In an interview with Iowa-based radio host Simon Conway on Wednesday, Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King revealed that House Speaker John Boehner kicked him and fellow anti-immigration Republicans off a “high-profile diplomatic mission” in “retribution” for their votes against a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security.
Conway told King that he was surprised the speaker didn’t step down from his post after a revolt from Republican members handed him an embarrassing defeat, ultimately forcing him to pass a DHS spending bill with the support of just 75 members of his caucus in alliance with Democrats.
“In times gone past, other speakers would have said, ‘That is a vote of no confidence in my leadership from my own caucus, I have to step down,'” Conway said. “I know he’s not going to step down and I don’t think there’s an appetite to challenge him.”
“Well, that appetite is growing here in this conference,” King responded, “and you can tell it by just the dialogue and discussion that’s taking place.”
He added that the speaker is “currently throwing tantrums” and seeking “retribution” against members who bucked him on the DHS votes.
“In the last 30 minutes, I have learned that a very important diplomatic mission that I was scheduled to go on that had been signed off on, certified, authorized, everything all booked, the order came down from the speaker’s office, ‘that shall be rescinded.’ And the people who he most objects to for disagreeing with him are now grounded to the United States of America by order of the speaker,” King told Conway.
That on top of the ads being run against Republicans by the American Action Network, King said, “is retribution on the highest scale that I’ve ever heard of.”
Later in the interview, King complained that undocumented immigrants covered by President Obama’s executive actions would be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (despite the fact that the actions are projected to increase tax revenues) and that it provides a way for some immigrants to embark on a path to citizenship, which King said meant that “illegal aliens can go to vote and choose the next leader of the free world.”
“And when I say he eviscerated the Constitution, I think everyone who’s listening now understands what that means,” he concluded.
The president has waived the application of the law, he’s made up laws of his own, and now he as an administration that will be sending checks to illegals knowingly and willfully without even a breath of saying that want to try to reverse that. You know, a president who can make up law on his own, as he has done a number of times and gotten away with it, you would think he could also just simply issue an executive edict that they would not be issuing those kind of, writing checks to illegals who have filed under the Earned Income Tax Credit.
So, here’s your driver’s license mandated by the federal government, here’s your Earned Income Tax Credit, here’s your child tax credit that billions of dollars go out of the country every year for people who are living in the United States illegally, and now he’s created a path to citizenship so illegal aliens can go to vote and choose the next leader of the free world. Who would have thought, even three years ago, that this country would have been drug this far. And when I say he eviscerated the Constitution, I think everyone who’s listening now understands what that means.
Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis was a guest on American Family Radio today, where he discussed with Tim Wildmon his new project building a Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky. Ham insisted that the theme park, a complement to Ham's Creation Museum, has come under attack from “intolerant” liberals who want to deny it taxpayer funding.
Last month, Kentucky’s tourism board announced that the Noah’s Ark park wouldn’t be eligible for an $18 million tourism tax break because Answers In Genesis intends to use the site to proseletize and refuses to promise not to discriminate based on religion in its hiring. The board noted that “[s]tate tourism tax incentives cannot be used to fund religious indoctrination or otherwise be used to advance religion," but Ham cried persecution, complaining that Kentucky had violated his “fundamental rights” by witholding the tax break.
In the American Family Radio interview, Ham continued to portray himself as the victim of “intolerant” liberals (like Bill Nye) while also inadvertently bolstering the tourism board’s case by announcing that the Noah’s Ark park will be “one of the greatest evangelist outreaches of our day, of our period in history.”
Phil Burress, head Citizens for Community Values, the Ohio affiliate of the Family Research Council, told Religious Right activist Molly Smith this week that a proposal to expand Cleveland’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections for transgender people would allow “mentally disturbed” people to “be around women and girls in a women’s restroom.”
“A transgender person is a mental disorder,” Burress insisted, adding “it would take someone who has a mental disorder that would want to walk into a women’s bathroom in the first place.”
“This is directly tied to the same-sex unions, the same-sex marriage debates,” he concluded. “This is exactly what they want, they want to force you to comply.”
