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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Shadowy Right Wing Group One Step Closer to Overturning Arizona City’s New LGBTQ Civil Rights Protections
A group hiding behind a two-page website that lists no actual persons or physical address has submitted enough signatures to get a repeal of Mesa, Arizona’s new LGBTQ civil rights protections law onto the ballot for the November 2022 election.
According to news reports no one seems to know who founded United for Mesa, a Political Action Committee created days after the Mesa City Council passed the non-discrimination ordinance. The website lists an email address, phone number, and P.O. Box.
“Give the People a Voice,” the website urges, meaning they believe citizens should vote on civil rights, something studies show overwhelmingly ends with the majority voting to deprive the minority of equal rights. It also claims the “Mesa City Council just passed an ordinance WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF MESA RESIDENTS,” which is false. In a representative democracy, citizens elect leaders to make these very decisions for them.
Calling the group “below-the-radar, with no official leaders or posted public meetings,” the East Valley Tribune reported last month that “Unofficial leaders like Barbara R. Parker rallied like-minded troops via Facebook and other outlets.”
“Thank you to every petition signer and gatherer who helped save Mesa!” Parker posted Thursday night.
“Thank the Lord! I have never seen so many people working so hard to get signatures,” wrote Paula Smith in a comment to Parker’s post. “It’s been amazing! I’m so thankful everyone’s hard work paid off!”
“Thank you everyone for going the extra distance, so we may all have a voice in such an important decision,” added Charmon Puhlmann, a bus driver for Mesa Public Schools.
Political consultant George Khalaf’s firm, The Arizona Republic reports, “is leading the referendum effort against the ordinance,” but it does not mention what, if any, relationship he has with United for Mesa.
Last year the Arizona Capitol Times reported Khalaf was a political consultant to Republican state Representative Nancy Barto, in an article discussing an anti-transgender bill.
An email to United for Mesa did not receive a response by press time.
Florida One Step Closer to Banning Trans Girls From Sports With Bill Providing for ‘Reproductive Anatomy’ Examination
Florida House Republicans have passed legislation that bans transgender girls from participating in girl’s sports, and allows anyone to dispute a student’s gender, which would legally result in an examination of “student’s reproductive anatomy.”
“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” the legislation reads. The intent is to ban transgender girls or women on the “basis of students’ biological sex.”
The bill also says that if there is any “dispute” about a student athletes’ “biological sex,” it “shall be resolved by the student’s school or institution by requesting that the student provide a health examination and consent form or other statement signed by the student’s personal health care provider which must verify the student’s biological sex.”
“The health care provider may verify the student’s biological sex as part of a routine sports physical examination by relying only on one or more of the following: The student’s reproductive anatomy; The student’s genetic makeup; or The student’s normal endogenously produced testosterone levels.”
The legislation does not define “dispute,” who gets to file a dispute, or by what method a dispute should be filed or with what entity, or who has to pay for the exam. It leaves all that up to the State Board of Education.
In theory, a student who didn’t make the team and were to blame anyone who did could file a dispute and force that student athlete to have a genital examination.
House Republicans killed 18 proposed amendments, including one that would have removed the section providing for examination of a student’s reproductive anatomy.
The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep.. Kaylee Tuck (photo) must now go to the Senate, which also has a 24-16 GOP majority. If it passes, 2024 Republican presidential hopeful, Governor Ron DeSantis, would have to sign it into law.
AZ Lawmakers Ban Teaching About ‘Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression’ Without Parental Consent
Lawmakers in the Arizona House and Senate have passed legislation that bans teaching students anything about “sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression” without first getting signed permission from a parent.
That means teaching about, for example, artist and Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci, astronaut Sally Ride, the founder of computer science, Alan Turing, or the late First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt – all of whom were LGBTQ – requires signed consent from a student’s parent.
In addition, sex education, should Republican Governor Doug Ducey sign SB 1456 into law, will also be banned until students reach fifth grade. After that, any teaching about “sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” requires “written consent from a student’s parent or guardian.”
The bill is so poorly written that a plain reading of it means that any teaching or discussion of sexual orientation requires advanced consent from the parent. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, which means that any teaching about, for example, heterosexual marriages.
The bill updates current law to read: “A public educational institution shall obtain signed, written consent from a student’s parent or guardian before…PROVIDING SEX EDUCATION INSTRUCTION OR INSTRUCTION REGARDING SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR GENDER EXPRESSION TO THE STUDENT. WHEN THE PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION SEEKS CONSENT, IT SHALL AT THE SAME TIME INFORM THE STUDENT’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN OF THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN’S RIGHT TO REVIEW THE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AND ACTIVITIES.”
Also requiring written consent: any teaching about HIV/AIDS.
The ACLU says the legislation stigmatizes LGBTQ students:
Two years ago, we hoped that the Arizona Legislature was taking a step away from bigoted measures like Arizona’s “No Promo Homo” law that harmed and stigmatized LGBTQ students.
We were sadly mistaken. pic.twitter.com/j3r2xkEeqc
— ACLU of Arizona (@ACLUaz) April 14, 2021
The bill may be unconstitutional, and likely violates Biden administration policy, meaning the Dept. of Education could sue the state and withhold education funding.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Image: Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. Photo by FDR Presidential Library & Museum via Flickr and a CC license
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