Gay parents shouldn’t both be on child’s birth certificate, Indiana AG argues

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/gay-parents-shouldn-t-both-be-child-s-birth-certificate-n1249358

The state’s attorney general wants the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that found Indiana laws limiting who can be called a parent were unconstitutional.

 

Image: Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill

Indiana’s attorney general submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that it should reverse a federal appeals court’s ruling that allowed both members of same-sex couples in Indiana to be listed as parents on the birth certificates of their children.

The petition from Attorney General Curtis Hill follows a January decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a decision by judges in Indiana’s federal southern district court who found that Indiana laws limiting who can be called the parent of a child were unconstitutional.

 

Hill filed also filed a request in June asking the court to review the appellate court’s decision.

The original case involved Ashlee and Ruby Henderson, a gay married couple from Lafayette who filed a federal lawsuit in 2015 challenging Indiana’s birth records law. They sued the state health commissioner and Tippecanoe County officials because county officials would not list both of them as parents on the birth certificate of their son, who Ruby conceived through artificial insemination.

The case is among the first dealing with same-sex marriage for the Supreme Court since the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the Journal & Courier and The Indianapolis Star reported.

Karen Celestino-Horseman, the Hendersons’ Indianapolis-based attorney, said Wednesday that she expects Hill’s brief will be discussed during a Dec. 11 conference the high court has set on the matter.

“We are hopeful the court will follow the precedent in ‘Pavan,’” Celestino-Horseman said, referring to the high court’s 2017 ruling in the Pavan v. Smith case, which involved Arkansas married couples who conceive through artificial insemination. In that case, the court ruled that the “constellation of benefits that the states have linked to marriage” extended to having the names of same-sex parents on a birth certificate.

In their federal suit, the Hendersons contended that leaving one mother’s name off the birth certificate presented legal issues when it came to health insurance coverage, who could speak for a child at a doctor’s appointment and enrolling in school. They argued that it was unfair to force one mother from a same-sex marriage to spend $4,000 to $5,000 to legally adopt the couple’s child.

The Hendersons won their initial case in 2016. Seven additional couples joined the suit as plaintiffs after Indiana appealed up to the Chicago-based 7th Circuit, which ruled in January that under Indiana law, “a husband is presumed to be a child’s biological father, so that both spouses are listed as parents on the birth certificate and the child is deemed to be born in wedlock.”

“There’s no similar presumption with respect to an all-female married couple — or for that matter an all-male married couple,” the judges wrote, adding that requiring both women in a same-sex marriage to be listed as parents would prevent any discrimination.

In his petition to the court, Hill argues that upholding that decision would violate common sense and throw into jeopardy parental rights based on biology.

“A birth mother’s wife will never be the biological father of the child, meaning that, whenever a birth-mother’s wife gains presumptive ‘parentage’ status, a biological father’s rights and obligations to the child have necessarily been undermined without proper adjudication,” Hill wrote.

Again bigotry on display.  Why does this man so desperately want to take a parent from a child?  He clearly has a ax to grind, as this affects him personally  in no way.  Could he be someone with deeply held religious beliefs that to people of the same gender on a child’s birth certificate makes his god sad.  Makes his god cry?  Is he on a religious crusade to earn his place in his gods afterlife by making the icky gays lives harder?    Please read the next story on this he has an issue with consent also.   Hugs

Indiana AG Asks SCOTUS To Reverse Ruling Allowing Same-Sex Parents To Be Listed On Birth Certificates

Read the full article. Curtis Hill last appeared on JMG earlier this year when he temporarily lost his law license over allegations that he had drunkenly groped several women at a party. Since then Hill has fought against COVID-related restrictions in his state.

 

Biden plans swift moves to protect and advance LGBTQ rights

https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-donald-trump-barack-obama-discrimination-marriage-fbdd826a46b3c77c265967c73b7ff6e0

As vice president in 2012, Joe Biden endeared himself to many LGBTQ Americans by endorsing same-sex marriage even before his boss, President Barack Obama.

