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Federal Lawsuit Seeks License to Discriminate Against LGBT Workers Based on Religion, Anal Sex, Grindr Use

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June 15 will be the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, holding that federal law prohibits employment discrimination against LGBTQ workers. 

As if to mark the occasion, a group of anti-LGBT activists and churches based in Texas asked a federal judge this week to issue a sweeping ruling that could seriously undermine Bostock. 

In its 6-3 decision last June, the high court affirmed that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ruling upheld a position that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which administers and enforces civil-rights laws, has taken since 2015. 

The Texas-based group, which includes hate-group leader Steve Hotze (pictured) as well as the U.S. Pastor Council, is seeking exemptions to both Bostock and EEOC policy that would allow employers to discriminate against LGBT workers based on sincerely held religious beliefs, under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and/or the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment. 

“The plaintiffs have sincere and deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is limited to a man and a woman, that sex is to be reserved for marriage, and that men and women are to dress and behave in accordance with distinct and God-ordained, biological sexual identity,” the plaintiffs wrote in a brief filed Monday.  “Title VII, as interpreted in Bostock, requires that the plaintiffs operate their businesses contrary to their religious beliefs by denying them the ability to prescribe standards of conduct and deportment for their employees. At the same time, the plaintiffs believe that they are called by God to obey the civil authorities. So they are caught in a bind, and until this Court grants the declaratory relief that the plaintiffs seek, the plaintiffs have no way to avoid violating their religious beliefs.” 

Moreover, the plaintiffs allege, Bostock should not bar employers from enacting policies, for religious or non-religious reasons, that target “practicing homosexual and transgender individuals” based on homosexual or transgender conduct.”

“It is easy to imagine rules that comply with Bostock by applying equally to men and women, yet operate to exclude homosexual or transgender individuals from employment,” the plaintiffs wrote, before proposing the following examples: 

• “No employee, male or female, may enter a gay bar or gay bathhouse.”

• “No employee, male or female, may engage in the sexual practices associated with homosexuality.”

• “No employee, male or female, may engage in ‘deviate sexual intercourse,’ as that term is defined in section 25.02 of the Texas Penal Code.”

• “No employee, male or female, may use Grindr (or other dating apps used primarily by homosexuals).”

• “No employee, male or female, may seek or obtain hormone therapy unless it is prescribed for a medical condition other than gender dysphoria.”

• “No employee, male or female, may undergo surgery to modify their genitals, unless that surgery is needed for a medical condition other than gender dysphoria.” 

Elsewhere in the brief, the plaintiffs argue that Bostock should apply only to gay and transgender workers, and should not prohibit employers from discriminating against people of other sexual orientations, including bisexual folks. 

In addition to summary judgment and a permanent injunction against the EEOC, the plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for their lawsuit. And, sadly, they seem likely to prevail — at least at the district court level.

The case is in the Fort Worth division of the Northern District of Texas, which is presided over by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, who is among the nation’s most notorious right-wing federal judges. O’Connor previously  issued high-profile decisions striking down the Affordable Care Act and gutting Obama-era transgender protections.

Back in February, after O’Connor initially allowed the Bostock religious exemption lawsuit to move forward, LGBTQ advocates slammed the decision. 

Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, told the Philadelphia Gay News: “Judge O’Connor’s ruling misrepresents the clarity the Supreme Court provided in Bostock in favor of unnecessary and harmful religious exemptions to basic civil rights protections. Conservatives like to complain about judicial activism. But Judge O’Connor is the poster child for it with his repetitively fringe rulings that only a far-right zealot would find sensible. His ruling is a reminder that it is so critical that Congress passes explicit federal non-discrimination protections this year.”

Justin F. Robinette, a civil-rights attorney, told the newspaper he is expecting “another unfavorable ruling from Judge O’Connor and potential appeals.”

“The underlying lawsuit is part of a worrisome trend of putative Christian groups reframing the enforcement of LGBT-inclusive antibias laws as a form of discrimination against their religion,” Robinette said. “They want to create a right to discriminate that — taken to its extreme — would exempt them from every civil law, including the civil rights laws and the recent Supreme Court ruling in Bostock.”

Attorneys representing the EEOC from the Department of Justice have not yet filed a response to the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. You can read the plaintiffs’ brief in support of the motion below.

U.S. Pastor Council v. EEOC by John Wright on Scribd

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Legal Experts and Critics Slam Justice Clarence Thomas for ‘Speaking Out Against Something He Is Actively Doing’

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Critics are  observing Constitution Day by responding to remarks U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made on Thursday, when he blasted the media for criticizing decisions from the nation’s highest court and warning federal judges to not wade in to political discussions.

“When we begin to venture into the legislative or executive branch lanes, those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble,” Justice Thomas said, CNN’s Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue reports, ironically observing that Justice Thomas made those remarks “during a sweeping lecture at the University of Notre Dame that also touched on themes of equality, race and the state of the country.”

The CNN report adds:

Of all the members of the high court, Thomas has made his views on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion across the US, crystal clear. In 2007, he said that he believed that Roe and the follow-up decision called Planned Parenthood v. Casey had “no basis in the Constitution.” And in 2020, he said that Roe is “grievously wrong for many reasons, but the most fundamental is that its core holding — that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to abort her unborn child — finds no support in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Thomas also on Thursday “seemed to nod to the controversy” of “so-called court packing”:

“We have lost the capacity” as leaders “to not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcomes that we like,” he said.

