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LGBT advocates seek to label opponents as US hate groups

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A liberal coalition on Thursday started a campaign to label social conservative organizations that oppose transgender rights as hate groups, ratcheting up the antagonism between opposing sides on one of America’s most contentious debates.

The Eliminate Hate Campaign seeks to draw attention to groups it sees as extreme and hateful against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, accusing them of hiding behind ostensibly Christian or family values.

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Alarmed by a surge in reported hate crimes tied to the 2016 presidential campaign, the campaign will pressure the media to use the hate-group designation for about 50 organizations in the United States.

It also will encourage the public to oppose extremism and seek to diminish the prestige of groups it believes spread fear and lies about LGBT people.

Conservatives have promised to dig in for a long fight in the debate over whether transgender people deserve legal protection against discrimination and the right to use the public bathrooms of their choice.

Several of the targeted groups said they reject any hate designation as an attempt to silence them.

They also see transgender advocates as out of step with the public even as celebrities and the Democratic Party champion the transgender cause.

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Among those singled out by the liberal coalition was the Alliance Defending Freedom, a self-described religious freedom organization that has sought to halt the expansion of transgender rights by arguing before school boards and in court.

“ADF doesn’t have time to respond to organizations who do nothing more than call names, create division and incite violence across the country in order to raise money,” spokesman Greg Scott said in a statement.

Peter Sprigg, spokesman for the Family Research Council, another of the targeted groups, said gender identity should not be protected from discrimination.

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“We believe that it’s really not possible for a person to change their sex, that biological sex at birth is essentially immutable,” Sprigg said.

The campaign is led by Media Matters For America and includes the National Center for Transgender Equality, The National LGBTQ Task Force, SoulForce, The Equality Federation, and The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

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“I have seen first hand what can happen as a result of hate and how it feels to have the hate and discrimination that people face dismissed or denied,” said Judy Shepard, president of the foundation and the mother of Matthew Shepard, a gay teenager who was beaten to death in Wyoming in 1998.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bill Trott)


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‘Ranking member, it’s Lt Col’: Vindman corrects Devin Nunes in testy exchange over House Intelligence Committee rules

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The third day of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump started with testimony from two more witnesses: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (National Security Council director for European affairs) and Jennifer Williams (foreign policy adviser for Vice President Mike Pence). After House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Democratic Party attorney Daniel Goldman questioned Vindman and Williams extensively on Tuesday morning, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (a member of the House Intelligence Committee) had a chance to ask them some questions. And things got testy right away.

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‘That will play poorly with the respect our troops crowd’: Twitter rips Devin Nunes for disrespecting Lt. Col. Vindman’s rank

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As Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified on the third day of public hearings in the House's impeachment inquiry of President Trump, there was a brief exchange between him and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) that caught the attention of observers. While addressing the career military officer, Nunes referred to him simply as "Mr. Vindman," prompting the witness to interrupt him and request that Nunes address him by using the proper rank.

"Ranking member, it's Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please," Vindman said.

https://twitter.com/YahooNews/status/1196817887152861184

The moment, however brief, was a big hit on Twitter with many seeing it as just another example of Republicans' lack of respect for career military officers who also happen to potentially be adversarial to Trump.

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French court confirms sentence for Picasso’s electrician over hoarded art

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A French court on Tuesday confirmed the two-year suspended jail terms given to Pablo Picasso's former electrician and his wife, who hoarded 271 of the great painter's works in a garage for four decades.

The verdict by the Lyon court is the latest twist in a decade-long legal saga, which took the couple, who claim the works were a gift, all the way to France's top appeals court.

Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec were first given two-year suspended terms in 2015 after being convicted of possession of stolen goods over the huge trove of works by Picasso, including nine rare Cubist collages and a work from his famous Blue Period.

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