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Open thread


This is an open thread for news and discussion. We’ll post if any news breaks.


  • 1. VIRick  |  February 7, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    "Stay" Hearing in Federal Travel Ban Suit

    In "State of Washington; State of Minnesota v. Trump," the hearing today, 7 February 2017, is over whether the appeals court should issue a stay to put on hold US District Judge James Robart’s 3 February temporary restraining order (TRO). Robart’s order halted enforcement of key provisions of the 27 January executive order: the ban on travel to the US from seven majority-Muslim countries, as well as the halt to the refugee program.

    At the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Judges William Canby, Richard Clifton, and Michelle Friedland will be hearing the arguments over the Justice Department’s request to issue a stay of Robart’s order pending the outcome of an appeal of the case. Judges Canby and Friedland earlier denied the Justice Department’s request for an immediate stay of the TRO, but set a more full briefing schedule that led to today’s arguments. Over the past two days, the states of Washington and Minnesota, who are suing the federal government over the order, and the Justice Department, as well as a number of outside groups, filed briefs with the court over the statutory and constitutional questions at issue in the challenge to Trump’s order.

    Now, the court will hold an hour of argument time, 30 minutes for each side, over the question. In a media advisory about the hearing, the court announced that a decision “is not expected to come down today,” but that a ruling would “probably” come “this week.” The state of Washington’s solicitor-general, Noah Purcell, is arguing for the states, and August Flentje, from the Justice Department, is arguing for the federal government.

    The appeals court generally provides a video livestream of arguments, but the quick turnaround of scheduling for today’s arguments means that the hearing will actually take place over the phone. Friedland, who will be presiding over the arguments, is in San Jose CA; Canby is in Phoenix; and Clifton is in Honolulu.

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 7, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    South Carolina’s First Out State Legislator

    Greenville SC — South Carolina‘s first openly gay legislator hails from the unlikeliest of places: an ultra-conservative part of the state that is home to the Christian fundamentalist school, Bob Jones University. Republican Rep. Jason Elliott, a 46-year-old divorce attorney, said his sexual orientation was not an issue in his campaign and is irrelevant to his job at the Statehouse, as his focus will be on improving education, increasing jobs, and repairing the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. He expects his votes to align with his GOP colleagues.

    “Every South Carolinian has equal rights, not special rights, and I believe each part of the constitution is equally important,” he said. “In South Carolina, that means respecting other people’s viewpoints and protecting religious freedom.” Elliott ousted four-term GOP incumbent Rep. Wendy Nanney, a Bob Jones graduate and daughter of the university’s longtime academic dean.

    Deeply Republican South Carolina is now the 43rd state to have an openly gay legislator.

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 7, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Indiana Legislature Advances Hate Crimes Bill

    Indianapolis — Legislation targeting hate crimes is advancing in Indiana, one of five states without such a law. The measure would not create a new crime, but would allow a judge to consider imposing a tougher sentence on crimes motivated by a victim’s perceived or actual race, religion, sex, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation, among other things. An approved amendment extends protections to targeted off-duty law enforcement officers.

    A Senate panel approved the measure 6-3 on Tuesday, 7 February 2017. A similar measure cleared the Senate last year but then died in the House.

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    NCAA to North Carolina: Repeal Anti-LGBT Law Now or Lose Games for 5 Years

    Raleigh NC — North Carolina could lose out on NCAA championship events for another five years if the state soon doesn’t repeal a law limiting LGBT rights, a spokesman for a statewide sports development association said on Monday, 6 February 2017. The North Carolina Sports Association, in a letter to the legislature, urged lawmakers to address HB 2 or “our state’s sports tourism industry will suffer crushing, long-term losses, and will essentially be closing its doors to NCAA business.”

    “Our window to act is closing rapidly,” Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, wrote on behalf of the association, which covers 27 counties in the state. The letter is designed to quickly revive negotiations among Republican legislators, who approved the bill in March 2016, and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who wants the law fully repealed. A proposed repeal deal failed in December at the legislature.

    Dupree wrote that NCAA officials are expected to pull the next academic year’s events already scheduled for North Carolina, and have begun the bid review process for the 2018-19 year, and on through to 2021-22. There are more than 130 such bids offered by North Carolina cities, schools, and other partners, but they will be removed from consideration by NCAA officials due to the NCAA’s stance against HB2, Dupree wrote.

    “At that point, we will be faced with a six-year drought of NCAA championships in North Carolina,” he wrote, adding that the bid review process will begin in seven to 10 days and continue through February.

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    El Salvador: Violence as LGBT Daily Reality

    This is the second report from Michael Lavers, of the "Washington Blade," on the current LGBT situation in Central America, dated 6 February 2017:

    Violence is an all too common part of life in El Salvador, which has one of the world’s highest murder rates. The situation is even more dire for LGB Salvadorans, and especially trans men and women, who are marginalized socially, politically, and economically.

    Colectivo Alejandría President Karla Guevara told me that Francela Méndez is among the 18 trans women who are known to have been killed in El Salvador in 2015. Francela was a prominent transgender rights activist in El Salvador, and was a board member of Colectivo Alejandría, a trans advocacy group based in San Salvador. Méndez was also a member of the Salvadoran Human Rights Defenders Network and worked to prevent the spread of HIV in the Central American country. Guevara also highlighted other cases, which includes a group of pandillas (gang members) who killed a gay couple in a youth detention facility because they saw them having sex.

    I interviewed Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad (ESMULES) Executive Director Andrea Ayala, volunteers with Generación de Hombres Trans de El Salvador and Nicolás Rodríguez of the gay blog/website El Salvador G earlier in the day. They all talked about the violence that inflicts such a heavy toll on their community.

    Access to a car or a job that does not involve sex work could very well mean the difference between life and death for a trans Salvadoran woman or a gay man who is perceived to be too effeminate. Many of these people feel as though they have no other option than to leave the country and migrate to the US. One can easily conclude that President Trump did not take into account the plight of LGBT Salvadorans, and the hundreds of thousands of other people from Central America who are fleeing violence, when he signed his executive order that spurs construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

    These migrants sin papeles (without papers) are not rapists, drug dealers, or criminals. They are human beings, and one should not be neutral on this point. The activists with whom I spoke on Monday, 6 February 2017, said the wall could have disastrous consequences for LGBT Salvadorans who see the USA as the only place where they can live and work without the fear of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    House Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Nearly Doubles Its Membership

    The House Congressional Caucus dedicated to LGBT issues has nearly doubled its membership, rebounding after experiencing attrition in recent years as a result of its shifting to dues-based membership. On Tuesday, 7 February 2017, the LGBT Equality Caucus announced that it has started the 115th Congress with 102 members, which is nearly double the roster of 53 members at the start of the last Congress.

