Category: Equal rights

New Supreme Court Justices lied under oath to get on the Supreme Court, then changed U.S. law to force people, including child rape victims, to carry pregnancies to term. Justice Thomas indicates Court may go after the right to buy & use contraception next.


Three of the new, Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices intentionally misled the Senate and the public during their confirmation hearings about their intent to overturn Roe V. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Among the three judges who were dishonest was Coloradan Neil Gorsuch.

The Court’s ruling ended the 50 year-old established constitutional right of American women to determine their own futures with regard to child rearing, and gives states the ability to enact laws that force women to remain pregnant against their will. The ruling effectively imposes extremist right wing Christian religious beliefs upon half the country, and instantly creates two classes of people: one class who are fortunate enough to live in states that protect people’s right to make decisions about their own pregnancies and child-rearing, and a second class of citizens in the other states with no such protections, with laws in place that force females to carry all pregnancies to term, no matter a woman’s age, health, emotional or economic circumstances, how many children she already has, or whether she wants to be pregnant or not.

Already since the ruling, a 10 year old rape victim in Ohio was refused an abortion that was recommended by a child abuse doctor because she was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Ohio’s law  bans abortion after 6 weeks.

Mississippi’s House Speaker Philip Gunn said that even a 12-year-old victim of incestuous rape who is carrying her father or uncle’s child should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling (at page 119 of 213, at the section regarding a case called Griswold v Connecticutthat established the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment in regard to use of contraception by married couples) Justice Clarence Thomas indicated the Court may next try to end to people’s private right to buy and use contraception. 

Happy Fourth of July.

Oklahoma is just the beginning of what life will be like under Republican rule

In late May 2022, Oklahoma once again passed the nation’s worst abortion ban, making it the first state to effectively end women’s right to have an abortion, and making this article, that I first published on May 20, 2019, even more relevant.

Oklahoma Republicans just passed a mind-blowingly strict law that makes abortion illegal in virtually every circumstance, effectively terminating the right of women in the state to control their own bodies and reproductive fate.

Oklahoma wasn’t alone in this, either. Other Republican-dominated states are also enacting extremely strict laws that effectively make abortion illegal, with some banning the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Republicans base these laws on their belief that a fetus is a fully legal person entitled to all the rights and privileges that all legal American citizens enjoy.

But if actually put into effect, what do these beliefs really portend for life in America?

First Congregational Church welcomes trans kids amid furor over School Board President Andrea Haitz’s transphobic memes

The First Congregational Church sign (Photo: Shirley Zimmerman Kodis)

After the uproar over anti-transgender memes District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz posted recently on her personal social media accounts, the First Congregational Church at 5th and Kennedy in Grand Junction took steps to make it clear to the public that their church welcomes transexual kids. The church is directly across the street from Grand Junction High School.

Church Administrator Beth Rakestraw said on her social media account that “Transkids are loved and welcomed at my church!” The church describes itself on its website as a “progressive Christian community” and says “We welcome all people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender preference, ability, and disability…At our church you don’t have to check your brain at the door. We believe that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. … No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”

Haitz tried to walk back her posts by telling the Daily Sentinel that people had “misinterpreted” her memes because they “don’t understand satire,” but that was disproved after Heidi Hess of One Colorado revealed to the Daily Sentinel that Haitz belonged to the Facebook group Reboot 2022, whose mission statement says “Transgender is not an option.”

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters tells crowd some people “shouldn’t be voting”

In this exchange during her speaking engagement at the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club on February 21, a woman in the audience asks election conspiracy-theorist Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters how to get “voters with inappropriate names off the voter list”:

Woman to Tina: “Is there anything we can do at this point, at this election, I mean to get these voters with inappropriate names off the voter list?”

Tina: “Yes, there’s some issues on HAVA [the Help America Vote Act] (pdf). They stand behind HAVA a lot. That is the national voting act where they are bringing in all these drop boxes and making elections “more accessible” to everybody. [Tina gestures using air quotes when she says “more accessible”]. Well, they’re really not. They’re making them more accessible to the ones that shouldn’t be voting.”

