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Rachel Maddow Does A Post-Mortem On Missouri's Anti-Gay Former House Speaker: VIDEO

Diehl

Rachel Maddow last night took time to talk about political resignations, noting that political resignations often come in one of three varietals: 1) Wow, that was fast, 2) The prolonged painful crumble towards an inevitable resignation, and 3) Oh my god, how is it possible that guy hasn't resigned yet? As Maddow points out, there are examples of each type of political resignation currently playing out on the public stage. One such resignation story belongs to Missouri's anti-gay, now former Speaker of the State House of Representatives, John Diehl. His fall from power can be filed under the "wow that was fast" tab. 

Watch Maddow document Diehl's initial intransigence against the allegations he faced (you'll recall he was caught in a sexting scandal with a Freshman intern) followed by his quick capitulation, AFTER THE JUMP...

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College Wrestler Michael Johnson Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison in Controversial HIV Case

Screenshot 2015-05-15 17.49.50

Michael Johnson, once a college wrestler at Lindenwood, University in Missouri, was expelled from his school and arrested in 2013 after a one-time sex partner reported to the police that Johnson had infected him with HIV. Johnson had recently informed the man of his newfound HIV status, but according to the man, he believed that Johnson knew of his status while they were sexually active. In the two years since Johnson was first arrested, five other men have come forward with similar allegations, one of whom is also now HIV positive. In their investigation, authorities found video recordings that Johnson had made of himself having sex with multiple men, evidence which the state used against him in its criminal suit.

Johnson’s court trial came to a swift close earlier this week where a jury found him guilty of two Class A felonies for infecting two men and four Class B felonies for exposing other men to the virus. Ultimately the trail boiled down to two opposing narratives. All throughout his trial Johnson insisted that he’d disclosed his status to each of his partners once he knew he’d become positive himself. Each of his accusers claimed that they had no idea that Johnson was poz. 

Writing for Buzzfeed, Steven Thrasher describes the state’s case against Johnson as one shot through with dated, unreliable science from an era in which we did not fully understand HIV as well as high-strung emotions. During his days as a competitive athlete Johnson often used the stage name “Tiger Mandingo,” an identity that he would often use on the hookup apps that he used to meet men. 

Today the jury handed down its final sentence--a total of 60 years in prison, that Johnson’s legal time is challenging for him to be able to serve concurrently, which would cut his sentence down to 30 years.

Wrote AIDS activist Peter Staley on Facebook:

Missouri, and Johnson's sex partners, may well feel they got some sort of justice today, but at what cost? This verdict and sentence will make it much harder to slow the spread of HIV. Others will become infected because of today's "justice." This sentence practically screams "don't get tested" to every citizen in the state, especially young black men.


Missouri's Anti-gay House Speaker Resigns After Getting Caught Sexting with Freshman Intern

John Diehl, Missouri's anti-gay Speaker of the state's House of Representatives, has resigned in the wake of his sexting scandal with an unnamed college freshman intern, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

Diehl"For the good of my party, the caucus, and this state, I’m not going to further jeopardize what we have accomplished this year and what can be accomplished in the future," the Republican from Town and Country said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "Therefore, I will be resigning the position of Speaker of the House and the office of State Representative in a way that allows for an orderly transition.”

More from Diehl's statement:

“In my time in the General Assembly, I’m proud of my long legislative legacy that was built upon being honest with members and doing what is in the best interest of our caucus and this body. I am proud to have led us to the largest Republican majority in state history, the first income tax cut in nearly one hundred years, and an override of the governor’s veto of Missouri’s congressional redistricting map.

"I have acknowledged making a serious error in judgment by sending the text messages. It was wrong and I am truly sorry. Too often we hear leaders say they’re sorry but are unwilling to accept the consequences. I understand that, as a leader, I am responsible for my actions and I am willing to face the consequences.

Diehl's anti-gay track record was reported on by Right Wing Watch:

Earlier this year, Diehl and the president pro-tempore of the state Senate filed an amicus brief in defense of the state’s anti-gay-marriage amendment, leading the Missouri Family Policy Council, the state affiliate of the Family Research Council, to praise the speaker “for demonstrating moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for the sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.” The state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention thanked him for “fighting to defend biblical marriage.” 

Diehl also co-sponsored a bill in 2012 that would have banned gay-straight alliances in Missouri.


Married Anti-Gay Missouri House Speaker Busted for Sexting with Freshman Intern

John Diehl, Missouri's anti-gay Speaker of the state's House of Representatives, has been caught in a sexting scandal with an unnamed college freshman intern, admitting to displaying "poor judgment" after first denying any such 'sexts' ever took place. Diehl is married with three children. 