    The caucus is co-chaired by each of the six openly LGBT members of Congress: Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ and Mark Takano (D-CA).

  • 7. Fortguy  |  February 7, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    SB 4, the "sanctuary cities" bill, has passed a strict party-line 20-11 preliminary vote on the floor of the Texas Senate among its 31 members. The bill received numerous GOP amendments from the floor including ones that greatly increase penalties for non-compliance. Dem attempts to weaken the bill were beaten back. GOP senators were reassured by an opinion issued by AG Ken Paxton who inspires children that they, too, could be AG not just someday but can meet his qualifications right now. The AG's opinion affirmed that the bill was constitutional in the alternate universe of his mind where the 4th Amendment doesn't exist and the "state's rights" assertion GOPers usually make under the 10th doesn't apply to federal laws restricting brown-skinned foreigners even though the feds aren't requiring local compliance without a warrant anyway.

    Julián Aguilar, The Texas Tribune: Texas Senate gives preliminary approval to anti-"sanctuary" legislation

    Rules require an additional reading before a final floor vote which should happen this week before sending the bill to the House. The House will not take the bill up any time soon. That chamber is moving so slowly they haven't even finalized committee assignments yet, and their chamber has a competing sanctuary bill. Both depend on whether or not the Speaker sends the bills to a favorable committee, what the committee does, and how favorably the Calendars Committee treats the result thereafter.

  • 8. Fortguy  |  February 8, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Here's some lighthearted news for a change

    Sam Sanchez, Out in SA: Texas Marilyn Impersonator May Sue Central African Republic for Image on Stamp

  • 9. Fortguy  |  February 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    SB 4 has received final Senate approval and has been sent to the Texas House. The the vote was, again, strictly along party lines 20-10 with Sen. José Rodríguez (D-El Paso) absent. Other than posturing and pandering outside the legislative chambers, I suspect this is the last we will hear of it for a while since the House seems to be moving very slowly in organizing itself. The article linked above has been updated to reflect today's action.

  • 10. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    The Saga of Mike Pence's E-Mails, Texas/Indiana

    Vice-President Mike Pence — who, along with Trump, repeatedly blasted Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server during the 2016 campaign — has prevailed in an Indiana state appeals court case in which he is seeking to keep secret the contents of an e-mail that he received while Governor of Indiana. Still, the case is not over. The plaintiff, Indiana lawyer William Groth, has filed a petition to have the case transferred to the Indiana Supreme Court. If the higher court decides to take the case, it will vacate the Appeals Court decision.

    The case centers around a white paper produced by a staffer for Texas Governor Greg Abbott that was sent to Pence and other Republican governors soliciting them to join Texas’ lawsuit against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. In 2014, Pence joined the lawsuit against Obama, hiring outside law firm Barnes and Thornburg to handle the litigation. The Texas case eventually reached the US Supreme Court, which deadlocked on the issue, effectively blocking Obama’s immigration actions from moving forward.

    Groth filed a Freedom of Information Request seeking the Governor’s invoices, contracts, and the communications between Abbott’s office and Pence. After Pence failed to produce the white paper, Groth sued, but the Indiana State Superior Court ruled that it didn’t have standing to hear the case. Groth appealed, and in January 2017, a three-judge appeals court panel ruled in a split 2-1 decision in Pence’s favor that he was entitled to withhold the e-mail attachment as a matter of attorney-client privilege.

    Appeals Court Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, who dissented in the case, wrote that Pence had not demonstrated he was in an attorney-client relationship with the Texas author of the white paper “at the time of the communication at issue.” Vaidik said that Abbott aide’s e-mail and white paper “served as a lobbying or soliciting tool by Texas to encourage other states to join its legal challenge.” Pence’s legal team has presented no evidence that he sought legal advice pertaining to the Texas case before the white paper was sent. His privately-hired attorneys did not begin working for him until a week after the white paper was sent. Judge Vaidik said in her dissent that “a potential client is not a client.”

    On Monday, 6 February 2017, Groth filed his petition to the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider the case. “What we have here is a document that was not even generated in Indiana, so it’s our position that since the document came from Texas, the majority’s interpretation is simply wrong as a matter of law,” Groth said. “It was essentially a solicitation, we believe, on behalf of the Texas governor to join this litigation,” he added.

    The Indiana Governor’s office — now run by newly-elected Eric Holcomb — has twenty days to file a response. After that, the State Supreme Court could decide to drop the case, reverse the ruling and release Pence’s e-mail, or remand the case to the trial court for further litigation.

  • 11. guitaristbl  |  February 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Neil Gorsuch calls Trump attacks to judiciary "demoralizing" and "disheartening" :

    Could Trump withdraw nomination ? I wouldn't put it past him given how petulant he is but I doubt it. Where will he find a better ideological puppet for SCOTUS ?

  • 12. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Trump is clueless. This is who he was told to nominate. Trump has always had a negative, adversarial attitude toward anyone/everyone who has any inkling of not being a !00% Trump a$$-kisser. Whenever one of his thousands of lawsuits went against him, he always whined and complained about the judge in question and about the judiciary in general. He can't change. Note what he had to say regarding the judge handling the Trump "University" fraud suit, even before he got stuck having to fork over $25 million in damages to settle.

    Instead, he's much more concerned about his "brand," and the fact that Nordstroms pulled Ivanka's line of whatever off of its shelves due to abyssimally poor sales. That's the level of his real interest, and this, despite the fact that he *supposedly* removed himself from all of his various and sundry "business" dealings. Again, he simply can't change.

    He has no ideology. He fobbed off the "list" to the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. This is their nomination. He has no idea who any of these Appeals Court judges are, or the difference between this one and that one when it comes to their rulings on any given matter. Notice that when it came to the supposed "finalists," he staged a pseudo-review and apparently selected the "better-looking" one (and on that grounds alone), even though his own sister was lobbying for her fellow judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, Hardiman.

  • 13. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    OMG! Gorsuch Attends a Liberal Church

    And ultra right-wingers and the nut-job evangelicals are going bat-shit crazy over the merest thought of it.