Burress also falsely claims that the new regulations would apply to churches.
Voters across the country trying to cast votes in Tuesday’s elections ran into hurdles erected by Republican legislatures, governors and secretaries of state. Along with mechanical glitches and human error — which occurred in states with leaders on both sides of the political spectrum — voters faced new laws and policies that made it harder to vote.
In Alabama, a last-minute decision by the attorney general barred people from using public housing IDs to vote. Voter ID laws in North Carolina and Texas sowed confusion. Georgia lost 40,000 voter registrations, mostly from minorities. In all, the group Election Protection reported receiving 18,000 calls on Election Day, many of them having to do with voter ID laws. The group noted that the flurry of calls represented “a nearly 40 percent increase from 13,000 calls received in 2010.”
In the presidential election year of 2016, it looks unlikely that those problems will subside — especially if Congress fails to restore the Voting Rights Act. The two states that had the closest vote tallies in the last presidential election — Florida and Ohio — will go into the presidential election year with Republicans controlling the offices of governor and secretary of state and holding majorities in their state legislatures.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who won reelection yesterday, will be able to appoint a secretary of state and will enjoy the support of a veto-proof Republican majority in the state House.
In Ohio, controversial Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted won reelection on Tuesday, along with Gov. John Kasich. They’ll be able to work with a strengthened GOP majority in the state legislature.
In North Carolina, where a Republican legislature and governor have cracked down on voting rights, the GOP held onto its majority. Republican secretary of state candidates in the swing states of Colorado, Iowa and Nevada also won elections yesterday.
Two influential elections for voting rights also took place in states unlikely to be presidential swing states. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a national ringleader for advocates of restrictive voting laws, won reelection. In Arizona, which has been working with Kansas to defend their states' respective tough voting requirements, Republican candidate Michele Reagan also won her contest.
One exception to the trend is Pennsylvania, where Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who backed a harsh voter ID law that has since been struck down in the courts, lost to voting rights supporter Tom Wolf. Although Wolf will contend with a Republican majority in the state legislature, he will be able to appoint a secretary of the commonwealth.
Yesterday, voters in Tennessee approved a ballot measure amending the state constitution to remove all legal protections for abortion rights, paving the way for state lawmakers to pass broad abortion restrictions. At the same time, voters in Colorado and North Dakota overwhelmingly rejected “personhood” measures that would have given the full rights of citizenship to zygotes, thereby criminalizing all abortion along with some forms of birth control. In Colorado, where the nation’s foremost personhood advocacy group is based, it was the third time such a measure had been rejected by voters.
Yesterday’s results are the product of a split among the anti-choice movement about how to achieve the goal of criminalizing all abortions. While most of the movement shares this end-game, its leaders are bitterly divided over the best strategy to achieve it.
The nation’s largest and best-funded anti-choice groups, including National Right to Life, Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List, favor an incremental approach to chipping away at the protections guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. The incremental strategy has had tremendous success in recent years as measures on the state level have forced scores of abortion clinics to shut their doors. Women in Cincinnati, for instance, still have a legal right to an abortion. But thanks to a recent law aimed at shutting down abortion providers, they may soon lose access to the city’s only clinic that provides the service.
And even in North Dakota, although zygotes won’t be given the legal rights of people (at least for the time being), anti-choice activists are targeting the state’s sole abortion provider, which was struggling to keep its doors open and was recently banned from administering medical abortions.
The personhood movement is angry at mainstream anti-choice leaders for being willing to accept “compromise” legislation that includes exceptions for survivors of rape and incest. But it also thinks that the incremental strategy won’t work. Instead, personhood advocates seek to take advantage of a loophole in Roe v. Wade by which, they believe, if a zygote or a fetus is defined by law as a legal person, Roe’s abortion protections will fall. Groups pushing the so-far unsuccessful personhood ballot measures have allies in this strategy in some far-right judges, most notably on the Alabama Supreme Court, who are trying to build a legal framework for undermining Roe.