Critics, including legal experts are weighing on on Justice Thomas’s remarks, blasting him for, as Daily Beast editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast says, “speaking out against something he is actively doing.”

Related: Justice Clarence Thomas Has Been Secretly Lobbying Senators to Get a Trump Judicial Nominee Confirmed

Keith Boykin, a CNN political commentator who earned his law degree at Harvard and served in the Clinton White House was even more pointed:

“Clarence Thomas didn’t seem too worried about ‘destroying our institutions’ when he cast the deciding vote to make Bush president in 2000 or to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013 or when he sat silently from 2017-2021 as Trump trashed our institutions.”

Dr. Miranda Yaver, a political science professor (US law, public policy, health policy) at Oberlin blasted Justice Thomas, saying that “claiming that the Supreme Court isn’t political is nonsense and we all know it. FWIW, whenever I teach Constitutional Law and students go, ‘Who in the hell would write that opinion??’ the answer is invariably Clarence Thomas.”

Norman Ornstein, a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), laughed:

VOX senior correspondent Ian Millhiser, author of “The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court is Reshaping America,” also criticizes Thomas’s apparent hypocrisy:

RELATED:

Clarence Thomas’ Wife Is Helping Trump Purge ‘Snakes’ From the White House — and Replace Them With Fox News Regulars

Clarence Thomas: Slavery Didn’t Take Away Dignity So How Can Same-Sex Marriage Bestow It?

 

 

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Sarah Palin Proudly Declares Herself a ‘White Common Sense Conservative’ – and Unvaccinated

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Sarah Palin is back on TV. At least, she was Thursday night, on Fox News’ late night political satire show “Gutfeld!” where she announced she is not vaccinated and proudly explained why – basically getting the science wrong by leaving out important scientific findings.

“I am one of those white common sense conservatives,” Palin told host Greg Gurfeld and guest Dr. Drew Pinsky. “I believe in science and I have not taken the shot.”

“One, because the waitress never came back to ask me,” she said sarcastically, “because I do believe in science. And the Fauci-ism of the day back then was if you had COVID – I’ve had COVID – well then Mother Nature was creating an immunity and, and even today they say you know you’re 27 percent more immune.”

Dr. Drew chimed in to claim it’s “27 times” more immune.

But both are getting the science wrong – by not telling the whole story.

The highly-respected journal Science last month published an article making very clear why Palin is wrong in its title: “Having SARS-CoV-2 once confers much greater immunity than a vaccine—but vaccination remains vital.”

And while it states up front that “Israelis who had an infection were more protected against the Delta coronavirus variant than those who had an already highly effective COVID-19 vaccine,” it adds this critical information: Unvaccinated COVID survivors are more likely to contract the deadly disease again than those who have had COVID and just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Researchers, Science reports, “compared more than 14,000 people who had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and were still unvaccinated with an equivalent number of previously infected people who received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The team found that the unvaccinated group was twice as likely to be reinfected as the singly vaccinated.”

Watch:

 

 

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29 Months Later Bill Barr’s Super Secret Russia Special Counsel Files His Second Indictment – for Alleged Lying

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In April of 2019 then-Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut to open and lead an investigation into Russia – not into how Russia has been attacking the United States via cyber warfare, undermining Americans’ trust in American institutions, and using social media to do it, but into whether or not the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been warranted in opening an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including its investigation of Donald Trump.

On Thursday, 29 months after Barr first appointed John Durham (photo, right) to lead that super-secret investigation, 11 months after Barr secretly turned Durham into a special counsel to ensure the investigation would continue past his and Trump’s tenure, and after spending untold millions of taxpayer dollars, the Dept. of Justice has announced Durham has obtained a second indictment.

“A prominent cybersecurity lawyer was indicted on a charge of lying to the F.B.I. five years ago during a meeting about Donald J. Trump and Russia, the Justice Department announced on Thursday,” The New York Times reports.

The lawyer, Michael Sussmann, “of the law firm Perkins Coie, which has deep ties to the Democratic Party — is accused of making a false statement about his client at the meeting.”

Mr. Sussmann’s defense lawyers have denied the accusation, saying that he did not make a false statement, that the evidence he did is weak and that who he was representing was not a material fact in any case. They have vowed to fight any charge in court.

At issue is who was Sussman working for when he “relayed concerns by cybersecurity researchers who believed that unusual internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution.”

Apparently not at issue is if the Trump Organization or campaign had a secret communications channel to a Kremlin-linked organization.

Frequent viewers of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow are likely familiar with her reporting on Alfa Bank, including this segment from October 2018:

Durham has not obtained any indictment against anyone in Russia, any Russian operatives, any Trump Organization or campaign official, or anyone who may have been involved in Russia’s attack on the United States.

The only other indictment Durham has obtained from his two-plus year investigation? The Times in 2019 reported on a “low-level” FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who “altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap,” on Carter Page, a Trump campaign advisor.

One expert calls the indictment “weak.”

 

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