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NC Gov. Pat McCrory Blasts State's Anti-gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill: 'What Is The Problem They're Trying to Solve?'

Presumably fearing an Indiana-style backlash against his state, North Carolina's Republican Governor Pat McCrory has come out strongly against a proposed "religious freedom" bill, WRAL reports:

Mccrory"What is the problem they're trying to solve?" McCrory asked during Monday's broadcast of WFAE's Charlotte Talks program.

Large parts of the program focused on situations where McCrory had differences with conservative Republicans at the state legislature, particularly in the state Senate.

Senators have already passed a bill that would allow magistrates opt out of performing weddings if they have a "sincere religious objection" to performing particular ceremonies. The measure, which is now making its way through the House, is seen as a way to shield magistrates who do not want to perform same-sex marriages. [...]

During the same discussion, McCrory said he didn't see the need for a broader religious freedom bill that would protect a number of businesses and state officials from liability should they refuse service based on their personal religious beliefs. 


Indiana GOP Leaders Scramble to 'Clarify' Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law, Democrats Call for Full Repeal: VIDEO

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At a press conference Monday, Indiana's GOP leaders attempted to calm the growing backlash against the state over its new "religious freedom" law, CNN reports:

Republicans David Long (above left) and Brian Bosma (above right), the state legislature's senate president pro tempore and house speaker, respectively, insisted Monday that the law would not and was not intended to allow discrimination against anyone.

"It is not the intent of the law to discriminate against anyone and it will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone," Long said. "To the extent that we need to clarify through legislative action that this law does not and will not be allowed to discriminate against anyone, we plan to do just that."

The pair came out repeatedly hammering home that the law was not intended to and would not allow businesses to deny services to gay and lesbian individuals in Indiana, which Indiana's Republican Gov. Mike Pence repeatedly refused to say several times during an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

IndianaBosma said that legislators "didn't see that [backlash] coming," which is more than a little disingenuous (read: total bullshit) considering the warnings and protests from business leaders and the general public in the lead up to the bill's passage in the House earlier this month. The picture showing Gov. Mike Pence surrounded by anti-gay activists at the signing of the bill also should have indicated to these lawmakers that the bill was bad news for the state.

Watch the press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

Indiana Democratic leaders, meanwhile, are rightfully skepitcal of any "clairfication" attempts by Republicans and are calling for nothing short of a total repeal of the law.

Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane issued the following statement:

Lanane"Governor Mike Pence won’t say it, but we will: discrimination is wrong and should be illegal in our state. Republican leadership has utterly failed in the handling of this situation and our reputation as a welcoming state has been badly tarnished. Businesses are heading for the exits and everyday Hoosiers are fearful their neighbors will be subject to state-sanctioned discrimination. To quell these concerns we must send a strong signal. We do not condone discrimination: we do not tolerate discrimination: we won’t legislate discrimination. We need to take clear, actionable steps to repair the image of our state. To that end, Senate Democrats are ready to pursue a full repeal of this ‘license to discriminate’ and have drafted legislation to achieve just that. There’s no compromise when it comes to discrimination. This is a second chance and it’s precious. We owe it to every Hoosier to get this right. We can’t afford to forfeit a single job or drive out a single talented individual. We have a responsibility to every Hoosier. Nothing short of repealing this hateful act and setting out clear protections will accomplish this aim.”

House Democratic Leader Scott Pelatht added it was "time [Republicans] admitted that they made a horrible mistake" and said the state would need not "a Band-Aid" or "a rush job," but significant action to show the state is welcome to all.

Watch the Democratic leaders press conference today, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, Freedom Indiana has announced its own legislative solution to protecting all LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination. Under the Fairness for All Hoosiers Act, Indiana would: 

  • Update the state laws against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations to provide protections for LGBT Hoosiers. 
  • Clarify that the recently enacted RFRA cannot be used to allow discrimination prohibited under state or local laws.