On the electoral level, the personhood strategy’s biggest flaw may be it is just too honest about the goals of the anti-choice movement. While Americans are fairly evenly split between those who call themselves pro-choice and those who choose the label pro-life, 70 percent want to keep Roe v. Wade and only 24 percent want to overturn it. Americans have muddled views about circumstances under which they think abortion should be legal, but know that they don’t want it to be completely criminalized.
Groups like Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List know this and have stayed far away from personhood measures. When a Mother Jones reporter asked AUL for a comment on North Dakota’s measure, a spokeswoman replied, “AUL does not handle personhood issues.”
But other national groups have supported these measures. While National Right to Life’s affiliate in Colorado opposed that state’s measure , saying it would be “immediately overturned in court,” the national group’s North Dakota affiliate backed its state’s even more extreme measure. And while Colorado Republican senator-elect Cory Gardner ran away from the personhood issue, both of North Dakota’s senators supported the ballot measure in their state. The Family Research Council’s North Dakota affiliate also got behind the measure in its state, along with the state chapter of Concerned Women for America and the North Dakota Catholic Conference.
And despite the unpopularity of their bills at the ballot box, personhood advocates still have a strong hold in Congress, where “life at conception” bills have 22 sponsors in the Senate and 133 in the House.
But in the end, even as anti-choice Republicans won handily in Colorado and North Dakota, the personhood measures went down in flames, leading the proponents of the Colorado proposal to rejoice that they at least lost less badly than they had in the past.
The victory of the measure in Tennessee — which will allow legislators to broadly cut off access to abortion rights without explicitly criminalizing abortion — shows that, for now, the incrementalists’ strategy is winning. Even voters in dark-red states like North Dakota can’t stomach a bill that outright criminalizes all abortions. But the anti-choice movement’s strategy to approach the same goal through different means is, so far, working.
One influential issue at the ballot box this year is the future of how we cast our ballots. In secretary of state races throughout the country, voters will be choosing who runs their elections — and how open those elections are to all voters.
As Republican lawmakers continue to enact news laws aimed at curtailing the rights of voters, secretary of state elections have taken on renewed importance.
We’ve picked three key secretary of state races that we’ll be watching closely Tuesday and added a few more influential races that are also worth keeping an eye on. (And this isn’t even counting states like Florida and Pennsylvania, where the secretary of state is picked by the governor, leaving the gubernatorial elections will have even stronger voting rights implications.)
Perhaps the hardest-fought and most-watched secretary of state race this year is taking place in the heavily Republican Kansas. And that’s all because of the national profile and extreme agenda of one man: incumbent Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
When Kobach won his job in 2010, he was already a national figure. After a stint in the Bush Justice Department, Kobach joined the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) — the legal arm of the nativist anti-immigrant group FAIR — where he worked with lawmakers to craft harsh anti-immigrant measures throughout the country, including Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, where he helped write the infamous “show me your papers” law SB 1070. After a failed run for Congress in 2004, Kobach set his sights on his state’s elections office.
Kobach has recently gained a prominent place in national Republican politics, serving as an immigration policy adviser to Mitt Romney and working to insert anti-gay and anti-immigrant language into the 2012 GOP platform.
Kobach won his position handily in 2010, but is facing an unexpectedly tough fight to hold onto it. Part of the reason is because he’s kept up his out-of-state anti-immigrant work: He still holds a position at IRLI and jets around the country advising states and localities that have agreed to be his policy guinea pigs, prompting his critics to complain that he’s not spending enough time in Kansas. And part of it is because he’s brought his activism home, using his platform in Kansas to push some of the most extreme voting restrictions in the country by hyping fears that undocumented immigrants are voting en masse in Kansas.
In 2011, at Kobach’s urging, Kansas passed a restrictive voter ID law that included a requirement that those registering to vote provide a passport, birth certificate, or similar “proof of citizenship" to elections authorities. The proof-of-citizenship provision, which took effect this year, has thrown Kansas voter registration into chaos. Less than one week before the election, 22,394 potential Kansas voters are unable to cast ballots because they had not provided an acceptable form of citizenship documentation. In addition, Kobach has placed an estimated 300-400 voters in a special voting rights “tier” in which they can vote only in federal elections and not in state elections. Kobach has proudly reported that of the 200 people who were placed in this special class of disenfranchised voters in this summer's primary election, only one bothered to show up to cast a half vote.