    While there are certainly some concerns for the LGBTQ community over this pick, as Gorsuch has come down on the side of “religious liberty” before (potentially giving conservative Christians a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people), he is now causing upset among the “family values” nut-jobs after a report from the "Daily Mail" revealed that he attends a pro-LGBTQ church.

    American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer tweeted out the article with a warning, reading, “Be advised: Gorsuch attends a church that is rabidly pro-gay, pro-Muslim, pro-green, and anti-Trump.”

    The article notes that the Episcopal church in Colorado, where Gorsuch has attended since moving to Boulder a decade ago, is pro-gay marriage and operates a homeless outreach program that includes an LGBTQ center and a sexual health clinic.

    They also place solar panels on the roof of the church, citing climate change, and one of the pastors attended the Women’s March. The other pastor signed on to a letter condemning “disrespectful rhetoric” directed at Islam.

    And speaking of solar panels, we must be utterly "hopeless" here, as this island is covered with them, with two of the largest solar farms being situated on government-owned land, one right alongside the full length of the airport runway (a project which had to meet with prior FAA approval).

  • 14. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Sessions Confirmed as Attorney-General

    Per Equality Case Files:

    No Republicans went against Sessions in the 52-47 vote, while Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was the only Democrat to back Sessions.

    Lambda Legal has issued a statement:

    The chief lawyer of the United States is now someone who has devoted his whole life to obstructing civil rights. He is a life-long opponent of the civil rights of LGBT people, people of color, women and immigrants.

    Sadly, we have no confidence in his commitment to enforcing the law and protecting the civil rights of everyone in this country. The Republican-led Senate may have disregarded Sessions’ troubling track record, but we know it all too well. Jeff Sessions is a dire threat to our civil rights.

    He is an opponent of marriage equality and a dogged foe of immigrants and refugees — even LGBT people fleeing persecution.

    One can read the rest of their statement here:

  • 15. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Tom of Finland, from Illustration to Emoji

    Tom of Finland, de Ilustración a Emoji

    A pesar de que en Finlandia existe la unión civil de parejas del mismo sexo desde el 2002, no será hasta el próximo primero de marzo en el que estas uniones sean oficialmente consideradas matrimonios. Esto no sólo conllevará al “cambio” oficial de nombre de las uniones entre parejas del mismo sexo, sino que también tendrá como consecuencia que las parejas homosexuales puedan gozar de todos los derechos que su contraparte heterosexuale tienen.

    Las parejas homosexuales ahora recibirán un certificado de matrimonio exactamente igual al que reciben las parejas heterosexuales, a diferencia del certificado de “unión registrada”, y las parejas que tengan este último simplemente tendrán que llenar un formulario para recibir este nuevo certificado. Además, las parejas homosexuales también podrán gozar de todos los derechos de adopción, cuando antes sólo se permitía que una de las personas adoptara si los menores a adoptar eran hijos biológicos de su pareja.

    Y para celebrar este hecho, Finlandia ha creado un nuevo emoji oficial de uno de los artistas LGBT+ más reconocidos del país: Touko Laaksonen, mejor conocido como Tom of Finland.

    Although Finland has had civil unions for same sex couples since 2002, it will not be until 1 March 2017 that these unions are officially considered marriages. This will not only lead to the official "name change" of these civil unions between same-sex couples, but will also result in homosexual couples being able to enjoy all the rights their heterosexual counterparts already have.

    Henceforth, same-sex couples will receive a marriage certificate exactly the same as heterosexual couples, unlike the present "registered union" certificate, and couples who have the latter will simply have to fill out a form to receive this new certificate. In addition, homosexual couples can also enjoy all the rights of adoption, where previously only one person was allowed to adopt, if the children being adopted were the biological children of their partner.

    And to celebrate this fact, Finland has created a new official emoji of one of the most recognized LGBT + artists in the country: Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland.

  • 16. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Next Shitstorm: Marshalls And TJ Maxx Literally Dump Ivanka’s Line

    "The New York Times" reports, dated 8 February 2017:

    Last week, employees at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls got very clear instructions about where to put signs for Ivanka Trump products: in the garbage. The TJX Companies, the retailers’ parent company, told employees not to display Ivanka Trump merchandise separately and to throw away Ivanka Trump signs, according to a note to employees on Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by "The New York Times."

    “Effective immediately, please remove all Ivanka Trump merchandise from features and mix into the runs,” the note read. “Runs” refers to the normal clothing racks where the majority of products hang. “All Ivanka Trump signs should be discarded.” A spokeswoman for the TJX Companies, Doreen Thompson, confirmed that the message had been sent to stores.

  • 17. Fortguy  |  February 8, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Keep an eye as to how Marshalls and TJ Maxx fare tomorrow on the stock market.

    Jen Wieczner, Fortune: Nordstrom Stock Just Broke the Donald Trump Tweet Curse

  • 18. VIRick  |  February 8, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Fortguy, if this means anything, so has Mexico. Mexican stock holdings (of actual Mexican companies, quite separate from any US subsidiaries located in Mexico), after dropping quite sharply for a short interval immediately after the "wall" announcement, have been climbing again during the past several days, presumably in response to the Mexican consumer boycott of US-made goods. And ditto for the currency market, as the peso is beginning to rebound vis-a-vis the US dollar.

    Marshalls and TJ Maxx are both owned by TJX Companies.

  • 19. Fortguy  |  February 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    As soon as Gorsuch was appointed, I immediately looked up his religious affiliation. Currently, all members of the Court are either Catholic (plus Scalia) or Jewish. I was pleasantly surprised to see he was an Episcopalian instead of a follower of the new faith of Republicanity, as opposed to Christianity, led by the likes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Franklin Graham, and their ilk who renounce Christ's Gospel of love and compassion while embracing the judgement, division, and ostracism of the GOP platform.

    The Episcopal Church shares a liturgy and catechism very similar to the Roman Catholics, and its hierarchy shares in the same Apostolic Succession from which the Catholic clergy claims lineage. The church, also like the Catholics, ordains deacons, priests, and bishops (but never "pastors"–the clergy study St. Francis, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas of centuries past in their ivy-towered seminaries rather than the teachings of Bob Jones, J. Frank Norris, or W.A. Criswell offered at so many backwoods Bible colleges).

