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Religious University Can Continue to Not Recognize LGBTQ Student Group For Now, SCOTUS Says

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A religious university can continue to refuse to recognize an LGBTQ student organization for now, the Supreme Court said in a Friday evening order from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

A lower court had ordered Yeshiva University, a private Orthodox Jewish research school in New York City to recognize the student group, but Justice Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over the Second Circuit, which includes Connecticut, New York, and Vermont, temporarily stayed that ruling, “pending further order,” as lower court and state court cases continue.

“A New York state trial court ruled that as a public accommodation, Yeshiva was covered under the New York City Human Rights Law and required to provide the Pride Alliance the same access to facilities as dozens of other student groups,” The Washington Post reports. “The group said that means access to a classroom, bulletin boards and a club fair booth.”

Yeshiva is an Orthodox institution, and the “Orthodox tradition only supports heterosexual relations and only within the context of heterosexual marriage,” the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has said.

Well-known University of Texas School of Law Professor of law Steve Vladeck called Justice Sonomayor’s decision “surprising.”

“Justice Sotomayor, acting by herself, has stayed a New York state trial court’s injunction that had ordered Yeshiva University to recognize an LGBTQ student group. This surprising—both that she acted without referring the matter to the full Court and that she granted a stay,” Vladeck said.

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage says that while Sotomayor’s move does not say how the full Supreme Court will ultimately rule, the conservative “majority will likely allow discrimination as religious freedom.”

Indeed, María Montserrat Alvarado, the executive director of the right-wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been described as “Shadow Agents of the Religious Right,” hailed Justice Sotomayor’s decision.

“Justice Sotomayor just protected Yeshiva University from having to violate its Torah values and betray its religious identity,” Alvarado tweeted. “This is an important moment for a religious institution that the Jewish community relies on for continuity.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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BREAKING NEWS

Republican Attempts to Create Special Religious Rights Fail as Bipartisan Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate

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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.

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.

READ MORE: Franklin Graham’s Ugly Lie Ahead of Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Bill

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.

READ MORE: 37 Senators Just Voted Against a Bill Protecting Same-Sex and Interracial Marriages. All Were Republicans.

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.

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS

‘Denied’: Trump Just Lost Big at the Supreme Court Over His Tax Returns

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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 

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BREAKING NEWS

Far Right J6 Rioter Who Attacked Pelosi’s Office ‘Surprised’ as Judge Sends Her Directly to Jail After Verdict: Report

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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.”

READ MORE: Anti-LGBTQ Congressman for Colorado Springs Deluged With Angry Responses Over Club Q Tweet That Doesn’t Say Gay

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.”

READ MORE: ‘Blood on Your Hands’: Critics Blast Boebert for Spreading Anti-LGBTQ Hate and Lies After Club Q Mass Shooting

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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