Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143
April 29, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today blasted the House Republican leadership for sending to the Rule Committee, at the request of the House’s most conservative Members, a disapproval resolution to overturn the District of Columbia Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees, their spouses, and their dependents because of their private reproductive health decisions. Norton will testify against the disapproval resolution at today’s Rules Committee markup, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. in H-313. In her prepared testimony, Norton said, “For the first time ever, the House would affirmatively authorize employers, in this case, in the District of Columbia, to use religion to discriminate against employees for their private, constitutionally protected reproductive health decisions.” If RHNDA is overturned, employees in D.C. could be fired for having an abortion after being raped, for using condoms, or for buying birth control for their daughters. The Rule Committee is the final stage before a bill goes to the House floor for a final vote.
“Although their bill so grossly violates the privacy and the reproductive rights of employees in the District of Columbia that it should be inconceivable that they would bring it to the floor of the House of Representatives, House Republicans are set on continuing their war on women, especially the women of the District of Columbia,” Norton said. “The Republican leadership decision to send the disapproval resolution to the Rules Committee was made after a new House caucus, the House Freedom Caucus, the most extreme and conservative House caucus, demanded it. Not only does this disapproval resolution violate the private health decisions of employees in D.C., it violates the local democratic rights of 650,000 District residents by overturning a local law that matches our citizens’ local interests. I will vigorously defend the District’s local anti-discrimination bill from being trampled on at today’s Rules Committee hearing.”
Norton’s testimony, as prepared for delivery, follows:
FRC's Tony Perkins spoke outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Joe Jervis sums up FRC's marriage fast campaign:
To sum up the entire campaign, the FRC suggested that it would be better to drown gay parents than have children grow up in their households, they prayed that the three heathen Jews on the Supreme Court "bow their knee before Jesus," and they prayed that the justices remember that all homosexuals must be executed. By comparison the other 18 prayers were just filler, really.
And this from America's new Attorney General:
Statement by Attorney General Lynch on Supreme Court Arguments on Same-Sex Marriage http://t.co/puAInFjK1Z— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) April 28, 2015
The audio of today's oral arguments before SCOTUS on the Sixth Circuit gay marriage cases is provided here in two parts. Mark Walsh at SCOTUSblog provides a view from the courtroom.
On this momentous day at SCOTUS, I reprise my look at the superb results of the Mattachine Society's archive activism, embodied in its amicus brief on the government's history of anti-gay animus. Kudos to Charles Francis for his indefatigable efforts, and to McDermott Will & Emery for their invaluable help.
Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer is receiving glowing notices. Let's use this moment to fight the anti-trans panic that fuels discriminatory legislation.
Human beings are complicated. Pronouns are complicated. Deal with it, people. #BruceJennerABC— Sally Kohn (@sallykohn) April 25, 2015
Congrats to our African colleagues who won this legal victory. Our friend Pepe Julian Onziema of Uganda reacts below.
Mike Huckabee lies:
If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law. It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal. God help us all.
No. The First Amendment to the Unites States Constitution protects any religious organization's right to grant or withhold its sacraments according to its own faith doctrines. At issue before SCOTUS in Obergefell v. Hodges and the other cases due for oral arguments on April 28 is civil marriage, not religious marriage. Stop lying, Huck. It's a sin, you know.
The latest ad from the Human Rights Campaign.
Another beautiful sign of the culture shift in favor of our families, and the role of business in the shift.
On the surface, two different stories. But the excuses some make for tolerating hatemongers make it easier for bullies to assault gay youth while adults who should know better look on and shrug. If we would protect our youth, we must repudiate those who demonize a core part of who they are.
As Loretta Lynch prepares to be sworn in as Attorney General, Walter Olson at Overlawyered objects to her defense of civil asset forfeiture. I agree with Walter on this.
(Hat tip: John Becker)
I am glad this measure got some Republican votes. That the rest of that caucus could not be minimally humane is very disturbing but sadly not surprising. When you say there is no difference between the political parties, and when you don't bother voting, or abandon an imperfect Democrat in favor of a third-party candidate you know cannot win, you should not be surprised when you get legislative results like this.
Today's FRC Marriage Fast Message: Pray That The Jewish Justices Remember That Homosexuals Are To Be Executed:... http://t.co/0Jy1DiUy5L— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) April 22, 2015
This exemplifies a point that Mike Signorile made last evening at his book chat at Politics and Prose: It is time to make it clear to the media that it is no more acceptable to bring on religious bigots like Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of FRC to present "the other side" than it is to bring on white supremacists. They are entitled to their free speech, but they are not entitled to be given a media platform.
Here are a couple of pieces on the lead plaintiff in the lead marriage equality case being argued before SCOTUS on April 28.
