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As Backlash Grows, Gay NYC Hotelier Issues Apology for Ted Cruz Reception: 'I Made a Terrible Mistake'

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Ian Reisner, one of the two multimillionaire gay hoteliers at the center of a firestorm over their decision to host an intimate "fireside chat" and dinner with rabidly anti-LGBT Sen. Ted Cruz, has posted an apology on Facebook writing:

Reisner1I am shaken to my bones by the e-mails, texts, postings and phone calls of the past few days. I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive and much too quick in accepting a request to co-host a dinner with Cruz at my home without taking the time to completely understand all of his positions on gay rights. I've spent the past 24 hours reviewing videos of Cruz' statements on gay marriage and I am shocked and angry. I sincerely apologize for hurting the gay community and so many of our friends, family, allies, customers and employees. I will try my best to make up for my poor judgement. Again, I am deeply sorry.

Reisner had previously issued a press release on Friday touting his support for LGBT causes and defending his decision saying "having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of the political system that this country was founded on."

Reisner's about-face was likely in an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging as gay organizations continue to pull out of fundraisers and events at establishments owned by him and business partner Mati Weiderpass. Yesterday, Drag Race superstar Bianca Del Rio announced her planed AIDS Walk Pep Rally would relocate from XL Nightclub to Stage 48. Some in the Fire Island Pines commercial district have also distanced themselves from the two. 

In related news, a rally and protest endorsed by a number of LGBT Democratic organizations is planned outside The Out NYC Hotel today. You can find out more info HERE

What are your thoughts on Reisner's new apology? 

Update: Weiderpass has issued an apology as well, writing on Facebook:

WeiderpassI share in Ian's remorse. I, too, lay humbled with what has happened in the last week. I made a terrible mistake. Unfortunately, I cannot undo this. You taught me a painful but important lesson. The people that know me know the work that I have done over the last 20 years for the advancement of gay rights. Today, I came to realize that I might have nullified my past efforts and accomplishments in just one week. On the eve of this momentous legal occasion at the Supreme Court, I dedicate myself to work even harder to advance our cause that I share with the LGBT community; our community. Again, to all that I have hurt, please accept my sincerest apologies.


Washington, New York, Connecticut Rescind Indiana Travel Bans

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Washington, New York, and Connecticut have all lifted their bans on state-funded travel to Indiana following Gov. Mike Pence's signature on an amended "religious freedom" law that prohibits it from being used to discriminate against LGBT individuals.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued the following notice to cabinet agencies:

Earlier this week, after the state of Indiana passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), IC 34-13-9, I ordered executive-level agencies and small cabinet agencies to prohibit publicly funded non-essential travel to Indiana. I issued my order because Indiana's RFRA opened the door to allowing private companies to discriminate against individuals in that state, in sharp contrast to our own state's long commitment to diversity and inclusion. My order stated that the travel ban would remain in effect so long as Indiana's law existed in its original form.

In response to the intense public criticism stemming from the passage of Indiana's RFRA, the Indiana Legislature moved quickly to fix the law. Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed legislation amending the law and remedying the most egregious elements of the law. The new amendment prohibits businesses and individuals from refusing service or goods to potential clients based on that client's sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristics. This is a promising step toward greater cultural inclusion and acceptance for LGBT communities. Accordingly, I am lifting the ban on publicly funded non-essential travel to Indiana.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's statement:

“After reviewing the amendments made to Indiana’s state law and consulting with LGBT advocacy groups here in New York, I believe the changes enacted by the Indiana Executive and Legislature should prevent the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from being used to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender citizens and travelers. As a result, I am lifting New York's ban against state funded and state sponsored travel to Indiana, effective immediately.  

“Here in New York, we believe that all Americans, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation or any other protected classes, should be treated equally under the law. Our nation's Constitution ensures equality and justice for all. We must never forget that 'all' does not mean 'some', but all of us and we will continue to fight and stand up for equality until it is a reality for all Americans.”​​

Said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy:

“Unlike Connecticut – which has been a national leader in LGBTQ protections – this is the first time that Indiana has codified any protections for individuals based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. While the law even in its amended version remains divisive, I believe it is a step in the right direction.
 
“In 2015, we cannot, and should not, tolerate laws that open the door to discrimination against citizens. We need to actively stand up to them – and that’s what we did this week. We are gratified that several other states, businesses, trade organizations, and so many stood with us, and we are pleased that numerous states besides Indiana have sought or are seeking changes in their laws with the specific aim of preventing discrimination.
 
“We will continue to monitor other states that enact reforms similar to the original Indiana RFRA, because discrimination in any form is unacceptable. We cannot watch states pass laws that seek to turn back the clock either on Connecticut residents, or our fellow Americans. We have an obligation to do what’s right, and to protect against discrimination whenever and wherever we see it.”
 
It continues to remain completely legal to discriminate against an individual based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in Indiana. 

Yelp's Open Letter Warning to States Considering Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bills Is Must Read

StoppelmanWhile the list of corporations, politicians and celebrities boycotting Indiana grows, the CEO of Yelp is taking preemptive action to ensure other states understand the economic consequences of choosing to move forward with discriminatory "religious liberty" bills.

In an open letter penned on the Yelp official blog, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman warns that his company "will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books."

Stoppelman writes:

A little over one year ago I wrote an open letter to then-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer requesting that she veto SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses in the state to discriminate against consumers. Thankfully she did the right thing and vetoed that legislation, thus maintaining Arizona’s status as a hospitable place for Yelp’s employees to live and for our company to do business.

Since that time, however, legislators in other states have sought to pass, or have enacted, laws that would allow for businesses to discriminate against consumers based on certain traits including sexual orientation. While Indiana is the most recent state to enact a law allowing for this kind of discrimination by businesses, unfortunately measures are being debated in other states across the country that would follow Indiana’s example. These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws.

