Via press release from Lambda Legal:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today reversed a lower court ruling and struck down local Palm Beach County. Florida, and City of Boca Raton ordinances banning so-called conversion therapy on minors. Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings issued the following statement:
“The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County joined states and municipalities across the country who have properly banned the discredited and harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on minors in order to protect LGBTQ youth. Laws prohibiting this dangerous practice have withstood legal challenges in numerous courts. Today’s decision is a marked departure from precedent and an incredibly dangerous decision for our youth.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing less than child abuse. It poses documented and proven critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. Youth are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don’t know or don’t believe that the efforts are harmful and doomed to fail: when these efforts predictably fail to produce the expected result, many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.
“Both judges joining today’s decision were appointed by President Trump. We fear that today’s decision may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the harm that may come from a federal judiciary that has been packed for the last four years with dangerous ideologues. The damage done by this misguided opinion is incalculable and puts young people in danger.”
Photo: Federalist Society’s Andrew Brasher, whose nomination to a lower federal court failed to advance in 2018, at his successful 11th Circuit Court nomination hearing before the US Senate in December 2019.
🚨11th Circuit rules that bans on anti-LGBTQ "conversion therapy" violate the First Amendment. 2–1 decision, both judges in the majority appointed by Trump. A really awful and frightening decision.
Note that these bans only apply to minors and licensed counselors. Not clergy or private citizens. And lawmakers found that trying to change a child's sexual orientation or gender identity is extremely harmful and dangerous. The 11th Circuit's Trump judges don't care.
This is what Rule By Trump Judges looks like: We are not allowed to shield LGBTQ youth from discredited "conversion therapy," even though it increases risk of suicide.
Trump judges won't let LGBTQ people protect our own communities, our own children, from harm. Sickening.
Today's decision from the 11th Circuit blocking bans on LGBTQ "conversion therapy" for minors creates a circuit split. There is thus a very good chance the Supreme Court will now take up the issue. I have no real doubt that SCOTUS will find these bans unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court's six conservative justices will likely (1) strike down laws barring licensed counselors from seeking to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity, and (2) continue to uphold laws that force physicians to recite anti-abortion propaganda to patients.
This is an important point from Martin's dissent. The majority claims there's not enough evidence that "conversion therapy" is harmful. But medical experts have said *it would be unethical* to conduct the research that the majority demands, because it would harm children.
One startling aspect of today's opinion: The majority discredits the opposition of *every mainstream medical organization* to "conversion therapy," claiming that these groups are simply trying to censor therapists who don't share "majority preferences."
For the first time in 23 years, Texas is poised to adopt updates to its curriculum on sex education, affecting an estimated 5.5 million public school students across the state. But the new policies, which are set for a final vote on Friday, do not include information that recognizes the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.
According to the Texas Tribune, the state’s board of education held a preliminary vote on Wednesday to require middle schools to teach students about forms of birth control other than abstinence. The new requirements reportedly include instruction regarding “the effectiveness and the risks and failure rates … of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods in the prevention of STDs, STIs and pregnancy.”
But many of the more progressive proposals put forward to the Texas Board of Education’s 15-member body, which is dominated by Republicans, were rejected in a September meeting. These included lessons that would define terms like sexual orientation and gender identity, while advising students to treat their peers with respect regardless of whether they are LGBTQ+ identified or not.
Other rejected amendments would have entailed having discussions in the classroom regarding abortion and affirmative consent. One board member felt that teaching young people about consent would amount to “grooming” for pedophiles and sex traffickers, as The Guardian newspaper reported.
The Texas Board of Education reportedly held 27 hours of public testimony regarding the new sex ed curriculum over the past year, with individuals advocating for and against LGBTQ+ inclusion. One of the most vocal supporters of inclusive sex ed guidelines was fellow board member Ruben Cortez, Jr., a Democrat, who introduced an amendment to teach students about “bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.” The suggestion was ultimately voted down.
“We’re here, as representatives of this body, to represent the voices of every child,” he said, in comments recorded by the local news publication Austin American-Statesman. “We’re leaving out a big segment of kids when we take these types of actions.”
Other proponents of LGBTQ+ inclusion included the Texas Freedom Network, a left-leaning, grassroots organization that works to protect civil liberties in public schools. Its outreach and advocacy coordinator, Jules Mandel, said the group is “incredibly disappointed” the Texas Board of Education failed “to be on the right side of history and to give Texas a modern sex education curriculum, rather than keeping students trapped in the past.”
