Florida: Haters Advance In Attempt To Reverse LGBTQ Rights In Jacksonville

(image via VisitJacksonville.com)

For years, the city of Jacksonville, Florida, had a terrible track record when it came to LGBTQ rights in the city.

In 2015, for example, the Human Rights Campaign rated Jacksonville a 23 out of a possible 100 in terms of LGBTQ rights and protections.

Since the city expanded its Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) to include sexual orientation and gender identity in early 2017, the HRC rating has improved to 79 out of 100.

But now, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal has sided with a handful of anti-LGBTQ activists that want to see the HRO reversed on a technicality.

Florida Politics reports that the appellate court ruled unanimously 3-0 that the lawsuit filed by virulently anti-LGBTQ law group Liberty Counsel should be allowed to move forward after being dismissed twice by lower courts.

Jason Gabriel, the city’s head lawyer in the office of General Counsel, called the decision a “mindboggling” and “bizarre” appeals court ruling against the local LGBTQ protections and vowed to fight to defend the law. “It’s a hyper-technical ruling with some bizarre findings,” said Gabriel.

The decision from the three-judge panel mainly hinged on how language was presented in the initial public notices about how the existing HRO would be amended.

When the amendments were being considered in 2017, the sections of the local Ordinance Code that would be affected were listed and then followed with instructions to add sexual orientation and gender identity to those sections.

“Section 2. Amending Sections 60.105, 400.101, 400.301, 402.102, 402.107(g)(1), 402.107(g)(3), 402.201, 402.202, 402.203, 402.204, 402.206, 402.210, 402.211, 406.102, 406.104(g)(1), 406.104(g)(3), 406.201, 408.102, 408.204, 408.401, 408.402, 408.403, 408.404, 408.406, and 408.407, Ordinance Code.”

“The foregoing sections of the Ordinance Code are hereby amended as follows: wherever protected categories are listed, that sexual orientation and gender identity, as defined in Section 3 below, shall be added to the list.”

The amendments also added specific definitions for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”

Sounds pretty straight forward, yes? Everyone concerned understood what and how the changes were to the HRO.

But the Liberty Counsel held that all 25 sections of the Ordinance Code that were affected by the amendments should have been written out in full text showing the insertion of the new language.

The appellate court agreed on that very narrow legal view saying the process “violated governing principles of notice and due process.”

And so, the Liberty Counsel won its reversal on previous rulings and is now allowed to further proceedings in trying to overturn the LGBTQ protections.

Mat Staver of the anti-LGBTQ Liberty Counsel

In a press release, the Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver gloated over the ruling writing, “The citizen plaintiffs were injured by the city’s deceptive practice in presenting the HRO for passage, and that this deceptive practice of not revealing the intent and scope of the law invalidates it.”

Gabriel disagreed with the appeals court telling Florida Politics that “full text of the rules … was set forth for the Council and the public, both before or after enactment, and was immediately officially published after enactment.”

One solution to the issue, according to incoming City Council President Tommy Hazouri, who sponsored the 2017 legislation, is to simply pass the law again. Since the bill passed in 2017 (by a vote of 12-6), the membership of the City Council has not changed.

The city is also considering appealing this new ruling to the (currently conservative) Florida Supreme Court.

LGBTQ blogger JoeMyGod notes that the Liberty Counsel has been trying to repeal Jacksonville’s LGBTQ protections since they were passed in early 2017.

Pronoun “They” Is The Word Of The Year & Haters Are Mad

The language gurus at Merriam-Webster have announced the personal pronoun “they” is their Word of the Year after the dictionary’s website, Merriam-Webster.com, experienced a 313 percent increase in searches for the word compared to 2018.

As more and more people identify as nonbinary (neither exclusively male nor female), like Grammy Award winner Sam Smith sharing on social media their preferred pronouns were “they” and “them,” searches for the word would spike throughout the year.

ABC News reports when Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) became emotional during a House committee hearing as she spoke about her gender-conforming child, another spike at the website occurred.

And when trans nonbinary model Oslo Grace began garnering high profile attention on the fashion runways of the world, there was another surge in searches for the pronoun.

“Pronouns are among the language’s most commonly used words, and like other common words (think ‘go,’ ‘do,’ and ‘have’) they tend to be mostly ignored by dictionary users,” said Emily Brewster, senior editor at Merriam-Webster, in a statement. “But over the past year or so, as people have increasingly encountered the nonbinary use, we’ve seen searches for ‘they’ grow dramatically.”

“In 2019, the increase in lookups for ‘they’ was so significant and sustained that it stood out from all the other top lookups when we went to analyze the data,” Brewster added.

But a day after Merriam-Webster’s statement, hate group leader Mat Staver of the virulently anti-LGBTQ Liberty Counsel, fired off an angry message to his followers calling the announcement “a bizarre disgrace.”

Staver wrote in an email that Merriam-Webster “fell in, lockstep, with the garish LGBT parade” by “bowing to deeply radical LGBT forces and pushing the LGBT agenda forward.”

