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Far right Republican slammed by Raskin for trying to derail Respect for Marriage bill with failed religious amendment
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a former constitutional law professor, blasted U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) on Monday for trying to derail the Respect for Marriage Act with a "religious liberty" amendment that had already failed in the U.S. Senate, telling him and his colleagues who claim there is no emergency for same-sex marriage, "I'm not going to accept assurances from people who are working to overturn the right of gay people to get married in America."
Roy's amendment is identical to one offered by U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), which failed to pass. The far-right Texas GOP lawmaker appeared before the House Rules Committee to try to convince Democrats to allow debate on his amendment, which he admitted would likely fail. But should it pass, it would also like kill the Respect for Marriage Act, forcing the legislation to be debated and voted on again in the Senate, where the clock is running out.
Democrats are trying to get the marriage protection bill complete and sent to President Joe Biden before Republicans officially take the House majority next month. It needs a final vote of approval from the House.
The Respect for Marriage Act is designed to protect same-sex marriages should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down rulings like Obergefell. 35 states still have laws on the books, including some constitutional amendments, banning same-sex marriage. In those states, should Obergefell be struck down, the bans would likely go into immediate effect.
House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA), slammed Republicans for mocking Democrats' claim that LGBTQ Americans and same-sex couples are facing an emergency after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a call for cases that could strike down the rights to contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage.
Congressman Roy is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which has said: "If there’s anything we need, it’s more people like Justice Thomas."
"I'm sorry that the my friends don't think this is an emergency," Chairman McGovern told the committee. "I have constituents that think it's an emergency, and quite frankly are frightened out of their mind by the behavior of the Supreme Court after the Dobbs decision," striking down Roe v. Wade.
"And so, look, I mean, this may not be a big deal to some of my friends on the other side of the aisle," McGovern added. "I assure you it is a big deal to many of us on this side of the aisle."
Rep. Roy told the committee that a lawmaker in Finland was prosecuted for opposing same-sex marriage, trying to use that claim as a pretext to fear monger about what he claims is a loss of religious liberty in America, all in an attempt to grant far-right Christians special rights to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
"Again, I reiterate, a Member of Parliament was prosecuted in Finland for a statement made in defense of traditional marriage made 20 years ago," Roy claimed. "Is this where we're headed? Is this the direction that this country is going? Because if it is, we're going to be shredding what little there is the fabric holding us together in a union in which we can agree to disagree."
Nearly two years ago Congressman Roy appeared to threaten that if Democrats won the January, 2021 Georgia runoff election, taking control of the Senate, which they did, Republicans would declare civil war.
Congressman Raskin blasted Roy. saying, "he posed the question of whether we're headed in the direction of Great Britain where he reports a case, which I'm unaware of, about someone being apparently prosecuted or punished for, I don't know, anti-gay speech or something. I don't know what he's referring to there. But I can guarantee you that there's nobody who's been prosecuted, for saying that they're opposed to the Obergefell decision, where they're opposed to same-sex marriage that's perfectly covered by the First Amendment."
"In fact, you can say you're opposed to our Constitution, which Donald Trump said yesterday, I think, and that's completely within his First Amendment rights. Of course, you can't incite a violent insurrection against the government as President of the United States, which is moving from speech to action, but he's made himself clear that he's opposed to the Constitution of the United States."
"I don't know whether there are any American cases, Mr. Roy, that you were referring to but if there is one, I would love to hear about it," Raskin offered.
"I would be far more reassured by our colleagues who keep telling us," Raskin continued, "not to worry about the Armageddon of the Supreme Court overturning the Obergefell decision and trying to strip away the right of gay people to get married in America, if they also told us they were opposed to that."
"But it seems like the people who keep telling us not to worry about Armageddon are the same people who are trying to make Armageddon erupt. So if any of them would say, 'Well, don't worry, Justice Thomas didn't really mean it,' or, 'he doesn't have the kind of influence with Alito and the other justices that we think he has, but in any event, I'm with you in standing up for Obergefell,' then I could feel a little bit better, but I'm not going to accept assurances from people who are working to overturn the right of gay people to get married in America."
You can watch the entire discussion below or at this link.
