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Republican Attorneys General In Louisiana, Texas Vow To Continue Defending 'Institution' Of Marriage In Face Of Obvious Defeat

  Caldwell

Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Texas say they plan to keep fighting even if the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stirkes down bans on same-sex marriage in the two states. 

As we've reported, such an outcome appears likely based on oral arguments, assuming the 5th Circuit decides to rule rather than waiting for the Supreme Court to settle the issue. 

Louisiana Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell (above left) issued a statement late Friday: 

Through the democratic process, Louisiana citizens have previously voted to establish this definition of marriage and to add it to the state’s constitution.   

Louisiana's Attorney General prevailed at the trial court level and was the first attorney general in the nation to win on this issue. Today's appearance was in support of the trial court's favorable decision. 

Attorney General Caldwell said, “I was joined at counsel table today by constitutional law experts Kyle Duncan and Mike Johnson, both of whom I retained to assist my office with this important task of defending our constitution, which is the expression of the will of our Louisiana citizens.

"As I've said previously, as Louisiana’s attorney general, I will do everything in my power to uphold the will of our citizens and the right of states to manage their own affairs.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (above right), who was sworn in this week to replace GOP Gov.-elect Greg Abbott, also posted a statement

“In 2005, Texans overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman," Paxton said. "I am committed to defending the Texas Constitution, the will of our citizens and this sacred institution.”

Mississippi's attorney general and governor have been less outspoken about defending the state's marriage ban, saying only that they believe it's their duty to defend state laws, and I was unable to find statements from them about oral arguments. Their apparent silence may reflect the growing trend of resignation to marriage equality even among conservative Republicans, who recognize it's a losing cause and no longer politically advantageous. 

Screen shot 2015-01-10 at 11.10For example, neither Texas Gov. Rick Perry nor Gov.-elect Abbott, both Republicans who've vigorously defended the state's marriage ban in court and elsewhere, had anything to say about Friday's hearing. Moreoever, there didn't appear to be any organized anti-gay presence outside the courthouse in New Orleans — the site of a historic hearing on same-sex marriage in the heart of the Deep South. Instead, the opposition was represented in the media by a smattering of well-paid anti-LGBT operatives, such as Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz (right). 

But it appeared Saenz, whose wife famously left him for a woman, was determined to compensate for the poor turnout with some over-the-top rhetoric. From Talk Radio 1190 AM in Dallas: 

Advocates call it a matter of equality, but Saenz disagrees.

"Redefining marriage equals private businesses being forced to fund and participate in an issue that's not even settled by the Supreme Court," he says. 

"Redefining marriage equals men entering little girls' bathrooms, and redefining marriage equals pastors being persecuted," Saenz says referencing the battle over transgender restroom rights in Houston.

Saenz says the Sixth Circuit already upheld gay marriage bans.

"Marriage between one man and one woman has such a long tradition that it’s measured by millennia, not centuries or decades," he says.

More from Saenz in OneNewsNow:

"The tradition, until recently, had been adopted by all governments and major religions of the world," notes Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values. "That's how settled the issue of marriage has been in our country and in our world. And in Texas we dealt with this issue before and settled it at the polls the way it should, when voters voted 76 percent in 2005.

Saenz contends, "It's really a shame that all of that legitimate work could be undone by the stroke of a pen of a few federal court judges, but I think that a lot of people and a lot of legal experts believe and agree that the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will rule in favor of state marriage laws. That will be for Texas, that will be for Louisiana and Mississippi, and that will be a significant turning point in the debate and the discussion on this issue."

Saenz adds that homosexuals claim equality as the overpowering argument, but in states where same-gender "marriage" is legal, it is used as a battering ram against Christians and Christian-owned businesses. He suggests that is hardly equality.


Oops: The Ultimate Rick Perry Blooper Reel - VIDEO

Strong 

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry will leave office this month as the longest-serving chief executive in the state's history. He's also been Texas' most anti-gay governor to date. 

Perry championed the state's 2005 marriage amendment, before holding a ceremonial signing of the legislation at an evangelical church in Fort Worth. When asked what he'd say to gay military veterans who protested outside the signing ceremony, Perry said: "Texans made a decision about marriage and if there's a state that has more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them to live.”

Years before, Perry had called Texas' sodomy ban "appropriate" before it was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas — but by 2011 he had apparently forgotten what the case was even about.  

He has also repeatedly compared homosexuality to alcoholism, including as part of his staunch defense of the Boy Scouts' ban on gays — a crusade which he once likened to opposing slavery. 

