Political, Activism and Legal

LGBT Equality Caucus backs agency non-discrimination proposals

LGBT Equality Caucus backs agency non-discrimination proposals
HARRISBURG, May 25 – Members of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus today submitted public comment in favor of a state agency's proposals to interpret existing law on sex discrimination to protect LGBT people from discrimination, as several courts and agencies have already done.
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LGBT Older Adults Face Unique Challenges to Successful Aging, New Report Finds

(Denver May 25, 2017)- Today, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and SAGE released a report, Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults, which aims to increase awareness of the diverse needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders across the country. The report offers a comprehensive look into the experiences of LGBT elders, highlighting the challenges they face across a wide range of topics from health care to financial security and community support, and their resilience in the face of these challenges.
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Texas On Verge of Passing Extreme Anti-LGBTQ Laws

Over the weekend a group of Texas legislators pushed through two discriminatory efforts that, if signed by the Governor, could impact the economy of the state and cause harm to LGBTQ people and their families. In a cynical move, because anti-LGBTQ discrimination is widely unpopular, politicians took action last Sunday night, when they thought fewer people would be watching.
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Taiwan Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

On Wednesday, 24 May 2017, the Judicial Yuan, Taiwan's highest court, ruled that restricting marriage to only a man and a women was unconstitutional, voting in favor of marriage equality. Taiwan has made history as the first Asian country to vote in favor of same-sex marriage. The 14 grand justices demanded that current laws be amended within 2 years to allow for same-sex marriage, in the event laws have not changed in that timeframe, couples will be able to register their marriage anyway.
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Victory Fund Endorses Nine LGBTQ Candidates; Seattle Mayoral Candidate Jenny Durkan Receives Spotlight Endorsement

Washington, DC – May 22, 2017 Today Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed nine candidates in state and local races. Jenny Durkan, running to be mayor of Seattle, received a spotlight endorsement, and if elected would become the first lesbian mayor of Seattle and just the second woman. Spotlight Endorsements are given to candidates especially well-positioned to breakdown barriers and drive equality forward.
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ACLU of Texas Comment of Passage of Anti-LGBT Legislation

AUSTIN, Texas - May 22, 2017- Over the weekend, the Texas Senate voted to pass House Bill 3859 (HB 3859), a bill that would allow child welfare caseworkers and state-funded child adoption and foster agencies to impose their personal religious beliefs on children in their care and disqualify LGBT families from the State-s foster and adoption system. The Texas House of Representatives added an amendment to Senate Bill 2078 (SB 2078) that discriminates against transgender children in public schools.
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141 Men Arrested in Gay Sauna in Indonesia

On 21 May 2017 at 8PM, 141 men were arrested by Indonesian authorities claiming they were engaging in a "gay sex party" at Atlantis Gym & Sauna in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. Those arrested were detained by the North Jakarta District Police. Indonesia does not have laws criminalizing homosexuality, except in the Aceh province, however the country does have severe anti-pornography laws which have been used to target LGBTIQ websites and activities.
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NCAVP has learned of the possible hate violence homicide of Imer Alvarado, in Fresno, California

May 22, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the possible hate-violence homicide of Imer Alvarado on the night of May 16th in Fresno, California. According to media reports, Imer was fatally shot multiple times, following a dispute with a suspect whom police are currently seeking. Though Imer was dressed in feminine-presenting clothing at the time of his death, friends remember him as being "a beautiful and loving spirit" who was part of the drag community, and say that he identified as a gay man. His life was memorialized in a vigil held by members of the LGBTQ and deaf communities.
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Equality PA Supports PAHRC Proposed Guidance to Ensure LGBTQ People Receive Fair Hearings On Complaints

Harrisburg - May 22, 2017 – Equality Pennsylvania submitted a letter to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission this week to show support for their new proposed guidance to treat discrimination against LGBTQ people as sex discrimination. This guidance mirrors the state of current law: that federal courts and agencies increasingly conclude that sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
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NCAVP mourns the homicide of Sherrell Faulkner, a Black transgender woman killed in Charlotte, NC

May 22, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) mourns the death of Sherrell Faulkner, a Black transgender woman, killed in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to media reports, Sherrell was found beside a dumpster on November 30th, 2016 with trauma from an assault. She passed away from injuries related to that assault on May 16th, 2017. Sherell's cousin took to Facebook to mourn the loss of her cousin and say she was an "angel."  
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Federal Court Allows Transgender Woman to Pursue Claim Under ADA

A federal district court in Pennsylvania has ruled that a transgender woman's employment discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can move forward. The May 18 opinion marks the first time a court has ruled that transgender people are not categorically barred from seeking relief from discrimination under the ADA.
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Rep. Brian Sims co-sponsoring bipartisan Fairness Act to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians

