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US President Joe Biden signs marriage equality legislation into law

Dec 14, 2022: US President Joe Biden has signed into law federal bipartisan marriage equality legislation that is intended to safeguard gay and interracial marriages from any possible future Supreme Court intervention

Let’s talk about the Marriage Protection Act – Beau of the Fifth Column

Nov 15, 2022

Trump vows to ‘stop’ gender-affirming care for minors if re-elected president

Trump said he would also push schools to “promote positive education about the nuclear family” and “the roles of mothers and fathers.”

Former President Donald Trump vowed in a video released Tuesday that, if he is re-elected, he will punish doctors who provide gender-affirming care to minors and push schools to “promote positive education about the nuclear family” and “the roles of mothers and fathers” as part of a wide-ranging set of policies to use federal power to target transgender people.

Jan 31, 2023: In a video released to social media decrying gender-affirming care for minors, former President Trump called for legislation that would make it so that the US government only recognizes the genders of male and female

In a straight-to-camera video posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump said he would task several federal agencies to police and ultimately “stop” gender-affirming care for minors, which he equated to “child abuse” and “child sexual mutilation.”

He said he would also prohibit any federal agency from working to “promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age,” not just for minors.

The proposals are likely to be met with staunch opposition from LGBTQ rights advocates, who are fighting similar ideas across the country, calling them detrimental to trans people. 

Gender-affirming care, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, “consists of an array of services that may include medical, surgical, mental health, and non-medical services for transgender and nonbinary people.”

Trump’s proposals are among the most draconian compared to the many that have circulated in state capitols in recent years, going so far as to suggest that he would push for a federal law recognizing only two genders. 

Trump said he would push Congress to pass a law banning gender-affirming care for minors nationwide, order the Justice Department to investigate the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals to see whether they “deliberately covered up horrific long-term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich” and cut off doctors from Medicare and Medicaid — a potential career-ender for many doctors — if they treat trans youths with hormones or surgery.

In addition, he said he would make it easier for patients who later regret having received gender-affirming care as minors to sue their doctors, calling the procedures “unforgivable.”

Trump also said his policy changes would extend to education.

He has already vowed to create a “new credentialing body for teachers” regarding the teaching of race history, adding that the panel would “promote positive education about the nuclear family, the roles of mothers and fathers and celebrating, rather than erasing, the things that make men and women different.”

He said his Education Department would impose “severe consequences” on any teachers or school officials who “suggest to a child that they could be trapped in the wrong body,” which could include civil rights penalties for the individuals and a loss of federal funding for schools.

“The left-wing gender insanity being pushed at our children is an act of child abuse. Very simple. Here’s my plan to stop the chemical, physical and emotional mutilation of our youth,” Trump said.

Trump is looking to reignite momentum for his second presidential campaign as conservatives nationwide have become increasingly concerned about trans issues, especially gender-affirming care for minors.

The hard-line stance is a departure for Trump, who distinguished himself from more traditional social conservatives in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries by openly courting LGBTQ voters.

Trump, a former Democratic donor from New York City, said in 2016 that he was “fine” with same-sex marriage and that he would be a “real friend” of the LGBTQ community. He has bragged about how he “did great with the gay population,” compared to other Republican presidential candidates.

Five Republican-leaning states have enacted bans or restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors over the past two years: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Tennessee and Utah

Legislators in at least 21 states have proposed bills this year to ban or restrict gender-affirming care for minors.

Feb 24, 2022: Claiming abuse, Texas tries to prevent gender-affirming care for trans children

Judges have blocked the laws in Alabama and Arkansas, pending the outcomes of lawsuits.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have said they plan to sue Utah within two weeks over its law, which the governor signed Saturday.

Major medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association — have supported gender-affirming care for minors.


GOP-led states push to restrict gender-affirming care for trans youth

Mar 9, 2023

Lawmakers in Iowa passed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors, following legislators in Arkansas passing their own bill making it easier to sue doctors who provide treatment to people under 18. NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard reports on why right-wing voices are calling for an end to transgender care across the country.

“Eradicating Transness”: ACLU’s Chase Strangio on GOP’s Assault on LGBTQ Rights at CPAC & Nationwide – Democracy Now!

Mar 6, 2023

At least 150 bills have been filed by Republican lawmakers across the United States that target transgender people, with at least seven states enacting bans on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth.

Other bills have targeted drag performers, doctors and trans adults seeking transition-related care.

For more on growing conservative attacks on transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community, we speak to Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, who says the backlash “at its core has always been about pushing trans people out of public life and eradicating transness.”

The Tennessee House Just Passed a Bill Completely Gutting Marriage Equality

The bill could allow county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex, interfaith, or interracial couples in Tennessee.

The Tennessee House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow people to refuse to perform a marriage if they disagree with it.

