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International - Rabbi's Remarks on Homosexuality Spark Protests in Jerusalem

(AP) Dozens of LGBT activists have protested in Jerusalem against comments reportedly made by the city's chief rabbi disparaging the gay community.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar told an Israeli newspaper last week that gay people were an "abomination" and homosexuality a "cult."

Protesters holding rainbow pride flags faced off outside the rabbinate in Jerusalem against ultra-Orthodox Jews supporting the rabbi. Police say a large pride flag was hung outside the building overnight.

The protests highlight the deep divisions in Israel between its secular majority and increasingly powerful nationalist and ultra-Orthodox camps that have spoken out forcefully against the LGBT community.

While liberal Tel Aviv is seen as gay friendly, the fault lines have been pronounced in Jerusalem, the ancient biblical city rich in religious history and tradition.

 

Politics - Trump's AG Pick Gets Ringing Endorsement from Anti-LGBT Hate Group

(EDGE) The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council today commended President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the next Attorney General in the new administration.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement:

"I offer my congratulations to Senator Sessions and commend President-Elect Trump for making another wise selection by choosing Senator Sessions as our nation's next attorney general. This selection is, of course, is in addition to the other quality individuals that have been announced by the Trump administration.

"Yet again, President-elect Trump has defied naysayers criticizing his transition team. President-elect Trump has surrounded himself with solid advisors, and his selection of Senator Sessions for attorney general increases my confidence that the Trump administration will be one that cherishes the Constitution and its protection of our freedom from government oppression. Senator Sessions understands the importance of all of our God-given rights, respects the rule of law, and will be a vital part of restoring our nation to its greatness.

"I look forward to January when the nation again has an opportunity to make freedom mean something under President Trump's leadership," concluded Perkins.

 

 

Legal - Justice Thomas Calls Conservatives to Continue Scalia's Work

(AP) Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says conservatives should make the work of the late Justice Antonin Scalia a "prologue" in the effort to limit the power of the courts and other branches of government.

The Supreme Court has too often granted rights to people that are not found in the Constitution, Thomas said, citing the decision in 2015 that made same-sex marriage legal across the country. Both Scalia and Thomas dissented from that decision.

"With such unchecked judicial power, we leave it for the least accountable branch to decide what newly discovered rights should be appended to our Constitution," Thomas told 1,700 people at a Thursday night dinner to honor Scalia, who died in February.

He paraphrased Lincoln's Gettysburg address to exhort the audience to "be dedicated to the unfinished business for which Justice Scalia gave his last full measure of devotion."

Thomas said he and his longtime friend and colleague formed an "odd couple" of a white New Yorker and a black man from Georgia. "But together, we soon became our own band of brothers," Thomas said.

Thomas' talk to the Federalist Society, along with one earlier Thursday by Justice Samuel Alito, came at an unexpectedly upbeat moment for the conservative legal organization.

Many among its 40,000 members had resigned themselves to having Scalia's seat filled by someone more liberal, expecting that Hillary Clinton would become president. President Barack Obama had nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the seat.

"Then, on Nov. 8, Hurricane Trump hit. The future can be difficult to predict," Federalist Society President Eugene Meyer said, referring to Donald Trump's surprising victory.

Now Thomas is more likely to acquire a new conservative ally. Indeed, nine state and federal judges on Trump's list of possible Supreme Court nominees are taking part in the group's conference, which runs through Saturday.

 

Crime - Attacker Allegedly Tells FL. Senior: ‘My President Says We Can Kill You Faggots’

(EDGE) A 75-year-old gay man said he was attacked outside his home Monday night in Sarasota, Fla. by a Donald Trump supporter, who apparently took issue over the victim's rainbow marriage equality bumper sticker, ABC Action News reports.

Chuck Redding said he was driving home when he noticed a car was driving very closely behind him. He initially thought it was a "jerk that was following too close" but quickly realized something was wrong. 

When he turned onto his street, Redding said the car came even closer to him and he knew "something was wrong." He said he parked outside a neighbor's house when the driver stopped his car, jumped out and ran toward Redding's car.

The man banged on Redding's car window before forcing the door open, Redding says. The man then allegedly threw Redding to the ground. 

"He yanked the door open, dragged me out, ripped my shirt. I was on the pavement," Redding told ABC Action News.

The man fled the scene, leaving Redding with a bruised arm, cut hands, scrapped knees and a fractured toe. Redding says he was assaulted because he had a rainbow marriage equality bumper sticker on his car. 

"He kept saying, 'You know my new president says we can kill all you faggots now,'" Redding said. "It's absolutely horrendous."

Since Trump was a elected president last week, there have been a number of reported hate crime incidents related to the election results. A Florida LGBT church was vandalized with swastikas and Trump's campaign motto "Make America Great Again" and New York state senator, who is Jewish and openly gay, found swastikas carved into his the building where he lives. Before Trump was elected, a trans woman from Tennessee said her truck was set on fire and vandalized with the word "Trump."

 

Crime - Fla. LGBT Church Vandalized with Swastikas, 'Make America Great Again'

(EDGE) The violence towards minorities, including members of the LGBTQ community, connected to Donald Trump being elected president of the United States, continues to grow. Local Tampa, Fla. news station WTSP reports an LGBTQ church in St. Petersburg, Fla. has been vandalized with swastikas and the president-elect's campaign motto "Make America Great Again." 

Members of the King of Peace Metropolitan Church discovered Monday the symbol and the motto drawn in chalk on the driveway of the church.

"It's not the kind of thing I want to have left on the sidewalk. It's left our members uneasy and not quite sure what to make of it," Reverend Candace Shultis told WTSP. "I think we were targeted because we are an LGBTQ and with the atmosphere in our country right now, it just makes you feel uncertain."

The church has more than 300 members and has been part of the community for 40 years. Shultis added the phrase "Love one another, please. -God" to the church's marquee after the presidential election results were announced. Regardless of the results, she said she'd never expect to be hit with anti-LGBT messages.

"It gave me a sense of incredible disappointment and anger. Nobody likes to be targeted by hate but it also increases my resolve to continue to preach the message of love," she told the news station.

Shultis, who said the incident was reported to police, also claims the church's sister congregation located in Washington, D.C., was also vandalized with someone leaving feces in front of the church's entrance. 

Before Trump was elected, a trans woman from Tennessee said her truck was vandalized with the word "Trump" and was set on fire. It was reported earlier this week that a gay college student said he was attacked after leaving a bar because he was wearing high heels. He connected the incident to Trump's win. Additionally, New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who is gay and Jewish, discovered swastikas carved into the apartment building where he lives with his husband and young daughter. 

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