Perry ran a decidedly homophobic presidential campaign in 2012, which he kicked off with a rally hosted by the American Family Association, an anti-LGBT hate group. 

Of course, Perry's presidential campaign eventually crumbled thanks to a few of his trademark gaffes — which are the theme of a new video mashup toasting the departing governor from The Texas Tribune.

Given Perry's fascination with LGBT issues — he's also been dogged by rumors that he's closeted — it isn't surprising that the Tribune's blooper reel includes some of his most homophobic moments, such as his response to a question about "reparative therapy" last year, as well as a clip from his "Strong" presidential campaign ad. In the ad, which became the subject of some memorable memes, Perry declared while donning a "Brokeback Mountain"-esque jacket: "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

So long, Rick, we hardly knew ya. But we look forward to many more entertaining blunders in 2016 — assuming you're not in prison

Until then, watch the Tribune's mashup, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Oops: The Ultimate Rick Perry Blooper Reel - VIDEO" »


Lambda Legal: TX Governor-elect Greg Abbott Must Stop 'Horrific Violence and Sexual Abuse' Affecting LGBT Prisoners

Passionhz

When transgender inmate Passion Star appealed to Texas prison officials to protect her from a gang member who said he owned her, they responded by moving her even closer to the inmate.

The next morning, the gang member attacked Star, calling her a “snitching faggot,” and slashed her face eight times with a razor, according to Lambda Legal. Even after the attack, prison officials refused to move Star, who identifies as female, to protect her from violence in the general population.

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Star in October, accusing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice of deliberate indifference to threats of sexual assault and violence against Ms. Star in TDCJ’s male facilities. 

AbbottNow, the LGBT civil rights group has launched a petition calling on Republican Gov.-elect Greg Abbott, who takes office in January, to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

From Lambda Legal: 

Texas is one of only seven states that has refused to comply with PREA. Texas is also home to five of the 10 prisons with the highest rates of reported rapes in the country, as documented in a 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is widely understood that sexual violence in custody disproportionately affects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inmates.

“Gov. (Rick) Perry has refused to comply with PREA, and Texas is among the states leading the nation in rates of reported rapes in its prisons. Governor-elect Abbott needs to fix this mistake and implement PREA,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Jael Humphrey said. “While Texas fiddles, LGBT inmates like Passion Star endure horrific violence and sexual abuse.”

According to Just Detention International, which works to eliminate sexual abuse in detention facilities, LGBT inmates are 15 times more likely to be victims of prison rape than non-LGBT inmates. JDI says Texas is home to more facilities with high levels of inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse than any other state. The group also says it receives more letters from survivors of sexual abuse in Texas prisons than from any other state.

In filing its lawsuit on behalf of Star, Lambda Legal alleges she has been raped, forced to submit to undesired sexual acts to escape violence, and threatened with sexual assault. Star has filed dozens of grievances, complaints and requests to be placed in safekeeping, but instead of taking measures to protect her, TDCJ officials have told her to “suck dick,” “fight” or to stop “acting gay” if she doesn't want to be assaulted: 

“Somebody, somehow, needs to shed light on what is taking place here in Texas prisons,” Star said in a written statement. “TDCJ officials get away with so much and disregard so many legitimate threats to people’s safety. It needs to stop somewhere. I fight for my life every day in here. Safety from rape and assault is not a privilege; it’s a right. I hope that this lawsuit will help make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

To sign Lambda Legal's petition, which will be delivered to Abbott once he takes office, go here.  


LGBT Advocates Cry Foul After Texas Leases 222 Acres To Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Of America For Nominal Fee

Perry

LGBT advocates in El Paso are objecting to the state of Texas' decision to lease a large tract of land to the Boy Scouts of America for a nominal amount.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved a 25-year lease Thursday for 222 acres in El Paso that reportedly will be the site of one of the Boy Scouts' largest urban camps. 

The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, lifted a ban on gay youth last year but retained a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The El Paso Times reports:  

The state is waiving a requirement that it seek fair-market value for the property "for social mitigation purposes."

It's not appropriate to give such public resources to an organization that does not allow gay men to serve as scoutmasters, said Skip Rosenthal, executive director of the group International AIDS Empowerment of El Paso and Las Cruces.

"Our city should be opposing this," Rosenthal said. "We should not be giving government perks to an organization that discriminates against gay men."

Rosenthal is calling on the city of El Paso, which has an ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, to pass a resolution opposing the lease. 

