Individual Rights & Freedoms
"They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed." And just like that, marriage equality is the law of the land.Today is a day millions of our citizens--both gay and straight--will never forget.
"After they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back. No! You can't drive. We don't want to have to go back into the ditch. We just got the car out." -- President Obama slamming Republicans on the campaign trail, May 2010.
When the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 14 to 1, committee chairman Senator Richard Burr argued that it successfully balanced security and privacy.
“We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.”This was just part of a collaborative response by French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to then-French President Jacques Chirac back in 2006.
2014 was a great year for liberals. Marriage equality is sweeping across the nation, the federal courts now have a majority of liberal jurists, America's foreign policy is being reshaped in Obama's image, and both red and blue states voted to choose if they wanted to legalize a plant. Democrats may have lost the Senate, but their priorities surely won in 2014.
What should happen if someone threatens to kill you on social media? Are they protected by the First Amendment right guaranteeing the right to freedom of speech, or are they breaking the law? We will soon know now the answer after the Supreme Court rules on a case that may have far reaching ramifications well beyond the single case they are hearing.
For the 2014 midterm elections, the GOP has some truly scary candidates with extreme views on women's rights, the climate, and how our government should function. Some of them proudly tout their extreme beliefs while others hide behind them, but all of them would take us a step backward should they be elected.
We have seen this story play out in countless midterm elections before. Members of the party the President belongs to run as far away from him as possible and members of the opposition try to tie members of the President's party to him at every turn.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave a staunch defense of the free press Saturday, noting that attacks on the media are “how dictators get started.” Speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” to be aired Sunday, McCain took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s volleys against the Fourth Estate, particularly a Friday tweet in which the press was called the “enemy of the American people.”
When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren last week as she was reading Coretta Scott King's 1986 letter denouncing Jeff Sessions, he jogged the memory of another Massachusetts Democrat, Rep. William Keating.
A federal appeals court on Friday struck down North Carolina’s requirement that voters show identification before casting ballots and reinstated an additional week of early voting, finding that legislators had acted with “discriminatory intent” in imposing strict election rules.
It's impossible to revisit the history of America's quest for racial purity without thinking of the contempt for weakness and failure and foreigners in the public discourse today.
Last Friday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to more than 200,000 people with previous felony convictions. It’s a momentous stroke in both scope and effect; with an eye towards the 2016 races, The New York Times estimated its electoral impact as “small but potentially decisive.” But the significance of McAuliffe’s efforts goes far beyond a single election. It instead marks an exorcism for one of Jim Crow’s last vestiges in Virginia’s state charter—and a reminder of how many of its legal aftereffects still linger today.
In early 2015, a team of 56 volunteers knocked on the doors of conservative voters in Miami, Florida to talk about transgender rights. Local officials had recently passed a law that protected transgender people from discrimination, but LGBT organizations were concerned about backlash, repeals, and counter-legislation (of the kind recently seen in North Carolina).
In most states, it is legal for an employer to fire someone, a landlord to evict someone, and a business owner to deny service to someone — all because the person in question is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Most Americans aren't okay with that. A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that a majority of Americans in all 50 states think anti-LGBTQ discrimination should be illegal in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations (places that serve the public, such as restaurants and hotels):
Vice President Joe Biden got visibly heated while discussing the importance of LGBT rights on Wednesday. Speaking at an LGBT rights roundtable at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Veep lamented that openly gay and transgender people are still treated like second class citizens around the world.
“Mitt Romney is pro-life. He’ll govern as a pro-life president, but you’re going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people’s attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election.”
"I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade. And I hear what you’re saying, Tom, but leaders – our kids out there people need to see examples... I think it’s a choice, I do... I think that you have to make that choice. But in that case right there, they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions."
“They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is a government that gives you rights. What’s left are no unalienable rights. What’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left in France became the the guillotine.”
"Really--wow--um okay, well let's see if we can have a discussion. We can flesh out some, well, let's look at what's going to be taught in our schools because now we have same sex couples being the same and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society as heterosexual couples and their activity."
Talking about how gay marriage will divide the country.
A former aide to Representative Frank Farenthold has sued the congressman and his office staff for creating a hostile work environment and gender discrimination. The former aide accused the congressman of making sexual comments about her and claimed he is regularly drunk on the job, which caused him to say a plethora of inappropriate things. She is seeking an unspecified amount of money for lost pay and emotional distress.
Earl Bullard, the mayor of a small South Carolina town, fired the town police chief after he wrote her up seven times in one day and she refused to sign any of the reprimands. Bullard is being accused of being openly hostile towards Bullard because she is a lesbian and is even recorded on tape saying he would rather have a drunk take care of his children over "somebody whose lifestyle is questionable." Bullard insists he had full legal authority to fire the police chief, but many council members disagree with him and insist he doesn't have the authority to fire the police chief without a majority of the city councils approval.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a vaguely worded 'religious liberty' bill which he says is meant to protect religious freedoms, but opponents claim is just another backdoor way to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the name of religious freedom. Right wing Christian organizations are cheering the move by saying the new law will 'prevent the Government from discriminating against religious exercise.'
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed two voting restriction laws that limits the eligibility of absentee ballots and cuts the early voting period for Federal elections. The law will make it more difficult for overseas military members to vote if they make a minor paperwork error. It also prohibits election workers from assisting voters unless they are disabled or illiterate, which could make it more difficult for senior citizens in nursing homes that are accustomed to receiving assistance from bipartisan teams that help them cast their ballots.
The Arizona State Senate voted along party lines on a bill that would sanction a private individuals and businesses the right to refuse service to any customer that violates their religious beliefs. The bill, which is widely viewed as giving legal permission for people to refuse service to gay and lesbian individuals, was quickly passed by the State House and now heads to Governor Jan Brewer. vetoed a similar piece of legislation last year.
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