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San Antonio sued for excluding Chick-Fil-A from airport

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The lawsuit by five area residents cites state legislation passed this year that outlaws government retaliation based on “membership in and support to religious organizations.”

In a lawsuit citing a controversial new state law, five area residents are suing the city of San Antonio over its decision to prevent Chick-fil-A — a franchise known for opposing same-sex marriage — from opening a location in the city’s airport.

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“The continued religious ban on Chick-fil-A by the San Antonio City Council has by left citizens with no choice but to take this case to court,” Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values Action, said Monday at a news conference with the plaintiffs in announcing the lawsuit. “Any other vendor that tries to replace Chick-fil-A at the airport will be doing so under a major cloud of long and costly litigation with the city.”

The lawsuit, which also seeks the city to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees, calls for an injunction preventing San Antonio from taking adverse action against Chick-Fil-A or others “based wholly or partly on that person or entity’s support for religious organizations that oppose homosexual behavior.”

It cites Senate Bill 1978, a law passed this year in the Texas Legislature, that outlaws government retaliation based on “membership in and support to religious organizations.”

Laura Mayes, chief communications officer for the city of San Antonio, said in an email that the lawsuit “is an attempt by the plaintiffs to improperly use the court to advance their political agenda.”

“Among the many weaknesses in their case, they are trying to rely on a law that did not exist when Council voted on the airport concessions contract,” Mayes said. “We will seek a quick resolution from the Court.”

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State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, chairwoman of the Legislature’s LBGTQ caucus, said in a statement that it is disappointing that SB 1978 has “created the space for discriminatory lawsuits, such as the one against San Antonio” and commended San Antonio City Council for supporting inclusion.

“LGBTQ Texans are routinely denied fair and equal access to education, healthcare, housing, and economic opportunity — that is what the government should be protecting Texans from,” González said.


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Former judge lays waste to GOP claim that evidence against Trump isn’t ‘first-hand’

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Republicans defending President Donald Trump have falsely claimed there is no first-hand knowledge that directly implicates the commander-in-chief.

As with many of the past defenses of Trump offered by Republicans, there are making factual holes with the argument.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) debunked the talking point during her questioning of House Intelligence Committee counsel Daniel Goldman.

"Mr. Goldman, my Republican colleagues have suggested there is no direct evidence," Garcia noted. "Is that true?"

"No," Goldman replied. "There's a lot of direct evidence. And a lot of the evidence that they say is hearsay is actually not hearsay."

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Justice Department report on Russia probe origins is actually a damning indictment of Trump in the Ukraine scandal

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It’s a tale of two investigations. Neither is pretty, but one is, in the end, appropriate and warranted; the other is a grotesque sham. And the story of each investigation illuminates key aspects of the other.

The two investigations I’m discussing are, of course, the Russia investigation and the Ukrainian investigation of Vice President Joe Biden, which, as far as we can tell, never actually existed, despite Trump’s efforts.

Both stories, though, were front and center on Monday in a spectacular concurrence of American political news. The Justice Department inspector general released its review on the origins of the Russia investigation that targeted four members of the 2016 Trump campaign and their potential ties to the Kremlin. At the same time, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing about the report from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on the Ukraine scandal, which focused on President Donald Trump’s effforts to induce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations of Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

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‘Unfathomable grief’ as eight still missing at New Zealand volcano

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New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed "unfathomable grief" Tuesday for tourists caught in a deadly eruption at the White Island volcano, where five people have died and eight more are feared dead.

Ardern held out no hope for the eight people still missing after Monday's tragedy, saying overnight aerial reconnaissance flights had found no signs of survivors.

"The focus this morning is on recovery and ensuring police can do that safely," she told a press conference.

Among the missing and injured are tourists from Australia, the United States, Britain, China and Malaysia, as well as New Zealanders who were acting as guides.

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