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Student wins right to wear ‘Jesus is not a homophobe’ shirt

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The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Monday affirmed an Ohio high school junior’s First Amendment right to wear a T-shirt with the slogan “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” to school.

Maverick Couch, an openly gay junior at Waynesville High School, wore the shirt during the National Day of Silence in April 2011. The day of silence is meant to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

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School officials said the shirt was “indecent and sexual in nature” and ordered Couch to turn his shirt inside out. He complied with the order. In 2012, he asked the principal for permission to wear the shirt again, but was told he would be suspended if he did so.

Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the school on behalf on Couch, claiming the school violated his First Amendment rights.

“We’re very happy for Maverick and all LGBT students in Ohio,” said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “If school officials had any doubt before, it’s clear now: First Amendment rights apply to all students on every day of the year, and efforts to silence LGBT youth will not go unchallenged.”

High schools across the country have struggled to balance students’ First Amendment rights with the need to maintain order. Last year, a school in Louisiana was sued by the ACLU after it disciplined a student for wearing shirt in support of LGBT rights. The ACLU also sued a school in Illinois for disciplining students who wore shirts that criticized gay people.

“I just wanted to wear my shirt,” said Couch. “The shirt is a statement of pride, and I hope other students like me know that they can be proud, too.”

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[LGBT flag via Shutterstock]


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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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