    Like the Catholics, their hierarchy used to be seen as ossified, theologically rigid, and unwelcoming to the changing world around them. Their parishioners were formerly composed primarily of older, conservative, and wealthy elites. More presidents have been Episcopal than any other denomination stretching from Washington to G.H.W. Bush, and the church earned nicknames such as the "Republican Party at Prayer" and "God's Frozen Chosen".

    Then in the '70s, the levee began to leak and the church began to reform. Within a short amount of time, the church approved the ordination of women priests and approved a new edition of the Book of Common Prayer that updated the language removing the thees and thys and became nearly identical to the Catholic Eucharistic liturgy. The conservatives were outraged, and began trying to create separate denominations that were initially rebuffed by the larger Anglican Communion.

    The flood gates opened wide and all hell broke loose when the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson was ordained as the church's first openly gay bishop to be in an avowed relationship with another man. That, along with similar liberalizations among their northern brethren in the Anglican Church of Canada, effectively resulted in the exodus en masse of stodgy, traditional, and moralistic conservatives who formed parishes and even whole diocese aligned with Anglican churches unwilling to contemplate LGBT-tolerance or a greater roll for women in Africa and South America. The poor Church of England, stuck between a rock and a hard place between the rest of the liberal national churches in the Anglosphere and the unyielding traditionalism of the Third World churches, is forced to straddle the middle and be a neutral arbiter as the communion's mother church. It does so even though its own parishioners and clergy fully support reform, but knowing that embracing LGBT clergy and parishioners would rend the world-wide communion apart.

    In summary, the Episcopal Church is now more liberal than it has ever been and more than anyone would have ever expected two generations ago. It's obstinate traditionalists and reality-denialists have long since moved on, and that Gorsuch remains speaks volumes. As he ages, he may be more malleable than his conservative supporters think or would ever approve.

  • 20. Fortguy  |  February 8, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Mexico is definitely some place to watch. I live less than an hour and a half away from the international bridge between Ojinaga, Chih. and Presidio, TX. The crossing has been closed numerous times over the past month due to Mexican protests. The protesters, of course, carried numerous signs condemning Trump and his wall. However, what really had them pissed was gas prices which a couple of weeks ago amounted to about $3.35/gal at PEMEX stations in Ojinaga while being more than a dollar less in Presidio. When the bridge wasn't closed due to protests, it was clogged with long lines of cars crossing the border to by U.S. gasoline and return.

    Among Peña Nieto's so-called reforms is eliminating gov't subsidies of gasoline. Mexico, even though it has one of the world's largest petroleum reserves, has almost no refining capacity to produce gas. Therefore, Mexico must export oil to the U.S. to be refined into gasoline which it must then import back but with the chaos of currency markets. A falling peso benefits PEMEX in that oil prices, traded in dollars, provides more money for either investment in infrastructure or, more likely, to line officials pockets. It also means consumers of gasoline must pay more, too.

    Needless to say, everyone blames Peña Nieto. In Mexico, the north turned back to the PRI in revulsion of the cartel wars during the PAN years. Now that those are over, I suspect the PAN will win the north 2018 unless Peña Nieto and the PRI get their shit together. You mentioned in a post a while back that, faced with confrontation, Mexico reflexively moves left. That may be true in most of the country, but its not true on the border. The Dem party has more support in Provo, UT than the PRD will ever enjoy in Ojinaga.

  • 21. GregInTN  |  February 9, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Scotusblog is reporting that Charles Cooper (who tried and tried and tried to defend Prop 8) is likely to be named Solicitor General:

    He should have figured out in the Preliminary hearing in front of Judge Walker that he didn't have a case when Judge Walker asked him what harm would result if same sex couples were allowed to marry and he could only respond "I don't know".

  • 22. JayJonson  |  February 9, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Who cares what you think? No one. And your quoting Ross Douthat, whom most sane people would find as crazy as you are, does not make anything true.

    Get it through your thick head. You and the other crazies do not get to decide who is or is not Christian. You have not patent on the word, According to your criteria, about 90% of the people who adhere to the teachings of Christ are not Christian.

  • 23. guitaristbl  |  February 9, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Why are they worried ? He has proven on which side of the aisle he will be reliably on court..Roberts has a lesbian sister..That did not stop his judicial homophobia either.

    It's a non issue. He will be doing the republican dirty work.

  • 24. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

    "Sounds pretty non-Christian to me" .

    Perhaps to someone like you, a cowardly bigot who blames his bigotry on God, and thinks that being a hateful bigot makes someone "more Christian". God has nothing to do with your bigotry. That is YOUR choice. Grow up and make better choices.

  • 25. tx64jm  |  February 9, 2017 at 11:49 am

    No one, just like I don't care what you think.

    "Get it through your thick head. You and the other crazies do not get to decide who is or is not Christian."

    Never said I did. God has told us right from wrong, and how to spot who is acting in accordance with his law.

    Micah 6:8 … "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good".

    Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

    God tells us in the bible how to see who is Christian or not. God calls us to perfection, just as he is perfect. We fall short as miserable sinners, unworthy of the sacrifice of his son for us. Nevertheless, thru his grace and mercy, we are saved.

    Pretty self-explanatory.

    "According to your criteria, about 90% of the people who adhere to the teachings of Christ are not Christian."

    I don't have any criteria. God does. All I can do is compare behavior, and then make a decision. When I see behavior that is non-christian, then I call a spade a spade.

  • 26. tx64jm  |  February 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Ah, you have nothing better, so you resort to name calling.

  • 27. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    That's not name-calling. All I do is compare behavior, and then make a decision. When I see behavior which is that of a cowardly bigot blaming his petty hate on God instead of taking responsibility for his prejudices and making better choices, I call a spade a spade.

  • 28. VIRick  |  February 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    The vision of PAN, that they are all about creating the next United States on their side of the border, is a vision that will be difficult to kill off instantly in the 6 northern tier states, all of which abut the USA, and which have grown quite accustomed to the cross-border inter-dependency. (I've mentioned a lot about Veracruz of late, but more recently, when I lived in Sonora, we used to hop back and forth over the border all the time).