Tina Peters is running to replace Jenna Griswold as Colorado Secretary of State.

Former Delta County School District students pressure district to end racism in schools

Jordan Evans (L) and Marisa Edmondson (R) are graduates of Paonia High School and are pushing the Delta County School District to  actively work to end what they see as pervasive racism in Delta County Schools

Two alumni of the Delta County School District (DCSD) began an all-out effort last year to pressure the Delta County School District to address the pervasive racism and discrimination they and others say they have experienced in Delta County Schools. Edmondson says while they have made some progress, the School District and School Board have largely stonewalled them and resisted the change.

CO homeowners helpless against rogue homeowner associations

The Moonridge Falls subdivision HOA in Grand Junction suddenly locked homeowners out of their own common space this winter, nominally for safety, even though no accidents had occurred in the park and no one has ever been hurt there. The HOA effectively treated all homeowners as though they were trespassers in their own common space. Across the state, subdivisions that lock off commonly-owned amenities, like swimming pools or tennis courts — whether for safety or to eliminate vandalism — provide all homeowners keys to the locks on the amenities because the homeowners own the amenities and pay the substantial costs of maintaining them.

Homeowners in the Moonridge Falls subdivision in Grand Junction woke up last December 21 to find their homeowners association (HOA) had suddenly locked them out of their own common space park.

Residents couldn’t remember a time when the gates to the park had ever been locked. No one had been hurt in the park. No accidents had occurred in the park recently, not even a close call, but for some reason the HOA suddenly decided to lock the park and keep everyone out, even homeowners, as though it was a crime scene or a grave emergency had just occurred. The HOA put up a sign saying the park would stay locked as long as there was ice on the pond. Yet long after the ice had melted, the locks remained, leading residents o wonder what was really up, and what they could do about it.

Mesa County Commissioners use taxpayer money to recruit evangelical Christian foster families

Janet Rowland’s religious nonprofit got $57,360 in taxpayer funds in 2017 to recruit Christian foster families and place adopted kids in religious homes. (Photo: KKCO 11 News)

Newly-discovered Mesa County documents (pdf) reveal that in 2017, the Board of County Commissioners handed over $57,000 in taxpayer funds to a Christian organization represented by Janet Rowland for the purpose of recruiting solely evangelical Christian foster families in Mesa County.

Rose Pugliese, John Justman and Scott McInnis — all Republicans — unanimously agreed to enter into a contract (pdf) to pay $57,360 in taxpayer funds to Project 1.27, a Christian ministry that works through churches to recruit religious foster and adoptive families to assure children are “cared for within Christian communities.”

Janet Rowland was Project 1.27’s national director.

The group engages in “[foster] training with a solid Christian perspective,” and provides training to “Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.” The group’s website makes no mention of recruiting families belonging to any other religions or of no religion.

The county’s contract required 20 hours a month be spent on “faith based recruitment.”

Project 1.27’s website only addresses recruitment of Christian families, saying they provide “state-required, biblically-based training for Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.”

This is misleading since legally, no state can require “biblically-based training” in anything. Project 1.27’s website does not say it is open to recruitment of families from any other religion, or non-religious families.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters takes exception to atheists on social media

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ biased comment on the “Transparency in Mesa County” Facebook page.

 

Embattled Republican Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters expressed contempt for atheists yesterday in a comment on social media, sowing further doubt about whether she can truly conduct her office in an impartial manner.

Here is how the comment came about:

Participants on the public group Facebook page “Transparency in Mesa County” had been discussing the County Clerk’s office after it was found that they forgot to collect and count 574+ ballots from the November, 2019 combined general election.

Tina Peters upset about recall effort (*sob!*)

In new documentary, “Jane Roe” of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision reveals she was paid to switch sides in the abortion debate


In a new documentary released Friday, May 22, Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe V. Wade, reveals that she was paid by anti-abortion factions to switch her position from supporting to opposing abortion rights for women.

School’s social media post violates separation of church and state, was removed hours later

Graham Mesa Elementary School’s religious Facebook post that prompted complaint

The principal of a public western slope elementary school posted a message on the school’s Facebook page April 11 that overtly endorsed Christianity in violation of the separation of church and state.

