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GOP-Controlled House Committee Kills Education Bill Amendment to Protect LGBT Students from Discrimination

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The Republican-controlled House Education & the Workforce Committee yesterday prohibited a vote on the inclusion of non-discrimination protections for LGBT students as part of an education reform bill, reports the Washington Blade.

During a committee markup of the Student Success Act, the committee voted along the party-line by 21-15 to table the amendment. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is considered a supporter of marriage equality and recently became a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, is one of the Republicans who voted to table the amendment.

The proposed amendment was submitted by gay Democratic Rep. Jared Polis (above) who is also co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus.

Introducing the amendment, Polis said:

“This is something I think we can all agree on. Schools are there to serve all learners. I hope we don’t play out our social prejudices and arguments on the kids in school because it truly doesn’t matter in this context whether you think they ought to be able to have their marriages accepted by the government.

"Here, it’s simply about should they be able to go to school free of the fear of intimidation, and every child has that right as an American.”

FoxxHowever, North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx (right) said that although she abhors “any kind of discrimination or any kind of intimidation,” she objected to the amendment because it was not relevant to the larger bill.

Republican Committee Chairman John Kline agreed with Foxx’s assessment, stating “the amendment is beyond the scope of a bill, which addresses improving elementary and secondary school education.”

Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Republicans “had an opportunity to act to better the lives of LGBT students and send a strong signal that harassment and discrimination have no place in our country’s public schools” but “chose to engage in legislative gamesmanship instead.”


Long Island To Have First Openly Gay GOP Legislative Candidate

Amos Goodman

Suffolk County will have an open seat in the county legislature when Second District seat holder Jay Schneiderman of the Independent Party is termed out at the end of the year after 12 years in the position. Likely candidate in the running for the seat is Amos Goodman of Springs (pictured above), a 31-year-old financial consultant who will be running on the Republican ticket.

Goodman is also openly gay, a facet of his personality that he makes no effort to hide, but says,

It’s probably the least interesting thing I am. It’s not a secret, but it’s one of 20 things I am. I’m not embarrassed about it. It’s not something I have to hide, but it’s not something I have to telegraph at every turn.

Perhaps more interesting is that Goodman is a member of both the National Rifle Association and the Human Rights Campaign.

The chairs of both South Fork Republican committees say that Goodman should be the choice in November, and Goodman has received support from party leadership at all levels. Goodman will be the first openly gay Republican to run for Long Island legislature. The Democrats have not yet revealed their choice for candidacy to oppose Goodman this fall.


Conservative Alan Keyes Says Legalization Of Gay Marriage Could Inspire ‘New Revolution And Civil War’

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 5.57.50 PMReligious right icon Alan Keyes published a long-winded statement in a WorldNetDaily column on the "dangers" of gay marriage reports Right Wing News WatchKeyes, who thinks gay marriage will lead to Nazi-style tyranny and "the murder of the masses," wrote that a Supreme Court decision favoring marriage equality "could very well be as momentous as the Dred Scott decision in the 19th century, and just as fraught with potentially fatal implications for the future Liberty and Union of the people of the United States."

Same-sex marriage, according to Keyes, represents a "humanly fabricated right" that undermines "the unalienable right essential for the natural conception and perpetuation of humanity itself." In all, Keyes concludes that a pro-gay-rights ruling from the Supreme Court will serve as a reason for a new revolution and civil war.

Said Keyes:

"This would be an attack on the people of the United States more grievous than that which led the first generation of Americans to declare their independence from Great Britain. If even a significant minority of Americans continue in their attachment to the unalienable right of liberty (as opposed to the licentious freedom that has, in some quarters usurped that name) this attack is likely to produce the separation and dissolution of the United States, for like humanity itself the United States is inconceivable apart from respect for God-endowed unalienable right."

Keyes' second half of his statement, which cites that gay marriage rights stands in opposition to the 9th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is available on Loyal to Liberty.


House GOP Backs Away from SCOTUS Gay Marriage Cases This Time

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At a news conference earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced the House GOP would not intervene in the upcoming same-sex marriage cases set to be heard before the Supreme Court later this year. 

Back in 2011, Boehner helped spearhead the Republican-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court after the Obama Administration announced it would not do so. BLAG went on to waste more than $2 million in taxpayer money in its failed attempt to keep the federal government from having to recognize legal same-sex marriages. 

