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Anti-Gay Hate Group Blames Satan, Pawns For Demise Of Anti-LGBT Legislation In Texas

Welch.Dave

Yesterday we told you how an anti-gay marriage amendment died Wednesday in Texas, joining 20 other anti-LGBT proposals that failed to pass the state Legislature this year. 

The Texas Pastor Council, an anti-gay hate group that backed much of the legislation, sent out an email Thursday blaming two Republican senators for the demise of the anti-gay marriage amendment. The email from the Pastor Council's Dave Welch (above), goes on to say that the Legislature did "nothing meaningful to protect religious freedom, traditional marriage or oppose the radical agenda of the sexual perversity/gender confusion."

Welch blames "the pro-LGBT, anti-Christian corporate lobby" along with the "moral weakness" of Republicans in leadership, along with a Democratic Party "deeply controlled by the LGBT forces." 

Finally, Welch says the good news is that pastors all over Texas are no longer willing to be passive while "the enemy of our souls and his pawns influencing media, entertainment, education and politics assault God’s moral law and created order."

From the email:  

TXpcIt is an astounding and appalling reality that in one of the most Republican-dominated state governments in the U.S., with a strong majority in both House and Senate, that the Texas legislature did nothing meaningful to protect religious freedom, traditional marriage or oppose the radical agenda of the sexual perversity/gender confusion.  

The “why” is clear.

The political influence of the pro-LGBT, anti-Christian corporate lobby combined with the moral weakness of key Republicans holding leadership positions on House and Senate trumped the clear principles of the GOP Platform, the will of the Texas voters, pastors from all over Texas who stood and spoke boldly. That, combined with a Democrat party entirely and deeply controlled by the LGBT forces and every “D” Senator and Representative in their pocket, neutralized what should have been a pro-family legislative session.

The good news is that the only way for evil to triumph is for us to be silent, and we have proven that pastors all over Texas are no longer willing to be passive as the enemy of our souls and his pawns influencing media, entertainment, education and politics assault God’s moral law and created order.

We have, indeed, just begun to fight for God’s righteousness and justice.

But it gets even worse for the Texas Pastor Council. Thursday was also the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which prompted some of the anti-LGBT state legislation. And the Pastor Council led the unsuccessful petition drive to repeal the ordinance. One pastor affiliated with the group said recently that anti-LGBT groups have spent $500,000 on a lawsuit challenging the city's decision to reject their petition, which is currently on appeal

The pro-LGBT Texas Freedom Network issued a press release Thursday marking the occasion: 

DownloadTo mark today’s first anniversary of the Houston City Council’s passage of a comprehensive Equal Rights Ordinance, TFN President Kathy Miller issued the following statement: 

“The passage of the Houston ordinance was a landmark moment in an ongoing campaign to ensure equality for all Texans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. No one should be fired from a job, evicted from their home or denied public services simply because of who they are or whom they love. All Texans should be equal under law.

This year Texas legislators filed more than 20 bills promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We look forward to the day when the Legislature instead follows the example of cities like Houston and protects all Texans from discrimination.”

Houston was the last major city in Texas to pass a comprehensive civil rights ordinance that includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as well as other characteristics such as race, religion, sex and military status.

Opponents organized a petition drive to put repeal of HERO on a citywide ballot. But the city and a state district court judge determined that opponents had failed to obtain the required number of petition signatures. Jurors in the court case found that the petition included many forged and illegible signatures. Opponents are appealing the decision.

Texas law does not include discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.


Federal Judge Again Tosses Gay Couple's Lawsuit Against Airline Over Sex Toy Taped To Luggage

Bridgeman

A federal judge has again thrown out a gay couple's lawsuit against United Airlines alleging that a baggage handler removed a sex toy from their bag and taped it to the outside to humiliate them. 

Last week we told you how the lawsuit from Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger was finally headed to trial four years after the incident. But after three days of testimony, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt granted summary judgment to the airline. 

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

Hoyt decided that the plaintiffs never proved their case, which remains a "whodunit," the judge noted, because no one with TSA or United was revealed as the definite perpetrator in the mystery of the rifled and manipulated bag.

"If you have two operatives and you do not eliminate one of those operatives by clear and convincing evidence, then you cannot go to judgement. There's nothing to submit to the jury – especially in light of the fact that you didn't sue both of them," Hoyt explained from the bench.

"You have not presented clear and convincing evidence that TSA did not handle these bags and cause the situation that occurred. … In fact we know TSA handled these bags. We know that they scan them and in many instances they go into bags."

The couple's attorney says he plans to appeal Hoyt's decision. Hoyt initially threw out the case in 2012, only to have it reinstated by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In case you're wondering, United Airlines maintains a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.  