Now, as president-elect, Biden is making sweeping promises to LGBTQ activists, proposing to carry out virtually every major proposal on their wish lists. Among them: Lifting the Trump administration’s near-total ban on military service for transgender people, barring federal contractors from anti-LGBTQ job discrimination, and creating high-level LGBTQ-rights positions at the State Department, the National Security Council and other federal agencies.

In many cases the measures would reverse executive actions by President Donald Trump, whose administration took numerous steps to weaken protections for transgender people and create more leeway for discrimination against LGBTQ people, ostensibly based on religious grounds.

In a policy document, the Biden campaign said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “have given hate against LGBTQ+ individuals safe harbor and rolled back critical protections.”

Beyond executive actions he can take unilaterally, Biden says his top legislative priority for LGBTQ issues is the Equality Act, passed by the House of Representatives last year but stalled in the Senate. It would extend to all 50 states the comprehensive anti-bias protections already afforded to LGBTQ people in 21 mostly Democratic-governed states, covering such sectors as housing, public accommodations and public services.

Biden says he wants the act to become law within 100 days of taking office, but its future remains uncertain. Assuming the bill passes again in the House, it would need support from several Republicans in the Senate, even if the Democrats gain control by winning two runoff races in Georgia. For now, Susan Collins of Maine is the only GOP co-sponsor in the Senate.

Critics, including prominent religious conservatives, say the bill raises religious freedom concerns and could require some faith-based organizations to operate against their beliefs.

The Equality Act “is a dangerous game changer” in its potential federal threat to religious liberty, said the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican, tried to strike a compromise last year that would have expanded LGBTQ rights nationwide while allowing exemptions for religious groups to act on beliefs that could exclude LGBTQ people. His proposal won support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Seventh-day Adventist Church but was panned by liberal and civil rights groups.

“Anti-equality forces are trying to use the framework of religious liberty to strip away individual rights,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ-rights organization.

Among the actions that Biden pledges to take unilaterally, scrapping Trump’s transgender military ban would be among the most notable.

Jennifer Levi, a Massachusetts-based transgender-rights lawyer, said it’s clear Biden has the authority to do so after taking office.

Nicolas Talbott, a transgender man whom Levi has represented in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban, called that “a huge relief.”

“I look forward to being allowed to re-enroll in ROTC so I can continue to train, keep up my fitness to serve, and become the best Army officer I can possibly be,” Talbott said via email.

Some of Biden’s other promises:

— Appoint an array of LGBTQ people to federal government positions. There’s wide expectation that Biden will nominate an LGBTQ person to a Cabinet post, with former presidential contender Pete Buttigieg among the possibilities.

— Reverse Trump administration policies carving out religious exemptions allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people by social service agencies, health care providers, adoption and foster care agencies and other entities.

— Reinstate Obama administration guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to access bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams in accordance with their gender identity. The Trump administration revoked this guidance.

— Allocate federal resources to help curtail violence against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. Rights groups say at least 38 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been killed in the U.S. this year.

— Support legislative efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors.

— Bolster federal efforts to collect comprehensive data about LGBTQ people in the U.S. by adding questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to national surveys.

— Ensure that LGBTQ rights are a priority for U.S. foreign policy and be prepared to use pressure tactics, including sanctions, against foreign governments violating those rights.

Whatever happens in Washington, some activists worry that Republican-controlled state legislatures may push anti-LGBTQ bills, such as curtailing the ability of transgender youth to access certain medical treatments or participate in school sports. They are also concerned that an influx of conservative federal judges appointed by Trump might lead to rulings allowing religious exemptions.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court — now with a solid conservative majority — heard arguments on whether a Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia should be able to turn away same-sex couples who want to be foster parents, while still receiving local government funding.

Tim Schultz, a religious freedom advocate, outlined two potential paths for the debate over the Equality Act: “ongoing legislative gridlock, regulatory trench warfare and judicial decisions, which will happen independently of what the president does,” or active engagement by Biden for a new strategy that can win bipartisan support in the Senate.

The first path would provide only “temporary satisfaction,” given that regulatory moves can be undone by future presidents, said Schultz, president of the nonprofit 1st Amendment Partnership.