Kobach is also at the helm of Interstate Crosscheck, a faulty program that claims to identify people who are voting in two states at once but in reality has encouraged states to purge eligible minority voters from their voter rolls.
Kansans became even more leery of Kobach’s priorities this year when he spent $34,000 in taxpayer money trying to keep a Democratic senate candidate, Chad Taylor, on the ballot after he dropped out to make way for the independent challenging Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Kobach only relented when the state supreme court ordered him to, and even then he tried (unsuccessfully) to find a way around the order.
A recent poll shows Kobach tied with his Democratic challenger, Jean Schodorf.
In the presidential swing state of Ohio, the secretary of state is often in the center of national battles over voting rights. Republican Jon Husted has been no exception.
In the lead-up to the 2012 election, Husted stepped in to break tie votes in Democratic-leaning Ohio counties, allowing those counties to eliminate night and weekend early voting hours... even as Republican-leaning counties expanded their early voting hours. In response to a national outcry, Husted enforced “uniformity” by requiring all counties to bring early voting opportunities down to the lowest common denominator, including cutting off night and weekend voting and eliminating early voting in the three days before the election. When a federal judge ordered Husted to reopen voting in the three days before the election, he flatly refused to comply, saying it would “confuse voters.” Eventually he relented, but as the election approached he appealed the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court.
Since the 2012 election, Husted has kept up his efforts to restrict early voting in 2014, fighting to eliminate the so-called “Golden Week” of early voting — in which voters can register and cast their ballots in one visit — and to cut early voting hours, including on Sundays, a time frequently used by African American churches for get-out-the-vote efforts.
Husted faces a Democrat state Sen. Nina Turner, a major critic of his record on voting rights. Although the two were neck-and-neck in an early poll, a recent poll shows Husted with a significant lead.
Before Kansas ushered in its restrictive “proof of citizenship” law, Arizona was already fighting for a similar measure. In 2004, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200, a medley of anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures including a requirement that those registering to vote present one of a narrow set of documents to prove that they are citizens. The Supreme Court struck down the provision in 2013, saying that it was preempted by federal law — but left a loophole, suggesting that Arizona could sue the federal Election Assistance Commission to require that federal voter registration forms used in the state include the extra “proof of citizenship” requirement. So Arizona did just that, joined by Kansas under Kobach.
That case is still working its way through the courts, but it’s left a peculiar situation in Kansas and Arizona where Kobach and his Arizona counterpart Secretary of State Ken Bennett have set up dual-track voting systems in their states in which people who register to vote with a federal form but do not provide additional citizenship documents are allowed to vote in federal elections, but not in state elections. As we noted above, of about 200 Kansans on the special limited-rights voting track in this year’s primary election, just one voted. In Arizona, about 1,500 were put on the limited track, and 21 cast ballots.
Bennett isn’t up for reelection this year — he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor — but the race to succeed him will determine the future implementation of Arizona’s restrictive requirements. Republican Michele Reagan sought and won Kobach’s endorsement, boasting that she voted for the infamous anti-immigrant bill that Kobach helped bring to Arizona. In the state senate, Reagan wrote a bill that, among other voting restrictions, would prevent community groups from collecting and delivering mail-in ballots, a method commonly used in voting drives by Latino groups. When an effort to repeal the bill by referendum started to gain steam, Reagan and her fellow Republicans worked to repeal it first, thus allowing the state legislature to bring back parts of the bill in a piecemeal fashion.
Reagan is facing off against Democrat Terry Goddard, a former state attorney general and mayor of Phoenix. Both candidates have said they want tighter disclosure requirements for “dark money” spending by outside groups. But when the Koch-backed 60 Plus Association bought $304,000 in ads attacking Goddard last week, she refused to distance herself from the dark money effort.
Reagan also struggled this week to explain her vote for Arizona’s so-called “birther bill,” which would have required presidential candidates to prove to the secretary of state that they are native-born American citizens.
