Twenty-three LGBT rights activists who were arrested earlier this year at the Idaho state capitol for blocking entrances to the statehouse have been sentenced, The AP reports:
Each protester was given a chance to offer a brief statement before being ordered to pay court costs based on how many times they were arrested.
At times, the courtroom became emotional after attorneys called two mothers who both had a child commit suicide after facing discrimination to speak…
Testifying for the state, Idaho State Police Major Steve Richardson said group's peaceful demeanor helped the arrests go smoothly, but they still put a burden on the state's limited staff and resources.
The demonstration was meant to persuade legislators to amend Idaho’s Human Rights Act to include protections for LGBT Idahoans. The protesters wore shirts that read, “Add the 4 words Idaho,” referring to the terms “gender identity" and "sexual orientation” they sought to be added to the human rights act.
The protest cost the Idaho State Police approximately $24,000 according to Major Richardson.
The presiding judge respected the protesters for how they conducted themselves but also called upon them to accept the ‘consequences’ of their protest:
District Judge Michael Oths said he appreciated the group's approach in its multiple protests. He added, however, that America's history of civil disobedience has involved accepting consequences for breaking the law.
"You put your name on the line, and it's not easy to do that," Oths said. "I think people have been responsible in their approach."
Former NFL coach-turned-NBC analyst Tony Dungy released a statement on Tuesday clarifying remarks that made headlines this week in which he suggested that he would not have drafted Michael Sam because of his sexual orientation.
Dungy released the statement to ProFootballTalk which reads, in part:
I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does.
I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not.
I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.
I have been asked all of those questions several times in the last three months and have always answered them the same way—by saying that playing in the NFL is, and should be, about merit.
The best players make the team, and everyone should get the opportunity to prove whether they’re good enough to play. That’s my opinion as a coach. But those were not the questions I was asked.
What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.
I do not believe Michael’s sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization.
I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.
Read Dungy's full statement here.
Keith Olbermann released a commentary last night ripping Dungy for his remarks and naming him the "world's worst person".
Oregon’s George Fox University — the Christian school that used a Title IX religious exemption to bar a trans male student from residing in a men’s dormitory — has revised its policy to let trans students live in the dorms as long as they have undergone sex reassignment surgery.
Noting that the university’s student health plan excludes sex reassignment surgery, Zack Ford from Think Progress points out the other shortcomings of George Fox’s “compromise”:
… many transgender people choose not undergo surgical changes to their bodies, either because they cannot afford it, because they do not wish to sacrifice their reproductive ability, or because they simply do not feel it is a necessary step to realize their gender identities. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that at most, a quarter of trans people had already had some form of genital surgery, though many more wanted to someday. In turn, the World Health Organization recently condemned any policy that requires transgender people to undergo sterilizing surgery in order to obtain legal recognition…
Ford has also noted that the school orginally offered to house the student in a single apartment near campus, and that the school's policy defines "common residence halls" as "single-sex, defined anatomically." Makes you wonder if they're checking the bust-size and genitals of everyone who applies.
One year ago, the U.S. Department of Education stated that Title XI granted trans students access to accommodations like bathrooms, locker rooms and dorms. However, the religious exemption allows schools like George Fox University and the Cal Baptist nursing school to discriminate against and even expel trans students under the guise of “religious beliefs.”
If you were wondering where Taylor Lautner’s abs had run off to after his Twilight wolf-boy days, you'll be delighted to know that the 22-year-old’s abdomen is currently starring in season two of the BBC 3’s comedy series Cuckoo.
Lautner will play the son of Cuckoo, a deceased “self-appointed spiritual ninja” portrayed by former Saturday Night Live comedian Andy Samberg. Cuckoo is “a slacker full of outlandish, New Age ideas” who married into a conservative British family, and from the looks of the trailer below Lautner will continue his father’s brand of spiritual nuttiness.
He might also seduce the family's daughter and show a little skin in the process too.
