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Alabama House Committee Rejects LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill

An Alabama House committee today rejected a bill that would have extended state-wide non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation or identity. 

The Montgomery Advertiser reports:

FlagThe legislation, sponsored by Rep. Christopher England, D-Tuscaloosa, would have added the classes to state protections against discrimination in employment, housing, accommodations, financial transactions and voting.

“I believe in order to protect those classifications, they need to be enumerated,” England told the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday afternoon. “There is some case history that if it’s not enumerated, it’s not protected.”

The committee voted to carry it over, killing it for the remainder of the session. Rep. David Faulkner, R-Mountain Brook, who moved to have it carried over, said he “did not want anyone discriminated against,” but said that he had concerns about how the legislation would interact with existing statutes in Alabama.

Republican legislators in the state senate have also introduced bills that could provide protections to LGBT individuals, though out state Rep. Patricia Todd has criticized them for being too vague:

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston and Rep. Mike Ball, R-Huntsville, have both introduced pieces of legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBT state workers. Ball’s bill – which bans discrimination based on a “trait or characteristic, immutable or otherwise” unrelated to work performance – was approved by the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Unlike those bills, England’s legislation would have covered the private sector as well.

All the bills were introduced late in the session and face long odds of passage. Todd said she “appreciated the sentiment” of Ball’s bill, but said it would be problematic.

“It is so broad I can imagine courts having no way to rule whether anything was discrimination or not,” she said. “What if you don’t shower often and you come to work? You can’t be fired for that?

Gay Marriage News Watch: Alabama, Ireland - VIDEO


Matt Baume with the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports on an Alabama minister who's receiving jail time for marrying a same-sex couple, Ireland's recent marriage equality victory and Gallup's latest poll showing landmark support for same-sex marriage in the US.


Continue reading "Gay Marriage News Watch: Alabama, Ireland - VIDEO" »

HRC Warns 12 States ‘Don’t Repeat The Mistakes Of Indiana' In New Media Campaign

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The Human Rights Coalition launched a new ad campaign asking 12 state governors to reject bills that target LGBT people like the one Gov. Mike Pence passed in Indiana. HRC's new campaign comes after a study conducted by the organization yielded results stating that a majority of Hoosiers believe Pence’s bill is damaging Indiana’s economy. JoDee Winterhof, HRC's vice president for policy and political affairs, warned of the repercussions states could endure if they follow Pence’s example.

Said Winterhof:

"Gov. Mike Pence found that experimenting with anti-LGBT bills that allow businesses to discriminate killed his approval ratings and damaged the Hoosier economy. Governors who go down the same path as Mike Pence and put their state economy at risk in an attempt to further discrimination are going to find themselves at risk of being rejected by the voters."

The results of HRC's study reflects Winterhof's warning as a majority of voters (70% to 24%) believe that businesses should not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or identity. Surprisingly a majority of Republican voters (58% to 36%) concur. Pence’s approval ratings have since plummeted, allowing for a potential Democratic challenger to make gains in the state. HRC's media campaign officially began today on social media in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Although Pence attempted to clarify that official language in the new law would prevent LGBT discrimination, HRC isn’t buying it, noting that the state’s laws are still devoid of any clear LGBT anti-discrimination laws that would grant full protections to LGBT people in the state.

Alabama's Gay 'Prancing Elites' Dance Troop Kicks Off Reality Series Tonight on Oxygen: VIDEOS


Towleroad readers may recall the Prancing Elites, a dance team from Alabama which caused controversy after appearing in a local Christmas parade.

2_prancingelitesOne onlooker told FOX10 at the time: "I was outraged and appalled. I never expect anything like this at the Semmes Christmas parade. If they were gonna put this kind of activity in the parade, they should have notified the people of Semmes so that we had a choice whether we wanted out children to attend and see something like that."

Now the troop is the subject of a reality series, The Prancing Elites Project, on Oxygen which premieres tonight at 10/9c. From its synopsis:

Set in the high-stakes world of Southern dance teams, this show chronicles the story of the Prancing Elites—an all-male competitive dance team in Mobile, Alabama who are looking to go from a one-click-wonder to a national sensation. With big personalities and even more heart, these five best friends will navigate the pitfalls of stardom and interpersonal drama all while attempting to break down the stereotypes and barriers put in their path towards success.

In tonight's episode, the group gets some encouragement from (and freaks out upon meeting) Real Housewives of Atlanta star Nene Leakes.



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545 Gay Couples Were Married in Alabama While It Was Legal


According to the Alabama Department of Public Health Department, 545 gay couples married in Alabama while it was legal to do so from February 9 to March 3, the AP reports.

The Alabama Supreme Court put a halt to the marriages on March 3 when it issued a ruling to probate judges ordering them to halt issuing marriage licenses.

HRC released a statement at the time: "The Alabama state Supreme Court does not have the authority to interfere with a federal court order. This order is outrageous and baffling, and no amount of legalese can hide the bare animus that forms the foundation of this extralegal ruling."

Alabama Bill Would Allow Faith-Based Adoption Agencies To Refuse Gay Couples: VIDEO

A bill introduced last week to the Alabama Legislature could allow adoption agencies, including those with state contracts, to refuse to place children with gay couples on religious grounds, reports Beaumont Enterprise.

AllenSponsored by Republican Senator Gerald Allen (right), the bill would also prohibit Alabama from refusing to license or contract with groups refusing services to people on religious grounds.

The bill is wide-ranging in scope as it does not specify gay couples. Rather, it allows faith-based groups to refuse services that violate any of their religious beliefs.

Allen said the bill aims to protect religious groups, including children's homes affiliated with the Baptist and Catholic churches, in anticipation that the Supreme Court could legalize same-sex marriage later this year.

Eric Johnston, an attorney who worked on the bill, said that it allows religious groups to observe their own rights and beliefs but does not discriminate against gay couples.

However, opponents claim it would provide legal cover for discrimination against a diverse array of families seeking to adopt.

Human Rights Campaign Alabama state director R. Ashley Jackson said that "decisions about prospective parents should be based on the best interest of the child, not on discriminatory factors unrelated to good parenting.”

Johnston added that legislation is likely to soon be introduced to provide civil protections to florists, bakers and others who refuse to provide services at same-sex weddings.

Earlier this week, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (above, right) said that if he didn't speak out against same-sex marriage, he'd be guilty of treason.

Watch Moore compare same-sex marriage to slavery, AFTER THE JUMP...

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