The lawyer, who has represented homophobes all over the country in an effort to defeat LGBTQ protections, then turned his raging missive into a money beg asking for a “most generous year-end gift now” to the Liberty Counsel so his ilk can continue defending “life, liberty and the family across America.”

Making money from hate is what they do, folks…


(source: ABC News)

News Round-Up: April 26, 2019

• Celeb chef Franco Noriega was wishing for Friday - and here we are! #FrancoFriday #morewine
Celebrity chef Franco Noriega

Some news items you might have missed:

• Celeb chef Franco Noriega was wishing for Friday – and here we are! #FrancoFriday #morewine

• Anti-gay President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters this week regarding his country’s travel economy: “If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life. But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”

• In the first poll published after former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced his run for the White House, Biden leads Donald Trump by six points.

• In related Biden news, his campaign announced Friday that he raised $6.3 million on his first day as an announced candidate, placing him atop the crowded Democratic primary in terms of first-day fundraising totals and shutting down doubts about his ability to raise enough money to compete.

• Mat Staver, founder of the virulently anti-LGBTQ Liberty Counsel, says passage of The Equality Act would lead to pedophilia.

The Washington Post reports: “A majority of Americans say they oppose calls for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” I agree. Impeachment proceedings would only make Trump a martyr heading into the 2020 election.

• Geraldo Rivera, on this morning’s Fox & Friends, referred to openly gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg as “flamboyant.”

“If you wanted to go with the young buckaroo with flamboyant ideas and an aggressive point of view, maybe you go with Mayor Pete who has demonstrated success in South Bend.”

Mat Staver: Conservative Haters Are “Literally” A Few Months Away From Overturning Gay Marriage

Mat Staver of the anti-LGBTQ law group Liberty Counsel

Mat Staver, founder of the virulently anti-LGBTQ legal outfit Liberty Counsel, told radio host Jim Schneider of VCY America this week that “we are a few months away” from overturning Supreme Court rulings like the Obergefell decision which made marriage equality the law of the land.

From Right Wing Watch:

“The nice thing about what President Trump has done, different from other Republican presidents, is that he is appointing, he’s nominating, so far, judges who are what I would call constitutionalists, originalists, dedicated to the original understanding and interpretation of the Constitution and the statutes,” he said. “On the other hand, Republican presidents in the past, they’ve been hit or miss. President Trump so far has been hitting this on the nail.”

Staver added that social conservatives are “one midterm election away from eventually overturning the Roe v. Wade decision” because “there will be at least one, maybe two more” Supreme Court vacancies during Trump’s first term in office.

But in order for that to happen, he said, Republicans must maintain control of the Senate or Trump will be forced to nominate “somebody who’s palatable to the judicial activist crowd in the Senate.”

If Trump is able to replace any liberal or moderate justice “with someone like Gorsuch,” he said, “that means the abortion decision, the same-sex marriage decision, all of those things that went the wrong way will ultimately be in the balance to be reversed. So literally we are a few months away.”

Listen to Staver boast about overturning our marriage rights below.

CBS News: Liberty Counsel Is Behind Anti-LGBT Hate Laws In At Least 20 States

LGBT activists have known the names Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel for years. Staver and his cronies have spent years working to subvert the rights of LGBTs in the areas of marriage and public accommodation.

But now, CBS News has not only put Staver and company in the spotlight, but revealed in no uncertain terms the true nature of their mission: to control the “fire” of LGBT rights.

Demonstrators against the so-called bathroom bills were out in force in South Carolina — their chants echoing those in other states where they say legislatures have have enacted laws enabling bigotry.

But while they protested, the conservative group, that’s helped author many of those measures protecting religion over sexual orientation, was working at its Orlando area office on new ways to uphold what it says is really at stake.

“It is only about being free to pursue your faith,” said Mathew Staver. “We have no interest in discriminating against anyone.”

Staver is the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, which has affiliated attorneys in all 50 states — drafting bills, advising lawmakers and defending clients in what they believe to be the great cultural clash of our time.

CBS News first met Staver when he defended a Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who said it was against her religion to hand out marriage licenses to homosexuals. Lately, Liberty Counsel has been helping to draft legislation for conservative lawmakers in at least 20 states.

Their bills began cropping up in state legislatures soon after the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage last year.

An objective observer could conclude that they want to push back against that ruling.

“Well I certainly want to push back against that ruling,” Staver said. “It was a wrong ruling. It has no basis in the constitution.”

Where are they going with this?

“The Supreme Court in the 5-4 opinion on marriage in 2015 lit the house on fire,” Staver said. “All we’re trying to do is control the fire at this point in time.”

And he is unfazed by corporate threats to pull out of states in protest against his work.

“They’re not gonna follow through,” Staver said.

So it’s a bluff?

“It’s a bluff. They’re not leaving,” he said.