Nathan Diament, executive director of the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center, cited Biden’s campaign-trail appeals for unity — and his commitment to faith outreach — as positive signs for more engagement on the issue next year.

“He and his team will be very well-positioned to broker compromise if they want to, to get this done,” said Diament, who has advised both the Trump and Obama administrations.

Christian couple who said they would try to “cure” a gay kid sues foster agency for denying them

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/11/christian-couple-said-try-cure-gay-kid-sues-foster-agency-denying/

Byron and Keira Hordyk, an Australian evangelical Christian couple who applied to be foster parents, are suing for “religious discrimination” after they were denied. They say the foster agency’s decision wasn’t based on whether or not they can provide a loving home to a child but instead on their anti-LGBTQ religious beliefs.

The couple told an employee from the Wanslea Family Services that they would not accept an LGBTQ kid and would subject the child to traumatizing “conversion therapy” meant to turn them straight or cisgender. The Hordyks were denied because their home wouldn’t be a safe environment for the child.

Related: Classy foster kid says he ‘went red’ when his teacher berated him for having two dads

The American Psychiatric Association has long opposed conversion therapy and has called on lawmakers to ban what they call a “harmful and discriminatory practice.”

Even conversion therapy that doesn’t use abusive or violent techniques can harm a child’s mental health by teaching them that they are fundamentally broken because of their identity. According to HRC, the practice has been linked to an increased risk of “depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.”

Garden State Equality, an LGBTQ organization, says simply, “Conversion therapy is child abuse.”

So it is not surprising that the Hordyks got rejected. The couple said they got a letter from the foster agency saying that they did not meet the requirement of “providing a safe living environment.”

“We do feel we have been discriminated against and also we felt that if we were quiet about this and didn’t say anything about it, it could potentially harm or limit any people with the same Christian values as ours from fostering,” the couple told The West Australian. “We hold traditional Christian views on how the Bible teaches us on sexuality and marriage.”

“We stated it from the beginning. We are not here to hide behind it. Everyone — particularly with a divisive issue — is afraid of being put into the realm of public opinion in a negative light. And my beliefs are strong enough that this might be my cross to bear.”

In the United States, foster agencies run by religious organizations have sued to demand their “right” to deny LGBTQ people as potential foster parents. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case brought by a Catholic adoption agency seeking the right to discriminate against potential LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents, shortly after the election.

Catholic Social Services sued after the city of Philadelphia ended a contract with the service after finding out the agency wouldn’t serve gay couples. Lower court rulings have sided with the city, pointing out that religious beliefs are not grounds for violating general civil rights laws.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that religious groups are not exempt from general local, state, and federal laws, but the current makeup of the court has caused concern among civil rights advocates.

This was the first major case that new Justice Amy Coney Barrett heard. The far-right anti-LGBTQ Justice’s confirmation tilted the court with a 6-3 conservative bias.

The Pilgrims Were Queer

I really hope this is true.   I have not investigated it yet, but hope springs eternal.   Hugs

https://www.vice.com/en/article/vb3w7a/the-pilgrims-were-queer

Matt Baume

Dig into the history and you’ll see plenty of early American colonizers were super gay—and their compatriots had views of it that were complicated, to say the least.

As you sit down for turkey, corn, and arguments with relatives at Thanksgiving this year, take a moment to give thanks to Thomas Morton, who founded what could be considered America’s first queer hippie colony in 1625.

Today, Merrymount is a quiet neighborhood of Quincy, Massachusetts; residents explain that the name is an English translation of its original name, Passonagessit. But, bless their hearts, the truth may be more exciting. According to historians and original records, the pilgrims founded an unusually queer society—one that wasn’t straight-up accepting of all that queerness, per se, but had a more complicated relationship with it than you might think. In fact, as historians note, the name “Merrymount” can also refer to a Latin phrase meaning “erect phallus”—quite a coincidence, given the men erected an 80-foot pole in the center of town.

