Sessions announces the creation of a ‘religious liberty task force’

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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WASHINGTON (AP) | American culture has become “less hospitable to people of faith,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said July 30 in vowing that the Justice Department would protect people’s religious freedom and convictions.

Sessions spoke at a Justice Department summit on religious tolerance at a time when courts across the country have been asked how to balance anti-discrimination laws against the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantees.

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LGBT advocates fear Kavanaugh’s votes on gay-rights issues

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) | Gay-rights supporters who thronged the Supreme Court plaza after justices declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right expect to have little to celebrate if Brett Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights rulings.

None of Kavanaugh’s roughly 300 opinions as an appellate judge deals directly with LGBT issues, but his approach to judging leads some scholars and activists to believe he is unlikely to echo Kennedy’s votes.

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Latest ruling could give Supreme Court crack at trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A federal appeals court has reaffirmed its decision to keep in place an injunction barring the Trump administration from enforcing its transgender military ban, setting the stage for an initial review of the policy at the U.S. Supreme Court before U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy steps down.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied on Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department’s request to dissolve a preliminary injunction against the ban, which the administration made in the aftermath of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ report justifying President Trump’s policy

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07.12.18 Publisher’s Desk

By : Rick Claggett
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I’m not a very religious person. Actually, I’m not religious in the traditional sense at all. Organized religion and I have not seen eye to eye for some time. That’s not a secret to those who know me well, but sometimes I find it harder to admit that to people than to say that I am a gay man.

In a previous article of mine, I described in detail a story of how I felt manipulated by “the church,” which was the beginning of the end for me. I then attended a very religious college, which to a young and outspoken liberal just seemed like a propaganda machine and torture device.

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Announcement of Trump Supreme Court choice nears

By : Wire Report
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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) | President Donald Trump was closing in on his choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Saturday, making final deliberations from the privacy of his New Jersey golf club.

Clearly relishing the mounting suspense, Trump tweeted early in the morning: “Big decision will soon be made on our next Justice of the Supreme Court!”

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Trump closes in on Supreme Court pick; 3 judges top list

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) | President Donald Trump is closing in on his next Supreme Court nominee, with three federal judges leading the competition to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Trump’s top contenders for the vacancy at this time are federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, said a person familiar with Trump’s thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

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Justice Kennedy announces plans to step down from Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy — the author of major U.S. Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay rights — has announced plans to step down from the bench.

Major media outlets reported Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan in 1988 — announced plans to step down Wednesday afternoon as the court’s 2017-2018 term came to a close. The Washington Blade confirmed Kennedy’s plans for departure with the Supreme Court.

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LGBTQ groups condemn Supreme Court travel ban ruling

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBTQ advocacy groups on Tuesday condemned the U.S. Supreme Court for upholding the Trump administration’s policy that effectively bans the citizens of five Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

Lambda Legal Executive Director Rachel B. Tiven in a statement said the ruling is “as shameful as the internment of Japanese Americans and the doors slammed shut to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.”

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Supreme Court sends back ‘religious freedom’ case from anti-gay florist

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers is seeking an OK to refuse service to gay couples. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced that it has sent back for review to Washington State a lawsuit filed by an anti-gay florist seeking a First Amendment right to refuse service to same-sex weddings.

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Supreme Court rejects appeal from gay inmate in South Dakota

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from a gay death row inmate in South Dakota who says jurors were biased against him because of his sexual orientation.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place the death sentence for Charles Rhines. He was convicted in the stabbing death of a doughnut shop employee in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1992.

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Polish court rules against man who wouldn’t serve LGBTQ group

By : wire report
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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s Supreme Court ruled Thursday against a businessman who refused to print posters for an LGBTQ business group because he did not want to “promote” the gay rights movement.

The country’s top court said it was upholding the ruling of a lower court. The Regional Court in Lodz had argued that the principle of equality before the law meant the businessman did not have the right to withhold services from the LGBT Business Forum.

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Ex-Colorado official: No bias in same-sex wedding cake case

By : wire report
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DENVER (AP) — A former Colorado civil rights commissioner whose remarks on religion were the basis of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling for a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple insisted last Wednesday she has no religious bias and wouldn’t have said anything if she’d known how her remarks would be used.

Diann Rice acknowledged she made remarks cited by the high court when it ruled last Monday in favor of Jack Phillips, a suburban Denver baker. But she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she made the comments after Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission already had ruled against Phillips and for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins.

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