Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order requiring state agencies to investigate anyone, including parents, involved in or facilitating the delivery of medically-necessary gender-affirming care to transgender youth and teens has just been blocked, temporarily, by a Texas judge.
“The court finds sufficient cause to enter a temporary injunction,” the judge ruled Friday evening, according to The New York Times’s J. David Goodman who writes at The Times the judge said Abbott’s order “had been improperly adopted and violated the State Constitution.”
In stunning news, Lamba Legal revealed in today’s Texas District Court hearing a Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) employee, “Randa Mulanax testified that DFPS investigators were required to prioritize and investigate reports of gender-affirming care, forbidden to close such investigations, and told not to put anything in writing. She resigned.”
Abbott’s order has no legal or medical basis. According to a new report, Abbott campaign officials called labeling care for transgender youth and teens “child abuse” a political “winner,” with one comparing medically-approved and necessary care to cutting “off the hand of their kid.” Abbott is running for re-election against popular Democratic former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
“This is a massive relief for thousands of families across Texas terrorized by the governor’s order,” says Gillian Branstetter, National Women’s Law Center press secretary, “as well as evidence of the dangers of politicizing public agencies entrusted with the safety and welfare of children. Fight likely headed to Texas Supreme Court.”
The judge scheduled a trial for July 11, according to Equality Case Files.
This article has been updated with additional information.
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Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate
Far right activists and organizations for months have been falsely claiming legislation to protect same-sex marriages would destroy different-sex marriages and take away religious rights from ordinary Americans, but early Tuesday evening on a bipartisan basis the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, 61-36.
61-36: Senate passes marriage equality legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages under federal law. 60 votes were needed. The Respect for Marriage Act now heads back to the House for final approval. pic.twitter.com/vKvliW5pIU
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) November 29, 2022
The legislation itself is very simple. It essentially leaves in place the status quo on marriage from the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell ruling. Should right wing Supreme Court justices strike that ruling down, the Respect for Marriage Act would require the federal government and states to recognize any marriages that were legal when they were entered, now and in the future.
35 states currently still have same-sex marriage bans on the books. If the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell, many of those could become law immediately.
In order to overcome a Republican-led filibuster Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday agreed to allow three GOP Senators to offer amendments to the legislation, amendments that would have created special religious rights to discriminate.
An amendment from Senator James Lankford (R-OK) failed, as did one from Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT). 60 votes were needed for each.
Sen. Lee’s was seen by some as the most extreme, and was strongly supported by the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts, in a false claim, had said: “The ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ contains so many infringements and encroachments on religious freedoms and on conscience that Republicans should unite solidly against it. Instead, it should be called the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act.'”
Far right evangelical activist Franklin Graham falsely claimed the “bill strikes a blow at religious freedom for individuals & ministries & is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act.'”
The Pennsylvania Family Council wrongly called it “a bill that would redefine marriage and attack religious freedom & Christian social services.”
But despite GOP fear-mongering, the legislation has religious protections built in, protections so strong 20 faith-based organizations including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, have supported its passage.
The bill now heads back to the House for a final vote, and then to President Joe Biden, who has said he will sign it into law.
"What a great day," says Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as Senate approves legislation to codify protections for lawful same-sex and interracial marriages.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 29, 2022
‘Denied’: Trump Just Lost Big at the Supreme Court Over His Tax Returns
The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday afternoon rejected a request from Donald Trump, asking that it block a lower court ruling ordering that six years of the former president’s tax returns be given to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Trump has been battling the Committee for three years.
The order says Chief Justice John Roberts referred Trump’s request to the full Court. It does not say if any justices agreed with Trump.
“The application for stay of the mandate presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by The Chief Justice is vacated,” the ruling reads.
But Democrats need to move quickly.
“The decision by the court in a brief order noting no dissenting votes means the committee can try to access the documents ahead of the Republican take-over of the House in January,” NBC News notes. “The committee, however, has not said how quickly it expects to get the documents. Upon taking control, Republicans are expected to withdraw the request.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour
Far Right J6 Rioter Who Attacked Pelosi’s Office ‘Surprised’ as Judge Sends Her Directly to Jail After Verdict: Report
A federal judge on Monday wasted no time incarcerating Riley Williams, ordering U.S. Marshals to take into custody the Pennsylvania woman immediately after the jury handed down guilty verdicts in six of the eight charges in her January 6 Capitol riot trial.
Politico reports jurors convicted Williams, who was 22 on the day of the insurrection, on charges related to “participating in a civil disorder, impeding officers who tried to clear the Capitol Rotunda and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.”
“But the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on two of the central counts in the case: whether Williams ‘aided and abetted’ in the theft of a laptop from Pelosi’s office that the speaker used to make Zoom calls amid the Covid pandemic, and obstruction of Congress’ Jan. 6 proceeding — a felony that carries a 20-year maximum penalty.”
NBC News describes Williams as a “far-right extremist,” and reports she is “a devotee of Nick Fuentes and a far-right, white nationalist movement she is affiliated with called the ‘Groypers.'” Fuentes has been described as a Christian nationalist, white nationalist, and “white supremacist leader and organizer.”
Williams, The Washington Post reported last week, “was among a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the building while Congress was meeting to confirm Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, according to prosecutors. She is charged with eight crimes, including aiding and abetting the theft of a laptop that Pelosi (D-Calif.) used to conduct video conferences with U.S. and foreign officials.”
During the trial, “jurors were shown video of Williams exhorting rioters to push past security lines of police and climb stairs to the House speaker’s suite of offices. In his closing argument Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Dalke described Williams as a zealous instigator who helped ‘weaponize’ a seemingly rudderless crowd.”
Dalke also told jurors that the “danger of the mob is in the numbers, in the crush of people in that chaos.”
“And the danger is so much worse when someone … is focusing the power of that mob. Everywhere the defendant went on January 6th, she dialed up the chaos.”
CBS News Congressional Correspondent Scott MacFarlane, who’s been extensively covering the January 6 trials, reports: “Judge orders Riley Williams go directly to jail. She’ll be in US Marshals custody until her February sentencing. Her defense attorney tells me it’s a surprise to Williams.”
“Williams,” MacFarlane adds, “who’d successfully secured court permission to travel to multiple ‘Renaissance fairs’ pending trial & had brought pink purse to court, goes to jail. A man who was sitting in courtroom for her trial carried her purse outside. Her defense says ruling was shock to them.”
Image via Shutterstock
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