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.
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‘Big Whop’: Even Right-Wing Critics Are Slamming Elon Musk’s ‘Underwhelming’ Hunter Biden Twitter Escapade
Right-wing Twitter users are weighing in to express their disapproval of the so-called bombshell “Twitter files” Elon Musk promised to deliver on Friday, December 2.
According to The Daily Beast, Musk was set to address Twitter’s decision to implement a policy that would restrict headlines and reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop from circulating on the social media platform. However, the leak ended up being a failure for many right-wing experts.
Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing radio host who previously served under the Trump administration, offered a critical response to Musk’s release after journalist Matt Taibbi shared a full Twitter thread about the findings.
“So far, I’m deeply underwhelmed,” Gorka said, adding, “We know the Dems in DC collude with the Dems in Palo Alto [Califonia]. Big Whop.”
He went on to reiterate his arguments when grilled by his far-right followers who were convinced that Musk’s Twitter files were some kind of “smoking gun.”
Per the news outlet: “Responding to a user claiming the Twitter company emails were ‘a clear violation of the 1st Amendment,’ the radio host fired back: ‘Err no, it’s not the DNC asking a private company to censor has nothing to do with the First Amendment.’”
Speaking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, New York Post columnist Miranda Devine also disapproved of the release. “I feel that Elon Musk has held back some material,” she alleged. According to The Beast, Devine also claimed: “sinister forces were perhaps controlling Musk after the Twitter chief took a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier in the week.”
She added, “In particular, there’s a tweet in which Matt Taibbi says he hasn’t seen any evidence that law enforcement specifically warned off Twitter from our story. But that’s just not correct.”
Free Beacon reporter Joe Simonson also echoed similar sentiments on Twitter. “Twitter files [are] underwhelming so far,” Simonson tweeted. “Just revealing what we already knew: Twitter was staffed by democrats who did the bidding of Democrats.”
Fox News Chief Lachlan Murdoch to Be Deposed in $1.6 Billion Dominion Defamation Case
Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman and CEO of Fox News‘ parent company, Fox Corporation, is set to be deposed next week in a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit. Dominion Voting Systems, which manufactures voting machines, claims the eldest Murdoch son and his father, Rupert Murdoch, have responsibility in Fox News promoting pro-Trump false election fraud claims it says has caused its company harm.
Murdoch is “scheduled to face questions from Dominion’s lawyers on Monday in Los Angeles, according to multiple reports, and will be the highest-ranking official at Fox to be deposed by Dominion,” The Hill reports.
Fox News propagandists Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have already faced Dominion’s attorneys.
After a federal judge in June ruled the case could move forward, Law & Crime explained, “Dominion’s lawsuit contends that Rupert and his son Lachlan Murdoch personally caused Fox News to broadcast false claims about their role in the 2020 election, even though the Murdochs knew former President Donald Trump’s election fraud narrative was false.”
Rupert Murdoch reportedly spoke with Donald Trump just days after the 2020 presidential election to tell him he had lost.
Judge Eric M. Davis ruled there is “a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion.”
“Dominion has successfully brought home actual malice to the individuals at Fox Corporation who it claims to be responsible for the broadcasts,” Judge Davis added, Law & Crime reported.
A federal judge has rejected Fox News’ First Amendment defense. The case is expected to be argued before a jury early next year.
82-Year-Old Black Woman Arrested and Handcuffed by Alabama Police Over $77 Unpaid Trash Bill
Martha Menefield, an 82-year-old Black woman in Valley, Alabama, had police officers show up to her home on Sunday and arrest her for failing to pay a $77 trash bill, CBS42 reports.
Menefield told CBS42 that she thought the bill had already been paid, “but they said it hadn’t.”
“And the cuffs,” she said, her eyes swelling with tears. “They’re so heavy.”
When the officer told her not to cry, Menefield asked him, “How would you feel if they came and arrested your grandmama?”
“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” Menefield said, her voice shaking. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed. And it’s been bothering me.”
In a post on the city’s social media account, Valley’s police chief defended the arrest.
“City of Valley Code Enforcement Officers issued Ms. Menefield a citation in August of 2022 for non-payment for trash services for the months of June, July, and August,” Chief Mike Reynolds’ statement said. “Prior to issuing the citation, Code Enforcement tried to call Ms. Menefield several times and attempted to contact her in person at her residence. When contact could not be made, a door hanger was left at her residence. The hanger contained information on the reason for the visit and a name and contact phone number for her to call. The citation advised Ms. Menefield that she was to appear in court on September 7, 2022, in reference to this case. A warrant for Failure to Pay-Trash was issued when she did not appear in court.”
Since the arrest, Menefield has been thinking about the role of God in her life.
“I’ve been questioning God a little bit,” she said. “I guess cause I’ve been so upset. I had a daycare here for eight years, and I’ve been asking the Lord. I say ‘Why did this happen to me as much as I’ve done for people, Lord? I’ve paid my tithes every Sunday. I ushered at church. I was just questioning. Something’s just not right.”
Read the full report over at CBS42.
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