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Texas conservatives claim LGBTQ equality bill bans the Bible and Christianity

By Zack Ford, Think Progress

The Texas legislature reconvened this month and Democratic lawmakers immediately introduced a variety of bills that would advance LGBTQ equality in the state. Conservative leaders are fiercely opposed to the legislation and have turned to a new messaging strategy to defend their ability to discriminate.

According to Texas Values, a state conservative advocacy group, every one of the pro-LGBTQ bills, which likely won’t gain any momentum, “[ban] the Bible.” The group has even set up the site NoBibleBan.com to redirect to an advocacy page, which declares that the LGBTQ equality bills “would attack people of faith so viciously, we can justifiably describe them as #BanTheBible bills,” and which allows visitors to sign up to receive updates on the movement or email their elected officials.

Texas Values’ president, Jonathan Saenz, has also been dutifully tweeting and retweeting on the hashtag “#BanTheBible” daily.

The bills Saenz objects to would ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations; protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy, and make it easier for transgender people to update their birth certificates. None of them mentions the Bible.

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson chimed in this week, posting a blog in which he claimed the bills would “ban Christianity in all but name.”

Imprisoned, anti-gay Oklahoma senator to pay $125,000 to teen male prostitute

Remember Ralph Shortey? He’s the former Oklahoma State senator and Trump campaign chair who, despite having and supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation, was arrested in 2017 for hooking up and smoking weed with a 17-year-old male sex worker, according to LGBTQ Nation.

It turns out that in addition to serving 15 years in prison, Shortey has to pay over $125,000 in restitution to the teen boy he slept with. Though Oklahoma’s age of consent is 16, the state’s child sex work statute applies to any person under 18.

It’s unclear whether Shortey and the teen actually had sex, but they were found in a Motel 8 hotel room with lotion and condoms, so…. Video of Shortey’s arrest showed him wearing a shirt with a Bible verse about women submitting to their husbands, along with a drawing of a sandwich and the words, “now make me a sandwich.”

The restitution money is meant to pay for the young man’s psychological treatment for any trauma and victimization he experienced with Shortey. Since Shortey’s currently in the slammer earning very little money, he’ll have to pay back most of the money after he leaves prison and no, he can’t appeal.

This money is just the latest log tossed onto Shortey’s bonfire of well-deserved humiliation. Shortly after the then 35-year-old senator’s arrest, Senate workers scraped his name from his office door, changed the locks and painted over his name in the Senate parking lot. He also lost all most of his senatorial positions and perks. He resigned six days later.

He originally faced child pornography charges for receiving explicit images of the teen boy, but prosecutors later dropped those charges. His wife then divorced him in 2018. A judge later refused to let him spend time with his four home-schooled daughters, and his wife reportedly changed her and her daughters’ last names.

During his seven years in the state Senate, Shortey built a name for himself by pushing bills targeting those living in the country illegally and expanding gun rights. He routinely voted with his Republican colleagues on bills targeting gay and transgender people, including an approved measure allowing business owners to discriminate against gay people.

In 2012 Shortey introduced a bill banning the use of fetuses in food preparation.

“There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not,” Shortey told The Oklahoman.No evidence of this practice was found, to which Shortey responded, “They’re not going to admit to it because it’s a public-relations nightmare.”

Police detain armed Trump supporter after protesting drag queen storytime

James “Doc” Greene Sr. was detained by police after barging into a Houston libraryto protest a scheduled drag queen storytime for children reports OutSmart Magazine. Greene has previously been banned from the library for similar antics – including filming children without permission

Greene had a concealed weapon and was disarmed by officers.

A spokesperson for the Houston Police Department told OutSmart Magazine that Greene entered the building about 15 minutes before the program was to being. Police were called when he refused to leave.

“A manager asked us for assistance because [Greene] was banned from the library, and would not leave when he was asked,” Silva says. “He was previously banned for filming children at the library, and has been known to cause disturbances. Several officers had to escort him out.”

Greene refused to cooperate with officers and was taken to a hospital after complaining of chest pains. He filmed the encounter and posted video to YouTube.

“We have a bunch of homosexuals that are molesting children,” Greene said after being escorted out of the building. “They are doing it with your help.”

While the YouTube video cuts off shortly after, Greene continued filming, using Facebook to document the encounter.

The District Attorney declined to press charges. Police released him to the custody of the hospital.