Continue reading "Indiana GOP Leaders Scramble to 'Clarify' Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law, Democrats Call for Full Repeal: VIDEO" »


Chris Cuomo Tears Into Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg Over Indiana's Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law: VIDEO

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First Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, then retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and now Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg.

Chris Cuomo is definitely on a roll. 

On CNN this morning, Cuomo and Sprigg duked it out over Indiana's new "religious freedom" law, with Cuomo asking point blank:

"What is it about someone being gay or someone wanting to marry someone of the same sex — what is there in that that is keeping you from being the Christian you want to be?"

During the discussion, Cuomo also made sure audiences were aware of Sprigg and his hate organization's insane views on homosexuality

At the end of the segment, Cuomo challenged Pence to come on the show and defend the new law. 

Watch the fireworks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chris Cuomo Tears Into Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg Over Indiana's Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law: VIDEO" »


Is Georgia's Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bill Quietly Being Killed By State Republicans?

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The fate of Georgia's discriminatory 'religious freedom' bill appears uncertain after a specially called House Judiciary Committee meeting was cancelled Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

The committee was to meet at 10 a.m., to likely decide the fate of a controversial bill for this year. But a member of the committee, who asked not to be identified for fear of angering leadership, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the meeting was off. The committee member did not know if it would be rescheduled, but with lawmakers only meeting in session Tuesday and Thursday before ending their 2015 session, time is rapidly expiring on Senate Bill 129.

Last week, the state's House Judiciary Committee voted to table the bill after an amendment (supported by a number of GOP state reps) was added to keep the bill from allowing discrimination - a move that irked supporters who claimed the amendment had effectively "gutted" the bill's intent. 

Perhaps business-minded Republicans are making sure #BoycottGeorgia doesn't become a thing? We'll find out later this week...


Montana House Narrowly Defeats 'Religious Freedom' Bill With Evenly Split Vote

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The Montana Legislature turned down a proposed referendum Friday after the bill, which resembles Indiana’s religious freedom bill, failed to pass on a 50-50 vote reports the Associated Press. Opponents of HB 615 argued that the bill’s language is so vague it would’ve allowed any church, business or individual to openly discriminate and freely violate laws; supporters of HB 615 countered that the measure would have brought a 1993 federal law to the state level that is aimed at preventing legislation that considerably burdens a person’s right to exercise religion.

The AP adds:

When he presented the proposal Wednesday, Republican Rep. Carl Glimm of Kila said he intended for the bill to prioritize people's "sincerely held religious belief" above job descriptions. He and other supporters said it would allow county clerks to refuse marriage licenses to gay people and let pharmacists refuse to fill birth control prescriptions if they felt it would inhibit their religious practice. [...]

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock said before the floor debate that Montanans respect each other enough not to need a law like Indiana's, which at least one large corporation cited when pulling its business out of that state this week.

"What's happening in Indiana is something that shouldn't be happening in Montana," Bullock said before the floor debate. He added, "We don't need laws like that imported into our state."

The AP notes the bill could be reconsidered Saturday. 


Apple CEO Tim Cook Slams Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Laws: 'America Must Be A Land of Opportunity for Everyone'

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has come out swinging against so-called "religious freedom" bills allowing individuals and businesses to discriminate on religious grounds in an op-ed published in The Washington Post today.

Writes Cook:

MapAmerica’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.

I have great reverence for religious freedom. As a child, I was baptized in a Baptist church, and faith has always been an important part of my life. I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate.

I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Discrimination isn’t something that’s easy to oppose. It doesn’t always stare you in the face. It moves in the shadows. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us. [...]

Men and women have fought and died fighting to protect our country’s founding principles of freedom and equality. We owe it to them, to each other and to our future to continue to fight with our words and our actions to make sure we protect those ideals. The days of segregation and discrimination marked by “Whites Only” signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.

Head HERE to read Cook's op-ed in full.

This is not the first time Cook has spoken out against these types of bills either. Following Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signing the state's "license to discriminate" bill into law last week, Cook tweeted:

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has not yet signed his state's "religious freedom" bill into law but has pledged to do so.

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