Gay Couple's Lawsuit Against Airline Over Sex Toy Taped To Their Luggage Finally Heads To Trial

Ht_bridgeman_borger_luggage_lawsuit_lpl_120829_wmain

Four years after baggage handlers removed a sex toy from a gay couple's luggage and taped it to the outside of one of their bags, their federal lawsuit against Continental Airlines is finally going to trial this week. 

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger filed the suit after a trip to Costa Rica in May 2011. They returned to the United States on a Continental flight through Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, cleared customs and rechecked their bags for the domestic trip home to Norfolk, Va.

Upon retrieving their belongings, they discovered an unexpected object taped between the zipper of one piece of luggage: A purple sex toy. The Virginia couple's 2012 federal lawsuit, filed in Houston, alleges that the device had been removed purposefully from the duffle and slathered with a greasy, foul-smelling substance to embarrass them. The petition claims the airline's baggage handlers intentionally inflicted emotional distress and invaded their privacy by searching through their luggage.

Reports about the incident, with many featuring photos of the sex toy, went viral after the couple's lawsuit was filed. From an NBC News story in 2012: 

Onlookers began laughing when they saw the bag, causing the men severe emotional trauma, according to the lawsuit.

Bridgeman speculated an airline employee went through the bag — which was closed with a simple zipper — found the sex toy, saw that it belonged to a man and decided to humiliate the owner.

“I absolutely, fervently believe that this was intentional,” Bridgeman, 34, told NBC News. “It was very sick and it was very wrong and it was just maliciously taped to the top and targeted because we’re gay.”

A district judge initially dismissed the case, but it was reinstated by an appeals court. Continental's new parent company — United Continental Holdings — has continued to unsuccessfully attempt to get it thrown out. From the Chronicle:  

The lawsuit claims that Bridgeman and Borger "experienced extreme shock and horror" when they saw their toy exposed and "when observing the surprised and/or laughing faces of numerous onlookers in the baggage claim area."

The men, who are in their 30s, claim that they experienced "such a high degree of shock and embarrassment that they felt compelled to call two friends to come to the airport to assist them."

According to court records, Bridgeman, a real estate agent, and Borger, an architect, report that the incident caused them severe emotional distress that resulted in anxiety, paranoia, sleeping difficulties and body weight fluctuations.


Texas Lawmakers Advance 'Pastor Protection Act,' Continue Full-Fledged Assault On Same-Sex Marriage

Bellalert-450w

Last week, we told you how witnesses compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia when they testified in support of a bill that would prevent churches and pastors from being forced to participate in gay weddings. 

On Monday, the Texas Senate responded by advancing the bill in a 21-10 vote, with one Democrat joining the chamber's 20 Republicans. 

The Texas Tribune reports on passage of the so-called "Pastor Protection Act": 

State Sen. José Rodríguez, an El Paso Democrat who voted against the measure, questioned whether it could be used to justify a refusal to perform interracial marriages — shielding religious officials from prosecution "no matter how extreme [their] views are."

Pointing out that same-sex marriage is banned in Texas, state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, asked what problem the bill was trying to fix. 

Whitmire said it was "unheard of" that a same-sex couple would try to force a pastor to perform a wedding ceremony if that pastor did not accept their marriage. 

"They just want to be left alone to love their partner, they want to get married with clergy in a setting that embraces that union," he said.  

More from the The American-Statesman

The legislation also stipulates that clergy, religious organizations and people employed by a religious group could not be sued for damages, prosecuted for criminal violations, lose tax-exempt status or forfeit a government contract or grant for refusing to provide services, open facilities or sell goods related to same-sex marriages.

“I think the language is awfully broad,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, adding that a clause protecting groups supervised and controlled by a religious organization would seem to allow for-profit health care, nursing home and other companies to refuse to serve same-sex couples.

The Texas House is set to vote on an identical bill Tuesday. 

Also Tuesday, the House will vote on a far more dangerous bill, by Rep. Cecil Bell (above), that seeks to undermine a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. 

The Texas Observer reports: 

The bill would bar state and local employees from issuing, enforcing or recognizing same-sex marriage licenses—and prohibit public monies from being used to do so—regardless of any court order.

LGBT advocates say if the high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, HB 4105 would set up a showdown between state and federal law, costing Texas millions of dollars in litigation and potentially delaying the effectiveness of the decision by years. They say the bill would unleash chaos similar to what’s been seen in Alabama over same-sex marriage, and generate the type of business backlash associated with passage of an anti-LGBT religious freedom law in Indiana. ... 

Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director at the ACLU of Texas, said HB 4105 is designed to give Texas another legal basis for challenging same-sex marriage in court: state sovereignty. And she said it could be used as a model by other states for resisting the Supreme Court ruling.

