Amy and Stephanie Mudd were discriminated against at a Kentucky accountant’s office for their relationship status, sources say.
What We Know:
- Amy’s mother-in-law recommended the business because of its affordable price. The Mudds then spoke with Randall, set up an appointment, and drove an hour from Glasgow, Kentucky, on April 3. However, they felt devastated upon arrival.
- Aries Tax Service in Radcliff, Kentucky, promotes customers can file e-returns for $55. The signs outside the business provided a list of 10 things a client must bring to Ken Randall, the registered tax return preparer for Aries. However, at the end of it all, Randall notes a personal restriction of his: no homosexual marriages.
“Homosexual marriage not recognized,” Randall wrote at the bottom of the paper.
- Stephanie felt anger that some businesses can still discriminate against same-sex couples. Stephanie took a picture of the window before driving off. Amy said the couple wanted to raise awareness of the situation. They wanted to let him know his actions were unacceptable. Amy referenced Randall is providing a public service, federal taxes, and that in the United States, homosexual marriage is legal. The couple eventually went to their original tax preparer in Bradenburg after seeing Randall’s establishment.
“We have a wonderful family, and to be shamed because of who I love is awful,” Amy told The Courier Journal in an email. She added the couple has twin daughters, four dogs, and a cat.
- Randall, both an insurance agent and accountant, explained to The Courier-Journal that although he files taxes to single homosexuals, he morally objects to those marriages. Despite not filing gay married couples’ taxes, he will sell them insurance. However, he will only do so if he can put them down as single. In addition, he claimed the federal law protects his decision to do so.
- According to NBC News, no federal law explicitly permits people to deny same-sex couples or other classes of people based on their personal beliefs. Additionally, there is no federal or Kentucky state law that protects LGBTQIA+ people from public discrimination. While Kentucky has 21 municipalities and counties protected by
- Fairness Ordinances, the city of Radcliff, and Hardin County are not part of that number.
- Legal advocates declared situations like these are increasing. This is because conservative religious organizations have built campaigns and lawsuits for years to oppose civil rights laws. Jennifer Pizer, law and policy director at national LGBTQ legal organization Lambda Legal, asserts these associations want legal rulings that prove there are religious and free speech rights to defy these laws.
- NBC News mentions cases in which people have denied same-sex couples, such as Jack Phillips, Arlene’s Flowers, Chelsey Nelson, and more. One to prioritize in this article is that of Emilee Carpenter. Earlier this month, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The alliance contended the state’s nondiscrimination law unconstitutionally restricts photographer Emilee Carpenter from “adopting an editorial policy consistent with her beliefs about marriage.” The ADF argued that a portion of the state law limiting statements that certain people are “unwelcome, objectionable or not accepted, desired, or solicited” interferes with Carpenter’s free speech. It prohibits her from expressing her views on same-sex marriages on her website. According to Pizer, this case represents an unsettled area of law because it specifically relates to people in artistic fields.
- Courts have mostly upheld nondiscrimination laws, but there are cases in which they haven’t. When they do not support these laws, it is because of technicalities or because they violate a creative professional’s freedom of expression. Such as in September 2019, when the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the state’s nondiscrimination law violated the free speech of two artists who make custom wedding invitations by pushing them to promote same-sex weddings.
- Pizer says using free speech rights to defend one’s discrimination “represents a dramatic shift from what the law has been for a long time.” This argument potentially challenges the Equality Act, federal legislation that intends to defend the LGBTQIA+ community thoroughly. The measure passed the House in February, but the Senate still needs to vote on it. If there are no federal measures like the Equality Act, same-sex couples would not have legal recourse options. Because of this, a business could continue refusing service.
- She added Randall is an accountant and not a creative professional. Therefore, any argument related to free speech is inapplicable in the case of a federal or state nondiscrimination law. In terms of using religion to deny gay couples, Pizer says a growing acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ group has made some religious people stop certain prejudicial acts.
“When we’re operating in the public marketplace, being asked to stop discriminating is not to suffer discrimination yourself. It’s to be invited to play by the same rules that everybody else is expected to play by,” Pizer declared.
- When asked about pursuing legal action, the Mudds announced they would not, even if they could. Instead, they wanted to make a statement about Randall’s opinions. Amy understands Randall’s perspective is based on the values of freedom in this country. Yet, she feels Randall denying a good portion of the population services is just bad business.
Stephanie built on this, claiming that his actions were the opposite of morals. She believes people who act like this are hiding behind their religion to legitimize their hate. Stephanie says those behaviors are “what is so frustrating.” Their story, alongside others, may inspire our country’s leaders to enact laws that will protect relationships from such intolerance.
Diego Maradona’s Doctor and Six Others to be Questioned in His Death
Soccer icon Diego Maradona suffered a heart attack weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot and died in November 2020 at 60 years old. After this, two of his children filed a complaint with the Argentine Justice Department against neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, citing that he allowed their father’s health to deteriorate. Medical experts agreed with their claims.
