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Florida church: We didn’t fire lesbians for being gay — we fired them for acting like it

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Pastor Jim Govatos scrambled this week to defend the dismissal of two lesbian women who had said that the Aloma United Methodist Church fired them for being in a same-sex relationship.

Earlier this month, Florida Methodist Bishop Ken Carter said that Aloma had broken its own rules guaranteeing human and civil rights when it reportedly fired pre-K teacher Jaclyn Pfeiffer and her partner Kelly Bardier, who worked as a substitute.

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Although the couple said that they had tried to keep their relationship a secret, word eventually leaked when a friend started working at the school. Shortly after a conversation with the school’s director, Pfeiffer was told to pack her things. A letter sent to parents explained that the couple had been let go “due to personal reasons.”

On Monday, Pastor Govatos finally broke his silence on the matter, and insisted that the women had not been fired because of their sexual orientation. But instead, he said the punishment was because the women had acted on their sexual desires outside of marriage, which is not legal for same-sex couples in Florida.

“First of all, they were not fired, they voluntarily left employment,” he told The Orlando Sentinel in an interview published on Monday. “It was not about their orientation, but about behavior. We have a behavioral policy — and we’re legally entitled to — that applies to both heterosexual and homosexual people here that requires faithfulness in marriage, and celibacy in singleness.”

Govatos insisted that the outcome should not have been a surprise to the couple because the rules were outlined in the employee handbook.

“The fact that they were single and not living a celibate life,” the pastor pointed out. “Which is what’s required of everybody that works here.”

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But according to attorney Mary Meeks, the church had no reason to know about her clients’ relationship.

“My clients were never asked and never discussed that they were in a sexual relationship,” she said. “They were given an ultimatum of stop being gay or you are fired.”

As part of a settlement agreement, Aloma United Methodist said that it would provide the women with a letter of recommendation, stating they left voluntarily. And it agreed to pay them and their attorneys $28,476. Church leaders also promised to meet with leaders in the gay community.

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Watch the video below from The Orlando Sentinel, broadcast May 18, 2015.

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HBO’s Bill Maher returns to rip Trump over the pandemic — and blast his fans who are rallying around ‘the guy who made it worse’

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HBO's Bill Maher returned on Friday night via YouTube to blast Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic and took on fans of the president who are rallying around him, calling their response "irrational."

Speaking from what appeared to be his backyard, the "Real Time" host noted that Americans tend to rally around their leaders in times of crisis but that this president is not deserving of support.

"Was the current crisis preventable? " he asked. "Not all of it, of course. But we could have done what South Korea did, their nightmare started the day our's did. But while Trump shut up experts, happy-talked and lied his ass off, South Korea put a strong testing program into place, tracing people, and today they have twenty-0ne times the cases and thirty times fewer deaths."

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WATCH: The Daily Show releases devastating video of Fox News and Republicans downplaying COVID-19 crisis

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Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on Friday released a shocking highlight reel of Fox News personalities and leading Republicans downplaying the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The clip featured Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Pete Hegseth, Jesse Watters.

It also featured Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

President Donald Trump himself is also featured.

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Hannity. Rush. Dobbs. Ingraham. Pirro. Nunes. Tammy. Geraldo. Doocy. Hegseth. Schlapp. Siegel. Watters. Dr. Drew. Henry. Ainsley. Gaetz. Inhofe. Pence. Kudlow. Conway. Trump.

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta reveals why Trump’s strategy for avoiding coronavirus infection is not ‘sustainable’

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On CNN Friday, Dr. Sanjay Gupta warned that the White House's safeguards to protect President Donald Trump from COVID-19 infection are not "sustainable."

"So now, to this point that you mentioned about the president being negative, and he did mention again that he had another test and he got the results in what, 13 minutes or something like that. And the White House now says tonight that they're going to be giving those same rapid tests to anybody who is going to be coming in close contact with the president or Vice President Pence, that their reasoning is that they want to evaluate for presymptomatic or asymptomatic carriers to limit inadvertent transmission," said anchor Erin Burnett. "I mean, it seems like this makes sense, but what's your take on that?"

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