Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Sorry Alliance Defending Freedom, but Kelvin Cochran did not win his case

Kelvin Cochran's 'religious freedom' martyrdom failed in the courts.

No matter how much prestige it may receive or how thick  the cloak of morality it may drape itself with, an organization dedicated to undermining  LGBTQ equality via lies and misdirection will always show itself as the brazen nest of hypocrites it is.

I speak of the anti-LGBTQ hate group the Alliance Defending Freedom. Today it claimed a victory in court regarding a fired Atlanta fire chief. However it turns out that their cheering was a simple misdirection:

A federal district court ruled Wednesday that city of Atlanta rules which led to the termination of Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran are unconstitutional. The court found that the city’s policies restricting non-work speech, like a book for Christian men that Cochran wrote, are too broad and allow city officials to unconstitutionally discriminate against views with which they disagree. 
“The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before engaging in free speech,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, who argued before the court on behalf of Cochran last month. “In addition, as the court found, the city can’t leave such decisions to the whims of government officials. This ruling benefits not only Chief Cochran, but also other employees who want to write books or speak about matters unrelated to work. Atlanta can no longer force them to get permission or deny them permission just because certain officials disagree with the views expressed.” 
With regard to the city’s “pre-clearance” rules, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia wrote in its decision in Cochran v. City of Atlanta, “This policy would prevent an employee from writing and selling a book on golf or badminton on his own time and, without prior approval, would subject him to firing. It is unclear to the Court how such an outside employment would ever affect the City’s ability to function, and the City provides no evidence to justify it…. The potential for stifled speech far outweighs an unsupported assertion of harm.” 
The court added that provisions within the rules “do not set out objective standards for the supervisor to employ.” “This does not pass constitutional muster,” the court concluded. 
Cochran wrote a 162-page devotional book on his personal time that briefly mentions his Christian views on sex and marriage. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed suspended Cochran for 30 days without pay and announced that he would have to complete “sensitivity training.” Reed then fired him, even though a city investigation concluded that he did not discriminate against anyone.

This press release by ADF omitted a lot of information as to what the court actually said. In truth, Cochran won on only two claims he filed. However, he lost on the claims of free speech retaliation, viewpoint discrimination, and association.

News brief special - Trump, religious right team up in attempt to devastate LGBTQ equality, health, and wellness

Before the election, Trump said he would be an advocate for the LGBTQ community if he won.
Now that he is in The White House, Trump is giving unfettered access and power to those "faith leaders" who gained prominence undermining LGBTQ equality while labeling the LGBTQ community as "pedophiles," "confused people,"
"tools of Satan," and purveyors of a "dangerous lifestyle." 

Trump’s Judicial Assault on LGBT Rights - "Trump’s record speed and the alarmingly high number of nominees with anti-LGBT records whom he is advancing is triggering a growing judicial crisis for LGBT people. Nearly one-in-three have records that demonstrate hostility towards the rights of LGBT people. While several of these nominees are anti-LGBT activists who have openly denigrated LGBT people and families, others have more quietly undermined LGBT rights and protections."

CDC’s Banned Words Would Be Deadly For LGBT Americans - Could be if we give in to fear and not be ready to fight like hell.

HHS under fire for proposal overseen by former anti-LGBTQ hate group employee - Repeating my post from last night. Banning words is not the only mischief that Trump seems to be planning for the LGBTQ community.

Trump administration ‘misled court’ about need for transgender military ban - Of course they did. Why are we surprised.

Trump Is Forcing the Military to Lie in Court About the Transgender Troops Ban - More on this situation.

The Year The Religious Right Moved Into The White House - Just in case you didn't see this, a wonderful break down of the many ways the anti-LGBTQ/evangelical right has taken advantage of its power in the Trump Administration. An excerpt:
February 2: Trump gathers conservative leaders, including representatives from the NRA, the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Tax Reform, along with the Susan B. Anthony List’s Dannenfelser, Concerned Women for America’s Nance, National Right to Life’s David O’Steen, Charmaine Yoest of American Values and, of course, Paula White, to personally thank him for the Gorsuch nomination and to discuss the confirmation fight ahead.
February 23: The departments of justice and education withdraw protections for transgender students in public schools that had been implemented by the Obama administration. Religious Right groups express their gratitude.
March 13: HHS announces its intention to eliminate “questions seeking to identify gay, lesbian and bisexual elders in a U.S. health survey.” The plan is later dropped. 
March 24: ProPublica reports that the Trump administration has “quietly appointed” former Heritage Foundation official Roger Severino to head the HHS Office for Civil Rights. 
March 29: The Census Bureau proposes and then quickly un-proposes counting LGBTQ people in the 2020 census. 
April 7: Neil Gorsuch is confirmed to the Supreme Court.
April 10: Nance and Dannenfelser go to the White House to celebrate with Gorsuch.