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Texas Republicans Tried to Pass a #SaveChickfilA ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill. An LGBT Democrat Just Killed It.

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Texas Republicans tried to pass extremist anti-LGBT legislation Thursday, cloaked in the guise of “religious freedom.” A Texas Democrat, part of the five-women LGBTQ Caucus, killed it Thursday night.

The legislation has literally been called the #SaveChickfilA bill by some of Texas’ most anti-gay activists because it would have “protected” Texans’ membership in and support of religious organizations, according to the bill’s text.

In short, HB 3172 would have made it illegal for the government to take any action against anyone or any organization based on their religious beliefs or, as in Chick-fil-A‘s case, their support of anti-LGBT organizations and hate groups.

It was prompted by the City of San Antonio’s decision to ban Chick-fil-A from its airport food court.

Democratic state Rep. Julie Johnson (photo), herself a trial attorney, was able to raise a point of order Thursday that was accepted – killing the legislation.

“The LGBTQ Caucus is in the House,” Johnson told The Texas Tribune. “We’re getting things done, and we’re here to stay.”

The intent of the original bill was far more directly sinister, saying it was “relating to the protection of religious beliefs and moral convictions, including beliefs and convictions regarding marriage.”

The final text was changed “relating to the protection of membership in and support to religious organizations.”

The Tribune calls the defeat of the anti-LGBT bill “a major victory” for the newly-formed LGBTQ Caucus.

Not everyone agreed. Longtime anti-LGBT activist Jonathan Saenz insisted “this issue is far from over.”

“It had nothing to do with LGBT issues, it had to do with making sure the government could not punish a private individual or business, because of a donation they gave to a charity,” Saenz insisted.

Chick-fil-A has donated millions upon millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations and to at least one anti-LGBT hate group, including $1.8 million to discriminatory groups in 2017 alone. Why should the government protect them when their efforts support those who harm the people government is supposed to protect?

 

 

 

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The Religious Right Poured Millions Into This Group’s War on Same-Sex Marriage. Now Even Its Website Doesn’t Exist.

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In the years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities to marriage that different-sex couples do, the National Organization For Marriage, known to many simply as “NOM,” was a recognized leader in the fight against equality.

The religious right poured millions of dollars into the tiny organization, despite its ludicrous efforts to battle equality. Some said it was the Catholic Church. Others said it was the Mormon Church. At one point, investigations into NOM’s taxes revealed the vast majority of its funding came from a tiny handful of anonymous donors sinking a few million into the group’s coffers.

Though never officially declared an anti-gay hate group NOM crossed the line into wild, baseless fear-mongering, supporting those who spread falsehoods against marriage equality, same-sex couples and LGBTQ people, and the impact marriage would have on society.

Despite ever-increasing and ever-desperate fundraising emails, their funding was drying up even before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. Their leaders found jobs elsewhere, and today it’s unclear if NOM really even exists anymore – and if so, to what degree.

And now, Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God. has just reported that NOM’s website has expired.

Visitors to the once-infamous NOMblog.com are now greeted with a GoDaddy screen declaring: “NOTICE: This domain name expired on 7/25/2019 and is pending renewal or deletion.”

Domain owners are sometimes given a few weeks to renew in case of an accidental lapse, but at some point the owners lose any rights to the domain and someone else can snatch it up, via auction or just trying to register it once it goes dead.

And someone has.

“I’ve put in the required whopping $12 bid to snap up the domain,” Jervis announces, noting he’ll forward any traffic from visitors to NOMblog to his own site.

 

 

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Watch: Mormon Valedictorian Tells Ellen a Bullied to Death Gay Classmate Motivated Him to Come Out at Graduation

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Matthew Easton, the Brigham Young University valedictorian who came out during his graduation speech last week sat down with Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that airs Monday. Easton told classmates, friends, family, and faculty,  “I am proud to be a gay son of God.”

Easton, in a clip DeGeneres posted to Instagram (below) tells Ellen the reason he came out during his speech, and how one classmate’s tragic suicide, the result of anti-gay bullying, motivated him.

He tells Ellen that his Mormon university, BYU, has an honor code that he would have violated had he come out earlier.

“I chose to honor a student named Harry Fisher,” Easton says. “It was his last semester and he decided to come out on Facebook. And because of the rhetoric and sort of response that he got from our community, he actually ended up committing suicide,” Easton explains.

As he got choked up, Easton says Fisher sat right in front of him.

“I thought, ‘Is that my future? Is that what I’m headed toward?’ So I thought, if I came out at graduation, maybe a student like me, a freshman, could see, you know, my future is something brighter.”

“It’s something better. We can succeed. We can do what we want to accomplish, our dreams.”

Watch:

 

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Valedictorian at Mormon University Announces at Graduation: ‘I Am Proud to Be a Gay Son of God’ – Gets Cheers

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“Coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the lord has made me.”

A valedictorian for the top university of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stunned families, faculty, and friends on Friday when he announced he is gay.

“I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” Matthew Easton, 24, declared at Brigham Young University’s graduation ceremony.

His acknowledgment was met with cheers and applause by many.

“I am not broken,” he said, as The Washington Post reports, sounding choked up. “I am loved and important to the plan of our great creator. Each of us are.”

“Four years ago, it would have been impossible for me to imagine that I would come out to my entire college,” Easton, who goes by “Matty” on social media, noted. “It is a phenomenal feeling. And it is a victory for me in and of itself.”

The Mormon Church has a horrific history of not only not supporting LGBTQ Mormon, but going outside of its community to attack issues like marriage equality, which it has done for decades.

So it might have surprised some when Easton kicked off his speech and early on offered congratulations to a wide variety of people, including his fellow students of color and his “LGBTQ friends.”

That elicited a “whoop,” cheers and applause from the audience, including Easton’s sister.

“You are seen. You are loved,” he told them all. And he talked about “coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the lord has made me.”

The LDS Church worked diligently to ensure the passage of California’s Prop 8 in 2008. Before that, it scuttled same-sex marriage in Hawaii, and reportedly has supported organizations dedicated to rolling back civil rights for LGBT people.

In 2015 the Church declared children of same-sex parents would be barred from the most definitive ceremonies the Church offers, and their parents would be “apostates” – heretics, in the vernacular. It was forced to literally declare God had changed his mind earlier this month, after reported suicides and tremendous outrage.

That change was not, by any means, an embrace of same-sex marriage or LGBT people, but some say they see a softening towards LGBT Mormons.

 

Image via Twitter

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