Feb 13, 2023: ‘War on queer people’ | Crowd gathers for rally against anti-LGBTQ bills in Tennessee

According to the bill, which passed Monday night, “a person shall not be required to solemnize a marriage.”*

The bill, which now moves to the state Senate, is the latest in an onslaught of measures that the Tennessee legislature has passed attacking LGBTQ rights. This bill could also apply to couples where at least one partner is transgender, or to mixed race couples.

Tennessee law already says that religious leaders do not have to officiate weddings they object to. Critics say the new bill goes beyond that and would empower county clerks to refuse to certify marriage licenses, meaning that LGBTQ, interfaith, or interracial couples could be unable to get married at all, rather than just needing to find a new officiant for their ceremony.

Marriage equality is technically the law of the land thanks to the Respect for Marriage Act, which President Joe Biden signed in December. But Tennessee’s bill exploits a major loophole in that law. Critics had long warned that the Respect for Marriage Act did not go far enough. The bill had been amended during the debate process to say that religious organizations do not have to marry same-sex couples, and the law also does not require states to actually issue same-sex marriage licenses.

This latest bill was passed alongside another measure that would require drag artists to obtain a permit from the government in order to perform. Both come just days after Governor Bill Lee signed two new laws, one banning drag performances in public and another banning gender-affirming care for minors.

Mar 9, 2023: Alex Wagner shares reporting on Tennessee Lt. Governor Randy McNally offering positive feedback to risqué gay content on Instagram even as the state passes a collection of anti-LGBTQ legislation

The Human Rights Campaign slammed Tennessee’s ongoing “obsession with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.”

“Instead of focusing on the issues that Tennesseans actually care about, radical politicians are wasting their time and using their power to target the LGBTQ+ community,” HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. “These bills are not about protecting children and they are not about religious freedom.”

“They are about stripping away the basic human rights that LGBTQ+ people have fought for over decades … and labeling us dangerous.”

Supporters of Tennessee’s bills, and dozens of similar ones moving through state legislatures across the country, say their main goal is protecting children. Trans people and drag performers have become a particular target for Republicans and right-wing extremist groups, who accuse them of being pedophiles. But all these bills do is vilify LGBTQ people, including children, and expose them to more violence.

Iowa legislators propose a ban on same-sex marriage

The Legislature is also considering a bill that would permit residents to deny recognition of same-sex marriages on religious grounds.

Nearly eight years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage and several months after Congress codified gay nuptials, Iowa legislators proposed banning such unions in their state constitution.

Feb 28, 2023: Iowa lawmakers look to ban same sex marriage

“In accordance with the laws of nature and nature’s God, the state of Iowa recognizes the definition of marriage to be the solemnized union between one human biological male and one human biological female,” says the joint resolution, introduced Tuesday by eight Republican members of the state House. 

If the measure becomes law, it would conflict with the Supreme Court’s 2015 landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Congress’ bipartisan passage of the Respect for Marriage Act late last year. Therefore, it is unclear that such a law could be enforceable, as federal law and the federal Constitution take precedence over state law.

Apr 18, 2016: Ted Cruz Discusses Gay Marriage, LGBT Laws

State Rep. Brad Sherman, one of the bill’s eight co-sponsors, said in an email that the joint resolution “would take several years to accomplish.”

“Should the people of Iowa vote for such an amendment, laws would have to be adjusted to make laws fair for all,” he said.

The seven other co-sponsors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Several Iowa Democrats were quick to criticize the proposal, saying it would take the state — which became one of the first to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009 — “backwards.”

“No, @IowaGOP, we will not be going back to the days when committed, loving same-sex couples don’t have the same right to marriage equality as everyone else,” state Rep. Sami Scheetz tweeted. “This kind of disgusting hatred and backwards thinking has no place in Iowa. And I’ll fight it every single day.”

Separately, eight Republican legislators — six of whom also proposed the joint resolution  filed another bill Tuesday, HF 508, which would permit the state’s residents to not acknowledge same-sex marriages on religious grounds and says certain elements of the Respect for Marriage Act are “null and void” in Iowa.

“The state of Iowa also recognizes the deep historical and religious roots that uniformly defined and understood marriage to be the union between one male and female,” the subsequent bill’s text says. “Therefore, no resident of Iowa shall be compelled, coerced, or forced to recognize any same-sex unions or ceremonies as marriage, notwithstanding any laws to the contrary that may exist in other states, and no legal action, criminal or civil, shall be taken against citizens in Iowa for refusal or failure to recognize or participate in same-sex unions or ceremonies.”

Sherman, who also sponsored the second measure, defended the bill, arguing that it “does not seek to tell same-sex couples what to believe.”

“If they want to call their relationship a marriage, they are free to do so; that is freedom,” Sherman said in an email. “But, by the same token, people who do not define same-sex unions as marriage must not be forced to do so.”

The seven other Republican co-sponsors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Although they were previously common, state proposals to ban or restrict same-sex marriage have been unusual since 2015’s Obergefell decision, several policy experts said. They said the two marriage bills introduced Tuesday are a result of the nationwide culture wars over LGBTQ issues.

