Diversity & Discrimination

Issues ››› Diversity & Discrimination
  • Media Should Note Common Denominator In Recent Wave Of Anti-LGBT Court Battles

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    In the last week, two courts have decided against the rights of LGBT people and their families in major equality battles, and Texas’ attorney general has filed a third lawsuit regarding LGBT Americans. As the media cover these cases, they should connect the dots that lead back to one nefarious organization: the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an extremist group leading the national fight against LGBT equality.

    Alliance Defending Freedom is a right-wing legal powerhouse that’s linked to nearly every recent legal attack on LGBT equality in the United States -- as well as attacks on women’s reproductive health. ADF is behind the national push for both anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation that seeks to legalize discrimination against LGBT people and so-called bathroom bills that aim to prohibit transgender people, including public school students, from using facilities that align with their gender identity. ADF also works internationally to attack LGBT equality, including by helping defend laws in Belize and Jamaica that would put people in prison for engaging in gay sex.

     

     

    EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. A U.S. District Judge issued a summary judgement on August 19 in favor of Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan, which fired an employee, Aimee Stephens, after she told her employers of her plans to transition from male to female. ADF lawyers are now representing the chain of funeral homes, and they lauded last week’s decision, highlighting the court’s language about company owner Thomas Rost:

    Rost sincerely believes that it would be violating God’s commands if he were to permit an employee who was born a biological male to dress in a traditionally female skirt-suit at the funeral home because doing so would support the idea that sex is a changeable social construct rather than an immutable God-given gift.

    State of Texas v. United States of America. On August 21, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against a joint guidance released by the departments of Education and Justice that explained school administrators’ obligations to ensure that transgender students can attend school without facing discrimination based on sex. It built off previous court decisions and guidance stating that discrimination against transgender students constitutes illegal sex discrimination under federal law. The injunction was sought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit against the the federal government along with several other states in response to the guidance. The lead counsel on this case is Austin Nimocks, who works for Paxton’s office but previously served as senior counsel at ADF.

    State of Texas v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On the heels of the above court ruling in its favor, Paxton’s office filed a new lawsuit on August 23 against the Department of Health and Human Services over nondiscrimination protections and expanded medical care for transgender people included in the Affordable Care Act. This case was also assigned to Judge Reed O’Connor, the same judge who granted the injunction against transgender students. The recent actions of Paxton’s office drew swift condemnation from the editorial board at The New York Times:

    These legal assaults on equal protection for transgender Americans are based on bigotry and the specious claim that they pose a threat to the safety of others. The toll exacted on this vulnerable population is heavy and will remain so as these cases and other litigation involving transgender laws move through the courts.

    As these cases continue to move through the court system, journalists should expose the extremist legal group behind the coordinated assault on LGBT equality. 

  • Fox Host Tries, Fails To Convince Anyone That Trump Didn't Call Hillary Clinton A "Bigot"

    Karl Rove: “Go Back And Replay Your Own Piece Of Film. He Said Hillary Clinton Is A Bigot”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox News’ Eric Bolling repeatedly suggested that Donald Trump was not personally calling Hillary Clinton a bigot during speeches, but was roundly rebuked on back-to-back segments with guests who had him replay the footage of Trump directly calling Clinton a “bigot.”

    In an exchange with Fox contributor Karl Rove, Bolling asked, “Well, Karl, is he calling Hillary Clinton a bigot?” Rove responded “Go back and replay your own piece of film. He said Hillary Clinton is a bigot.” From the August 25 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    ERIC BOLLING (GUEST HOST): He went and try and paint the picture -- draw a line between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with the "bigot" line. 

    KARL ROVE: Yeah, but look, that's the opening part of the argument, look at what's happened to you for the last 60 or 70 years. But the second part of it is not to call her a bigot, but to say "Here is what I would do to make your life better." And it is in that second part that he advantages himself. He doesn't advantage himself by calling her a "bigot" in my opinion. It's unhelpful.

    BOLLING: Well Karl, is he calling Hillary Clinton a bigot? Because earlier today he said, and I'm quoting him --

    ROVE: No, no.

    BOLLING -- "Every policy HRC supports is a policy that has failed and betrayed communities of color." I understand it as --

    ROVE: That's fine --

    BOLLING: She's a Democrat, therefore -- but African-Americans aren't being helped under Democrats, and therefore they’re bigoted.

    ROVE: Eric, that's the kind of language you should have, not what he said last night. Go back and replay your own piece of film. He said Hillary Clinton is a bigot. Those are her words. Not mine. So, yeah, he did call her a bigot. That was a mistake.

    In a subsequent discussion with economist Austan Goolsbee, Bolling asked, “Is [Trump] saying she is a bigot, or is he saying the Democratic policies are bigoted?” Goolsbee replied “Well, when his quote was ‘Hillary Clinton is a bigot,’ I think he is saying Hillary Clinton is a bigot”:

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: You see him launching the "you're a bigot," and it kind of reminds me of the old, the first guy that accused everyone of being a cheater is the guy who's the cheater.

    ERIC BOLLING (GUEST HOST): Yeah, but Austan, later on -- earlier today, this was after the original bigot comment, earlier today he said -- and I'm quoting his words, "every policy that Hillary Clinton supports is a policy that has failed and betrayed communities of color." Is he saying she is a bigot, or is he saying the Democratic policies are bigoted?

    GOOLSBEE: Well, when his quote was "Hillary Clinton is a bigot," I think he is saying Hillary Clinton is a bigot.