Connect with us

News

Biden DOJ Promises to ‘Vigorously’ Defend Religious Schools ‘Right’ to Discriminate in Lawsuit from LGBTQ Students

Published

on

40 LGBTQ students are suing the U.S. Dept. of Education for allowing the faith-based colleges they attend to discriminate against them while receiving taxpayer funds and federal support. The Dept. of Justice, which generally defends the federal government and the laws of the United States, has promised it will “vigorously” defend the several dozen schools against the lawsuit.

If this were the Trump Justice Dept., many Americans would not be surprised. And while there is a wall between the White House and the DOJ, President Joe Biden has said passing the LGBTQ Equality Act is among his top priorities. (Majority Leader Schumer has indicated he will bring it to the floor for a vote this month.)

Add to all this that the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming days is expected to hand down its decision in a case filed by a Christian adoption agency that lost its contract with the City of Philadelphia for refusing to work with LGBTQ and same-sex couples.

The Washington Post reports the DOJ’s promise “it can ‘vigorously’ defend a religious exemption from federal civil rights law that allows federally funded religious schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students,” is “a move that surprised some LGBTQ advocates who said the wording went further than just an obligation to defend an existing law.”

During the Obama years the Dept. of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder refused to defend in court a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, declaring he and President Obama had decided it was unconstitutional. (The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately agreed.)

“In the filing,” the Post adds, “the Biden administration said it ‘shares the same ultimate objective’ as the conservative Christian schools named in the case.”

LGBTQ activists are displeased.

“What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, director of the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, which filed the case in March on behalf of dozens of current and past students at conservative religious colleges and universities. “It will make our case harder if the federal government plans to vigorously defend it like they have indicated.”

The lawsuit says the schools are “fueled by government funding,” and yet the Dept. of Education’s “inaction leaves students unprotected from the harms of conversion therapy, expulsion, denial of housing and healthcare, sexual and physical abuse and harassment, as well as the less visible, but no less damaging, consequences of institutionalized shame, fear, anxiety and loneliness.”

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project says its lawsuit “asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America.”

The Constitution guarantees equal rights for all Americans, holding space for religious belief and practice, while ensuring that religion does not serve as a government-funded vehicle to harm racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, religious or other minorities. Government action that ignores this central principal, including the religious exemption to Title IX, is unconstitutional and must be remedied immediately. 

Several right wing groups are asking the courts to be included in the lawsuit to defend the religious exemption and their “right” to discriminate.

Among them, the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal firm that has won at the U.S. Supreme Court and appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

On its website ADF describes the lawsuit as a demand the schools “renounce core religious beliefs,” which apparently includes discriminating against LGBTQ students.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Every House Republican But One Just Voted to Shut Down the Federal Government

Published

on

212 House Republicans – all who voted but one – voted to shut down the entire federal government Thursday evening. It was an act that would have massive implications for many Americans, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, amid the emergence of a new variant, and as the holiday travel season quickly approaches.

The continuing resolution passed 221-212 thanks solely to Democrats and Republican Adam Kinzinger.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia “was speaking for virtually her entire conference,” Axios reporter Andrew Solender said in a tweet, when she demanded, “shut it down.”

“This government should be shut down,” Greene angrily cried . “Do not pass this CR. Shut it down.”

“Because the people in here cannot control themselves,” she continued, claiming they “don’t understand how to balance a checkbook.”

The crisis is not yet over. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate, where a small group of Republicans, and currently it appears Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, are demanding Democrats “defund” President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Stay tuned.
 

Continue Reading

News

Watch: Marjorie Taylor Greene Calls for Government Shutdown Because ‘The People in Here Cannot Control Themselves’

Published

on

Congress has about 30 hours to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to allow the federal government to stay open past Friday midnight. And while nearly everyone is on board, from President Joe Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, some powerful members of Congress are trying to prevent the CR from passing.

They include Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who oppose vaccine mandates and are trying to include an amendment to “defund” President Biden’s executive order.

And then there’s Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who just wants to shut it down.

Literally, those were her words: “shut it down.”

“This government should be shut down,” Greene said minutes ago on the House floor, as Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reports. “Do not pass this CR. Shut it down.”

Why is Greene demanding a full federal government shutdown?

“Because the people in here cannot control themselves,” declared Greene, who was stripped of all her committee assignments almost immediately upon being sworn in to Congress. “The people in here don’t understand how to balance a checkbook.”

According to information from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget shutting down the federal government could force TSA and air traffic controllers to work without pay, and could halt new applications for federal assistance like Medicare, and halt EPA and FDA inspections – possibly leading to massive illness on top of the coronavirus pandemic, amid the emergence of the new omicron variant.

That’s just for starters.

New mortgage and loan approvals could be halted as the IRS would be unable to verify Social Security numbers, and people who receive food stamps could lose that vital source of funds.

 

Continue Reading

News

Joe Manchin Appears to Be Siding With Republicans Who Are Pushing to Shut Down the Government Over Vaccine Mandates

Published

on

‘Quickly Turning Into a Joe Manchin Rodeo’

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is being described as the necessary and “most likely” the “51st vote” for shutting down the federal government over President Joe Biden’s vaccine “mandate.” Republicans, especially Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, are working to pass an amendment that would ban vaccine mandates nationwide, in exchange for voting to keep the federal government open, just weeks before Christmas.

Sen. Mike Lee, a far right pro-Trump Christian conservative from Utah, “wants an amendment to strip money from vax mandates at 50-vote threshold.” says Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman. “If he gets it, he’ll consent to speed up proceedings, which would likely — almost certainly — avoid a shutdown.”

If he doesn’t, it’s possible the federal government could shut down on Friday.

The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis says “as with most things round these parts, this is quickly turning into a Joe Manchin rodeo.”

CNN’s Manu Raju adds that Sen. Manchin “doesn’t rule out supporting [an] amendment to DEFUND vaccine mandate on businesses. This is why Republican Sens. Marshall and Lee are demanding a 51-vote threshold. Says he backs mandate on feds but tells us he’s ‘less enthused’ with business mandate.”

At CNN Raju and other reporters explain the situation:

Key negotiators from both parties announced a plan Thursday morning that would keep the federal government funded, but due to Senate rules governing procedure, all 100 senators would need to agree in order to quickly pass the plan before Friday, and a handful of GOP senators are standing by their threats to delay the process over the vaccine rules.

Stay tuned.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.