Rep. Brian Sims co-sponsoring bipartisan Fairness Act to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians
PHILADELPHIA, May 18 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., is co-sponsoring the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Act, reintroduced this week in the House by Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, which would protect LGBT Pennsylvanians from discrimination in in the workplace, housing and public accommodations.
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Largest Survey of Transgender Life in U.S. Publishes PA Specific Data

Harrisburg - May 18, 2017 – Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Equality Pennsylvania released the Pennsylvania specific data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS). The data reveal disturbing discrimination trends and a range of disparities between transgender people and the general population of the United States in all areas of life.
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LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Legislation Re-introduced for the 7th Time in 14 years

Harrisburg – Today, Rep. Dan Frankel (D) introduced the PA Fairness Act (HR-1410). The Senate bill, SB-613, was introduced by Senators Pat Browne (R) and Larry Farnese (D).
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Governor Brian Sandoval signs law ending conversion therapy in Nevada for LGBTQ youth

(San Francisco, CA, May 17, 2017)-Today, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB201 into law, putting an end to the fraudulent, harmful and unscientific practice of so-called "conversion therapy" in the state of Nevada for LGBTQ youth. Today's bill signing was the result of targeted grassroots advocacy efforts by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Gender Justice Nevada, Kaempfer Crowell, and the Human Rights Campaign. NCLR has been standing up on behalf of survivors of conversion therapy for the past 20 years, and in 2014, launched its Born Perfect campaign-marking a commitment to a state-by-state advocacy campaign to end this practice in each state across the country.
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Transgender Law Center Statement on the Release of Chelsea Manning

May 17, 2017 - Transgender Law Center (TLC) executive director Kris Hayashi issued the following statement about the release of Chelsea Manning from Prison today: "We congratulate Chelsea Manning on her release from prison today and wish her well in her new life. Her inhumane treatment in prison – solitary confinement, denial of medical care, punishment for suicide attempts, serving in a male facility – is sadly the typical experience of transgender people who are incarcerated, particularly transgender women of color.  TLC remains committed to fighting for all those who are incarcerated."
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IDAHOT Statement: LGBTIQ Youth Continue to be Disenfranchised

May 17th has become a day to raise awareness of violations against the rights of LGBTIQ people. It was on this day in 1990 that the the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses as part of the International Classification of Diseases. While much has progressed since that day, LGBTIQ people, and often LGBTIQ youth in particular, continue to face a disproportionate burden of discrimination and violence. Because of society's heteronormative and cisgender expectations, LGBTIQ youth experience abuse at home, discrimination in educational settings, including verbal and physical bullying, and due to regressive laws, like the anti-propaganda law in Russia preventing anyone from speaking about LGBTIQ issues, often lack access to lifesaving information.
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State Rep. Dan Frankel reintroduces Pa. Fairness Act with bipartisan support

State Rep. Dan Frankel reintroduces Pa. Fairness Act with bipartisan support
HARRISBURG, May 17 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus, will reintroduce his proposed Pennsylvania Fairness Act in the House, again with bipartisan support.
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National Leaders, Groups File Briefs at Fourth Circuit Supporting Gavin Grimm and Transgender Rights

WASHINGTON - May 16, 2017 - Individuals and institutions from across the country today filed friend-of-court briefs in support of Gavin Grimm, an 18-year-old Virginia high school student who is challenging his school board's refusal to allow him access to the boys' restroom because he is transgender. The briefs in the case, which is currently being considered by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, represent a diverse and extraordinary cross-section of interests, perspectives, and concerns.
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Advocacy Groups File Ethics Complaint Against Kentucky Judge Refusing Adoptions to Same-Sex Couples

(Louisville, KY, May 16, 2017) - Today Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Kentucky, Kentucky's Fairness Campaign, and University of Louisville Law Professor Sam Marcosson filed a complaint against Judge W. Mitchell Nance for violating Kentucky's Code of Judicial Conduct by recusing himself from any adoption proceedings involving lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.  
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Jacqueline Cote & Walmart Announce Final Class Settlement Over Health Insurance Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses of Walmart

BOSTON, May 15, 2017  - A federal judge today approved the $ 7.5 million class action settlement between Walmart and former Walmart associate Jacqueline Cote, that challenged Walmart's lack of health insurance benefits for same-sex spouses of Walmart associates prior to 2014.
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NCLR resolves Midwestern trans-inclusive employee healthcare case

(Cincinnati, OH, May 15, 2017)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, along with Gerhardstein & Branch and the Law Office of Scott Knox, announced that they reached a settlement in Rachel Dovel v. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, et al.  Ms. Dovel has received insurance coverage for gender affirming surgery, which was previously excluded under the Library’s employee health care plan. In 2016, Ms. Dovel was forced to take out a personal loan to cover the cost of her medically necessary gender affirming surgery when faced with this coverage exclusion. In addition to Ms. Dovel’s health care coverage, as part of the settlement the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, where Ms. Dovel continues to work, agreed to continue to expand the Library’s efforts to build an inclusive and trans positive environment, including expanding materials on LGBT issues.
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Bullying of LGBT Employees in Tech Industry: A Cost of Billions