What We Know:
- Argentina’s public prosecutor brought in a panel of twenty medical authorities to analyze Maradona’s treatment. They concluded that the care the legend received held “deficiencies and irregularities;” they also determined the medical team left his survival “to fate” and could have survived if tended to at a healthcare facility. Maradona died in a rented Buenos Aires home, where he obtained home care.
- Alongside Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid, nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, and medical coordinator Nancy Forlini will face interrogation.
- Beginning Monday and spanning two weeks, the seven will appear “one by one” before prosecutors to reply to the allegations. They may receive charges such as manslaughter if found guilty.
- The hearings were supposed to begin last month, but officials needed to postpone them due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Prosecutors will end questioning on June 28 with Luque. Once this finishes, a judge will decide if the matter should proceed in court. This process may take months or years. While awaiting their fate, the seven must follow strict rules, such as not leaving the country. They risk eight to twenty-five years in prison if they do so.
- Luque actively denies all the accusations against him. He claims he “tried his best” and offered Maradona everything he could. He also states that the soccer player accepted some things and denied others.
In addition, Luque says that Maradona felt very depressed in his final days; he declares that the “quarantine hit him very hard.” Because of this, Dr. Luque wants dismissal of the case. Despite his pleas, the courts will continue their movement to bring justice to Maradona’s family and fans.
9 Mass Shootings This Weekend Brings Total to 272 This Year
From Friday afternoon to Sunday, nine mass shootings occurred in six states. This brings the total of mass shootings for 2021 to 272.
What We Know:
- A mass shooting is defined by the Gun Violence Archive as an incident in which four or more people are shot, regardless of fatalities. Initial reporting from ABC News detailed four mass shootings in the span of six hours this weekend. Further coverage from CNN revealed the number to be nine.
- In Savannah, Georgia on Friday evening one person was killed and eight others were injured. The youngest victim was 18 months old. Police are still working to identify a suspect or suspects who pulled up to a residential home and opened fire. The same house had been targeted the Tuesday before and the events are believed to be linked.
- 4 hours later in Austin, Texas, gunfire was reported in the entertainment district. One was reported dead, 13 wounded, and one in critical condition. Police arrested one suspect but another is being sought out.
- Shots were also fired in Dallas, Texas earlier in the day. Five people were wounded including a four-year-old and four adult victims. Police said the incident occurred when two groups became involved in some sort of disturbance.
- On Friday afternoon in Washington state, just south of Seattle, officers responded to reports of a shooting. Two people were found dead at the scene and two others were hospitalized with injuries.
- In North Carolina on Friday night, numerous shots were fired. There were four victims total, one was pronounced dead when responders arrived. Police recovered two guns from the scene and other evidence.
- In the early morning hours on Saturday in Chicago, Illinois, one woman was fatally shot and nine others injured. Two suspects reportedly approached a crowd in the Chatham neighborhood and opened fire.
- Two Ohio cities experienced incidences this weekend as well. In Cleveland, three people were killed outside of a gas station Saturday morning. Three other victims were hospitalized. In Cincinnati, at least four people were wounded that same day. Two of the victims aged 6 and 8 are in critical condition.
- The non-stop incidents that have occurred so far have officials concerned as COVID-19 restrictions lift nationally. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Research Forum, stated, “There was a hope this might simply be a statistical blip that would start to come down. That hasn’t happened. And that’s what really makes chiefs worry that we may be entering a new period where we see a reversal of 20 years of declines in these crimes.”
The Gun Violence Archive reports that the total number of mass shootings so far this year is 40% higher than that of this time in 2020 and 65% higher than in 2019. With gun control legislation continuing to be a hot topic, and with decisions like that of Judge Roger Benitez overturning preexisting legislation, it is unclear what the rest of the year may bring.
Senate Announces Bipartisan $1 Trillion Infrastructure Deal
A bipartisan group of 10 Senators have been engaged in negotiations with President Biden to create an infrastructure bill. After negotiations ceased this Tuesday, the group announced they have a tentative plan to propose in the coming weeks.
What We Know:
- The plan includes $579 billion in new spending, which would add up to $1.2 trillion over eight years. Senators said in a statement that the proposal would be paid for and would not include tax increases. There have been talks amongst the group of indexing the gas tax to inflation to cover the cost, but Biden’s unwillingness to raise taxes for those who make less than $400,000 a year would prove difficult.
- Republicans are skeptical of this deal and Democrats are impatient. Many are hopeful that a bipartisan agreement will pass. In a joint statement, the group said, “We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues, and the White House, and remain optimistic that this can lay the groundwork to garner broad support both parties and meet America’s infrastructure needs.”
- Some Democrats are vehemently opposed to the deal as it makes no mention of clean energy or climate change. They are encouraging leadership to push through a partisan bill, which still would require ten votes on the Republican side to pass.
- Regardless of opinion, many agree that a bill needs to pass swiftly. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is among these representatives, “I worry about time being wasted. Even if our Republican colleagues [work in] good faith, we simply do not have the time to delay.”
The uncertainty in this decision follows a few weeks of tumult in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement, “Senior White House staff and the Jobs Cabinet will work with the Senate group in the days ahead to get answers to those questions, as we also consult with other members in both the House and the Senate on the path forward.”
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