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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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‘I Can’t Imagine a Better Turnout Engine’: CNN Conservative Warns GOP About Roe Ruling Blowback

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On CNN Saturday afternoon, conservative commentator S.E. Cupp insisted the Supreme Court ruling dismantling Roe v Wade after 50 years of allowing women to make choices about their reproductive freedom no matter where they live, will come back the haunt the Republican Party in the 2022 midterms.

As Cupp explained, combined with the battle over gun laws, the unpopular 6-3 decision by the conservative court could be a defining issue that increases voter turnout that will, in turn, cripple GOP efforts to reclaim both chambers of Congress.

Speaking with CNN hosts Christ Paul and Boris Sanchez, Cupp insisted the past week’s news has benefitted Democrats as they make their case for November 2022 and beyond.

RELATED: ‘This is a losing issue’: GOP campaign consultants panicked about upcoming midterms after Roe decision

“Yeah, I think the Roe ruling was a huge — they [Republicans] might like the outcome, but politically I can’t imagine a better turnout engine than this ruling for democrats,” Cupp claimed. “And you can make the argument that the Republicans’ legislative victories and the Supreme Court victory by a conservative court are regressive, they’re taking us backwards. Whether you like them or not, you can’t deny the fact that they’re going backwards, right? They’re taking us back to a different time when these weren’t rights.”

“Republicans are banning books,” she continued. “I mean, it really does feel anachronistic where the country is, so I think that’s a good message for Democrats.”

“You know, look, the economy is still going to be a huge driver for the election but I absolutely think the Democrats got a big boost from both of these rulings, I feel like, and they needed it, politically,” she added.

Watch below:

 

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Marjorie Taylor Greene Flees Supreme Court Protest After Gloating About Abortion Ruling

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Far-right Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was rushed by her staff away from the protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday as angry pro-choice protesters yelled at her.

Greene celebrated the court’s decision overturning abortion rights nationwide. Smiling and stating,  she said, “I am so happy. It’s a blessing. It’s a miracle.” Then, acknowledging the angry protestors, she said, “I think we have to worry about the radical left. They’re going to perform an insurrection here at the Supreme Court.”

Greene, a dependable troll, has used the word “insurrection” to describe any angry gathering of left-wing protesters. Meanwhile, she considers the actual insurrectionists arrested for ransacking the U.S. Capitol and trying to overthrow the 2020 presidential election “political prisoners.”

Greene’s celebratory moment was punctuated, however, by her staff rushing her off to a protected spot as protesters angrily shouted, “You are a traitor!” and “Lock her up!” One woman, holding an American flag and facemask tried shoving her way toward Greene while screaming, “My body, my choice!”

Greene later told The Hill that the court’s decision was “courageous,” adding, “It’s just taking it back to the states, giving the right back to the states to make their own laws regarding abortion, which is extremely important.”

An estimated 17 states are set to outlaw abortions soon after this ruling. Their criminalization will all but guarantee increased poverty for the poorest gestational parents carrying unwanted pregnancies as well as terrorist actions against abortion providers in adjoining states.

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Supreme Court Rules 6-3 to Overturn Roe v. Wade Abortion Rights

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The Supreme Court has voted 6-3 to overturn Roe v. Wade in the case of Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The decision wrote that there is nothing in the  Constitution that implicitly protects the right and that the court was wrong to rule on it in its 1972 Roe v. Wade decision.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.

Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t sign on to the majority opinion. Instead, he said that he wouldn’t have overturned Roe but rather just allowed Mississippi’s law to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Justice Clarence Thomas said the court’s decision in this case could do away with the entire doctrine of “substantive due process” and quickly overrule Lawrence v Texas and Obergefell v Hodges, the two cases that invalidated anti-sodomy laws and legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

In their dissent, liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote, “With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.”

“Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid19th century are insecure,” the dissenting opinion continued.

A total of 17 states have “trigger laws” that could immediately outlaw abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. If these states outlaw abortion, then women who live in these states will likely go to other states where abortion hasn’t been outlawed. This will cause the clinics to be overbooked with appointments for weeks or months out. This means that a woman may not even be able to access a legal abortion, even if she tries to book one within the time period legally allowed by her state.

The case decide by the court today involved Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, a law passed in 2018 which bans all abortions after 15 weeks since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. While the law allowed abortions beyond that time frame in the cases of medical emergencies and cases of severe fetal abnormality, it had no exceptions for rape or incest, essentially forcing women to birth their assailant’s child.

The Mississippi law directly challenged the legal precedent set by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That decision established the right for women to get an abortion anywhere before 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in Mississippi, challenged the law. Both the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals both struck down the law as unconstitutional.

Dobbs has asked the Supreme Court to “either overturn the constitutional right to abortion or allow states to ban some pre-viability abortions if it does not “burden a substantial number of women,” according to KFF.org.

“For most of the tens of thousands of people each year who obtain an abortion after 15 weeks, however, accessing abortion care earlier is not possible. More than half of second-trimester abortion patients miss the window for a first-trimester abortion simply because of delays in recognizing or suspecting they are pregnant,” KFF wrote.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge…

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