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Indiana governor signs ‘religious freedom’ bill that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law a religious freedom bill that could allow businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds.

Supporters of the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature, say it will keep the government from forcing business owners to act in ways contrary to strongly held religious beliefs. Opponents say it is discriminatory.

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“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” said Pence, in a statement after signing the bill.

Legal experts say the Religious Freedom Restoration Act sets a standard that will allow people of all faiths to bring religious freedom claims.

Gay rights groups worry it will be used by businesses that do not want to provide services for gay weddings, although those cases would probably end up being fought out in court. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year following an appeals court ruling.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Lisa Lambert)

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Republicans keep dragging trolls, wackos and conspiracy theorists before hearings — are the Democrats finally fed up?

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Republicans in Congress returned to Capitol Hill following their August recess last week and immediately set out to make a mockery of their constitutional obligation — inviting discredited witnesses to provide expert testimony in a manner that only served to derail, dismiss and diminish otherwise serious subject manners.

Former Turning Point USA communications director Candace Owens was again invited by Republicans to appear before a House Joint Oversight Subcommittee on combating white supremacy. Owens, who previously argued that the 2018 mail bombings targeting Democrats actually resulted from a conspiracy plot orchestrated by liberals, claims the NRA was founded as a civil rights organization (it was actually started by Civil War veterans to improve soldiers' marksmanship), and has said, "Black Americans are doing worse off economically today than we were doing in the 1950s under Jim Crow,” to downplay the threat of white supremacy.

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Pence knew about and actually participated in Trump’s apparent Ukraine extortion plot: report

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Vice President Mike Pence is seemingly complicit in President Donald Trump's apparent extortion and bribery plot, based on the transcript of a press conference the VP held in Poland on September 2. At issue is a whistleblower's complaint that the White House refuses to release. It is believed it says Trump repeatedly threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine until, or in exchange for, that country digging up and handing over dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. There is no evidence any dirt was found or even exists.

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Pulitzer Prize-winner reveals why the White House thinks Trump’s Ukraine scandal ‘can be spun as positive’

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Despite the growing movement for impeachment, advisors to President Donald Trump believe the bombshell reports about soliciting foreign election interference from Ukraine can be "spun as a positive" for the president's 2020 re-election campaign.

Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post, was interviewed about the thinking of Trump's advisors by MSNBC's Steve Kornacki on Monday.

"This is a White House, a Trump White House, that is used to being under siege. There was of course the two-and-a-half-year saga with the Mueller investigation culminating in the Mueller report, Mueller’s testimony recently. There have been a million other controversies, flare-ups, moments when the White House was forced to defend a comment from the president, allegation against the president, these sorts of things," Kornacki noted.

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