Watch the trailer AFTER THE JUMP…
Mysterious white flags appear atop the Brooklyn Bridge; police investigate.
Argentinian LGBT rights group leader Esteban Paulón marries his partner.
Italian Catholic school fires teacher for failing to deny being gay. “Maybe I’m a lesbian, maybe I’m not. But asking me about my sexual orientation as a condition for renewing my contract is unacceptable.”
Chris Colfer is now a NYT best-selling author.
Anaconda on the loose at New Jersey lake: "Gerald Andrejcak told NJ.com that he originally reported the fugitive snake — which has terrorized the community around Lake Hopatcong for most of the summer — as a boa constrictor, but only because he was following orders."
Murray State University designates gender neutral bathrooms: "Last September, the Student Government Association passed a resolution for LGBT equality that called for gender neutral bathrooms and other policy changes. The university updated its policy regarding preferred first-name choices and promotion of diversity and tuition waivers for spouses and partners of university employees shortly after the resolution passed."
Kanye West announces new single "All Day".
Marry me, Rafa.
New NYC health commissioner in charge of the Bureau of H.I.V./AIDS Prevention Demetre Daskalakis to start in September: "At the height of a meningitis outbreak last year among gay and bisexual men in New York City, Demetre Daskalakis, a wiry AIDS doctor and gay health activist, spent late nights and early mornings in the city’s sex clubs and bathhouses. There, he would strip off his leather jacket and, in his muscle T-shirt, talk the men around him into letting him inject them with meningitis vaccines."
San Diego's transgender community celebrates its first Trans Pride in Balboa Park.
Denmark gets first overseas adoption by a gay couple: "Danish couple Rasmus Holm and Thomas Møller Lassen have adopted a nine-month-old South African girl, making them the first same-sex couple in Denmark to legally adopt a child from another country."
Zac Efron spotted leaving Michelle Rodriguez's home...with an overnight bag.
Trans activist and author Janet Mock named contributing editor of Marie Claire magazine.
Matt Bomer and his infinite beauty were honored at the Giffoni Film Festival.
The View's Jenny McCarthy theorizes that Hillary Clinton may be a lesbian.
Scientists identify world's most harmful animal product: beef. "Beef production uses the most water, land, and nitrogen fertilizer while producing more greenhouse gas when compared to pork, poultry or eggs in a per-calorie comparison. Even dairy was found to be less resource-inefficient when compared with beef."
In a rather stunning turn of events, CBS has announced that 'Two And a Half Men' stars Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer will get married in the show's final season. Why? So that they can adopt a child together.
According to a piece from The Hollywood Reporter, Kutcher's character, Walden, will have a health scare at the beginning of the season leading to a search for meaning and resulting in a desire to have a child of his own. The problem? It is difficult to adopt as a single, heterosexual man. The solution? To marry the man who already essentially serves as his life partner, Cryer's Alan, and adopt a child together.
CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler reportedly loves the idea:
She called the story a "great ride," and said that she views the storyline as a "very positive statement" about the wave of gay rights that are becoming more commonplace across the country and that she's not worried about any sort of blowback from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"I think it's a very positive statement that, you know what, I am going to adopt a child as [part of] a gay couple and the reality is, he can do that," she told THR. "And in a universe where at one point you couldn't do that and now you can do that, I think that's a much more positive statement that he's making."
Show creator Chuck Lorre recognized the possibility for offense but said he hopes viewers will not take the show too seriously.
"I hope there's [no backlash]," Lorre told E! News at the CBS TCA party on Thursday. "The show has always caused controversy. We have. There's no intention to insult or diminish anyone. The intention is to create laughter. That's it. Great laughter and if it's got a heartbeat in there that would be nice, too."
GLAAD stated that they hope the show will address the fact that in many states it is still impossible for same-sex couples to adopt children, but they have otherwise remained silent.
What do you think about the heterosexual-same-sex-marriage plot? Offensive or inspired?