 

Though our modern understanding of sexuality would have been completely foreign to them, early European immigrants experienced same-sex attraction just as we do today, and they had queer sex, entered queer relationships, and formed queer households in ways that are surprisingly familiar.

And though early laws called for the death penalty for “sodomy” and “buggery,” the Pilgrims had a more complicated attitude about homosexuality than you might think. Despite the prohibition on same-sex encounters, there were circumstances where they were tolerated—or at least ignored—and penalties gradually weakened over the course of the 1600s, in part out of necessity because such encounters were so common, according to Michael Bronski, a Professor of Practice in Media and Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard. In other words, yes, many of the pilgrims in whose honor we celebrate Thanksgiving were queer.

When they arrived in what they called the Americas, colonizers sought a “city upon a hill”—that is, an example of religious purity. But the inhabitants of that land certainly didn’t meet their Biblical expectations, particularly when it came to gender roles.

“[Indigenous] gender roles—not all the time, but a considerable amount—were completely foreign to the Europeans,” said Bronski. “Every tribe had their own word for it, but there was a considerable amount of gender fluidity.”

 

Among the Mamitaree tribe, the journals of Lewis and Clark recorded men allowed to wear women’s clothes and marry other men. Among the Crow, men were honored for expressing feminine roles.

“The Europeans [were] totally scandalized,” said Bronski.

Despite their heterosexual aspirations, the Pilgrims found that sodomy just refused to stop happening among their ilk. Though they passed laws to encourage heterosexual marriage and reproduction, Bronski said, “clearly, they were fucking before they were married.”

In a 1978 paper entitled “Things Fearful to Name,” historian Robert F. Oaks described colonists who were what we would today call queer. For example, there was the 1629 arrival of the ship Talbot, carrying “5 beastly Sodomitical boys [who] confessed their wickedness not to be named.” They were sent back to England for trial.

In 1637, John Allexander and Thomas Roberts were accused of “lude behavior and uncleane carriage one w[ith] another, by often spendinge their seede one vpon another.” Alexander was beaten, branded, and exiled; Roberts was whipped and returned to indentured servitude. In 1649, Mary Hammon and Sara Norman were accused of “lewd behavior each with other upon a bed” and “divers Lasivious speeches.” Norman was sentenced “to make a publick acknowlidgment, so fare as conveniently may bee, of her vnchast beahuior.”

There exists little record of queer life in the colonies, since criminal complaints were generally the only occasion on which they were detailed. Thomas Morton’s founding of Merrymount remains among the most vivid: Merrymount denziens are described as having rejected the strict rules of the Puritans, declaring all servants and slaves to be free and encouraging intermingling with indigenous Algonquin people. Morton declared himself “Lord of Misrule” and his people were described by Nathaniel Hawthorne as a “crew of Comus,” a reference to a mythological figure during whose ceremonies men and women exchanged clothing.

 

Hawthorne’s description of Merrymounters, written two centuries later, could refer to a Pride parade today: “One was a youth in glistening apparel, with a scarf of the rainbow pattern crosswise on his breast. … There was the likeness of a bear erect, brute in all but his hind legs, which were adorned with pink silk stockings.”

On one particularly exciting occasion, the residents of Merrymount erected a maypole and danced in a manner described as evoking Ganymede and Zeus—figures that often symbolized same-sex couplings. This proto-Pride proved a bit too much for the neighbors, who arrested Morton, chopped down the pole, and scattered the residents.

But Puritan objections to homosexuality were not entirely rooted in what we would call gender normativity. “The earliest sodomy laws are not prohibiting homsexual sex per se,” said Bronski. “They’re prohibiting non-reproductive sex. So if you had anal sex with your wife, that would be a crime. The most important thing was to reproduce, because half the children died when they were infants.”

Indeed, the Puritans often avoided applying prescribed punishments for queer sex. Nicholas Sension, for example, was brought before a court in 1672 having propositioned numerous men over the preceding thirty years. “He took me and threw me on the chest and took hold on my privy parts,” testified one man. Sension was merely admonished at least twice during those decades before finally being whipped, fined, and shamed. It was yet another case, historian Linda Bissell wrote, of authorities using the law “to enforce obedience only when other means had failed and violations of norms were flagrant.”