Just as I said in my letter to Governor Brewer, it is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large. I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions. (We’re looking at you, Arkansas.)

I hope that in the future the legislatures in the nineteen states that have these laws on the books will reconsider their actions. In the mean time, Yelp will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books.

I also hope that other companies will draw a similar line in the sand for equality on behalf of their employees and the greater public to persuade legislators to do the right thing and stop or rescind these harmful laws.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Stoppelman

CEO, Yelp

In related news, civil rights leader and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond has released a statement blasting Arkansas's proposed bill, saying:

H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion--and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens. Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."

Earlier today, we told you about the campaign to prevent a similar "license to discriminate" bill from becoming law in Georgia.  


Zoe Saldana Doesn't Think Dolce & Gabbana's Anti-gay Remarks Should Affect Her Fashion Choice: VIDEO

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Actress Zoe Saldana is the latest celebrity to weigh in on Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s “synthetic children” and gay adoption remarks and despite vocal outcry from multiple celebrities against the designers, Saldana voiced her support for them, saying she won’t stop wearing Dolce & Gabbana reports E! Online. Saldana said that changing her fashion choices because of the fashion duo’s unpopular opinions would be the "stupidest thing."

Said Saldana: 

"No! Not at all, that would be the stupidest thing if it affected my fashion choice…People are allowed to their own opinion, however, I wouldn't have chosen to be so public about something that's such a personal thing. I’m certainly not going to stop wearing Dolce, and I'm certainly not going to be refuting when they are adopting synthetic children, however they wanted to say it. I do think things are lost in translation…

"My husband (Marco Perego) is from Italy and if I judged him based on the words that he misuses in our English language he wouldn't be here today. It's like ‘Look people, have a drink, relax, it's okay.’ Obviously it caused some sensitivity, but then again if you continue to follow the news, you see they all kinda hugged it out, so why are we making a big deal about it?"

Watch Saldana weigh in on the D&G controversy at the GLAAD Media Awards red carpet this weekend, AFTER THE JUMP...

The D&G design duo uttered the now infamous remarks in an interview with Panorama magazine, saying that they oppose gay adoptions. Also, Dolce’s comments calling children born of "chemistry," a reference to IVF, "synthetic children," angered several celebrities including Elton John, Madonna, Sharon Stone and Ricky Martin.

Said Dolce:

"You are born to be a mother and a father. Or at least that's how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented wombs, semen chosen from a catalog."

D&gDolce and Gabbana have since backpedaled on their original statements and choice of words, with Gabbana stating "It was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love." Dolce mirrored Gabbana’s statement saying "I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people’s choices and decisions." Despite the vocal backlash from LGBT supporters, Dolce and Gabbana have since received support, whether they want it or not, from the National Organization for Marriage who called the designers "wonderful advocates for the true definitions of marriage and family."

Continue reading "Zoe Saldana Doesn't Think Dolce & Gabbana's Anti-gay Remarks Should Affect Her Fashion Choice: VIDEO" »


#BoycottDolceGabbana Grows As Gay Rights Supporters Picket Outside Flagship Store in London: VIDEO

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Gay rights supporters lined the walls outside Dolce & Gabbana's flagship store in London on Thursday to protest the fashion designers' comments about same-sex parenting and IVF babies, the London Evening Standard reports:

Campaigners from The Out and Proud Diamond Group held placards which said "D&G Homophobia is not fashionable!" in the protest next to the shop in Bond Street.

They were joined by leading gay rights activist Peter Tatchell as they called for shoppers to boycott D &G after the duo claimed children conceived through IVF were "synthetic".

Other protest banners read "Dolce & Gabbana - put labels on clothes, not families" and "Boycott D&G over their disrespect for gay families".

Watch footage of the demonstration, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news earlier this week, the Huffington Post reported that international advertising agency DigitasLBi, which "counts Puma and eBay among its clients," announced it would drop the "D" and "G" from its name for a week and call itslef "iitasLBi".

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Bill Maher and his panelists Christine Quinn, Mercedes Schlapp, and former Rep. Jack Kingston also addressed the D&G controversy on Real Time last night, which you can check out AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "#BoycottDolceGabbana Grows As Gay Rights Supporters Picket Outside Flagship Store in London: VIDEO" »


Andy Cohen Joins #BoycottDolceGabbana By Auctioning Off His D&G Suit to Support LGBT Families: VIDEO

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Andy Cohen is putting a creative spin on the #BoycottDolceGabbana campaign: auctioning off his D&G suit and donating the money to the Family Equality Council supporting LGBT families. 

On Watch What Happens Live! earlier this week, Cohen expressed his extreme displeasure with designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who last week stated their beliefs that "the only family is the traditional one" and that children born through in vitro fertilization were "synthetic."

Said Cohen:

As a gay man, I’ve seen my friends given an incredible opportunity to create very real families. There’s nothing ‘synthetic’ about any of the kids that call me Uncle Andy. So in the interest of making things a little better, I brought this from my own closet.

After pulling out his 2014 black wool Dolce and Gabbana suit (size 40R), Cohen announced he would be putting the suit up on Ebay, saying:

“Even though I love this suit, it wouldn’t be fun for me to wear it again. But it will be so much fun for me to have you wear it, knowing we were able to support an amazing cause while also screwing Dolce & Gabbana out of at least one sale.”

Watch Cohen's Mazel of the Day, AFTER THE JUMP...

And to bid on the suit yourself, visit HERE

Continue reading "Andy Cohen Joins #BoycottDolceGabbana By Auctioning Off His D&G Suit to Support LGBT Families: VIDEO" »


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