“We were deeply disappointed by the votes taken on four amendments that would have simply acknowledged that LGBTQ people exist and that we, just like everyone else, deserve to be treated with respect regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity,” Mandel told the American-Statesman.
The updates, which are extremely likely to be confirmed during Friday’s round of final votes, also neglected to remove anti-LGBTQ+ language which has been on the books in Texas for decades. According to the nationwide student advocacy group GLSEN, Texas is one of six states — including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina — which currently has “no promo homo” laws in place preventing the “promotion of homosexuality” in the classroom. (A district court ruled South Carolina’s law unconstitutional in 2020, but it has not been formally removed.)
Two different statutes in the Texas Health and Safety Code require that teachers lecturing students in topics regarding sex ed “state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense,” despite the fact that the state’s anti-sodomy laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003.
Despite Texas’ restrictive laws regarding LGBTQ+ education in schools, inclusive sex ed is broadly popular among residents. According to a survey cited by The Guardian, two-thirds of Texas voters believe that public school programs “should incorporate standards about respecting people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity.”
Should the Texas Board of Education vote in favor of the new curriculum, it will not be adopted until 2022. One quirk of the proposed regulations is that they may not apply to high school students, as high schoolers in Texas are not required to take sex ed classes in order to graduate. Furthermore, a 2016 report from the Texas Freedom Network found that 83% of Texas school districts either offered abstinence-only education or simply didn’t teach sex ed at all.
As rural Oklahoma hospitals continue to stay full, medical officials tell KFOR they are having to send more patients miles away to metro areas. However, metro hospitals reveal they are already filled to the brim.
“I was frozen,” Perkins mother Beth Pate said. “I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her.”
It was a long and terrifying ambulance ride for Pate and one-year-old Alice.
“I thought we were past it,” Pate said. “I didn’t know her little body was still fighting it.”
Pate and her husband tested positive for COVID-19 back in late October. Their two kids started to show symptoms within days.
But two weeks later, Pate says there was a scare on a Monday morning.
“I thought she was choking on her breakfast, but it was a really bad coughing fit,” Pate said. “She was trying to gag, and she was trying to breathe.”
Alice was fighting a 101-degree fever as she was rushed to Stillwater Medical Center.
Her oxygen levels were dropping fast.
She was tested for COVID-19. The results came back positive.
“They had stations in the hallways,” Pate said. “They had patients in the hallways with curtains trying to have privacy. It’s like they were playing Tetris with the hospital equipment.”
“We have been planning, planning and planning, and now we are scared,” Shyla Eggers with Stillwater Medical Center said.
As of Wednesday, Stillwater Medical Center is still without vacancy. Their public relations team tells KFOR they had to convert an office wing to patient rooms just to have overflow. Also, patients are being held in the Emergency Room holding area for hours, hoping a bed becomes available.
“We have seen outbreaks in the rural communities like Perkins and Ripley and Cushing,” Eggers said.
This harsh reality hit Beth firsthand. She and Alice were transferred 50 miles away to OU Children’s in Oklahoma City to help free up space in Stillwater.
“We are seeing some of our rural communities hit pretty hard,” Eggers said.
“It’s so rare to see masks in Perkins,” Pate said. “At a grocery or restaurant, there are none. They think they are not going to get it.”
Beth tells KFOR Alice is recovering well at home after she finally tested negative for the virus.
More Oklahoma communities dipped into Tier Three of the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s four-tiered hospital surge plan on Wednesday night. Now, over half of the state is in the orange region.
