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Oklahoma passes adoption bill critics say is biased against LGBTQ couples

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The Republican-controlled Oklahoma legislature approved an adoption measure on Thursday that critics say discriminates against same-sex couples, non-Christians and single parents.

The bill would allow faith-based adoption agencies, including those that receive public funds, to turn away would-be parents on the basis of their marital status or religion and religious beliefs.

The bill’s proponents said the legislation would open the door for more child placement partnerships.

The state House of Representatives approved the bill by a 56-21 vote without discussion or debate, despite vocal objections and attempted parliamentary maneuvering from the Democratic caucus.

Opponents of the bill could mount a legal challenge. The Supreme Court in June 2017 reversed an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling and ordered all states to treat same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples in the issuance of birth certificates. This and other court rulings have made adoption by same-sex couples legal in all 50 states.

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As members of both parties shouted insults at each other during the abruptly called vote, the presiding officer threatened to remove one Democratic lawmaker from the floor for refusing to take his seat.

“The abomination of process & justice in the OK House of Reps makes me weep for democracy,” Oklahoma Representative Cory Williams tweeted after the vote. “The priorities of bigotry and hate, under the guise of religious freedom, are truly heartbreaking.”

Earlier in the day, the Senate passed the bill by a 33-7 vote. The measure now goes to Governor Mary Fallin, who has not publicly indicated whether she will sign it.

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Leaders with Human Rights Watch and Oklahoma’s gay community criticized the bill, calling the measure unnecessary and divisive.

“What happened on the floor of the Oklahoma House and Senate today was a disgrace,” Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson said. “Leadership of both houses forced an unneeded, unwanted, and un-American bill onto the Governor’s desk. This measure does nothing but keep Oklahoma’s most vulnerable youth out of loving and committed homes.”

But Republican State Senator Greg Treat, who introduced the bill, told Oklahoma City TV station KFOR the language of the bill has been misconstrued.

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“It doesn’t do anything … to prohibit same-sex couples from adopting,” Treat said. “All it does is protect faith-based institutions who wish to participate, and some are sitting on the sideline right now, and I hope to get them involved to help us take care of the huge need.”

Reporting by Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton; editing by Bill Tarrant and Grant McCool


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Newly revealed video shows Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ogling cheerleaders at Mar-A-Lago party

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Newly revealed video recorded in 1992 shows Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein ogling NFL cheerleaders at a party held at the future president's Mar-A-Lago club.

The video recorded by NBC and broadcast Wednesday by MSNBC shows Trump, then a celebrity businessman, dancing with dozens of cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, and then greeting Epstein and two other men.

Trump and the accused pedophile Epstein are then seen pointing toward various women and commenting on their looks, although it's not always clear what they're saying.

"She's hot," Trump says about one woman, and then leans in to say something that makes Epstein double over with laughter.

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‘Clear and present racism’: MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Mika say Kellyanne Conway should have been ‘fired on the spot’ for slurring reporter

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were astonished by Kellyanne Conway's response to a reporter asking about President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four first-year lawmakers.

The White House senior adviser asked Breakfast Media White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg, who is Jewish, about his ethnicity after he asked Conway what countries Trump was telling the Democratic congresswomen to return.

"I won't draw any parallels with any fascist countries, but what happened yesterday in a press gaggle has nothing to do with the United States of America," Scarborough said, "and in any other administration over the past 240 years, a person that did what Kellyanne Conway did yesterday would have been fired on the spot. By the time she left the press gaggle and went back into the White House, they would have already packed up her belongings and would have told her leave by the back door and never talk to us again."

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Elon Musk shows off progress on brain-machine interface

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Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk late Tuesday revealed his secretive Neuralink startup is making progress on an interface linking brains with computers, and said they hope to begin testing on people next year.

Musk has long contended that a neural lace meshing minds with machines is vital if people are going to avoid being so outpaced by artificial intelligence that, under the best of circumstances, humans would be akin to "house cats."

Musk and members of the Neuralink team laid out progress they have made on their mission at an event held in San Francisco to recruit talent in software, robotics, neuroscience and more.

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