The Washington Blade reports:

“I don’t expect that we’re going to weigh in on this,” Boehner said. “The court will make its decision and that’s why they’re there, to be the highest court in the land.” [...]

Evan Wolfson, president of the LGBT group Freedom to Marry, said House Republicans made a “commendable decision” not to participate in the marriage cases this time around and called it “a real step forward” after defending DOMA in court.

“Their evolution reflects the momentum for the freedom to marry nationwide, as well as the quiet hope of most Republican officials and operatives that the Supreme Court will rule in our favor and bring the country to national resolution, thereby rescuing them from their prior stance against the freedom to marry,” Wolfson said. “They know their past pandering to part of their base is way out of step not only with a majority of the American people and independents, but with Republicans under 50 and even with young Evangelicals.” 

The Blade adds House Democrats are expected to file a friend-of-court brief before the Supreme Court supporting the freedom to marry. 


GOP Congressman Chris Smith: 'I Do Not Construe Homosexual Rights As Human Rights'

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Republican New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith made the anti-gay remark during a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday where the subject on hand was human rights in Nigeria.

Smith, who is also the chairman of the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee, made the comment in response to Ambassador Robert P. Jackson, who had addressed LGBT rights in that African country to the full committee. Smith's comments in full:

"As you know there are fundamental differences in the United States over the whole LBGT (sic) issue. I am a strong believer in traditional marriage and do not construe homosexual rights as human rights. Others have a different view and I certainly respect them."

The HRC immediately issued a statement and made note that his comments fell on the same day a dozen people were arrested in Nigeria for taking part in a same-sex wedding:

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“On a day when 12 men were reportedly arrested for simply attending an alleged LGBT wedding in Nigeria, and as reports keep emerging about the impact of Nigeria’s anti-LGBT law on the lives of Nigerians, it is unconscionable that Representative Smith would not only object to the basic human rights of LGBT people, but argue that their rights should not be part of the administration’s policy in Nigeria,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global.

The LGBT Caucus of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee also slammed Smith:

“It’s simple: LGBT rights are human rights. It’s shocking that Smith — or anyone in his position — would make such close-minded comments to the contrary."

Even his fellow Republicans have criticized his anti-gay comments:

“Despite Congressman Smith’s views on civil marriage equality, the Board of Directors of Equality GOP New Jersey have long respected his outstanding record on Human Rights and his courage to fight a just fight for the good of humankind and to promote the dignity and welfare of human life.

Mr. Smith’s recent remarks. however, are completely outside the recognized global human rights framework, inconsistent with his solid pro life record, contrary to Catholic teachings regarding violence against LGBT people, and not at all reflective of the values of equality and inclusion that have been the bedrock of the U.S. Republican Party and the values of life and liberty that have been the foundation of American democracy.

You can watch the House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting here. Smith's anti-gay remarks come in at 1:42:26. 


People for the American Way Calls on RNC to Cancel Trip to Israel Funded by Anti-gay Hate Group AFA

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Today, advocacy group People for the American Way sent a letter to the Republican National Committee urging RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to cancel the upcoming GOP trip to Israel funded by the extreme right-wing hate group American Family Association.

Those who follow Towleroad regularly know PFAW's Right Wing Watch blog has been the key player in exposing AFA and its (now-former) spokeshater Bryan Fischer's bigotry. They've also kept tabs on David Lane, an anti-gay, Christian extremist who is helping organize the RNC trip to Israel.

Wrote PFAW President Michael Keegan in part:

“Although we have no objection to RNC members travelling to Israel, we urge you not to collaborate with those who are funding and coordinating this trip. The American Family Association and Mr. Lane have made clear that they view the Republican Party as a vehicle for imposing a U.S. government that is operated by and for conservative Christians, at the expense of those of other faiths and no faith, and those Christians who do not share their particular beliefs.” [...]

The American Family Association also holds troubling views about the role of religion in American government and regularly promotes false smears against LGBT people. Although the AFA recently sought to distance itself from its own inflammatory spokesman, Bryan Fischer, it continues to offer him a prominent platform on its radio network, American Family Radio. And AFA still employs as its governmental affairs director Sandy Rios, who along with other radical statements, has warned that "powerful Jewish forces" are using groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to destroy America and just this week mocked the notion that "God is fond of atheist Jews who occupy the land in Israel."

And if you missed Rachel Maddow's spotlight last night on the AFA's desperate attempt to distance itself from Fischer in the lead-up to tomorrow's trip, be sure and check that out HERE

 


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