 

Despite many settlements calling for the death penalty for sodomy, colonizers found that conditions were so harsh and the community so delicate that it was inadvisable to kill except in the most extreme cases. As a result, they often found reasons to forgive same-sex intercourse when it was discovered.

“There were always concerns about starvation of the entire colony,” said historian Carl Anthony. “So in the order of things that were important to them, that harsh Christian judgement about sex outside of marriage fell lower on the list.”

This “may have reflected economic realities in an area where labor was scarce, or it may have stemmed from a reluctance to apply capital punishment to crimes feared to be rather common,” wrote Oaks in 1978.

“My reading of this is that the Puritans were like, ‘people do this stuff, but it really shouldn’t be public,’” said Bronski. “‘We don’t want to go too far punishing them, because that would hurt the community.’ The most important thing is to keep the community stable.”

He added, “you kept the community together by keeping your emotions in.”

“Puritans became inured to sexual offenses,” wrote historian Edmund Morgan in 1942, “because there were so many.”

It’s an attitude that managed to stay with Americans over the intervening centuries, a tension between distaste for homosexuality and resignation that it will never go away. It’s only in the last few decades that the original spirit of Merrymount has returned, whether in the form of separatist radical faerie communities or queer enclaves within cities.

“I think Thomas Morton would have loved it,” Bronski said. “I’m rather fond of the Puritans. I wouldn’t want to live with them, but they totally understand that human beings are fallible. And what really matters is keeping the community together — which I can relate to as part of a gay community.”

Follow Matt Baume on Twitter.

Seems like he will fit in

Graham: There’s A Place For Women In America If They “Embrace Religion, Follow Traditional Family Structure”

Graham: There’s A Place For Women In America If They “Embrace Religion, Follow Traditional Family Structure”

“You know what I like about Judge Barrett? She’s got everything. She’s just not wicked smart, she’s incredibly good. She embraces her faith. I want every young woman to know that that there’s a place for you in America if you’re pro-life, if you embrace your religion and you follow traditional family structure, that you can go anywhere, young lady.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham, speaking to supporters in South Carolina.

 

tired of this nonsense

Today, Lindsay Graham told women there's a place for them in America if they embrace their religion and follow "traditional family structure".

Are y'all tired of this nonsense? All women are valid. All families are valid.

Make calls for @harrisonjaime:

https://bit.ly/2HRwIDK

Originally tweeted by Charlotte Clymer 🏳️‍🌈 (@cmclymer) on November 1, 2020.

Anti-LGBT TX Grifter Behind Bid To Toss Out Votes

The Texas Tribune reports:

For the nearly 127,000 people who did so at drive-thru polling places instead of in traditional indoor sites, many are now watching with fear as a wealthy conservative activist, a Republican state representative and two GOP candidates aim to throw out their ballots at the last minute.

In the state’s most populous — and largely Democratic — county, drive-thru voters are left anxiously awaiting court decisions before Election Day on Tuesday that could force them to go back to the polls. Likely many more are unaware of their votes’ potential demise.

The plaintiffs, all Republicans, are conservative activist Steven Hotze, state Rep. Steve Toth of The Woodlands, congressional candidate Wendell Champion and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill. They argue that the county’s new drive-thru voting sites are an illegal expansion of curbside voting.

Hotze last appeared on JMG when he left a voice mail for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, telling him to “shoot to kill” Black Lives Matter activists.

You may recall that Steven Hotze has compared gays to “communist termites” eating away at America’s moral fabric. He is also fond of declaring that it’s now a hate crime to denounce homosexuality.

It was Hotze who bankrolled the successful campaign to repeal Houston’s “wicked, evil, Satanic” LGBT rights ordinance, during which he compared gays to rapists and murderers.

According to Hotze, same-sex marriage will result in children “practicing sodomy” in kindergarten.

Last year he appeared here when he “prophesied” that God will deliver “just retribution” to lawmakers who vote for LGBT rights.