Kim Davis’ Law Firm, Anti-Gay Liberty Counsel, Called Out By Associated Press

Mat Staver, of the virulently anti-gay Liberty Counsel

Finally, a mainstream media source – the Associated Press, no less – has exposed the Liberty Counsel for the anti-gay, hate mongering organization that it is.

Kim Davis’ lawyer stood onstage in a Washington D.C. hotel and pointed to a photo on the screen. It showed 100,000 people packed into a Peruvian soccer stadium, Mat Staver told the crowd, all there to pray for the Kentucky clerk battling against gay marriage.

The crowd erupted.

It wasn’t true. Staver’s firm, the Liberty Counsel, which revealed Davis’ secret meeting with Pope Francis, has been accused by advocacy groups of peddling misrepresentations in the past. Yet it has become the main source of details about the controversial pope meeting.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Liberty Counsel as an anti-gay hate groups for spreading false information. “A group that regularly portrays gay people as perverse, diseased pedophiles putting Western civilization at risk are way, way over the line,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the center.

The Liberty Counsel has connected homosexuality to higher rates of promiscuity and incest, Potok said, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

The firm opposes laws banning hate crimes and supports discredited conversion therapies that purport to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals.

Staver once declared that the Boy Scouts would become a “playground for pedophiles” once it allowed gay troop leaders.

Staver said the meeting with the pope validates his arguments about Davis’ rights to conscientious objection. He rejects even the suggestion he might wake up one day and discover himself on the wrong side of history.

Last week, he showed the crowd at the Values Voter Summit the photo of the imaginary Peruvian prayer rally and declared its significance in the battle against Christian oppression. “That, my friends, is happening around the world,” he said. “When one person stands it has an impact and Kim Davis will continue to stand for her lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

Read the full expose here.

Quite enjoyable reading, I must say.

(h/t JMG)

Mat Staver: A Host Of THE VIEW Called For Kim Davis To Be Murdered

Anti-gay Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who has been representing Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, asserted in a recent appearance on the “Faith and Freedom” radio show that a host of the ABC show THE VIEW called for someone “to go kill her.”

“I would encourage you to pray for Kim Davis, pray for her family, pray for those that work with her, pray for Liberty Counsel,” Staver said. “Kim has received just horrible death threats, even from ‘The View,’ amazingly. They called her a monster on national television, one of them said that someone ought to go kill her. This is on a major network. That was on ‘The View’ on ABC. I mean, that was astounding, that kind of language was happening on a major TV network.”

While the “monster” label was used on THE VIEW, no one can seem to find any instance of anyone on THE VIEW calling for Davis’ murder.

Lawsuit anyone?

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver: Forcing Kim Davis To Do Her Job Is Like Asking Her To License Child Rape

Right Wing Watch has the details:

Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who is representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her ongoing refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, appeared on the “WallBuilders Live” radio program today, where he said that requiring Davis to issue such marriage licenses is like requiring her to provide licenses to “sodomize children.”

“A clerk provides licenses to do something,” Staver explained. “A license to operate a motor vehicle on the road, a license to build a particular facility or a license to do this or a license to do that or a license to operate a business. So that person is licensing someone to do something and in this case, they’re licensing what? They’re licensing something that is directly contrary to the core of their religious convictions, to engage in sinful activity among same-sex relations and sanction something that is contrary to the Scriptures and that is marriage of two people of the same sex.”

“To force someone like that to give a license for something that will legalize, that will put a stamp of approval on something that is absolute rebellion against God, sinful, then that is a direct collision of unprecedented magnitude,” he continued, saying that requiring Davis to do her job is like requiring her “to grant a license to engage in pornography, to grant a license to sodomize children or something of that nature.”

Chris Hayes Slaps Down Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver

I always find it interesting when someone not only refuses to answer a direct question in a TV interview, but also can only keep repeating the same, single talking point.

Liberty Counsel director Mat Staver, who is representing Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, is like a dog with a bone here repeating and repeating his own issue while completely ignoring the questions being asked by MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

Best line is when Hayes ask Staver point blank how his fundraising is going in light of the press his firm is getting by being in the thick of things with Davis.

MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki Takes On County Clerk’s Lawyer Anti-Gay Mat Staver

I watch Hardball every day. Right before this segment aired, Kornacki teased Staver’s appearance. I tweeted to Hardball that there better be someone to present the LGBT perspective on this continuing story.

Turns out we didn’t need anyone other than guest host Steve Kornacki, who appropriately handled anti-gay Liberty Counsel lawyer Mat Staver.

Staver repeatedly stated Davis’ “religious freedom” must be “accommodated.”

Kornacki didn’t hold back, citing Davis’ clear hypocrisy.

“If she says she has a moral and religious objection to same-sex marriage I think it raises the question, does she have a moral and religious objection to a divorced person getting re-married? Does she have a moral and religious objection to someone who’s engaged in premarital relations getting married? Where does this end?”

Watch below.