The lead plaintiff in the lead case — Jim Obergefell — will be a household name. I spent the day w him in January: http://t.co/OXBczz145d— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) April 21, 2015
Thanks to the ACLU for this. Walter Olson at Cato has written a good deal on the outrage that is Civil Asset Forfeiture. Here is a sample.
WaPo reports that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called a committee vote for Tuesday (4/21) to mark up a resolution of disapproval against the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. GLAA's Craig Howell posted the following comment as a correction:
Contrary to this report, nothing in the Human Rights Amendment Act requires religious colleges and universities to officially recognize or fund LGBT student organizations. They would have to provide equal facilities to such groups. A court decision laid down this common-sense principle in the 1980s, only to have it capriciously overturned when Congress adopted the notorious Armstrong Amendment. Georgetown University has led the way to show how Catholic educational institutions can support their LGBT students without compromising either secular anti-discrimination laws or their own religious principle. Unfortunately, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic University and their nuttyfundamentalist allies on the Hill are more interested in playing the victim card and scapegoating the LGBT community than in promoting workable accommodations.
Roll Call reports.
Conservatives say Scotus decision legalizing gay marriage will cause 900,000 abortions. http://t.co/MxdRgpDqf3— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) April 21, 2015
Another crackpot making stuff up. This anti-gay lawyer, who lost the Utah marriage case, admits to Dana Milbank that he has no proof: "It is still too new to do a rigorous causation analysis using statistical methods." In short: fraud!
This represents a shift for Hillary, who previously said that marriage should be left to the states.
Note to Log Cabin: this means she has moved in the right direction, unlike Mitt Romney, whom you endorsed in 2012.
David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement reports on the latest squirming from Sen. Marco Rubio.
Right Wing Watch reports:
The Family Research Council announced today that it has partnered with Rick Santorum’s film company, EchoLight Studios, to produce a short film for churches to air during the April 26 event “Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk.”
In the film, which features appearances by Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the FRC warns that a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage would jeopardize religious freedom and undermine the separation of church and state. The film mentions cases in Oregon and Washington state where a baker and florist, respectively, were sued for violating their states’ non-discrimination laws — not marriage laws — for refusing service to gay customers. (The baker and florist both lost their cases).
Once again, FRC and its allies insist that their religious freedom entitles them to discriminate against other people. In other words, they demand the right to impose their beliefs on others in the public marketplace. Given that we live in a religiously diverse society, how is that going to work?
FRC President Tony Perkins lies in the above clip, stating that a majority of Americans agrees with him. In fact, 59 percent support marriage equality. If he embraces biblical truth, why doesn't he stop violating the commandment against bearing false witness?
NBC News reports on Archbishop Robert Carlson:
The St. Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released Monday.
Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
Apr 15, 2015 - Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Not long after a disapproval resolution was introduced on Monday that would license discrimination against District of Columbia women in the workplace, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) pledged to fight yet another disapproval resolution introduced yesterday that would permit discrimination against LGBT students by their own universities. She said she plans to mount a vigorous defense of home rule and workplace equality at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s (OGR) markup of the workplace discrimination bill scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. In total this week, Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced anti-local-control resolutions to block two D.C.-passed anti-discrimination bills, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), from taking effect, though only Black’s RHNDA disapproval resolution is scheduled to be marked up by OGR on Tuesday. RHNDA would prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee, spouse or dependent based on personal reproductive health decisions. Under RHNDA, a woman could not be fired for having an abortion after being raped, a man for using condoms, or parents for buying birth control for their daughters. HRAA would repeal a congressionally imposed rider that permits schools in D.C. to deny LGBT students equal access to school facilities and services.
“Representatives Black and Hartzler both assure their constituents in Tennessee and Missouri of their adherence to limited government on their websites,” Norton said. “Yet, in violation of their professed principles, they have introduced bills that would misuse the power of the federal government to block the local laws of a local jurisdiction from taking effect. I suspect the constituents of Representative Black in Tennessee and Representative Hartzler in Missouri would be surprised to learn that their Members, have taken time away from the vital issues of their own districts and national matters to focus time and energy on entirely local D.C. matters. Mind you, neither Representative Black nor Representative Hartzler represents the American citizens residing the nation’s capital, and my constituents cannot respond to their action. OGR will markup RHNDA, a local matter on which members have almost no background, without so much as a hearing on the bill, where D.C. officials would have had the opportunity to explain the importance of RHNDA to women and workplace equality.”
