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Army secretary: Soldiers unconcerned about trans service

State Rep. STEVEN WAYNE LONG (R-Spartanburg) is author and lead sponsor of the anti-gay bill in South Carolina. Photo Courtesy Twitter

S.C. bill would label same-sex marriages as ‘parody marriages’ Six members of the South Carolina House of Representatives last week introduced a bill calling for redefining same-sex marriages in the state as “parody marriages” and prohibiting the state from recognizing such marriages. “‘Parody marriage’ means any form of marriage that does not involve one man and one woman,” the bill states. “The State of South Carolina shall no longer respect, endorse, or recognize any form of parody marriage policy because parody marriage policies are nonsecular,” the bill declares. The legal director of the ACLU of South Carolina, Susan Dunn, called the measure “completely bogus” and said she doubts it would have any legal impact or authority to allow the state to circumvent the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared that state laws banning same-sex marriage were unconstitutional and could no longer be enforced. “This is a feeble attempt to please somebody’s political base,” Dunn said. “It is thinly veiled sour grapes.” She was referring to the expressions of shock and anger over the Supreme Court ruling by anti-LGBT groups and individuals who had long opposed same-sex marriage. The bill in question, the Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act, was introduced into the South Carolina House on Feb. 15 and referred to the legislative body’s Committee on the Judiciary. In addition to prohibiting the state from “recognizing” same-sex or “parody” marriages, it includes two other main provisions: • “The State of South Carolina shall no longer enforce, recognize, or respect any policy that treats sexual orientation as a suspect class because all such statues lack a secular purpose.” • “The State of South Carolina will continue to enforce, endorse, and recognize marriages between a man and a woman because such marriage polices are secular, accomplishing nonreligious objectives.” The bill’s author and lead sponsor, State Rep. Steven Wayne Long (R-Spartanburg) couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. LOU CHIBBARO JR.

The civilian head of the U.S. Army said Thursday soldiers are unconcerned about serving alongside transgender people despite President Trump stoking fears about cohesion in his attempt to ban them from the armed forces, according to ABC News. Army Secretary Mark Esper said transgender military service “really hasn’t come up” as he’s traveled to U.S. bases at home and abroad when reporters asked if soldiers expressed concerns about transgender service. Esper, who’s already visited soldiers domestically and abroad in South Korea, Afghanistan and Europe, reportedly said troops are more likely to express concerns about food quality and pay. The Pentagon was expected to submit to President Trump recommendations on transgender service this week in accordance with his directive in August banning transgender people from the armed forces. It’s unknown what the recommendations will be, or whether Trump will alter his directive after that time. A federal court has issued a document asserting the Justice Department expects to defend a new transgender military policy in court after that time. Esper, who assumed office as Army secretary in November, said he met with “six or seven” active-duty trans soldiers in his first 30 days on the job and found their views “helpful” on the issue. Additionally, Esper said he talked with mixed-gender infantry and cavalry units on transgender service. Those soldiers, Esper said, told him the issue boiled down to all troops meeting the same standard. “Everybody wants to be treated with a clear set of standards,” Esper said, adding, “At the end of the day, the Army is a standards-based organization.” Trump’s policy banning transgender people from the armed forces is supposed to take effect on March 23. However, multiple courts have issued orders enjoining the military from enforcing Trump’s directive as a result of litigation filed by LGBT legal groups. CHRIS JOHNSON

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ producers sue user leaking spoilers World of Wonder Productions is suing an anonymous Internet user, who posts under the name “RealityTVLeaks” on various social media accounts, for releasing spoilers about “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season three. “RealityTVLeaks” posts video, clips and still images on Instagram, Twitter and Reddit before episodes air on VH1. According to court documents obtained by Deadline, World of Wonder Productions has issued a lawsuit against the person behind the account. “Without WOW’s authorization, Defendants have obtained copies of episodes of All Stars … and have uploaded them to social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit using the username ‘RealityTVLeaks,’ prior to the airing of each Episode. … Defendants brazenly tout their posts as ‘leaks’ and ‘spoilers.’ Defendants have also removed copyright management information identifying WOW as the copyright owner and author of the Episodes, and added misleading copyright management information to the Episode clips they leak online, falsely identifying Defendants as the copyright owners and authors of the Episodes,” the lawsuit reads. The social media accounts have since been taken down. “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on VH1. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 10 will premiere on Thursday, March 22 followed by the after show “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked.” MARIAH COOPER

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