When he’s not calling on God to kill politicians or the governor to kill protesters, Hotze sells “miracle” supplements because high cholesterol doesn’t really cause heart disease.

Hotze regularly quotes QAnon slogans.

 

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/31/harris-county-drive-thru-votes/

A poll worker feeds a voting machine and power cord through a voter’s car window in the drive-through line at NRG Stadium in…

But for the nearly 127,000 people who did so at drive-thru polling places instead of in traditional indoor sites, many are now watching with fear as a wealthy conservative activist, a Republican state representative and two GOP candidates aim to throw out their ballots at the last minute. In the state’s most populous — and largely Democratic — county, drive-thru voters are left anxiously awaiting court decisions before Election Day on Tuesday that could force them to go back to the polls. Likely many more are unaware of their votes’ potential demise.

The Republican legal effort could jeopardize 10% of the in-person early votes that were cast at 10 drive-thru polling places throughout the county — a vote count higher than the entire early vote total in Nueces County, home of Corpus Christi and the state’s 16th most populous county.

 

Two lawsuits by the group of plaintiffs have been filed in recent days after a similar challenge was already rejected by the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court.

“I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, but I think this is ridiculous,” Christine Charles told The Texas Tribune Saturday. “They could have done this two weeks ago, and we could have voted [inside] in person.”

Charles, 32, works at a medical center in Houston with her friend, so they opted to stay in her car to vote when they arrived at NRG Park. They didn’t want to potentially expose other people to the coronavirus in a voting line, she said. She was “jazzed” about the process, which includes the same safeguards as voting indoors.

“We thought it was fine, and then I see these stories,” she said, referring to the lawsuits seeking to toss the votes. “We can both still go on Tuesday and vote if we have to, but I want to know. If my vote’s going to be thrown out, when are we going to know that’s the case?”

The state’s Republican leadership, meanwhile, has stayed silent on the issue.

Harris County first tested drive-thru voting in the July primary runoffs with little controversy, and the county’s 10 drive-thru centers were established for the fall election to make early voting easier for people concerned about entering polling places during the pandemic. Voters pull up in their cars, and after their registrations and identifications have been confirmed by poll workers, are handed an electronic tablet through their car windows to cast ballots.

The plaintiffs, all Republicans, are conservative activist Steven Hotze, state Rep. Steve Toth of The Woodlands, congressional candidate Wendell Champion and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill. They argue that the county’s new drive-thru voting sites are an illegal expansion of curbside voting and violate Texas election law and the U.S. Constitution. Curbside voting, a separate option long available under Texas election law, requires workers at every polling place to deliver onsite curbside ballots to voters who are “physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health.”

Hotze is an active GOP donor and is one of the most prolific culture warriors on the right. He’s a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage and was a key figure in the unsuccessful push for the 2017 “bathroom bill” in the Texas Legislature. This year, he has filed numerous lawsuits seeking to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott’s coronavirus restrictions and block Harris County’s efforts to make it easier for people to vote. And he left a voicemail for Abbott’s chief of staff this summer telling him to shoot and kill people protesting the in-custody death of George Floyd.

 

Teeing up a massive potential disenfranchisement of Harris County voters, the Republicans are asking the courts to not only declare drive-thru voting illegal in Texas, but to throw out the votes cast at such polling locations. An earlier legal challenge against drive-thru voting brought by Hotze, Hemphill and the Harris County Republican Party was rejected by the Texas Supreme Court last week.

“Unless stopped, illegal votes will be cast and counted in direct violation of the Texas Election Code and the United States Constitution and result in the integrity of elections in Harris County being compromised,” the petition to the court said.

(Voters who used the drive-thru option are subjected to the same verification requirements as those who vote in traditional polling places.)

Harris County officials have continued to defend the legality of the program, and noted that the Texas secretary of state’s office had approved of drive-thru voting. Keith Ingram, the state’s director of elections, said in a court hearing last month in another lawsuit that drive-thru voting is “a creative approach that is probably okay legally,” according to court transcripts.