Congress passed the Home Rule Act in 1973 to give D.C. authority over its local laws, but all D.C. bills must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. Members almost always respect the D.C. Home Rule Act. RHNDA and HRAA were transmitted for a 30-legislative-day review period on March 6, 2015. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 44) in the House to block D.C.'s Human Rights Amendment Act, which among other things repeals the anti-gay, congressionally imposed Armstrong Amendment that dates from the late 1980s. This is on the heels of Monday's introduction by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) of a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 43) against D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.
The House Oversight and Government Reform will hold a markup this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 am. In the event Hartzler's resolution is moved at the markup, it would be subject to a point of order for violating the three-day rule for markups; such a point of order could only be waved through unanimous consent.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton yesterday denounced the first disapproval resolution (on reproductive health) in no uncertain terms:
If Congress wants to try and strike down our local law, the very least the District of Columbia is entitled to is an open hearing. Instead, with little notice and no hearing, the disapproval resolution seeks not only to undermine the democratic will of D.C. voters, but also the constitutional rights of men and women to privacy concerning their most personal matters. An individual's decisions concerning reproductive choices are personal health care decisions, and are perhaps the most private of decisions protected by the Constitution. Personal reproductive matters certainly are not work related, and are no business of an employer.
The largest House Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, has called on Congress to pass the disapproval resolutions or attach riders to the D.C. Appropriations Bill to block implementation of the D.C. anti-discrimination bills. GLAA is working with a wide array of local and national allies to defend both bills.
Roll Call reports.
(Hat tip: Bradley Truding)
Update: The OGR markup has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
Chris Christie: "I will crack down and not permit" legal marijuana as president http://t.co/ayzcd2Pdzl— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) April 15, 2015
Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments on Facebook:
Good to know. He might as well not even run with an announcement like this. Talk about swimming against the tide...
Let Gov. Christie enjoy his alternate reality; but he should pay the tab for it himself, as a private citizen.
Thanks to Councilmembers Grosso and Alexander for introducing the bill we and our allies have been working on to establish LGBT cultural competency requirements for District-licensed healthcare providers. And thanks to their colleagues for unanimously co-sponsoring. CM Alexander chairs the Health committee, so we were pleased to help get her on board as co-introducer.
Grosso, Alexander Introduce LGBTQ 'Cultural Competency' Bill http://t.co/RPCATRIVlK— David Grosso (@cmdgrosso) April 14, 2015
D.C. Council shuts down controversial jail contract. http://t.co/Uni6XeUZmp— Will Sommer (@willsommer) April 14, 2015
Thanks to Councilmembers Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, David Grosso, Phil Mendelson, Brianne Nadeau, and Elissa Silverman for voting today to disapprove the Corizon contract for inmate healthcare. Thanks also to our many allies who opposed the contract, including Deb Golden at the D.C. Prisoners Project, Samantha Davis at So Others Might Eat, and Shannon Minter at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Here is a sample of GLAA's letter to CMs urging rejection of the contract.
A number of people hired by Corizon wore t-shirts saying "Jobs Not Jail," which is agreeable enough but not the issue under discussion, which was Corizon's terrible record in providing correctional healthcare services. Some of the same folks were picketing in front of the Wilson Building when I arrived for the legislative meeting, and their picket signs were incoherent. I asked one of the Corizon picketers whether he was for Corizon or against it, and he could not answer me. I guess the instructions were, "Wear this shirt and carry this sign."
This could come up again if allies of Mayor Bowser win the special elections for D.C. Council seats in Wards 4 and 8. So stay tuned.
Bowser admin pushing decision of contracting agency that mayor just said was so badly run that she had to push out the agency boss.— Will Sommer (@willsommer) April 14, 2015
Matt Baume at AFER gives us his latest update.
Deb Golden of the D.C. Prisoners Project tweets GLAA's letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson urging rejection of the Corizon contract. Here is a copy of our letter to Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau. We have also signed on to a joint letter.
My latest Blade column takes a look at how the GOP's overreach has exposed its weak game. Here is an excerpt:
Republicans had a bad week last week. When not failing in their effort to sabotage nuclear nonproliferation negotiations, they were denouncing the Indiana and Arkansas legislatures for undermining their so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts by adding clarifying language. Retail giant Walmart was instrumental in pressuring Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to demand a fix to that state's RFRA.
The only homophobes who had a good week were the owners of Memories Pizza, who received over $800,000 in donations in a right-wing media scam that hailed them as Christian martyrs for refusing to fill the previously unknown demand for pizza at gay weddings.
Springfield repeals LGBT rights after campaign focuses on religious freedom and cross-dressing predators in bathrooms http://t.co/QGbDY35rdk— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) April 8, 2015
Tell me again why my rights should be subject to my neighbors' veto? The U.S. Constitution guarantees a republican form of government. It says nothing about plebiscites.