    I'm actually envisioning a leftward shift politically in the rest of Mexico, particularly in the second tier, the north-central region stretching from Querétaro to León to Guadalajara to Aguascalientes. This is the area which has seen a recent economic boom due to heavy foreign investment from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and an assortment of European countries, in combination with Mexican investment, mostly geared toward producing product for sale within the domestic Mexican consumer market. It's an area which is much less dependent on the whims of the USA, and one which will benefit from a nationalistic push by Mexican consumers. In turn, the PRD, with its nationalistic, leftist-populist message should benefit. Plus, with the PRD, we fairly automatically get same-sex marriage, along with economic self-sufficiency.

    The gasoline pricing thing (el gasolinazo) is a current nightmare for the PRI. Mexico really needs to increase its domestic petroleum refining capacity, a point which the PRD has long touted, and one which should be considered a no-brainer.

  • 29. tx64jm  |  February 9, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    1. coward – a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.

    2. bigot – a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

    Now you understand why you are name calling. On the one hand you are accusing me being easily intimidated … on the other hand you are saying I cannot be intimidated.

  • 30. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    A coward is also someone who "lacks courage to do difficult or unpleasant things", such as being unwilling to face the truth about his own shortcomings and instead blames his all-too-human failings on others or on God rather than facing the truth, taking responsibility and changing. God isn't responsible for your childish petty prejudices, YOU are.

    And no, being a bigot has nothing to do with whether someone can be intimidated, and yes, you're a reprehensible disgusting un-American bigot. Your own comments here over the years have made that abundantly clear. You don't like that being pointed out to you?

  • 31. tx64jm  |  February 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Water off a ducks back.

    Whats right is right and whats wrong is wrong.

    God has shown me i'm on the right path. Thats all that matters.

  • 32. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    …..and your concept of God has all the same prejudices as you, and hates all the same people you hate. What a coincidence!

    God isn't responsible for your all-too-human failings of prejudice and bigotry. And you weren't born with them. They are choices you make each day. Grow up and make better choices.

  • 33. VIRick  |  February 9, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Jackson MI Approves City Non-Discrimination Ordinance

    The non-discrimination ordinance, which affords protections to the LGBTQ community, passed the Jackson MI city council last night, 8 February 2017, by a 5-2 vote.

    An 81-year-old retired educator provided a moving "rap" testimonial just before the vote in favor. You can read his entire poetic thing here, and then check out the amazing video performance of his recitation:

  • 34. tx64jm  |  February 9, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    "your concept of God"

    Its not my concept of God. Its what he says in his word, which is inerrant and perfect.

  • 35. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Are you REALLY going to try to argue that everything in the Bible is 'inerrant and perfect'? Even the parts about killing disobedient children, stoning people to death, etc.? You expect anyone to believe that you don't pick and chose the parts that adhere to your own pre-existing views and prejudices? And that others don't also do the same, and therefore come away with a different concept of God than the one you prefer?

    It IS "your concept of God". It is the concept that YOU chose to believe in. This is true for everyone. And the point is that you are just as capable of choosing a concept of God that doesn't serve as a scapegoat for your vindictive, self-centered prejudice. It's YOUR choice. It always will be.

  • 36. VIRick  |  February 9, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Erie PA Celebrates Syrian Immigrants Arrival

    Last night, 8 February 2017, I watched the celebratory arrival of the elderly parents of a Syrian immigrant's family being welcomed "home" to Erie PA.

    However, I'm still nervously awaiting further word about that Syrian orthodox immigrant family of 6 who were summarily deported from Philadelphia International Airport, without Due Process, on 27 January, in the midst of the initial chaos generated by that vague, over-broad EO. By law, this group needs to be immediately returned to the rest of their extended family in Allentown.

  • 37. guitaristbl  |  February 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I dont think anybody expected any different outcome. Other than incompetent federalist society far right tools like Alito and Thomas I doubt any reasonable judge of any judicial philosophy would doubt the blatant unconstitutionality of this order.

  • 38. GregInTN  |  February 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Nevermind…Cooper withdraws from consideration for Solicitor General:

  • 39. VIRick  |  February 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Fijian Gay Couple Attacked

    Fiji’s constitution bans discrimination of LGBT people, after being ratified in 2013. However, its Prime Minister has been accused of criminal action against the community and described the thought of same-sex marriage as “rubbish."

    Ashwin Raj, the director of the Human Rights and Anti-discrimination Commission, said silence over the attack (as described earlier in the article) would allow for discrimination to flourish. “The fact that our Consti­tution has based strong provisions on sexual orientation, gender iden­tity and expression as a prohibited ground of discrimination means that we need to ensure that our so­ciety is free from discrimination,” he said. "These communities can live with­out fear, without reprisal and re­crimination, because they express a sexual value that is not shared by others.”

  • 40. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Hey, whatever helps you justify your self-centered bigotry. Knock yourself out. Blame it all on God if you wish, you're still a bigot and it's still your choice.

  • 41. davepCA  |  February 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    You think that supporting the denial of rights and legal protections to citizens because they are gay, and using your own chosen view of God to justify that kind of pointless vindictive harm and bigotry, gives you 'eternal life'? Think again. Your idea of God is remarkably petty. And bigotry is certainly no key to "eternal life".

  • 42. tx64jm  |  February 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    John 3:16

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    So yes, as a believer in Christ, I have eternal life.

  • 43. scream4ever  |  February 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Indeed amazing. Hopefully we all had a teacher like him growing up!

  • 44. Fortguy  |  February 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    SB 651 by senators Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), and Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), the long-awaited "religious freedom" bill, has been filed in the Texas Lege, and it's especially egregious.

    John Wright, Texas Observer: Advocates Say Sweeping Anti-LGBT Religious Freedom Bill Has ‘No Limitations’

    Eunice Hyon Min Rho, advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, said SB 651 would open the door to rampant discrimination against LGBT people, women seeking reproductive health care and others. Rho said the bill could lead to doctors with religious objections refusing to perform medical procedures, teachers not reporting child abuse if they support corporal punishment, or a fundamentalist Mormon police officer declining to arrest a polygamist for taking underage brides.

    Rho then explains that only Arizona has a similar law except that law has health care and law enforcement exceptions. She then expresses concern that the bill might sneak through while the media is focused on SB 6, the potty bill. Then there's this gem:

    David Pickup, a licensed counselor who practices reparative therapy in Dallas, called SB 651 “a good step in the right direction.”

    “For those therapists who are religious, certainly it would apply,” said Pickup, who’s fought efforts to ban reparative therapy in other states. “I would prefer if there was something that mentions therapy specifically.”

    Yes, that really is his name. I would not be in the least bit surprised if that were his user name on Grindr.