Bullying of LGBT Employees in Tech Industry: A Cost of Billions
(Portland, OR) May 15, 2017-An April, 2017, study conducted by Oakland non-profit Kapor Center for Social Impact, the Tech Leavers Study-the first of its kind-has taken a detailed look at discrimination in the tech industry, citing an annual loss in the sector of about $16 billion.(1)
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AMPA Announces New Scholarship Program to Help Military Spouses Through Higher Education

WASHINGTON - May 15, 2017 - Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest non-profit organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, announced the launch of the AMPA Military Spouse Scholarship - a new program aimed to help military spouses pursue their higher education goals. AMPA also announced that Hilton will be the presenting sponsor of the new military spouse scholarship this year.
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Let it B: Tel Aviv Pride Parade to be World's First Bisexuality Themed Parade

Let it B: Tel Aviv Pride Parade to be World's First Bisexuality Themed Parade
The City of Tel Aviv-Yafo is excited to announce that the theme of the 2017 LGBT Pride Parade is "Bisexuality Visibility" The parade will be the first large-scale pride parade in the world to ever celebrate the theme bisexuality.
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Amicus briefs to 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals request review of rulings that denied LGBT employees

(Washington, D.C. - May 9, 2017)  The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) filed amicus briefs in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that request full panel review of two cases and argue that sexual orientation is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, NWLC said today. The briefs were joined by 14 other organizations.
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Chelsea Manning, Legal Team Statements on Her Upcoming Release From Military Prison

NEW YORK - May 9, 2017 - Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be released from U.S. military prison next week after serving a seven-year sentence for disclosing classified information that raised public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians.
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With Spike in Hate Crimes, TLC Urges Survivors to Report to Communities Against Hate

Transgender Law Center (TLC) is urging survivors of hate crimes to report incidents to Communities Against Hatea collaborative project to build a national database on hate crimes, and connect survivors to resources and services. Reports can be made through the website or through a resource hotline: 1-844-NO-HATE (1-844-966-4283).
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NCAVP mourns the homicide of Brenda Bostick, a Black transgender woman killed in New York City

May 6, 2017 - The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) mourns the death of Brenda Bostick, a 59-year-old Black transgender woman, who died on May 4th, 2017 from injuries sustained in an attack on April 25th, 2017 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. According to media reports, Brenda Bostick was found unconscious with head trauma on Tuesday, April 25th. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where she died of her injuries on May 4th, 2017. According to additional media sources, her injuries do not appear to be self-inflicted or caused by a fall and police are investigating her death as a homicide.
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OutServe-SLDN statement on withdrawal of Mark Green as nominee to be Secretary of the Army

(WASHINGTON) May 5, 2017 – The nation's oldest and largest LGBT military organization today reacted to the withdrawal of Mark Green to be Army Secretary. Matt Thorn, Executive Director for OutServe-SLDN, issued the following statement announcing the campaign: "Serving as Secretary of the Army is an incredible and vital role to the success of our modern military. Mark Green did not live up to the duty and honor that is expected of an individual serving in such a role. Mr. Green has better served the Army with his withdrawal than he would have as Secretary."
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BREAKING: Anti-LGBT Mark Green Withdraws from Army Secretary Nomination

WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 5, 2017 - Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, released the following statement following the withdrawal of Mark Green as the nominee for Secretary of the Army. "Mark Green should never have even been considered for Secretary of the Army," said AMPA President Ashley Broadway Mack. "His vicious attacks on LGBT people should have been disqualifying from the very beginning. It took an overwhelming chorus of voices speaking out in outrage over the nomination, but we are pleased that in the end, what is best for our military families has prevailed. The U.S. Army needs leadership that will ensure all of our service members and their families have the support they need and deserve, and Mark Green was clearly not that leader."
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AVP mourns the death of a transgender woman in Chelsea, Manhattan

May 5, 2017 - AVP has learned of the death of a 59-year-old transgender woman in Chelsea. At the time of this alert, there is not much public information and we will update you online as we know more. According to media reports, a transgender woman was found unconscious with apparent head trauma last Thursday night on 7th Avenue and 29th Street in Manhattan. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where she died of her injuries yesterday, May 4th, 2017. According to other media reports, her injuries do not appear to be self-inflicted or caused by a fall and police are investigating her death as a homicide.
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Retired Military Officers Call for Withdrawal of Mark Green's Nomination as Secretary of the Army