Add the members of the Wall Street Journal editorial board to the long and growing list of conservatives who believe Donald Trump is disqualified from serving as president again after making comments about gutting the U.S. Constitution just because he lost his re-election bid in 2020.
In a headlining editorial, the former president was blasted for posting "A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great 'Founders' did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!" on his Truth Social account.
According to the editors, Trump's attempt to walk back his comment on Monday only made matters worse and Republicans need to cut the chord with the former president if they have any hope of winning back the Oval Office in 2024.
Noting Trump demanded on Monday that the 2020 election “SHOULD GO TO THE RIGHTFUL WINNER OR, AT A MINIMUM, BE REDONE” the editors fired back, "Is that all?"
"The Constitution contains no provision for mulligan presidential elections, so what Mr. Trump is talking about is impossible under the parchment written by the Founders. But if he doesn’t grasp why he’s being called the constitutional Terminator, he should reread what he wrote two days earlier," they wrote before reminding their conservative readers of the years of Trump's outrageous comments on Twitter.
"For years, Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed was the gift that kept on giving—to Democrats. Now his Truth Social account is playing the same role, giving the media a way to turn unfavorable stories back to Mr. Trump’s outburst du jour," the editorial stated.
"Truth in advertising, though," they continued, "Mr. Trump is giving Republicans a taste of what they’re in for if they nominate him again in 2024. His presidential campaign is less than a month old. Already Mr. Trump has dined with anti-Semites and a white nationalist, while calling for himself to be reinstated as President, even if this requires the “termination” of whatever in the Constitution stands in the way."
"What he’ll really terminate is the GOP," they concluded.
You can read the whole piece here.
The Supreme Court heard a case this week on a Colorado web designer who denied service to an LGBTQ couple getting married. Colorado, unlike many states, has its own anti-discrimination law, which prevents a denial of service "based on disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry."
The web designer case is arguing that her First Amendment rights supersede the Colorado law because as a designer, she is using her own expression through her artistic interpretation. Thus, forcing her to do a same-sex marriage website would be a violation of her First Amendment rights. She's never been asked to design a same-sex marriage website, so her issue is hypothetical not based on any case.
In Virginia, however, another case is likely to become a larger story after a right-wing group was denied service for an event at a restaurant that doesn't share the values of the right-wing group, Virginia Business News said.
Metzger Bar and Butchery, in the Richmond Union Hill neighborhood, posted a statement on Instagram about the company's decision to cancel the reservation for the Family Foundation.
"Metzger Bar and Butchery has always prided itself on being an inclusive environment for people to dine in," the restaurant said in the statement. "In eight years of service, we have very rarely refused service to anyone who wished to dine with us. Recently we refused service to a group that had booked an event with us after the owners of Metzger found out it was a group of donors to a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia.”
Unlike Colorado, Virginia doesn't protect a group based on their political beliefs. The state's Human Rights Act covers "unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability."
The denied group, the Family Foundation, proclaims on their website that they're not a church nor are they pushing a specific religion, but rather their interpretation of the Bible on government laws. Their goals, as stated, are an "advocate for policies based on Biblical principles that enable families to flourish at the state and local level." They don't cite a specific religion outside of the Bible.
That includes advocacy against marriage equality and LGBTQ+ human rights, they deny gender identity outside of male or female, the group also pushes a policy that parents should be able to do whatever they want to their children without government involvement and they deny a woman's right to choose.
The restaurant explained that many staff members were LGBTQ or women and that they shouldn't be forced to serve a group like the Family Foundation, which "seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic rights in Virginia."
Despite the issue being a political one, the Family Foundation's director of government relations, Todd Gathje, is trying to paint it as religious discrimination, which could make it difficult since the group indicates they're pushing political policy, reported WRIC News. Gathje makes the case himself in the group's public statement that they aren't a church organization but a political one.
“We’ve had events at restaurants all over the city and never encountered a situation like this,” Gathje said. “It’s no secret that we are very much engaged in the public policy debate on a number of controversial issues. But we never expected that we would be denied service at a restaurant based on our religious values or political beliefs.”
The restaurant is now under attack by the right-wing with activists flooding their Yelp and Google reviews for being against the right-wing political group.