White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas criticized Michigan’s new Covid-19 restrictions in a tweet shortly after they were announced Sunday evening, urging people to “rise up” against the new public health measures.“The only way this stops is if people rise up,” Atlas said. “You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp”His message — which runs counter to the consensus of public health officials — is likely to fuel new tension between the White House and Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whom federal and state officials announced last month was the target of an alleged domestic terrorism kidnapping plot.Responding to Atlas’ tweet Sunday evening, Whitmer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “We know that the White House likes to single us out here in Michigan, me out in particular. I’m not going to be bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals.”Instead, Whitmer said, she consults “people that actually have studied and are well respected worldwide on these issues, not the — not the individual that is doing the President’s bidding on this one.”Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel echoed that message in a pair of tweets Sunday evening, casting Atlas’ posting as, “disappointing, irresponsible, and the reason why the United States finds itself in such desperate circumstances regarding COVID-19.”“I look forward to a new federal administration that works cooperatively with our state government to protect Michigan residents,” Nessel, a Democrat, said.“A patriot,” she continued, “is one who protects America from its enemies, both foreign and domestic.”“COVID-19 is the enemy, not each other. Stop pitting Americans against each other and start supporting policies proven to effectively fight the virus.”Whitmer announced in a news conference earlier Sunday that Michigan will begin a “three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities” to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.“If everyone does their part, we will see a big benefit from it,” she told Blitzer of the new measures. “But we’ll be assessing it every step of the way.”Throughout the pandemic, Whitmer has been the focus of extreme vitriol from far-right groups. The alleged scheme to kidnap her included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects “believe are violating the US Constitution,” according to a federal criminal complaint.Still, she joins a slate of officials who are tightening their restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to soar.The United States surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The latest milestone comes just six days after the US recorded 10 million cases.It was the fastest the US has added one million new cases since the pandemic began.Unlike the government medical experts who advised Trump in the early months of the pandemic, Atlas has adopted a public stance on the virus much closer to the President’s — including decrying the idea that schools cannot reopen this fall as “hysteria” and pushing for the resumption of college sports.“He’s working with us and will be working with us on the coronavirus,” Trump said in August. “And he has many great ideas. And he thinks what we’ve done is really good, and now we’ll take it to a new level.”
It’s not too late to be made aware of another Donald Trump scandal. This one comes courtesy of Sarah Posner at Type Investigations.
We’re already familiar with how this Republican administration kept nearly 70,000 refugee kids in government facilities as their families attempted to cross the border for a better life. But where would those kids be kept? The government had to pay for shelters.
What Posner found is that some of those shelters were run by conservative Christians who actively pushed their faith on those kids — in addition to having horrible track records on matters of discipline. That includes one group called “Sunny Glen Children’s Home,” in San Benito, Texas, run by the Churches of Christ, which received a hefty grant worth about $87 million to create a shelter for kids. (In 2018, they earned about $2.5 million, so they had no experience handling this kind of money.)
But Sunny Glen had a number of problems that should have prevented it from receiving any amount of taxpayer dollars.
A review of the licensing database maintained by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services by Mother Jones and Type Investigations revealed 140 such deficiencies at Sunny Glen since 2016, including 17 after HHS first awarded its federal grant in July 2019. Thirty of Sunny Glen’s 140 citations were rated as high risk. Three of those high-risk deficiencies involved violation of a state standard prohibiting “restraints that obstruct child’s airway.” Four others involved other prohibited physical or corporal punishments, including slapping, shaking, holding down children’s heads, and pushing a child against a wall. In one reported incident from May 2017, video footage “depicted two staff members administering a supine restraint on a youth; one staff on top of child and the other staff was holding down youth’s legs,” with “no caregiver monitoring child’s breathing while the youth’s face was pushed down to the ground by a caregiver’s hand.”
In other words, these children who were already escaping trauma were potentially exposed to even more of it because our Republican-led government decided to reward faith-based facilities instead of ones that had a history of doing the job and doing it well.
As Posner points out, there had previously been rules in places to prevent proselytizing and discrimination, in addition to better oversight, but the Trump administration actively reversed them. The Christian organizations, of course, care more about promoting their religion than protecting the children and doing what’s in their best interests. They won’t say that out loud, but their actions speak for themselves.
For the sake of the children, please vote if you haven’t already. Get these monsters out of office.
Today, I called my 94-year-old grandmother who survived Nazi Concentration Camps.
She voted for Biden in FL & said to me:
"What you see at the border —kids being taken from their families— is what happened to us. I never saw my parents again after that."
Be a part of the solution…
There's *quite literally* ONE day left to take action:
Voters marching to the polls in Alamance County today were turned back after sheriff's deputies pepper-sprayed them
Some background: Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson was reprimanded by the U.S. DOJ in 2012 for numerous constitutional violations + an "egregious pattern of racial profiling." He was then re-elected twice, in 2014 and 2018, after no one ran against him
However, later on in 2016, the DOJ and Alamance County reached a settlement over this issue. The DOJ dropped legal action in exchange for the sheriff agreeing for his deputies to undergo bias training and more
More info on exactly what was happening before the pepper pray started today in Alamance. Plus, confirmation that a reporter was among those arrested #ncpol
Police use pepper-spray on protesters — including children — marching to Alamance polls
Alamance County sheriff’s deputies and Graham police pepper-sprayed people — including a 5-year-old girl and other children — who were participating in the “I Am Change” march to the polls on Saturday afternoon.