Other States To Watch: Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Iowa
In Colorado, Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler — a key Kobach ally and crusader against the supposed scourge of Democratic “organized voter fraud” who last year tried to stop county clerks from sending ballots to voters who had not voted in the the last election — is stepping down this year, having tried and failed to get his party’s gubernatorial nomination. In the race to replace him are Republican El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams, described by the Denver Post as Gessler’s “lone public ally” among clerks in the ballot controversy, and Democratic attorney Joe Neguse. The two differ on the sweeping elections overhaul Colorado passed last year, which allows same-day voter registration and requires the state to mail a ballot to every voter.
New Mexico’s secretary of state race has incumbent Republican Dianna Duran pitted against Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a rising Democratic star. Toulouse Oliver is emphasizing “full participation across a wide spectrum of the electorate” in her campaign, while Durran is accusing her of using “community-organizer, consultant-styled rhetoric.” In a TV ad that doubles as a promotion for right-wing myths about widespread voter fraud, Durran accuses Toulous Oliver of “registering a dog to vote.” In reality, a right-wing activist tried to register his dog to try to prove a point; he was caught and Toulouse Oliver referred his case to the proper authorities.
Earlier this month, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state’s voter ID requirement, a ruling that Secretary of State Mark Martin is vowing to fight. As the case worked its way through the courts, Arkansas voters got conflicting messages from elections officials under Martin’s leadership. He faces a challenge from Democrat Susan Inman.
In Iowa, outgoing Secretary of State Matt Schultz spent $150,000 in taxpayer money in a quest to root out voter fraud in Iowa…and found none. He also conducted a voter roll purge that critics called an attempt to intimidate Latino voters.” The race to succeed him — between Republican voter ID supporter Paul Pate and Democrat Brad Anderson — is locked in a dead heat.
Phil Burress of the Ohio-based group Citizens for Community Values was outraged last year when Sen. Rob Portman came out in favor of marriage equality, even urging the senator to put his son in ex-gay therapy.
This weekend, while speaking with Mission America’s Linda Harvey, Burress said that if more Republicans announce their support for marriage equality or merely offer muted opposition to marriage rights, then he and other conservatives will leave the GOP.
“You can put a cross on the grave of the Republican Party if they ditch this issue, it would be the same thing with the life issue,” he said. “If they’re not going to stand for life and natural marriage, Huckabee was the first one that came out and said that he would not only leave the Republican Party but he’ll take everybody with him. The Republicans had better take this serious because this is a nonnegotiable issue with us.”
Burress — whose group is the Ohio affiliate of the Family Research Council and of Focus on the Family’s political arm Citizenlink — predicted that Portman will lose his race for reelection because of his marriage equality support: “I find this rather amusing, he stands no chance whatsoever. He’s seen his numbers, he knows what his numbers are and so do we. He is basically lost, he’s not even going to hold his own seat in ‘16.”
“People will vote but they just will not vote for somebody who’s wrong on these nonnegotiable issues. If they’re wrong on life, marriage or religious freedom, they’ll go to the polls and vote but they just won’t vote for them,” he said. “I have been saying this and screaming it from the treetops: If Rob Portman decides to run in the primary in 2016, he is on the ballot in 2016, Ohio will again have two Democratic senators. This is not our fault, this is his fault if we lose this seat.”
Burress warned that if a primary challenger to Portman does emerge, the GOP “will still spend millions of dollars to support him” against an anti-gay opponent.
“Rob Portman stands no chance of being president, this is a hoax,” Burress said of the rumored Portman presidential campaign, adding that “there’s between 24 and 26 percent of the voters that go to the polls in Ohio [who] are evangelical Christians and if you lose that base then you’re dead.”
He attributed Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss in Ohio to the former governor’s “flip flops” on social issues, saying evangelical Christians “did not trust Romney.”
In response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote today to block early voting in Ohio less than 24 hours before it was set to begin, Ohio members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC) released the following statement:
“Today the Supreme Court demonstrated, yet again, that it is not interested in protecting the right of everyday Americans to participate in our democracy. From making it easier for the super-rich to buy elections to coming down on the side of those who want to block access to the polls, the conservative majority of the Roberts Court is making it crystal clear that they will not stand up for a democracy of, by, and for the people.
