Lawmakers in the Alabama House and Senate have just passed legislation that would end the state’s legal requirement for couples to obtain a license and even to have a wedding in order for them to be considered married.
Behind the move is a desire among conservatives to “protect” probate judges, whose job it is to issue marriage licenses, from having to issue them to same-sex couples. Current law says they “may” issue, but does not require them to. Some have refused, even after the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling. As of last June at least eight Alabama counties were not issuing marriage licenses at all, according to AL.com.
Should Governor Kay Ivey sign the bill in to law, couples will only need to file an affidavit stating “they meet the legal requirements of marriage and the probate judge would record that as the official marriage document,” AL.com reports.
“I think it’s far less about good governance and more about protecting folks that don’t want to do their jobs,” Democratic Rep. Neil Rafferty, who is gay and married and voted against the bill, says. “I feel like while in and of itself it is not prejudiced, I feel like it was born out of prejudice though.”
The bill’s author is Republican state Senator Greg Albritton (photo), who ran unopposed in 2018. His campaign website points to a bill he refused to support that would require “mandatory reporting of known or suspected child abuse or neglect.” Albritton says, “I voted against this bill because it threatened the freedom of the clergy.”
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Watch Live: Trump to Announce ‘Big Action’ to Promote Public School Prayer
President Donald Trump is promising “big action” that will promote school prayer, at a 2 PM White House event Thursday, “Guidance on Constitutional Prayer in Public Schools.” Thursday is also Religious Freedom Day.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that praying in school is legal, but promotion of prayer or religion in public schools is illegal. The administration has not released details of its plan, but has a long track record now of instituting unconstitutional or illegal policies and then fighting lawsuits in court. Trump’s Muslim travel ban, and co-opting of Defense Dept. funds to build his border wall are just two examples.
“We think this is going to be another Christian nationalist attempt to redefine – really, weaponize – religious liberty,” Elizabeth Cavell, Freedom From Religion Foundation’s associate counsel, says.
Just three days into the new year President Trump made the inflammatory “big action” promise to Christians evangelical supporters at a Florida megachurch.
“We will not allow faithful Americans to be bullied by the hard left,” Trump said, as Time reported. “Very soon, I’ll be taking action to safeguard students’ and teachers’ First Amendment rights to pray in our schools. We’re doing a big action, Attorney General Bill Barr.”
“They want to take that right, can you believe it?” Trump told the attendees at the El Rey Jesus Church in Miami.
In fact, no one is trying to “take that right,” but the Supreme Court has been crystal clear on what is, and is not, constitutional when it comes to prayer in schools.
Some may try to use whatever support for school prayer the President and Attorney General Bill Barr offer as an opportunity to attack LGBTQ students or even teachers or administration officials.
Trump is known for making big promises, including to the conservative evangelical community, and getting them to believe his claims, however false. He spent years attacking the Johnson Amendment, which bans faith-based entities from supporting political candidates. He claimed, “I’ve gotten rid of the Johnson Amendment.” That’s false.
Instead, he signed an executive order directing the IRS to exercise maximum discretion in enforcing tax laws for religious organizations, including churches, under the Johnson Amendment.
But evangelicals believed his falsehoods.
You can watch Trump’s 2 PM event at C-SPAN.
NCRM will embed the White House live video feed when it become available.
UPDATE: 2:25 PM –
Trump's simultaneous event on constitutional prayer in Public Schools has been inexplicably delayed. https://t.co/0QdlUL7C0l
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) January 16, 2020
‘Kill the Gays’ Pastor Suggests Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Is Demonically Possessed and ‘Needs Jesus’
Radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson declared on his radio program yesterday that Time magazine’s decision to name climate change activist Greta Thunberg as 2019’s Person of the Year is a sign of “the unraveling of the Western world.”
Swanson, who normally uses his radio program to declare that the proper biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, seized on the fact that Thunberg has Asperger’s syndrome, and suggested that she is demonically possessed and in need of Jesus.
“She’s psychologically disturbed,” Swanson said, likening her to the young boy in Mark 9 who was healed by Jesus after being possessed by a demonic spirit.
“I have to say there is something very disturbing about the appearance of and the presentation of this Greta Thunberg,” Swanson commented. “The other demonic spirits are using her to lead the world wherever it’s going.”
“Friends, if this isn’t a quintessential demonstration of the death of the West, or what an entire empire, what multiple empires, look like at the verge of collapsing, this is it,” he added. “It’s ridiculous. On the one hand, we want to be compassionate with Greta. I truly believe that Greta needs Jesus and short of her coming to Christ, I don’t know what is going to happen to this young lady. It is sad to see her in the condition that she is in.”
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission
GOP Governor Is Relying on Citizen’s Prayers to Stop School Shootings and End Opioid Epidemic
Bill Lee is fond of rolling up his sleeves but in a unique move the Tennessee Republican governor has just made his job much easier. Gov. Lee says it’s up to citizens to end school shootings and the opioid epidemic, and to improve results in the state’s schools, by praying.
“If thousands of people offer similar prayers, he believes God will impart his favor on Tennessee,” the AP reports. “The governor’s remarks came during a luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Nashville headquarters.”
The 60-year old governor who took office in January apparently does not believe enough people in “The Volunteer State” are praying for health care. He has rejected legislation that would expand the state’s Medicare program, but believes that Tennesseans will become more physically active now that he has signed a bill repealing the state’s tax on gyms and health clubs.
Lee also believes that passing a virtual total ban on abortion will help his state’s citizens.
Meanwhile, Friendly Atheist notes that Gov. Lee “held a literal ‘worship’ service on the day of his inauguration,” and “announced that October 10 would be an official day of prayer and fasting across the state.”
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