“Folks should take inflammatory, position-staking bills with a grain of salt,” Anthony Kreis, a professor at Georgia State University College of Law, said in an email. “This is the kind of legislative proposal designed to create a buzz and generate attention.”

Over 300 bills targeting LGBTQ people have been introduced in state legislatures this year, according to counts by the American Civil Liberties Union and a separate group of researchers who are tracking the legislation.

Mar 1, 2023:  Proposal to end gay marriage in Iowa causes students to walkout of class

The majority focus on transgender youths. However, a legislator in Mississippi also proposed legislation to ban same-sex marriage this year; the bill died in committee shortly after its introduction.

“This is just kind of the latest salvo in a long string of attacks that continue to get more and more extreme every single day,” said Keenan Crow, the director of policy and advocacy at the LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa. “Now we’re saying that ‘we don’t have to follow what the federal government says, what the federal courts say, because we want to harm LGBTQ people so much that we are willing to destroy our federal system in order to accommodate the biases of these legislatures.’”

Support for same-sex marriage has grown among Republican voters and some Republican lawmakers. However, the most recent Republican National Committee platform — enacted in 2016 and renewed in 2020 — includes at least five references to marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

Why some House Republicans flipped to “no” on marriage equality

More than half a dozen House Republicans who voted to codify federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriage in July flipped to voting “no” or “present” on Thursday – despite the Senate making the bill more GOP-friendly.

Dec 8, 2022: In remarks on the House floor Thursday, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) spoke out against a bill codifying same-sex marriage.

Why it matters: The backslide highlights the political tightrope many GOP elected officials are walking as LGBTQ+ rights continue to divide the party.Driving the news: The bill passed with support from 39 Republicans, down from the 47 who voted for it in July – even after a bipartisan group of senators amended the bill to ensure it doesn’t infringe on religious liberty.

  • Reps. Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) and Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) flipped to “no,” while Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) voted present.Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) flipped the opposite direction, voting “yes” on Thursday after voting “no” in July.Gallagher noted to Axios that senators “fixed” his concern about the bill potentially enabling polygamy and “inserted religious freedom protections.” He added that House members “had time to actually review the bill” this time.

What they’re saying: Meuser said his objection is that religious freedom protections in the bill were too narrow, only protecting religious institutions but not nonprofits.

  • He told Axios, “I don’t know if Republicans in the Senate read the bill, but I did. And that was very problematic. … It was a symbolic vote because it’s the law of the land anyway.”Diaz-Balart, Salazar, Van Drew and Owens also cited concerns about religious freedom protections. “I have no problems with the LGBT community,” Salazar said, “I’m sure they agree with me.”Perry said of his initial vote: “It was rushed to the floor … I walked on the floor as the vote was happening, I knew I had a choice between voting against traditional marriage or voting against interracial marriage,” adding, “I just made the wrong choice.”

Jul 24, 2022: GOP Senators ‘Flip-Flopping’ Responses To Same-Sex Marriage

Between the lines: GOP lawmakers and aides also told Axios there was considerable pressure from conservative groups and activists on some Republican “yes” votes to flip.

  • One aide to a Republican “yes” vote chalked the flips up to “intense lobbying from various conservative groups between July & now … phone lines were full of people from across the country urging a no vote.”Salazar told Axios she heard from “many people” upset about her initial vote. Van Drew said he “absolutely” heard from upset constituents, and he found their feedback persuasive.Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) said he also faced backlash, though he stuck by his original position: “That’s why they pay you the big bucks.””It’s very easy to vote ‘no,’ it’s hard to get to get to ‘yes’ … on votes like this,” said Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who also maintained his “yes” vote. Asked if he thinks there was politics involved in his colleagues’ decision-making, he said: “I think there always is.”

Sep 13, 2022: Schumer calls for Republicans to join marriage equality vote

The other side: Some Democrats also offered their theories about the vote-flips. “If they were for it before the election, why are they not for it now? I have no idea, other than pressure groups. Right-wing pressure groups,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), adding that it’s “pretty cynical.”

  • Former Rep. Barney Frank, who attended the vote on Thursday, told Axios that, because of the Senate changes, the “only explanation for the drop off” is that “more Republicans voted for this when it was an electoral issue. “Counterintuitively, Frank said that’s a “good sign” for the political direction of same-sex marriage. “When I was doing gay rights I had Republicans telling me, ‘I’ll support you after the primary’… the political impulse was to be negative,” he said. “Now, the political impulse was apparently to be positive.”

VIDEO: Why You Should Be Worried About the Supreme Court | System Error – VICE News

Oct 1, 2022

In this episode of System Error, we investigate how the U.S. Supreme Court became a broken institution.

VIDEO: The Election of 1860 & the Road to Disunion: Crash Course US History #18

In which John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history.

The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first, the nation had to get through this election.

You’ll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln’s election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War.

John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown.

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