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‘Religious freedom’ — the new name for the war on LGBT rights

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Yesterday, the Georgia Senate approved a “religious freedom” bill which, if signed into law, would prohibit the state from infringing on personal religious beliefs — effectively legalizing discrimination against gay and transgender individuals. The bill, however, is but one of many “religious freedom” bills being introduced by Republican lawmakers across the country in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling that would legalize same-sex marriages.

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value that we cherish, and work hard to defend. However, as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people gain greater equality under the law, we are seeing a troubling push to allow anyone (including businesses) to use their religious beliefs to discriminate,” the American Civil Liberties Union explained in a fact sheet published last year.

The majority of these bills are expanded version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which the Supreme Court ruled last year exempted Hobby Lobby from providing conception coverage for its employees on religious grounds.

Nineteen states currently have RFRA legislation on the books, but even in some of those states, Republican legislators are attempting to broaden legal protection for discrimination. In Arizona last year, the legislature passed a revised version of its extant RFRA law, only to have Republican Governor Jan Brewer veto it, saying it was too “broadly worded and can result in unintended and negative consequences.”

In Florida, Satanists have already exploited such “unintended consequences,” using the Hobby Lobby decision as a means of exempting members of the Satanic Temple from the state’s mandatory informed consent laws dealing with abortion.

But increasingly, Republican lawmakers see these laws a way to protect state officials from having to perform ceremonies — such as same-sex weddings — that they find objectionable on religious grounds. Last year, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Maine introduced new or expanded RFRA legislation.

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Which is not to say that some states have not tried to make concessions, even if they did contain a poison pill. In Michigan, for example, Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger agreed to support House Bill 5959, which would have prohibited sexual discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — but only if it was yoked to House Bill 5958, which would have allowed for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation if there were religious objections.

Despite being early in 2015 state legislative sessions — and in addition to the Georgia bill — RFRA bills have already been introduced in Indiana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Arkansas.

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Donald Trump whines: ‘My life has always been a fight’

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The full interview with President Donald Trump finally aired on ABC Sunday, revealing the shocking way that he views his life.

Trump lamented that he's had such a hard life, as the son of multi-millionaires who paid to get him out of trouble multiple times.

"You're a fighter. You, you, it feels like you're in a constant kind of churn--" host George Stephanopoulos began.

"Yeah, uh, my life has always been a fight," Trump said. "And I enjoy that I guess, I don't know if I enjoy it or not, I guess -- sometimes I have false fights like the Russian witch hunt. That's a false fight. That's a made-up, uh, hoax. And I had to fight that."

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The right-wing scored more in years of Trump than eight years of George W. Bush: report

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President George W. Bush oversaw eight years that restricted rights, banned LGBTQ equality, appointed anti-choice judges and so much more. But under Donald Trump's presidency, social conservatives have managed to roll back any progress made by President Barack Obama's leadership.

A new Axios report listed out any anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-poor policies.

“He campaigned saying that he would be a good friend to LGBT people,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told VOX. "Actions speak far louder than words. And what he's done has been a wreck."

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Israel’s Netanyahu just christened a building named after Trump — that doesn’t even exist

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent his Father’s Day dedicating a new Trump Tower-type building that hasn't been built in a town that doesn't exist.

Standing in front of a large sign saying "Trump Heights," Netanyahu, who is being forced back into another election, announced the building before planning even began, Axios reported.

A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights” — first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/fdYWzokFLK

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