    This brings to nine the number of anti-LGBT bills Equality Texas has on their legislative watch list.

  • 45. GregInTN  |  February 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    A judge on the 9th Circuit has requested a vote on whether to reconsider the order en banc:

  • 46. VIRick  |  February 10, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    9th Circuit Court Judge Requests En Banc Review in "Washington v. Trump"

    THOMAS, Chief Judge and En Banc Coordinator:

    (On 10 February 2017), a judge on this Court has made a sua sponte request that a vote be taken as to whether the order issued by the three-judge motions panel on 9 February 2017, should be reconsidered en banc. A sua sponte en banc call having been made, the parties are instructed to file simultaneous briefs setting forth their respective positions on whether this matter should be reconsidered en banc. The briefs should be filed on or before 11:00 AM, Pacific time, on Thursday, 16 February. The supplemental briefs shall be filed electronically and consist of no more than 14,000 words.

  • 47. VIRick  |  February 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Canadians Questioned, Turned Away at US Border

    Five Canadians say they were questioned and turned away while trying to cross into the USA. On 10 February 2017, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that 19-year-old Yassine Aber was refused entry into the US while trying to attend a track meet in Boston. He was also questioned for five hours and had his phone searched, the CBC reported. Aber was born in Canada to parents from Morocco. He was reportedly traveling on a valid Canadian passport.

    On Saturday, 4 February, Fadwa Alaoui — who is a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen and Muslim — also was turned away, along with her two children and a cousin, the CBC reported. Alaoui said she was questioned about how and where she practiced her religion, as well as being photographed and fingerprinted.

  • 48. VIRick  |  February 10, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Federal Judge Halts Travel Ban Order against Legal Permanent Residents

    On 3 February 2017, in the case, "Arab American Civil Rights League v. Trump," Judge Victoria Roberts of the federal district court for Eastern Michigan in Detroit “orders that the United States is PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from applying Sections 3( c ) and 3( e ) of the 27 January 2017 Executive Order against lawful permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States.”

  • 49. VIRick  |  February 10, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    California Students Sue Trump over Travel Ban

    Three students at California universities on Thursday, 9 February 2017, filed a lawsuit against Trump and his administration over the executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majorities countries from entering the US. The students, who have valid F-1 visas, filed the suit on their own behalf, as well as others who are in their situation, with the assistance of the ACLU and the Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay.

    According to the complaint, Stanford University freshman Hadil Al-Mowafak is unable to travel to Yemen to visit her husband because she will not be allowed to return to school. Wasim Ghaleb, a Yemeni student at a college in San Diego, traveled to Saudi Arabia to visit family before the spring semester. He remains there and is unable to return in time for spring classes, the complaint said. An Iranian Ph.D candidate at UC Berkeley, identified only as John Doe, is in danger of losing his job offer from a Silicon Valley company because of the order, the complaint said.

    The complaint argues that the travel ban is unconstitutional because it unfairly targets people on the basis of their religion. It’s also a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the complaint says, because it discriminates against people based on nationality, place of birth, and place of residence.

  • 50. VIRick  |  February 10, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Federal Judge Halts Travel Ban Order against Immigrants with Visas

    A federal judge in Los Angeles issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against President Trump’s executive action, barring officials from blocking people with valid immigrant visas from entering the USA.

    The ruling, issued on 31 January 2017, from District Judge Andre Birotte Jr., dealt another blow to Trump’s executive order blocking all people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days.

  • 51. ianbirmingham  |  February 11, 2017 at 8:28 am

    How Russia Became A Leader Of The Worldwide Christian Right

  • 52. guitaristbl  |  February 11, 2017 at 8:29 am

    I would bet a thousand dollars it is O'Scannlain – probably more than that.

  • 53. guitaristbl  |  February 11, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Self-loathing "I love to be discriminated against and having less rights than christians" GOper. Sickening. Next !

  • 54. scream4ever  |  February 11, 2017 at 8:54 am

    My thoughts exactly!

  • 55. Christian0811  |  February 11, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Dismaying as this is, the two realistic goals that Russian civil right leaders should focus on (and have to some extent had success) is keeping sodomy laws off the books and getting hate crimes to be prosecuted. We should make peace with the fact that we won't have marriage or non-discrimination laws for decades at best.

  • 56. TheVirginian722  |  February 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    guitaristbl, that is a rather harsh and unfair characterization of a pioneering trailblazer. The story of Jason Elliott's election to the South Carolina House should be a source of encouragement and inspiration to all of us.

    Jason challenged an 8-year incumbent in the June 2016 Republican primary in the 22nd House District. The incumbent, Wendy Nanney, was a former chairwoman of the Greenville County Republican Party and had very close ties to the district's influential Bob Jones University. Nanney had the full support of Governor Nicki Haley and Speaker of the House Jay Lucas. By any measure, Jason Elliott had an uphill race ahead of him.

    But Wendy Nanney had missed over 30% of the votes during her fourth term. And, when she showed up, she was spending her time on flying the Confederate flag and trying to limit abortion rights, while the voters were focused on jobs, schools, and roads. Jason Elliott presented an appealing, well-qualified alternative. A graduate of Clemson University, where he was student body president, and the University of South Carolina law school, he is an articulate and experienced attorney. And the primary voters rewarded Elliott with a 58% win over Nanney.

    After the primary, some disgruntled Nanney supporters alleged that Elliott had "hidden" the fact that he was gay and that voters in the very conservative district would never have chosen an openly gay legislator to represent them. Brett Brocato announced a write-in campaign against Elliott and worked extensively through local anti-gay churches to organize support for his campaign. But write-in votes for Brocato, Nanney, and assorted other Republicans and Democrats totaled less than 16%, leaving Jason Elliott with an 84% victory in the general election. And, if any voter didn't know Elliott was gay in June, they definitely knew it in November.

    I understand the desire for every gay officeholder to wrap themselves in rainbow flags, but that is counterproductive in some cases. It is heartening to read the comments of Republican officeholders in Greenville County, as well as rank-and-file voters, all saying that Greenville voters are becoming more tolerant and accepting of differences and applauding that trend. Jason Elliott deserves our congratulations and best wishes, not derogatory insults.

  • 57. guitaristbl  |  February 11, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    All this is very moving and nice etc but let's get practical :

    Will this man vote in favour of "religious freedom" laws if they come in the SC legislature ?

