Texas Abbott Governor Atty. General Paxton takes action against abortion and gay rights

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In the wake of the historic reversal of the Supreme Court Roe v. calfTexas appears poised to cement its place at the center of the struggle for personal liberties, which have been guaranteed by law for decades.

The Republican-dominated state’s leaders have already enacted one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the country and have been at the forefront of measures that would criminalize parents’ efforts to seek medical treatment for their transgender children. Now the state’s conservative attorney general, Ken Paxton, has done it signaled he’s ready to reconsider the state’s anti-sodomy law, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003 to protect intimacy between same-sex partners.

“People are still reeling roe, and we’re in an incredibly toxic political environment right now,” said Oni Blair, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. “But we have to recognize that nothing is off the table at the moment. All of our rights and freedoms – from LGBTQ equality to the right to vote to contraception – could be at risk.”

The group has trained hundreds of abortion rights advocates as part of its Texas Abortion Access Network over the past few months and won — for now — in a lawsuit that led to a judge Tuesday issuing a restraining order allowing doctors to continue Some clinics in Texas are conducting abortion procedures pending a July 12 hearing.

In an interview on the NewsNation cable channel soon after roe-Subversion decision last week, Paxton told moderator Leland Vittert that he was “willing and able” to defend any state law prohibiting sodomy that will be brought as a test case before the Supreme Court in the coming months. The issue arose because Judge Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion in the abortion case, had challenged Supreme Court rulings establishing same-sex marriage and the right of married couples to contraception, and in the Texas case prohibiting the criminalization of homosexual intimacy.

“Yes, you see, my job is to defend state law and I will continue to do so,” Paxton told Vittert. “That is my duty under the Constitution and I am certainly willing and able to do that.”

Paxton’s comments sent chills from the Texas LGBTQ and human rights community, which fears the Conservative state and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) could take over other longstanding safeguards regulating physical autonomy and gay rights in the coming weeks, denting progress being made could threaten decades of struggle.

With Roe dead, some fear LGBTQ and other rights will be reversed

“We fought valiantly here and are being attacked from all directions,” said Ricardo Martinez, executive director of Equality Texas. an LGBTQ rights group. “It’s not up to the government who we have sex with. They’ve invaded the doctor’s office and classroom; now they want to invade the bedroom. This is government hyperbole.”

Neither the Paxton office nor Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze responded to calls or emails seeking comment.

Martinez said the group has successfully contested most of the 76 anti-LGBTQ bills offered in the Texas Legislature last year, a significant increase from fewer than 20 introduced in the previous session in 2019.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said that the overthrow of Roe v. calf is the “first domino of many more legal restrictions that Texas Republicans have long sought.”

He said Texas officials may be pushing for criminal penalties for sodomy and trying to enforce the 2005 state ban on same-sex marriage, which was lifted in 2014.

State legislatures could also enact Abbott’s new policy — based on a non-binding opinion from Paxton — that the Texas Department of Family and Safeguarding Services considers gender-affirming treatment given to transgender children to be child abuse. Three families of transgender children – one who allegedly attempted suicide – are now suing the state.

Rottinghaus noted that Paxton has always used his office to advance a conservative social agenda and in that regard it is not surprising that he is at the forefront of the move the post-roe Legal world in Texas. After the court’s decision was announced, Paxton closed its office for the day and created a state holiday to honor the decision, while Abbott said the court “properly overturned” roe and that he would continue to work with state legislatures to “save every child from the ravages of abortion.”

Texas’ abortion law, which went into effect Sept. 1, banned the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy — before many realize they’re pregnant — and didn’t allow exceptions for victims of rape, sexual abuse, or incest.

The Texas Republican Party has drifted to the right over the past two decades and has accelerated that movement since the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Republicans now hold every statewide elective office and supermajorities in both legislative houses, in part because of rigged district lines. The Justice Department sued Texas last December, alleging the state violated the Voting Rights Act by reducing the power of Latinos and other minorities, a majority of whom vote Democrats.

“Everywhere you look there’s a Republican willing to take a right-wing course,” Rottinghaus said. “They feel politically very free to argue conservatively in the state.”

The Texas GOP made clear its path to the future at its annual meeting earlier this month in Houston.

Texas GOP pan right outside cemented in party platform

Republican activists passed a resolution dismissing the 2020 presidential election result and branding President Biden the illegitimate president. Delegates also called for the repeal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and referred to homosexuality in the party manifesto as an “abnormal way of life”.

Congressional goers also vigorously booed and rebuked Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) for his role in drafting a bipartisan gun law that was passed after the May 24 elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers were killed.

“What we’re really seeing is a Republican party that’s almost entirely grassroots,” said Kirby Goidel, a political science professor at Texas A&M University. “Abbott has gone from being a reclusive governor to thinking he’d be challenged in a primary and really trying to cover his flank.”

Abbott’s rhetoric — about guns, the border, “pornography” in school libraries and transgender rights — has grown increasingly extreme in recent months, which has served him well so far in an election year in which he beat back conservative challengers in the elementary school. His Democratic opponent, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, has focused on abortion rights and gun control as key issues, but Abbott currently has a comfortable lead in the polls, anywhere from five to 11 percentage points.

Abbott and another Republican governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, have been battling for supremacy Legacy of Trump’s mantle before the midterm elections. Although he was less energetic as Abbott on abortion, DeSantis has launched a high-profile campaign against Walt Disney Co. for opposing Florida’s bill banning sex-related education for third-grade schoolchildren and under – dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” Act Opponents – and has spoken out strongly against Biden’s vaccination recommendations.

DeSantis takes on Disney over the Don’t Say Gay bill

Texas Democrats’ long-voiced dreams of turning the rapidly diversifying state their way seemed a distant memory lately when the last sign arrived the victory of Mayra Flores, who earlier this month won a special election in the Latino-dominated 34th congressional district in South Texas. Texas Republicans have made gains among Hispanic voters in South Texas in recent years — Flores County opted for Biden by four percentage points, a far narrower victory margin for Democrats than in the 2012 and 2016 presidential election cycles.

Democrats’ hopes hinge on the party continuing to get two-thirds of the votes from the growing Latino population, according to Matthew Wilson, an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And that’s hardly a sure thing He said the Flores win, coupled with Trump’s 2020 gains in the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere, should be “red flags for Democrats.”

The Supreme Court’s decision overturns it roe Abortion protections and the potential impact on the LGBTQ community — as well as recent disruptions and threats to Pride events by right-wing extremists — are casting a shadow over the Rio Grande Valley Pride march and campaign specialist, according to Joe Colon-Uvalles, a Brownsville resident the Planned Parenthood Foundation.

Revelers on South Padre Island on Saturday cheered and waved rainbow flags, but also heard a local drag queen, Luna Karr, exhort the crowd to register and go to vote.

“We are ready to take on any fight. We must protect ourselves from anyone – including the Attorney General – who would threaten our rights,” Colon-Uvalles said. “It’s a scary world we live in right now.”

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/30/texas-abortion-sodomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_politics Texas Abbott Governor Atty. General Paxton takes action against abortion and gay rights

James Brien

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