 

Plus, the county argued in a Friday filing that Texas’s election code, along with court rulings, have determined that even if the drive-thru locations are deemed violations, votes cast there are still valid.

“More than a century of Texas case law requires that votes be counted even if election official[s] violate directory election laws,” the county’s filing said.

Still, the challenges have arrived in front of conservative judges in part of what the county’s attorney in the state lawsuit said is part of a national Republican strategy in the courts for what’s expected to be a close presidential race. The lawsuits were filed as a record number of voters turned out in Texas and polls showed a narrowing presidential race in the state. There was no lawsuit or public expression of concern when the county first tried this method in the July runoffs.

Susan Hays, attorney for the Harris County Clerk’s Office, said Saturday that if a court moved to invalidate the votes before Tuesday, voters could cast on Election Day a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are reviewed after Election Day and counted once election workers determine they qualify. The clerk’s office is confident the county’s about 800 polling locations could handle the 127,000 people whose votes are at risk, she said, but that depends on the voter being aware of the fate of their first vote and able to make a second trip to the polls.

 

The challenges join a flurry of other lawsuits on Texas voting procedures filed in recent months, with Democrats and voting rights groups pushing for expanded voting access in the pandemic and Republicans seeking to limit voting options. The courts have recently ruled against other last-minute challenges on voting access by noting that cases were filed too late, and that changes to voting procedure during an election would sow voter confusion.

In the pending cases on drive-thru voting, the state’s highest civil court could rule on the pending case at any time, and U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen has scheduled a hearing for Monday morning.

Since the first Republican challenge to drive-thru voting was filed on Oct. 12, the Texas secretary of state and Abbott have both ignored requests from reporters and Harris County officials to clarify their positions on whether the process was legal.

In the meantime, voters feel held in limbo.

 

Clifton House’s 77-year-old mother-in-law, Annbell, voted at the Houston Community College – West Loop drive-thru center on Oct. 16 at his and his wife’s insistence, House said. His mother-in-law had just been discharged from the hospital the day before, and they didn’t want her standing in lines to potentially be exposed to the coronavirus. In hindsight, he said, it may have been bad advice.

“She specifically did not want to vote by mail to ensure her vote got counted,” he said. “Because of the [U.S.] Post Office stuff, and the signature matches and all the things they can do where you don’t have any chance to defend yourself.”

Shelby Strudler, 44, took the opportunity to vote in her car because a herniated disc and pinched nerve in her back makes standing for long periods of time painful. She called the lawsuits “wholly un-American.” She also voted at the West Loop HCC location.

“It just causes a lot of chaos and confusion,” she told the Tribune. “If this particular judge does nullify these votes, will I be allowed to vote on Tuesday? Am I not allowed to vote at all now? Does my vote not count at all?”

 

Strudler, who keeps up to date with news online, said even if there is another opportunity to vote, many of the other nearly 127,000 people won’t know that or be able to again cast a ballot on Election Day.

“The GOP is doing everything possible to not allow people to vote, and I don’t think they understand that there are Republicans who also took part in drive-thru voting.”

Barrett Lobs Anti-LGBT Dog Whistle In Senate Hearing

Barrett Lobs Anti-LGBT Dog Whistle In Senate Hearing

The Guardian reports:

Moments ago, Amy Coney Barrett was asked about Antonin Scalia’s criticism of the ruling that established the right for same-sex couples to marry. Again relying on the “Ginsburg rule,” Barrett declined to offer an opinion on Scalia’s criticism.

But she said, “I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.” Some commentators immediately took issue with Barrett’s use of the term “sexual preference” in reference to same-sex marriage.

The religious right may think they have won the fight with this religious extremist being on the SCOTUS.   But polls show that forcing this nomination is losing them a lot of support in the rest of the country.   People willing to give them space to have their view are now seeing how they not only want their place but take over everyone else’s.   This nomination will lead to court reform and more legislative laws enshrining legal rights for minorities the religious rights want to dominate and discriminate against.  The very way this is being done, the partisan nature of it, the pure power grab of the minority to force their will on the majority won’t stand.    But it will lead to a much more angry confrontations between people.  Hugs