    Will he vote against LGBT protections if they come up ?

    Will he be a voice of support for LGBT people in general ?

    The answer to all that given his own words is no.

    I have zero interest then on what landmark he is supposed to represent. To me he is another dangerous for LGBT people republican legislator.

    If what it takes for greeville voters to get more tolerant is giving up our civil rights thank you I won't have any of that.

  • 58. VIRick  |  February 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Kmart/Sears Drop Trump Home Products Line

    "Business Insider" reports:

    Sears’ and Kmart’s websites no longer sell products from the Trump Home line, which is owned by the Trump Organization. As of Friday, 10 February 2017, a search for Trump Home items on both retailers’ sites yielded no results, except items sold by third-party sellers.

  • 59. allan120102  |  February 11, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I really dont think he will vote against his own rights or the community he represents. Not every place is a sushine. My country for example havent had ever an open lgbt legislator in congress. At least SC now do and he might change hearts in the SC senate.
    Yesterday I was in a taxi and he was openly homophobic he didnt knew I was gay but he rant almost all the way how fags were taking over, He was saying that he will never permit one entering his taxi and I was like aha…. Once I was let on my place I promise myself that I will never take that taxi again but its his taxi and if he doesnt want to take gays in it is his right to do. You cannot force people to do business with you if they dont want to. Exceptions of course on Hospitals, or business that are from the community. Like public Business.

    Private business are other things, I will never force a florist or a cake owner of making me one or giving me one,if it goes against his beliefs. That actually regress things imo, you cant force someone to do something if its your business. Its hypocrital how business are now breaking from Ivanka Trump and if something happen to a gay or black person hell brakes loose.

  • 60. guitaristbl  |  February 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    With statements like this :

    "Every South Carolinian has equal rights, not special rights, and I believe each part of the constitution is equally important,” he said. “In South Carolina, that means respecting other people’s viewpoints and protecting religious freedom.”

    I don't see anybody's hearts and minds changing. No everyone in SC does not have equal rights right now. People can be fired, evicted or denied service based on their sexual orientation but for men like him these are "special rights" despite the fact that christians enjoy them nationwide.

    Ivanka Trump is a person ,not a protected class of citizens.

    No denying service to anyone based on an immutable characteristic should be illegal nationwide. Especially in states like SC where couples who want to get married may not find a single bakery or florist to serve their wedding where they live.

    Nobody has to go through the indignity of being denied service because of who they are.

  • 61. allan120102  |  February 11, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    She is a women so she is a protected class if I understand correctly, Minorities include women, lgbt, and non-white people. Not only gays suffer, black asian, women and children also suffer. My point is that many are hypocrital trying to fight for rights for some groups but not caring for others.

    You wouldnt like being forced to service people you dont like. In Honduras is illegal to deny service to any people wether you are gay, black or women but still many do. I prefer business being honest even though hurts than helping a bigot business flourish by buying there stuff.

  • 62. bayareajohn  |  February 11, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    You do NOT understand correctly. A protected class does not get a gold card that elevates you from being legally treated as humans. Ivanka is NOT being discriminated for her status as a woman. There's no protected class for BIGOTS as bigots.

    You also don't understand LICENSED PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS. Like TAXIs. But even "private" businesses must follow the laws of the land when they choose to engage in commerce. In many of those places, you DON'T get to choose to refuse services SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE of membership of specific protected classes, as those refusals have been judged by the communities to be against public policy, illegal discrimination. But that doesn't mean you can't refuse to serve a barefoot, shirtless customer who only happens to also be GAY. That would be a "special" right, the kind the bigots imagine we want.

  • 63. VIRick  |  February 11, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    If I can interject a few words here about Greenville SC, and the new gay House legislator Elliott:

    Greenville is an old Piedmont mill town which "saved" itself from total collapse when all the textile mills departed for cheaper labor markets. First, they attracted a fair amount of fresh foreign investment, like BMW and Michelin, and then, quite surprisingly, set about refurbishing their old downtown into a lively, upbeat, major visitor/tourist attraction with a lot of café/bistro chic and a healthy dose of artsy-fartsy galleries and crafts plus the usual shopping boutiques. Greenville, midway between Charlotte and Atlanta, has now become the center of the fastest-growing metro area in the state.

    Jason Elliott's house district is situated on the northern, more affluent side of the city. He ousted a true retrograde incumbent of the bible-belt old guard. He may not be perfect, but one would have to concede that he is preferable to the previous office holder, and seemingly fits in better with Greenville's new forward-thinking business/tourism image. A radical pro-LGBT candidate would probably not have been electable in Greenville. But as The Virginian thoroughly explained, someone like Jason Elliott, who "just happens to be gay" obviously is.

  • 64. TheVirginian722  |  February 12, 2017 at 12:34 am

    guitaristbl, I think we all share the same goals in securing equal treatment for LGBT people. We need to use the best strategies we can to get the best results we can, and sometimes we will not agree on what those strategies should be.

    I agree wholeheartedly with you: "Let's get practical." So, let's.

    The South Carolina House of Representatives has 124 members, 80 Republicans and 44 Democrats. One needn't have a Ph.D. in political science to recognize who will determine everything that body will or won't do over the next two years: the majority party. Having an openly gay Republican member there is of far more value than you may realize. While electing an openly gay Democratic member would be a welcome development, he or she would have minimal influence.

    None of us — including Jason Elliott — knows exactly what issues may be raised over the next two years. Suffice it to say that South Carolina is not likely to make great strides in LGBT rights. But progress sometimes must be incremental, and we have seen in state after state that having LGBT representation in a legislative body has improved the results we have obtained. And having that representation in the majority party has been even more helpful.

    It appears you are inclined to automatically label Republicans as "dangerous for LGBT people", even one who has been in office for only a few days. I hope you would not say that about Republican Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has made enormous advances possible for us in the Lawrence, Windsor, and Obergefell cases.

  • 65. guitaristbl  |  February 12, 2017 at 10:52 am

    She is not being boycotted and kicked out of Nordstrom business wise because she is a woman, it's due to her personal and political affiliation to her father. And thankfully so far "donald trump supporter or family member" is not a protected class. I bet it may be soon.

    All those people suffer and guess what ? Blacks women and asians have discrimination protections in EVERY state of the union. LGBT people do not.

    I would serve everyone if I owned a business because I do not believe in the indignity of kicking someone out of your store and humilating them.

