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Christian Bakers Defend Their Religious Freedom in Court

Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian bakers from Oregon who paid heavy fines for saying no to baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, appeared before the Oregon Court of Appeals for oral arguments on March 2 to defend their rights to religious freedom, free speech, and due process. The Kleins are represented by First Liberty Institute.

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Privacy Bill Advances in Texas

While Tennessee Rep. Mark Pody deferred this week’s hearing on his bill to protect the privacy and safety of men and women in bathrooms and locker rooms, a similar bill moved forward in Texas this week. That state’s Senate State Affairs Committee approved its bill by a vote of 7-1. North Carolina’s. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest testified that the boycott of his state over its privacy bill affected their state’s economy by about 1/10th of one percent, hardly an amount, he said, worth giving “a man a free pass to enter a shower or locker room for any nefarious purpose.”

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Supreme Court Remands VA Bathroom Case

On Monday, the Supreme Court  vacated and remanded the 4th Circuit Court’s decision in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. The Court had held that states must defer to the view expressed in Obama’s Department of Education (DOE) guidance letter last year that the word “sex” in Title IX includes “gender identity”. The justices sent the case back to the 4th Circuit in light of Trump’s withdrawal of the Obama guidance. The 4th Circuit will now have to decide if it will give the same deference to the new view of the DOE under Trump that sex means biology.

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One Abortion Bill Deferred, Another Referred to Full Committee

While the fetal heartbeat bill was rejected in the House Health Subcommittee for being “constitutionally suspect” and deferred to next year, the Subcommittee approved Rep. Mathew Hill’s bill that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks unless the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. Rep. Hill’s bill is now headed to the full House Health Committee next week.

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GLAAD Isn’t Happy With TN Bill

After weeks of wrangling, on Thursday the full Tennessee Senate passed SB 127 by a vote of 25-5. The bill provides that state officials and local governments cannot discriminate against a business because they do or do not like a business’ personnel and employee benefit policies relative to issues like health insurance coverage and non-discrimination policies if those policies otherwise comply with state and federal law. Somehow the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said the bill, expressly prohibiting discrimination, is a “license to discriminate.” The bill now moves to the House State Government Subcommittee (as HB 54).

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