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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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Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Make It Easy for Parents to Sue Their Local School if Kids Are ‘Subjected To’ Anything LGBTQ

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A Missouri state lawmaker is pushing a bill that would make it easy for parents to sue schools if their children are “subjected to” anything LGBTQ.

Rep. Chuck Basye wants parents to have total control over what their children see in school, even if it’s not part of the curriculum. The bill is in response to a poster a GSA – gay-straight alliance club – put up without getting approval from all the students’ parents.

Basye says the purpose of his legislation “is to give this a little bit of teeth so parents can take action if they feel that they’re not being listened to or their child is subjected to something they don’t agree with,” MissouriNet reports.

“I think the parents have a right to know what is in front of their children in public schools,” Basye told MissouriNet.. “That’s the intent of the bill, nothing more, nothing less.”

The ACLU has weighed in, and says Basye’s bill, HB 1565, goes too far.

“This is not only way too far reaching, but absolutely censorship of essentially livelihoods and existence at all,” Jay-Marie Hill, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, told MissouriNet. Hill says if the bill becomes law teachers could be responsible, and even fired, if they have a guest speaker who says something parents might disagree with.

The bill is clearly framed to focus on “instruction on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.”

And while it says information presented to students must be “medically and factually accurate,” it also mandates that “abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils.”

Abstinence only education has been proven to not work.

Some responses to Rep. Basye’s bill from social media:

UPDATE: 4:56 PM –
Rep. Basye’s Democratic challenger, Adrian Plank, calls Basye’s bill “one of the most obviously discriminatory pieces of legislation that I’ve ever seen in Missouri.

What I find inappropriate is a legislator that spends his time trying to pass bills that uses the power of the government to treat those most vulnerable like they are lesser human beings, or even worse, that they don’t exist. That they shouldn’t be considered worthy of attention. People have real problems that need solved, and this is how he chooses to spend his time.

 Image via Facebook

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Texas GOP Official Compares LGBTQ Republicans to ‘Murderers and Burglars’ in Unhinged Facebook Rant

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Early on Wednesday morning, a Texas Republican Party official took to Facebook to attack the “Log Cabin Republicans,” the GOP’s LGBTQ advocacy arm.

The diatribe, first flagged on Twitter by author and nonprofit director Jessica Shortall, was in reply to a post by former LCR Houston official Marco Antonio Roberts, who was responding to a threat from a member of the State Republican Executive Committee to deny the LCR credentials at the Texas GOP State Convention.

“As a group [LCR] is no longer about an individual participating, but it is an express advocacy group, and the LCR’s unique identity is homosexuality which is in conflict with the principles & platform of the Republican Party,” wrote Sue Evenwel. “The party would also not allow express advocacy groups for murders, burglars, adulterers or fornicators, yet there may be some among us dealing with those issues who are also Republicans working and voting for our candidates.”

Evenwel, the chairwoman of the Titus County Republican Party, is also a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, which is currently grappling with the future of the LCR’s status within the state party.

She is best known for being a lead plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Evenwel v. Abbott, in which she argued that federal courts should force states to apportion legislative districts using the number of eligible voters, rather than the total population. Such a change would have invalidated nearly all state legislative lines in the country, and forced lawmakers to draw up districts that are overwhelmingly more rural, white, and conservative.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Evenwel, holding that states are not required to exclude nonvoters from redistricting — but they also did not explicitly prohibit it, potentially leaving the door open for conservative state legislatures to do so after this year’s census.

Image via Facebook

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Student With Two Moms Banned From Writing Paper ‘Taking a Stand’ in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

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A family in Michigan is speaking out after their daughter, a high school junior, was banned from writing a paper in favor of same-sex marriage for an honors English class where the assignment was to “take a stand” on an issue of great cultural importance.

The teacher, whose name the school district will not release, first said the topic was too controversial and might offend some students. She then confessed she did not want to read or hear about marriage equality, according to MLive and The Advocate.

17-year-old Destiny McDermitt said she wanted to write her paper, which would also be read as a speech, on same-sex marriage because her mothers are married. Angela McDermitt-Jackson and Chris Jackson married in 2015 just months before the U.S. Supreme Court found same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities to marriage as their different-sex peers.

The assignment sounds bold, but the teacher made sure it could not be.

“For every generation in every country, every day, there are issues upon which an individual can take a stand,” the assignment description reportedly reads. “This assignment asks you to think about what concerns you in your community, your state, your country, or the world.”

Students were not allowed to choose “anything that is awkward or inappropriate for a school audience.” The topic of abortion was banned, but the school district’s guidance says controversial subjects can have a legitimate place in learning.

Several students wrote letters to school administrators to support their classmate, destiny, and to complain that the teacher said she did not want to read or grade a paper on same-sex marriage.

Destiny has opted to move to a different class with a different teacher.

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