“The right to vote is the most fundamental right, and responsibility, that we have in a democracy. As a country, we should be working to expand access to voting, not making it harder to cast a ballot. We’re deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to protect voting rights in our state today.”
On September 17, 85 AAMLC members joined with fellow Ohio clergy in meetings with the offices of state House and Senate members to share their thoughts on the importance of protecting, and removing barriers to, the right to vote.
People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council represents an ecumenical alliance of 1,500 African-American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.
On his "News With Views" program today, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire asserted that the fact that lots of people do not agree with his right-wing views and positions is a sign that God's judgment is already upon America.
Daubenmire was discussing an ongoing battle between a strip club in Ohio and a local pastor who was been relentlessly working to get it shut down when he marveled that people could actually disagree with the pastor, saying that the only logical explanation for this is that God has sent delusions upon people because this nation has turned away from Him, as stated in 2 Thessalonians.
"Have you ever seen a time in America," he asked, "where common sense was so uncommon? Where people were so willing to look the other way regarding what was right and what was wrong?"
Daubenmire is convinced that this "is the judgment of God that's upon us because we have rejected the truth." God's "hedge of protection" around America has been torn down, he said, and now God's judgment is pouring over the wall and sweeping across this nation.
"It's the natural consequences of rejecting the laws of nature and of nature's God":
Yesterday, Janet Porter hosted her "Appeal To Heaven" rally outside the Ohio statehouse, which is just the latest step in her years-long effort to get the state to pass her radical anti-choice legislation known as the "Heartbeat Bill," which would outlaw abortion within weeks of conception.
Prior to the rally, Porter was joined for a press conference by various state lawmakers who support her bill, at which State Representative Matt Lynch compared the fight to outlaw abortion in Ohio to the fight against ISIS in the Middle East.
In a video posted on YouTube by OhioCapitalBlog, Lynch declared that ISIS beheading journalists and civilians in Syria and Iraq is no different than the practice of legal abortion in Ohio.
The two issues "are not dissimilar," Lynch insisted. "As a nation, as we're aroused literally to move Heaven and earth to combat this evil on the other side of the world somehow we're blind and we're silent to the twenty thousand plus deaths that are occurring, seventy a day, right here in the state of Ohio."
"We have to have the courage," he said, "to understand that the moral right against evil in the mid-east is no different than the moral fight against evil right here in the state of Ohio and that evil is abortion":
Molly Smith, the director of Cleveland Right to Life, lost her group’s affiliation with National Right to Life Committee last year when she criticized Sen. Rob Portman for announcing his support for marriage equality after his son came out as gay.
The national group chided Smith [pdf] for taking on “an advocacy agenda that includes issues beyond the right to life,” but her group pushed back, saying that “any politician, including Portman, who supports the break-up of the American family and supports the denial of a mother and father for children has forfeited the right of support and endorsement of the prolife movement .”
Then, earlier this year, Smith was picked as the head of the National Personhood Alliance, a new group meant to be an even more extreme rival to National Right to Life.
Which is to say, feelings are still raw. The subject came up in Smith’s interview this month with anti-gay activist Linda Harvey, who wholeheartedly agreed with Smith that anti-choice activists must also oppose LGBT rights because, she said, LGBT rights lead to a greater incidence of abortion.
“The Planned Parenthood and anti-life lobby is heavily imbued and connected to homosexuality,” Harvey told Smith. “They’re in favor of opening up the doors and spreading the boundaries of sexuality all across the board. That includes homosexuality. The lines are very blurred, and unless you stand strong on this issue, you’re going to see much more, and you do see much more, out of wedlock sexuality and then of course, more abortion.”
Harvey said that she had seen Planned Parenthood march in the Columbus, Ohio, LGBT pride parade: “Why are they doing that? Because they know, you muddy the water, and you get a lot more of their business, abortion.”
Smith and Harvey then discussed polls showing rapidly increasing support for gay rights, which they decided must be skewed.
“I’m beginning to lose all kinds of respect for these polls,” Smith said.
