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Tea Party Texas legislator wants to enshrine anti-LGBT ‘license to discriminate’ into state constitution

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A Tea Party-affiliated Texas state legislator introduced a measure this week aimed at making it legal in the state to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lone Star Q News reported Tuesday that state Sen. Donna Campbell (R) proposed an amendment to the state constitution to protect the “religious freedom” of Texas Christians.

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“Conservative values have made Texas a great state to raise a family and start a business,” Senator Campbell said on her website. “I will continue to fight for these values.”

To that end, Campbell has proposed Senate Joint Resolution 10, which enables Texans to refuse to provide goods and services to individuals or groups if they feel that to do otherwise would violate their religious beliefs.

The resolution would amend the state’s constitution permanently to allow these types of religious exemptions. It says, in part:

Government may not burden an individual’s or religious organization’s freedom of religion or right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief unless the government proves that the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. For purposes of this subsection, the term “burden” includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, and denying access to facilities or programs.

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These types of laws have been proposed and enacted across the country with mixed results. Some have been overturned in court on the grounds that they are a license to discriminate.

Advocate.com pointed out that Texas already has one such statute on the books, the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but Campbell’s law, say experts, could have even broader implications and result in unintended consequences.

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Even some conservative activists like Joe Pojman of anti-choice group the Texas Alliance for Life believe that Campbell’s law could be so widely interpreted as to make anything — even abortion — into something protected by a person’s professed faith.

“We do not oppose the concept of a religious freedom amendment,” Pojman said in 2013. “Rather, we are concerned that a future court could misconstrue the expansive language…our concern is that abortion will become a religious right.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Is Trump is right? Is there ‘something going on’ at Fox News?

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President Donald Trump denounced Fox News after the network released a poll showing him lagging behind the four current frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Fox has changed, and my worst polls have always been from Fox. There's something going on at Fox — I'll tell you right now," Trump told reporters Sunday in New Jersey. "And I'm not happy with it."

The president went on to list which talent on the Fox News roster he was pleased with, while also suggesting that the hosts of the presidential debates could be determined by who treats him most favorably.

"Fox was treated very badly by the Democrats — very, very badly having to do with the Democrats and other things. And I think Fox is making a big mistake," Trump added. "Because you know, I'm the one who calls the shots on the really big debates. I guess we're probably planning on three of them. And I'm not happy with Fox."

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He ‘knows where lots of Trump bodies are buried’: Ex-Mueller associate says president’s latest dissension spells trouble

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President Donald Trump has reportedly fallen out with a decades-long friend, private equity real estate investor Tom Barrack, who is currently the focus of a federal investigation into how the money from Trump's inaugural fund was raised and spent.

On Monday, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner laid out a key reason why Trump may want to distance himself from Barrack at this point:

Televised hearings are in our future (can’t come soon enough). Tom Barrack knows where lots of Trump’s bodies are buried (figuratively speaking), inaugural committee bodies and others. Let’s hope Barrack is already quietly assisting prosecutors. https://t.co/BlgsiaX0YP

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Democrats have a plan to weaponize Trump’s Twitter freakouts — and turn his base against him

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According to a report at the Daily Beast, Democratic strategists appear to have found a way to take one of Donald Trump's greatest strengths -- his rampant tweeting to his fans to keep them fired up -- and turn it into a campaign issue that strips away some of those same followers.

Taking aim at Trump's tweets that often dictate the news cycles while also floating policy trial balloons, Democrats hope to match Trump's words with his accomplishments to show that he is all talk -- and no action.

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