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Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Alabama Is 'Too Slow on Equality for the LGBT Community'

At a speech before Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the state needed to better address LGBT rights, the Montgomery Advertiser reports:

CookCook, a native of Robertsdale and Auburn graduate, told fellow members of the Alabama Academy of Honor that the civil rights struggle in the state shaped his life, and said equal access to education and protections for LBGT employees were critical to achieving "equality in truth."

"As a state, we took too long to take steps toward equality," Cook, one of this year's inductees into the Academy, said to a crowd gathered in the Old House Chamber at the Alabama State Capitol. "We were too slow on equality on African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage. And we are still too slow on equality for the LBGT community."

Back in December, Cook received Auburn University's Lifetime Achievement Award and used his speech to call for an end to anti-LGBT discrimination. 

Alabama remains one of the 18 states without marriage equality. 


24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

Voting laws transgender people

Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO" »


Alabama Mother Attempts To Deny Her Dead Son's Husband His Estate

Pat Fancher

Issues like this are why legally-recognized gay marriage is so important. Alabama man David Fancher was killed in an auto accident in 2011 and left his estate to his husband, Paul Hard. He and Hard were married in Massachusetts just three months earlier after having been a couple for over six years. However, Alabama’s Sanctity of Marriage Amendment denies the validity of their marriage, so Hard is suing the state decrying the amendment as unconstitutional, and thus entitling Hard as Fancher's legal husband to half of his estate.

Enter David Fancher's mother Pat Fancher, who has been granted the right to intervene in the case and does not want her son’s name used to advance the cause of same-sex marriage:

I am a devout Christian and I am deeply disturbed that the death of my son David is being used by Dr. Paul Hard to advance the cause of same-sex marriage. I did not agree with all of the decisions that my son made, but I loved him very much and we always had a good relationship. It is wrong for David’s death to be used in this manner.

As such, she has enlisted the aid of the Foundation for Moral Law, who have filed an amicus brief to try and overturn the Tenth Circuit's strike down of Utah's ban on same-sex marriage: 

The Foundation has an interest in this case because it believes that this nation’s laws should reflect the moral basis upon which the nation was founded, and that the ancient roots of the common law, the pronouncements of the legal philosophers from whom this nation’s Founders derived their view of law, the views of the Founders themselves, and the views of the American people as a whole from the beginning of American history at least until very recently, have held that homosexual conduct is immoral and should not be sanctioned by giving it the official state sanction of marriage.

The Foundation for Moral Law counselor who filed the brief is John Eidsmoe, a wingnut who tried to get the U.S. military to provide "ex-gay" therapy to gay soldiers who would otherwise rape kids. Unsurprisingly, he follows the American Taliban mentality of promoting rule by biblical law.


Alabama Court Declares State Ban on Gay Sex Unconstitutional

Today the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals declared the state's sodomy law unconstitutional.

Alabama-mapJurist reports:

The appeal was brought by a Dallas County, Alabama, man who was charged with engaging in consensual sodomy with another man and ultimately sentenced to 12 months in jail for "sexual misconduct." The Alabama statute prohibiting such conduct states that "consent is no defense" to a prosecution under this law and the appeals court revealed that the commentary to the statute shows that the law was specifically enacted "to make all homosexual conduct criminal." 

Though such laws are moot considering that the U.S. Supreme Court declared all sodomy laws unconstituional in the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas, eleven states still have such laws on their books including Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

In fact, just two months ago Louisiana voted to keep their unconstitutional law on the books, and even arrested men the year before under its unconstitutional provisions. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pointed to the existence of such laws in the U.S. to deflect criticism of his country's odious anti-gay laws.

Even though such laws criminalize any consensual anal or oral intercourse between adults, the laws are usually used to persecute LGBT individuals. On the bright side, however, Virginia voted last month to repeal their state's sodomy law


Wednesday Speed Read: Wisconsin, Eric Cantor, Adam Ebbin, Ryan Fecteau, Alabama, Obama

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

WisconsinSEVENTH CIRCUIT CONSIDERS WISCONSIN:

State officials and attorneys representing same-sex plaintiff couples have been given until 5 p.m. today to file briefs concerning the state’s request for an emergency stay of a federal district court decision last Friday, striking down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the state office of vital records is not processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples until it gets a go-ahead from the state attorney general.

CantorERIC CANTOR LOSES PRIMARY:

In a surprise upset, U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary Tuesday for an eighth term. According to various media in Virginia, winner Dave Brat, an economics professor at a small college, hammered Cantor on his willingness to raise the debt ceiling, end the government shutdown, and support some reform of immigration laws. Brat has rebuffed characterizations of himself as either a liberal or as a Tea Party member. His campaign website states that he believes “all individuals are entitled to equal rights,” but it also says, in bold letting, that Brat will “protect the rights of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, and will oppose any governmental intrusion upon the conscience of people of faith.”

EbbinGAY CANDIDATE LOSES IN VIRGINIA:

Openly gay Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin placed third in a 10-candidate field in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. House Rep. Jim Moran from northern Virginia. Ebbin garnered almost 14 percent of the vote compared to winner former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer’s 46 percent. A former aide to Barney Frank, Mark Levine, took seven percent. Beyer is considered generally support of equal rights for LGBT people. His campaign website expresses support for “full equality.” Oddly, it also promises that Beyer would “work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”

GAY CANDIDATE WINS IN MAINE:

Openly gay Maine State Rep. Ryan Fecteau breezed to victory in his Democratic primary Tuesday, winning 65 percent of the vote to represent his district in the middle of the state.

Aaron-brushACLU FILES LAWSUIT IN ALABAMA:

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama Tuesday, challenging the state’s refusal to recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples in other states. The lawsuit, Aaron-Brush v. Bentley, is the third lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

FUMBLING FOR AN ANSWER:

ObamaDuring a student-oriented Q & A on Tumblr Tuesday, President Obama seemed to struggle with a question about securing equal rights for transsexual students. The question posed to him –through the moderator, Tumblr President David Karp -- noted that, just last month, the U.S. Department of Education released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”

“What do you see as the next steps to ensure equal treatment of trans people in schools in America?”

The president began with a rambling recollection of his meeting Monday with the men’s and women’s basketball teams from the University of Connecticut, noting that Title IX has helped make college women athletes competitive and mentioning that the First Lady puts him to shame when they work out together, before eventually landing on one sentence: “The fact that we are applying [Title IX] to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Gay Couple, ACLU File Suit Challenging Alabama's Gay Marriage Ban

Aaron-brush
April and Ginger Aaron-Brush

The ACLU and the ACLU of Alabama filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court in Birmingham on behalf of  April and Ginger Aaron-Brush who were wed in Massachusetts but want their marriage recognized in their home state.

Said April Aaron-Brush in a press release: “The word marriage, in itself, brings validity and respect to any committed relationship. One's marriage status shouldn't change simply by crossing state lines. Gay couples seek to be married for the very same reasons that opposite-sex couples choose to be married-- love, honor and commitment.”

Said Susan Watson of the ACLU of Alabama: “All loving and committed couples deserve the dignity and protections that come with marriage, no matter where they live,” “It’s time for marriage equality to come to Alabama.”

Here is the ACLU's page on the case.

The ACLU is currently litigating for marriage equality in 13 states.

There is another case challenging Alabama's ban on gay marriage which was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center in February which seeks to overturn the ban and seeks recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

There are also two others, filed in May 2014 and March 2013.


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