“Yes, they’re inaccurate, they portray things in the wrong way,” Harvey agreed, adding that if polls gave people “all the information” about LGBT people “they would change their minds” and realize that “maybe these people are defending something that is not defensible and is, indeed, shameful.”
The past week held both good news and bad news for voting rights, depending on your part of the country. On Friday in Ohio, an appeals court declined to put on hold a ruling that expands early voting in the state, a win for those of us who believe that voting should be fair and accessible for all people. But on the same day, an appeals court gave the okay to Wisconsin’s voter ID law — a law that had been blocked months ago by a federal judge who noted that it disproportionately affects Latino and black communities.
Commentators have noted that instating the new voter ID law in Wisconsin so close to an election could cause real confusion for voters, and advocates are asking for a re-hearing. As election law expert Rick Hasen said, “It is hard enough to administer an election with set rules — much less to change the rules midstream.”
Beyond the practical implications for voters, it’s also important to connect the dots back to how these decisions happened and who was making them. As The Nation’s Ari Berman wrote on Friday night:
[A] panel of Democrat-appointed judges on the Sixth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction from a Democrat-appointed district court judge striking down Ohio’s cuts to early voting. Two hours earlier, however, a trio of Republican-appointed judges on the Seventh Circuit overturned an injunction from a Democratic judge blocking Wisconsin’s voter ID law.
This is why elections matter. And the courts are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who does and does not get to participate in them. [emphasis added]
A few weeks ago, we noted that Janet Porter was organizing "An Appeal To Heaven" rally to take place outside the Ohio Statehouse this month at which she and various anti-choice and Religious Right activists will ask God to help pass Porter's "Heartbeat Bill."
For four years, Porter has been working, unsuccessfully, to pass this legislation in Ohio which, if enacted, would prevent a woman from having an abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be "as early as 18 to 24 days after conception."
The rally is scheduled for next Wednesday and somehow Porter has managed to get Glenn Beck to film a video encouraging people to attend and participate.
"I hope, by now, your aware the elected officials in Columbus haven't done the things that you've hired them to do," Beck says in the video. "They say they're pro-life, but they have held a pro-life Heartbeat Bill hostage for four years."
"You've called, you've rallied, but it's time to go over their heads," he said, "and I mean way over their heads and make an appeal, not to the courts - your're invited to join pastors and leaders from all around the state for an appeal to Heaven":
This weekend, Linda Harvey welcomed to her radio show Molly Smith, the Cleveland anti-choice activist who’s heading up a new national splinter group that thinks that the major anti-choice groups aren’t extreme enough. One of the issues that separates Smith from the major anti-choice groups is her insistence on linking anti-gay and anti-choice activism, a divide that came to a head when she was rebuked by National Right to Life Committee for attacking anti-choice advocate Sen. Rob Portman when he came out in favor of marriage equality.
Smith and Harvey discussed the Gay Games, which took place over the weekend in Cleveland and which Smith contended were “not gay” but in fact “very melancholy” because they featured participants in a “sad and destructive lifestyle.”
Later in the interview, Smith lashed out at the Cuyahoga County GOP for officially welcoming the Gay Games, saying that opposition to LGBT rights must always be paired with anti-choice activism because homosexuality is an “anti-family lifestyle.”
Since 2011, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter has been working to get the state of Ohio to pass her "Heartbeat Bill" legislation, which would prevent a women from having an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, thereby dramatically curtailing reproductive rights by banning abortion "as early as 18 to 24 days after conception."
Now, after three years of failure despite having organized multiple rallies and attention-grabbing stunts, Porter has decided that she is going to take her case directly to God, sending out an email today announcing a prayer rally to be held outside the Ohio Statehouse next month at which participants will launch a direct "Appeal To Heaven" on behalf of her legislation:
We've called. We've rallied. We've lobbied. On September 17th, we're going over their heads!
AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN
Wednesday, September 17th
Ohio Statehouse-High St. Side
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
To pass the Heartbeat Bill
Pastors from around the state will lead us as we go over the heads of the elected officials with an Appeal to Heaven!