A racially diverse group of about 200 people walked with a police escort from Wayman’s Chapel AME Church to Court Square, where they held a rally encouraging people to vote. The event was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, a Burlington native who leads the the Citadel Church in Greensboro, according to his website.
At least three politicians participated in some parts of the event: the current mayor of Burlington, Ian Baltutis; Democratic candidate for county commissioner Dreama Caldwell; and Democratic school board candidate Seneca Rodgers.
At one point, the marchers held a moment of silence in the street in honor of George Floyd, the Black man killed while in police custody in Minneapolis earlier this summer. After the moment of silence concluded, law enforcement told people to clear the road.
Then, deputies and police officers used pepper spray on the crowd and began arresting people. Several children in the crowd were affected by the pepper spray.
Melanie Mitchell said her 5-year-old and 11-year-old daughters were pepper-sprayed just after the moment of silence. She said Graham police approached the crowd assembled in the street and told them to move onto the sidewalk and soon began spraying pepper spray toward the ground. Mitchell’s 5-year-old took off running, she said. Both kids threw up.
“My 11-year-old was terrified,” Mitchell said. “She doesn’t want to come down to Graham anymore.”
The crowd then moved to the courthouse where speeches were being given. But before the speeches concluded, Alamance County sheriff’s deputies began dismantling the sound system and telling the crowd to disperse.
George Floyd’s niece was slated to speak at the event, but the speeches were disrupted before she got a chance at the microphone.
Deputies and officers again used pepper spray to force people off the courthouse property.
Veronica Holman said her 3-year-old great-nephew also threw up after being pepper-sprayed. They had been sitting on a brick wall across the street from the courthouse, she said. “They didn’t warn us or anything,” she said. “We were just sitting on the wall.”
At least 12 people were arrested. About 20 police officers and sheriff’s deputies stood guard outside the county jail following the arrests; about 100 marchers gathered on a grass strip outside, with officers stationed on both sides of the crowd.
Caldwell told a News & Observer reporter that her campaign manager was arrested.
Tom Boney Jr., the publisher of the Alamance News newspaper, said that one of his reporters, Tomas Murawski, also was arrested during the protest.
Boney, who was at the protest, said Murawksi was taking photos on the street when he was arrested.
“When I spoke to him on the street, while he was in police custody, he said they ordered them to move out of the road way,” Boney said in an interview with the N&O. “He was doing so, while still taking photos, but apparently not fast enough for (the police).”
The protests did not appear to disrupt the last day of early voting in the city, according to the State Board of Elections. “We’re still gathering information but it appears that voting has continued and hasn’t been interrupted,” Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the State Board of Elections, told The News & Observer.
But many who were marching may not have reached the polls.
Faith Cook was one of the few marchers to make it to the polling place on Elm Street.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Cook told The News & Observer. “Nobody should have to.
“I think it was their intention, from the moment this march was announced, that we don’t get to the polls in numbers.”
Quencelyn Ellison, president of Alamance Alliance 4 Justice who helped organize the march, questioned why the marchers were met with pepper spay.
“Why were we tear-gassed on the day we were going to the polls? Voter intimidation?” Ellison said. “We’ve been out here doing this for several weeks, and we were peaceful. How do we get treated with such great threat?”
The “I Am Change” march was billed in part as a get-out-the-vote initiative as well as a demonstration against police violence.
“This is a non-partisan march,” Drumwright said earlier this week, according to the Burlington Times-News. “This march is encouraging people to go to the polls and vote for change.”
Alamance and other counties in the Triad region include several key districts that Democrats are trying to flip, in hopes of ending Republicans’ control of the state legislature. Some of the biggest political fundraising in all of North Carolina has occurred in Alamance, a News & Observer analysis found earlier this year.
In the US today the worst crime is not genuflecting or giving sufficient obedience to the police. They must never be disrespected nor disobeyed. They are an occupying force in the US over the population. It seems these people had permission and were escorted by local police, then these Sheriff deputies moved in and started pepper spraying them. This is the US under tRump. Hugs