ‘Bully and Intimidate Groups That Fight for Religious Freedom’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Alliance Defending Freedom Wednesday night that they are not  hate group. The ADF has been designated as a anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a organization that actively tracks approximately 1000 hate groups nationwide.

“I wanted to come back here tonight partially because I wanted to say this: You are not a hate group,” Sessions told attendees (video below) at the ADF’s Summit on Religious Liberty, as Towleroad reports.

“When I spoke to ADF last year, I learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center had classified ADF as a ‘hate group.’ Many in the media simply parroted that as a fact,” Sessions charged. “They have used this designation as a weapon and they have wielded it against conservative organizations that refuse to accept their orthodoxy and choose instead to speak for their conscience and their beliefs. They use it to bully and intimidate groups that fight for religious freedom, these constitutional rights of the American people.”

Sessions raised eyebrows last week when he announced the creation of a secretive “religious liberty” task force at DOJ.

“We have gotten to the point,” Sessions said as he announced the new task force, “where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a ‘hate group’ on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The religious right and far right wing extremists for years have been outraged that the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded anti-gay groups that promulgate lies about LGBTQ people with the same label given to the KKK. And anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council, and the ADF have responded by falsifying the SPLC’s very clear definition of what hate groups are.

Sessions is responding to that outrage, apparently by targeting those who work to identify and monitor hate groups. And he’s made clear he will turn the concept of First Amendment freedom of religion on its head to do so.

Southern Poverty Law Center president Richard Cohen sent a letter to Sessions earlier this week explaining what a hate group is, and reminding him that the Dept. of Justice uses a similar definition. Sessions clearly ignored it as he addressed the ADF.

“In a manner analogous to how the Department of Justice defines hate crimes,” the SPLC president wrote, linking to the DOJ’s own website on hate crimes, “we identify hate groups as those that vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability – prejudices that strike at the heart of our democratic values and fracture society along its most fragile fault lines.”

“Just as sincerely held religious beliefs would not be a defense to a hate crime prosecution, vilifying others in the name of religion should not immunize a group from being designated as a hate group, in our view,” Cohen added.

Watch Sessions address the anti-gay hate group’s Summit on Religious Liberty.

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BIGOTRY

DeSantis Spokesperson Says LGBTQ Pride Lights on Jacksonville Bridge Will Be Back On – No Word on Others

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A spokesperson for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis says the LGBTQ Pride Month display on Jacksonville’s Acosta Bridge will be back on Wednesday night. They were ordered removed after just one night by the state’s Dept. of Transportation, after dozens of other displays went unquestioned.

DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske told Florida Politics, “the lights will be on.”

Fenske said FDOT is “letting it go,” adding that other lighting displays “went up that were not on the approved list” previously, referring to already in place permits. However, the Pride display was the first to get blocked, a move that roiled locals.

The LGBTQ community remains targeted by DeSantis and his administration.

Permits for lighting other Florida bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg to celebrate Pride Month were denied, and there’s no indication they too will be allowed.

Ordering the Acosta Bridge LGBTQ celebration lights removed is “just the latest in a string of anti-LGBTQ actions” from DeSantis, Equality Florida Communications Manager Michael Womack tells NCRM.

Womack says the Florida Dept. of transportation “answers to the governor,” who he notes signed into law Florida’s first anti-LGBTQ bill in 24 years. He also says that in 2020 the permit to light the Acosta Bridge in LGBTQ rainbow colors for Pride Month was denied.

It is no coincidence that the Florida governor, a likely 2024 presidential hopeful, chose Jacksonville, a conservative Christian private school, and the first day of Pride Month to sign into law a bill banning transgender girls from playing in girls sports.

“Girls are gonna play girls’ sports,” DeSantis said June 1. “Boys are going to play boys’ sports.”

DeSantis chose June 2 to veto legislation that would have provided funds for counseling for survivors of the Pulse massacre and funding for LGBTQ homeless youth.

“Let’s be clear about what this is: Governor DeSantis has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community,” Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, who now works for Equality Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday the DOT ordered the Pride Light display removed, claiming there was no permit for the event. But the DOT never had a problem with countless other displays, including those recognizing Memorial Day, Autism acceptance and awareness, St. Patrick’s Day, Lupus, the first day of Spring, Christmas, child abuse awareness, and Easter – to name a few.

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BIGOTRY

DeSantis Admin Orders Jacksonville Bridge Stripped of LGBTQ Pride Month Rainbow Lights One Day After Turned On

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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis or someone in his administration ordered the Acosta Bridge in Jacksonville to take down a special LGBTQ Pride Month rainbow light display, just one day after it had been turned on.

The Florida Times-Union reports the order came from the Florida Department of Transportation, which ordered the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to remove the display. The FDOT owns the bridge even though it is controlled by the JTA.

“This afternoon, the FDOT informed the JTA that our scheduled color scheme for the Acosta Bridge is out of compliance with our existing permit. The JTA will comply accordingly,” the Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced in a statement.

But Florida Times-Union metro columnist Nate Monroe says there’s “almost no way this didn’t come from the governor’s office. JTA has lit the bridge up with all sorts of colors on all sorts of occasions, with no pushback, until now.”

He also encouraged social media users to contact Gov. DeSantis’ Press Secretary, who is a fan of light shows, at least some light shows:

Requests for Pride Month displays on other bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg, were allegedly denied.

Florida’s first LGBTQ Latinx legislator expressed outrage:

Equality Florida’s Senior Political Director notes DeSantis has used LGBTQ Pride Month to attack LGBTQ people several times already:

An investigative reporter and Executive Producer at WTLV/WJXX weighs in with other events that were allowed (even more examples on her Twitter page):

UPDATE: DeSantis Spokesperson Says LGBTQ Pride Lights on Jacksonville Bridge Will Be Back On – No Word on Others

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‘I Live in Oakland’: Homophobic Hotel Guests Shamed Out of Pool After Profanity-Laced Freakout Over Two Women Kissing

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A Sacramento hotel was the scene of a homophobic incident when a group of people witnessed two women kissing and flipped out.

The Black Bay Area Instagram account showed the white women losing their minds while queer Black women were kissing. They insisted they weren’t racist, just homophobic, mentioning there were children.

One person in the pool kept chanting “SHAME” as the people left in disgrace. The chant lasted for at least three minutes non-stop. The first woman walked away but the second and third woman tried to argue with the people in the pool, filming them and shouting at them.

“Do you have kids? Good because you’d be a terrible father!” one woman said while holding her beverage. Another woman flipped off the camera.

Pride Month begins today, June 1st.

See the video below:

 

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