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Sen. Tom Cotton says Indiana’s anti-LGBT law could be worse: Iran executes their gays!

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said critics of Indiana’s anti-LGBT bill should be grateful the controversial legislation isn’t as draconian as some laws overseas.

The Republican freshman senator appeared Wednesday on CNN’s “Situation Room,” where he said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not promote discrimination against LGBT Americans, reported Think Progress.

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“I also think it’s important that we have a sense of perspective about our priorities,” Cotton told host Wolf Blitzer. “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

Cotton said the bill differed little from an identically named federal law signed in 1993 by former President Bill Clinton, although Indiana’s law extends religious protections from discrimination claims to privately held, for-profit businesses rather than individuals.

He said critics of the controversial legislation signed by Republican Gov. Mike Pence should focus on human rights abuses committed by a country that many GOP lawmakers want to bomb.

“They’re currently imprisoning an American preacher for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in Iran,” Cotton said. “We should focus on the most important priorities our country faces right now, and I would say that a nuclear armed Iran, given the threat that it poses to the region and to our interests in the region and American citizens, is the most important thing that we’d be focused on.”

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He said the federal law, which generally protects individual religious rights against government infringement, had not led to widespread discrimination – although Indiana’s law deals more specifically with claims between private entities.

“At the same time, I think it’s a legitimate question to ask whether a woman who teaches piano and then, on her free time, makes extra money by playing pianos at weddings, if she strongly believes that gay marriage is not consistent with her personal conscious beliefs, should be compelled by law to perform at a gay marriage,” Cotton said. “I think that’s a reasonable question to ask, and I don’t think that we should call that woman bigoted or hateful or that we should impose criminal or even civil fines on her.”

He again misrepresented the differences between the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Indiana’s new legislation.

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“I would say anybody who thinks that these laws are empowering that kind of discrimination are either misinformed or they’re misrepresenting the facts,” Cotton said. “That simply hasn’t been the case in the 22 years since Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Watch Cotton’s remarks posted online by Think Progress Video:

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… 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.

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Every measure the White House used to tout a good economy has gone south: NYT economics reporter

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New York Times tax and economics reporter Jim Tankersley noted Tuesday during an MSNBC panel discussion, that the charts and graphs the White House has used to show the strength of the economy have all gone south.

President Donald Trump has alleged there is a media conspiracy to spread “fake news” about the economy, but Tankersley explained that the metrics that the White House used themselves in September are showing the economy is slowing.

"Well, there's clearly a slowdown happening in the economy. That's what's going on," Tankersley said. "The White House can see it. I just published a piece updating some charts that the administration had used in September to show us all how great the economy was doing. And by almost every measure that they used to sell the health of the economy, things have gotten worse."

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Fox News guest shuts down panel bashing Ilhan Omar by pointing out Trump’s ‘profoundly’ anti-Semitic rhetoric

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A Fox News panelist shut down his colleagues by explaining why President Donald Trump had displayed more anti-Semitic behavior than Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The president launched a new attack against another Muslim lawmaker, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), as part of his ongoing feud with four first-year Democratic congresswomen, and "Outnumbered" co-host Lisa Boothe compared them to neo-Nazis.

Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long. Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!

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NYC public advocate confronts defender of Eric Garner’s killer: ‘Stop pretending black folks aren’t human’

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Former New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and former FBI special agent James Gagliano debated the firing of Daniel Pantaleo, an NYPD officer who caused the death of Eric Garner.

Gagliano called the firing a "glaring miscarriage of justice."

"I look at it from the perspective of the law," Gagliano opined. "It's easy to watch the video and feel passion for the [Garner] family. We've had his wife on here, we've had his mother on here, we've had his children on here."

Gagliano insisted that he is not an "unabashed police shill." He said that basing the firing on the video of Garner's death is "unfair to the officer."

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