Texas has no state law that prohibits it from entering contracts with organizations that discriminate against gays.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry (above), who appoints members of the Transportation Commission, is an Eagle Scout who published a book about the Boy Scouts in 2008 in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism. 

Of course, the irony of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay adult leaders is that the organization has been covering up sex abuse by Scoutmasters for nearly a century. 

This week, a jury in Connecticut found the Boy Scouts negligent and awarded $7 million to a man who was sexually abused by a Scoutmaster in the 1970s. It was the largest compensatory damages verdict ever against the Boy Scouts. 

The Connecticut Post reports: 

During the trial, the plaintiff's attorneys introduced evidence that the Boy Scouts of America knew for decades before the 1970s that child sexual abuse was widespread in Boy Scout troop activities across the country. Witnesses in the trial said the Boy Scouts maintained thousands of secret cases it called "the Confidential Files," dating to the early 1920s. The files were held in locked cabinets in the Boy Scouts national headquarters in Dallas, according to the attorneys.

Rather than using the information to inform and educate local troop leaders, parents and Scouts about the existence of sexual abuse, the plaintiff claimed, the Boy Scouts hid the information, partly out of concern for protecting the Boy Scouts' all-American image.


The Right Enemies: A Look Back at Right-Wing Attacks on Eric Holder

Holder resignation

BY LAYNE AMERIKANER

Attorney General Eric Holder, who this week announced his plans to resign, has been a leader in addressing systems of racial discrimination and protecting the fundamental rights of every American to be treated equally under the law and participate in our democracy.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Right loves to hate him.

Tim HuelskampIn February of this year, the American Family Association demanded Holder’s impeachment after he had the audacity to treat married same-sex couples like married opposite-sex couples with regard to a host of legal rights and recognitions. Shortly after, both Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed and Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp [pictured right] echoed the call for Holder’s impeachment because of his support for marriage equality. Televangelist Pat Robertson also joined the impeachment parade, alleging that under Holder, “sodomy” was being “elevated above the rights of religious believers.”

Holder’s commitment to redressing racial injustice was no more warmly received by the Right than his work in support of LGBT equality. After Holder spoke out against voter ID laws, which disproportionately harm people of color, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of “purposefully” “incit[ing] racial tension.” Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt argued that Holder’s open discussion of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system means that he is the real “racist,” asserting last year that Holder wants to “intimidate the rest of the country so that we don’t think about defending ourselves” against “attacks by black mobs on white individuals.” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went so far as to say that Holder would never “prosecute someone if the victim is white.” And after Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri last month, David Horowitz outrageously commented that the attorney general was leading a black “lynch mob.”

And those are just a handful of the attacks the Right has leveled against Holder for his work protecting equality under the law.

The fact that the far Right has reacted with so much vitriol to the attorney general’s leadership is a sign not only of how uninterested they are in the civil rights that the Justice Department is meant to protect, but also of how effective Holder’s work has been. The next attorney general should share Holder’s deep commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – and, by extension, make all the “right” enemies among those hoping to turn back the clock on civil liberties.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

This post originally appeared on the PFAW blog.

Southern Baptist Pastor: Gays Should Be Put To Death, God Can Cure Homosexuality - VIDEO

Robert Gallaty

Robert Gallaty, a pastor at a Southern Baptist church near Chattanooga, Tennessee, said in a sermon last week that god wants LGBT people to be put to death, reports The Raw Story.

In the hour-long sermon, Gallaty also claimed that although Christians have repented for racism, they will never repent for homophobia because African-American people cannot change the color of their skin.

Said Gallaty:

“A black man can’t change his race, a white man can’t change his race, a homosexual can stop engaging in homosexual acts. See, sexuality is a choice. Gender and race are not.”

Explaining the biblical basis for the death penalty, he said:

“God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live. So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, god gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… ‘If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’”

Comparing homosexuality to addiction, he said that same-sex attractions is “the same desire I had to get high and score dope years ago.”

Gallaty also suggested that God is active in the “ex-gay” movement, claiming he told a gay member of his congregation that he “may have to remain single for the rest of your life...the cool thing is this: God, over time, will heal you.”

Back in June, Rick Perry made a similar claim when he said that a homosexual deciding not to be gay is the same as an alcoholic choosing to not have a drink.

Watch the full sermon and the edited highlights, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptist Pastor: Gays Should Be Put To Death, God Can Cure Homosexuality - VIDEO" »


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