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 5, 2017 - 10 retired Flag and General Officers released the following statement today calling for the withdrawal of Mark Green's nomination as Secretary of the Army: "As retired Flag and General Officers, we believe Mark Green is unfit to serve as the next Secretary of the Army. State Senator Green has a history of demeaning LGBT Americans, Latinos, and Muslims, and of denying basic healthcare to women. The military we served embraces diversity as a critical component of readiness, and relies on a diverse fighting force to protect a nation founded on the principles of tolerance and inclusion.
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Equality California: House Healthcare Vote 'an enormous step backwards'

Los Angeles - May 4, 2017 – In response to today's vote by the U.S. House of Representatives repealing portions of the Affordable Healthcare Act, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Today, the GOP-led House voted to gut healthcare coverage for millions of Americans, a move with devastating consequences for millions of LGBTQ people who depend on the Affordable Care Act for quality, affordable healthcare. The Republican plan raises taxes on vulnerable seniors, eviscerates Medicaid, strips coverage for essential healthcare services and eliminates the ACA's mandate to cover preexisting conditions.  That move alone endangers the health and lives of people living with HIV and imperils vital coverage for transgender people.
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Equality California: 'Today's executive order offers the LGBT community no reason to feel relief.'

Los Angeles - May 4, 2017 – In response to Donald Trump's executive order today greatly expanding the ability of tax-exempt religious organizations to engage in political activity, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement: "Our government was designed to respect everyone's right to follow the dictates of their faith while not favoring one religion over another. The precious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment were never intended as a cudgel for use against anyone of whom followers of one religion or another don't approve.
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ACLU Statement on So-Called 'Religious Freedom' Executive Order

NEW YORK - May 4, 2017- After careful review of the executive order covering the Johnson Amendment signed by President Trump today, the American Civil Liberties Union has determined not to file a lawsuit at this time.
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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Opposes Mark Green as Secretary of the Army

WASHINGTON - May 4, 2017 - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today called on the Senate Armed Services Committee to reject President Trump's intended nominee for Secretary of the Army, Mark E. Green.
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Statement of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) on Today's Executive Order

May 4, 2017 - GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Executive Director Janson Wu issued the following statement condemning the executive order signed by President Trump today: The President's declaration today is dangerous pandering to a small but vocal segment of his political base, and a disturbing sign that his administration aims to shift the longstanding balance between respect for all faiths and fundamental principles of non-discrimination and equality for all.
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Pride at Work Reacts to Religious Exemptions Executive Order

Washington - May 4, 2017 - The White House, today, issued an executive order aimed at expanding so-called "religious liberties." While this order seems to back away from the anti-LGBTQ provisions of the previous draft, the order will still provide cover for businesses that do not wish to provide birth control to their employees and will make political speech by churches and other religious institutions easier. Pride at Work executive director, Jerame Davis, issued the following statement in response to the order: "The changes in this executive order since the previous draft leaked are a strong indication that the White House realizes that LGBTQ discrimination is not palatable to the vast majority of Americans. While the worst anti-LGBTQ provisions were removed, some pretty awful stuff remains that will impact our community.
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ACLU Promises Litigation on Today's Trump Executive Order

NEW YORK - May 4, 2017 - President Donald Trump today signed an executive order that would allow religious organizations to endorse political candidates and expand participation in politics. The executive order signed today also enables private employers to use religion as a pretext to deny reproductive health care to their employees.
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President Trump to Sign Religious Freedom Executive Order Allowing for Discrimination Against LGBTIQ People

May 4, 2017 - President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign an Executive Order titled, "Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom," as early as today. If signed, the Executive Order would allow for discrimination against the LGBTIQ community, among others, providing a religious or moral objection. A first draft of the bill was leaked on February 1st and was tabled after public outcry and pushback. It is understood that Vice President Pence has since continued to lobby for the adoption of a revised version of the religious exemption bill. If signed, this Executive Order would override President Obama's 2014 Executive Order which protects federal employees against LGBTIQ-based discrimination. The White House has not announced details of the order or when it will be signed.
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Faith in America To Lead Resistance Against President Trump's Newest Executive Order

Faith in America To Lead Resistance Against President Trump's Newest Executive Order
Hickory, NC - May 3, 2017 – The media is reporting that on Thursday, President Donald Trump will sign an executive order with sweeping consequences for the nation regarding religious freedom. The executive order would open the door to widespread discrimination inside America's religious-based organizations. Robert Hoffman, Co-Chair and Interim CEO of Faith in America, an organization dedicated to fighting bad players in the faith community who are against the freedoms of LGBT Americans, released the following statement: "The reported Trump executive order is not about religious freedom, but rather about political exemptions.  Exempting people from the Constitution for political favor is not an American value. This would be the most cynical and constitutionally damaging executive order ever signed by an American President. The American faith community holds a broad set of civic and political views. When our nation would protect the constitutional rights of pro-life Christians, for example, over those of pro-choice Christians, then the so-called protection is unconstitutional. And, that's what this executive order does. And, it does it across the board.
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