“The last time that we saw similar efforts to undermine court rulings about what the Constitution requires was when Southern states attempted to use the power of the purse to avoid having to comply with federal court orders ordering school desegregation,” Robertson said. “Those tactics were rejected, but obviously it took years of litigation to get to that point. HB 4105 is trying to do the same kind of end run around the Constitution.”

Despite comparisons to Indiana's religious freedom law, few businesses have come out publicly against the Texas anti-gay marriage bill, according to The Washington Blade

As Texas lawmakers prepare to vote on legislation aimed at circumventing an anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, the state's business leaders are largely keeping quiet.

The business community's opposition in Indiana helped ignite a media firestorm against a religious freedom law there that is so far absent in the Texas debate. ... 

Robert Wood, spokesperson for the Texas Association of Businesses, said his organization hasn't "taken any position, nor testified" on the legislation and doesn't have any comment at this time.

You can take action against House Bill 4105 here and here


Ted Cruz's Father Suggests He'll Die Fighting Same-Sex Marriage, Which Will 'Destroy America': VIDEO

Cruz.Rafael

Ted Cruz's whacko father is at it again.  

Rafael Cruz, a preacher from Lewisville, Texas, addressed a Republican group in Alvin, Texas, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on same-sex marriage last week, according to Right Wing Watch

While boasting that his son, Ted Cruz, has introduced two measures in the U.S. Senate to block a Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, Cruz told the audience that “we are going to have to stand firm on the agenda to destroy America.”

“I lost my freedom once, I’m not willing to lose it again. I will die fighting before I lose it again and so should you,” he added.

Rafael Cruz went on to say that same-sex marriage will lead to pastors being forced to perform gay weddings, even though that would violate the First Amendment and has never happened in any state where it's legal. He also said America is at a crossroads and Christians must choose between obeying God and obeying government. 

The question is, if you're seeking to pass laws banning same-sex marriage, aren't you ultimately advocating that people obey government? If you're going to obey God, why even bother with the government part? Why not just take up arms and "die fighting"? Better yet, just hurry up and die. 

Watch clips from Cruz's speech via Right Wing Watch, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Ted Cruz's Father Suggests He'll Die Fighting Same-Sex Marriage, Which Will 'Destroy America': VIDEO" »


LGBT Advocates In Texas May Back Marriage Bill Championed By Anti-Gay Hate Groups

Welch

In an extreme example of how politics sometimes makes for strange bedfellows, LGBT advocates in Texas say they're prepared to endorse legislation championed by two anti-gay hate groups. 

Representatives from Equality Texas and the ACLU of Texas say as long as it's narrowly written, they're likely to support a bill protecting pastors and churches from being forced to participate in same-sex weddings. 

The bill is being pushed by the Texas Pastor Council and Texas Values, two prominent anti-LGBT groups. A few weeks ago, the Pastor Council brought in dozens of religious leaders to testify in support of the bill. (Executive Director Dave Welch is shown addressing the pastors on the Capitol steps above.) 

Of course, pastors and churches are already protected from being forced to participate in same-sex weddings under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The Texas Observer reports: 

Aclutx“It’s my job here at the ACLU to protect religious liberty, and if the bill is really about religious liberty, we’re going to come out in favor of it,” said Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director for the ACLU of Texas. “There’s not a single example of any clergy being forced to perform a wedding that they don’t believe is consistent with their faith, but nevertheless we agree with the principle.”

Robertson said other states have enacted similar protections in conjunction with marriage equality legislation or nondiscrimination laws. Texas is one of only 13 states where same-sex marriage is still banned, but the U.S. Supreme Court is widely expected to change that next month.

“There’s a reason that we can all get together on this bill,” Robertson said. “It’s a principle we all agree on, and people can take comfort in the fact that their personal faith traditions are not going to be threatened. There’s room for both religious liberty and equality. We have a big Constitution.”

This same issue came to the fore this week when anti-gay U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia erroneously suggested during oral arguments that pastors could be forced to perform same-sex weddings if the court rules in favor of nationwide marriage equality. GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush later repeated Scalia's claim. 

The Texas Pastor Council's Welch told the Observer he isn't surprised LGBT groups are prepared to support the bill, acknowledging it's redundant with existing constitutional protections.

Welch said his group will continue to push other "religious freedom" legislation that would establish a license to discriminate against LGBT people. More than 20 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in Texas this year. But most are stalled amid opposition from business leaders, including the Texas Association of Business, which is the state's powerful chamber of commerce. 

From the Observer

“Some of the Republican leadership are going to have to face the music if they don’t stand up for the principles upon which they were elected,” Welch said. “If they’re going to cater to the profit-at-all-cost corporate greed of the Texas Association of Business, which is basically standing on an empty platform of deception, they’ll ultimately lose the next election. … If Apple is going to pull out of Texas because we’re going to defend our religious freedom that has produced the same climate that brought them here to begin with, then frankly, move back to California.”


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