Brian Sprenger, the Principle of Graham Mesa Elementary School in Rifle, posted an Easter greeting on the school’s Facebook page yesterday evening with a photo of four children posing jubilantly in the driveway of a home with huge, chalk images of multiple large Christian crosses and the equally huge message “He is Risen.”

Trump campaign threatens KREX

KREX received a cease-and-desist letter (pdf) from President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign threatening the station over a political ad it ran called “Exponential Threat” produced by Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC.

The ad juxtaposes a montage of the many dismissive comments Trump made about the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year with an animated chart showing the rising number of infections in the United States. It ends by saying: “America needs a leader we can trust.”

The Trump campaign sent the threatening letter to television stations across the country, suggesting it would sue the stations for defamation and urge the Federal Communications Commission to revoke their FCC licenses.

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers’ 2019 Student Essay Contest is ON, and the prizes are terrific.

Kids: want to make some easy money?

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), is announcing its 2019 Student Essay Contest. The winning high school student gets $500 and the winning middle school student gets $250, and all this just for writing a short but insightful essay.

This year WCAF invites students from Delta County middle and high schools to participate, as well as all middle and high school students from Mesa County. Students in DeBeque, Plateau Valley and Gateway are all eligible to enter, as long as they are in middle or high school range.

What to do if ICE comes knocking: Know your rights

On the same day Trump’s raids on immigrant families are scheduled to start (today), Trump issued a series of tweets that make his racism very clear:

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly…… ….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how……..it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

Trump and his administration are working to create terror in immigrant communities throughout the U.S. by directing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carry out sweeping “family op” raids across the country on undocumented immigrant families who have been in the United States for years.

ACLU Sues CO State Senator Ray Scott for Blocking Constituent on Social Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 13, 2019

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Vanessa Michel, Director of Communications

Office: 720-402-3112, Mobile: 917-399-0733

Deanna Hirsch, Media Strategist

Office: 720-402-3122, Mobile: 720-971-2393

ACLU Sues Colorado State Senator for Blocking Constituent on Social Media

 

DENVER – ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court this morning against Colorado State Senator Ray Scott for blocking constituent Anne Landman from his official Facebook and Twitter pages. Landman, a resident of Colorado Senate District 7 in Grand Junction, speaks out regularly on public policy issues and writes about Colorado politics on her blog. She also uses social media to interact with fellow constituents and elected officials. Landman had been able to interact with Scott and others in these spaces until June 2017, when she wrote an article critical of Scott’s position regarding climate change and posted it on his official Facebook page. In response, Scott blocked Landman from his Facebook page and official Twitter account.

Sign the letter: Prioritize people’s health and safety above unfettered drilling by supporting SB 19-181.

Firestone, CO home explosion due to oil and gas lines, April, 2017 (Photo: CBS)

In a reaction to a letter the Mesa County Commissioners sent to the state legislature opposing SB19-181(pdf), Mesa County residents can now easily add their names to a letter that urges state legislators to PASS Senate Bill 19-181, a landmark bill to refocus the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission away from fostering oil and gas development to instead protecting public health, safety and welfare and the environment when considering new applications for drilling.

The bill was crafted with input from Erin Martinez, who lost her husband and brother in the explosion of a hidden gas flowline under their house in Firestone, Colorado in April of 2017. The bill will require public disclosure of flowline information.

Court rules Fort Collins ordinance banning topless women violates the U.S. Constitution

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled February 15, 2019 that a Fort Collins, Colorado city ordinance prohibiting women from baring their breasts in public and punishes them for doing so while putting no similar restrictions on men violates the U.S. Constitution.

Two female plaintiffs and an unincorporated group called “Free the Nipple” sued Ft. Collins over an ordinance the city enacted in 2015 that made it a misdemeanor for a woman to bare her breasts in public for anything other than breastfeeding. Violations were punishable by a fine of up to $2,650 or up to 180 days in jail. The ordinance did not specify the same for men.