The Kansas City Star reports:

JohnDiehlJrFloorThe conversations unveil a flirty rapport and suggest an intimacy between arguably the state’s most influential lawmaker and a young woman taking some pleasure in a secret association.

The texts show occasional efforts by Diehl and the intern to meet in person. They range from mundane chatter, about boring meetings and dreading speeches, to the more sexually suggestive.

Diehl initially declined to comment. But about six hours after the story was posted online, he issued a statement.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry to those I let down,” Diehl’s statement said. “I apologize for the poor judgment I displayed that put me and those closest to me in this situation. I also regret that the woman has been dragged into this situation. The buck stops here. I ask for forgiveness. I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.”

Multiple sources helped The Star confirm that the screenshots of the texts, which show Diehl’s business cellphone number, originated from the intern’s smartphone. The text conversations also included photographs of each of them. And others who know Diehl well said they recognized the language and tone of the conversations from their own text exchanges with him.

The screenshots of the conversations between Diehl and the intern also reveal that the intern at one point saved Diehl's number in her phone as "Frank Underwood."

Right Wing Watch reports on Diehl's history of advocating against gay rights causes:
 
Earlier this year, Diehl and the president pro-tempore of the state Senate filed an amicus brief in defense of the state’s anti-gay-marriage amendment, leading the Missouri Family Policy Council, the state affiliate of the Family Research Council, to praise the speaker “for demonstrating moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for the sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.” The state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention thanked him for “fighting to defend biblical marriage.” 
 
Diehl also co-sponsored a bill in 2012 that would have banned gay-straight alliances in Missouri.

You can read some of the textual conversations for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...
 

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Missouri Teacher Suspended For Showing 1950s 'Stranger Danger' Gay Pedophile Film: VIDEO

Teacher

A history teacher in Missouri has been suspended after showing a 1959 police training video to demonstrate how attitudes to homosexuality have changed in the intervening years, reports FOX.

MKen Simon (above), who has been teaching at Raymore Peculiar High School for 47 years, was removed from his classroom just weeks before retirement following complaints from a student.

The film states that homosexuals “demand an intimate relationship with members of their own sex” and shows a forming relationship between a man and a boy.

Now, parents and others in the community and district have signed a petition to reinstate Simon.

Donna McDonald, one of 1,300 people who have signed the petition, said:

“Everyone who knows him knows how wonderful he is. If there were more teachers like him, it would be a better place. We have to stand behind our teachers.”

The Raymore-Peculiar school superintendent has refused to comment.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Missouri Senator Wants To Fire County Recorders Who Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Emery

Missouri officials would lose their jobs for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — or recognizing their unions for any purpose — under a bill introduced by a Republican state senator. 

Senate Bill 555, by Sen. Ed Emery (above) — which is similar to anti-gay legislation introduced in other states, but even more extreme — seeks to undermine a likely U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality in June. 

The bill states that no same-sex marriage can be "recognized or enforced for any purpose in this state." It also states that no state or local funds can be used for the licensing or support of same-sex marriages, and that employees who violate those provisions "may be terminated and shall no longer receive any salary and employee benefits."

KOMU-TV reported this week on SB 555, which was actually introduced back in February: 

[Boone County Recorder Nora] Dietzel said she thinks this idea is "outlandish" and that her job requires her to follow the law, even if it is decided on the state, federal, or judicial level.

"Our personal opinion about same-sex marriage or whether or not that is right or wrong does not enter into it at all," Dietzel said. ... 

"It certainly puts recorders in a bad position having to choose between doing what they feel their duty is and being attacked at a very personal level," Dietzel said.

In defending the bill, Emery invoked the popular right-wing argument that marriage was created by God: 

"We need to make a clear statement by the legislature that acknowledges the facts of this relationship versus the politics of it," Emery said.

Emery also said it isn't up to the state or any government employee to define marriage.

"The state did not create marriage, it did not define marriage, it simply acknowledges marriage by our laws," Emery said.

SB 555 is an emergency act — "necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, peace and safety" — meaning it would take effect immediately if passed. However, given that the state's legislative session ends in two weeks and the bill hasn't had a hearing, that seems unlikely. 

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the city of St. Louis, as well as in St. Louis and Jackson counties. Additionally, Missouri recognizes same-sex marriages from other states. 

Surprisingly, Emery hasn't experienced much backlash over the bill on Twitter, although we did find this little gem: 


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