  • 66. guitaristbl  |  February 12, 2017 at 10:54 am

    "He may not be perfect, but one would have to concede that he is preferable to the previous office holder"

    But in which way, that's what I do not understand ? If his political ideas in terms of LGBT rights are the same as his predecessors why does it matter that he is gay ? I would say it is even worse now with all those gay conservatives promoting the idea that gay people are very content being 2nd class citizens and being discriminated against.

  • 67. guitaristbl  |  February 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

    What kind of influence will a gay republican who supports anti-LGBT legislation like religious freedom laws be ? Quite the opposite, he would be a huge impediment since it would give conservatives the argument that "look gay people support those laws as well". This could set dangerous precedents for the gay community.

    Yes progress can be incremental. Start by electing someone, that, regardless of sexual orientation, will not support laws that give legal boost to discrimination against LGBT people, who would support hate crimes legislation, banning reparative therapy legislation, that kind of stuff.

    How is another anti-gay republican (even if he is gay himself) help LGBT rights ? As I said the exact opposite will happen.

    Has the fascist troll yiannopoulos helped LGBT rights in anyway being a far right supposedly gay man ? Of course not, he opposes the very notion of LGBT rights, calls for LGBT people to get back in the closet and thrives on bulying people. Conservatives love him of course he is the epitome of the self loathing gay man. But does he promote the cause of LGBT rights in anyway simply by being a loud gay far righter ? Of course not, the exact opposite. Same with Elliott.

    I am aware of Kennedy. I am also aware that out of the 5 republican appointees on the court he was the only one to support LGBT rights. That makes me about 80 % right on saying republicans are dangerous for LGBT people.
    And Elliott, given the opinions he already states, is one of them.

  • 68. bayareajohn  |  February 12, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Nordstrom's says it was a business decision based entirely on sales… not a political statement or position as the Trumps want it to be seen.

  • 69. ianbirmingham  |  February 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    What Does Gorsuch Really Think About LGBT Rights?…?

  • 70. TheVirginian722  |  February 12, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    guitaristbl, I'm not sure why you have concluded that Rep. Elliott is "anti-gay" or "supports anti-LGBT legislation" or that "his political ideas in terms of LGBT rights are the same as his predecessor's." Aside from the fact that he has not cast a single vote on any legislation yet, you are relying on two sentences in an AP article and reading between the lines to reach these conclusions.

    So he's for "equal rights, not special rights." Haven't we been making that point to our opponents for years when they make false allegations that we are seeking "special rights"? And he's for "respecting other people's viewpoints," which is a basic requirement for any elected official (who wants to stay elected). And he's for "protecting religious freedom," which all of us who believe in the Constitution are. And since South Carolina has no law restricting the right of any business owner to refuse service to customers based on sexual orientation, there would be no reason for consideration of a phony "religious freedom" law which would merely restate existing rights.

    SC Equality, South Carolina's leading LGBT rights organization, in fact endorsed Jason Elliott's election. According to the "Free Times" on 9/28/16, "Elliott says he supports equal rights for the LGBTQ community and would oppose a bill like North Carolina's law that places limitations on bathroom use by transgender people." That doesn't sound very "anti-gay" or "self-loathing" to me.

    The most important things Rep. Elliott can do in his first term are to work hard addressing the issues the voters in his district care most about (jobs, schools, and roads), provide top-notch service to his constituents, and build interpersonal relationships with his legislative colleagues. Yes, he could instead spend his time sponsoring legislation to force bakers to sell wedding cakes, but the likely result of that would be a legacy as a one-term-and-out representative.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy acquired his understanding of gay rights growing up in San Francisco sharing backyard barbecues with gay neighbors. During the long struggle for marriage equality, every poll showed much higher support from people who had a gay family member or friend. Being in the room matters, and now Jason is in the room.

  • 71. guitaristbl  |  February 13, 2017 at 5:06 am

    His statement on every south carolina citizen has the same rights and not special rights and that he emphasized protecting so called "religious freedom" I think indicate perfectly where he stands on LGBT issues.

    Of course I will rely to that. "Special rights" is the fallacy GOP uses to brand LGBT rights as rights no one else has. It is very easy to see behind that statement, it is GOP 101 really.

    Indiana, Texas or any other super red state does not have a statewide law protecting LGBT people from discrimination either but RFRAs popped (and in the case of Indiana signes into law) in all those states. So your point on that falls apart.

    Sometimes LGBT rights organizations do make mistakes in their enthusiasm to reach out to the GOP whenever they get the chance.

    E.g. HRC continues to endorse Susan Collins in Maine – and she is about to vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch for supreme court justice.

    Opposing laws like HB2 for republicans is a financial issue not a human rights one after they saw what went down in NC and what happened to McCrory. So I wont trust his good will there either.

    I have no use of him being a multi term legislator if he provides another vote to a possible RFRA bill honestly.
    I never expected him to file pro LGBT legislation either, I expect democrats to have the courage to continue doing that.

    This man wont change anything , the same way attending a pro LGBT church has not changed Neil Gorsuch's views on the rights of LGBT people.

    I would suggest to Equality SC and other such organizations to get some proper groundwork going to elect some democrats in south carolina instead of endorsing people like Elliott and their agenda.

  • 72. guitaristbl  |  February 13, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Finally a sane article.

    It was getting tiring with all those "oh look he has gay friends he will be in favour of LGBT people's rights". The man is a judicial bigot same as Scalia and must be filibustered.

  • 73. sglaser2  |  February 13, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Two points:

    1. Buying decisions for thus season occur in September. This decision by Nordstroms should *not* be news to the Trump family.

    2. It may be a political decision, but one *by the consumers*. All stores respond to fashion trends by their adjusting product mix. Ivanka Trump is clearly out of fashion as viewed by Nordstroms customers.

  • 74. Zack12  |  February 13, 2017 at 10:29 am

    John Roberts had a lesbian cousin who folks cited again and again as proof he wouldn't be so bad on LGBT rights.
    All one has to do is remember the Windsor and Prop 8 hearings where she got to hear her cousin trash couples like her and state they had no business going to the courts for help to see how well that theory worked.
    Gorsuch may have LGBT friends but his writings and rulings have made clear he will be no ally of ours and will be happy to uphold any "religious freedom" rulings.
    As such, he should be blocked for as long as possible, simple as that.

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