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Judge Rules In Favor Of Kentucky Printer Who Refused To Print Gay Pride T-Shirts: VIDEO

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A Kentucky court has ruled in favor of a shop that refused to print gay pride festival t-shirts, reports the Gazette.

The ruling by County Circuit Judge James Ishmael overturned a 2014 decision by Fayette’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) that Hands On Originals violated a city law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb0795942d970d-500wiIshmael said the HRC went beyond its statutory authority in siding with advocacy group Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO).

He argued that Hands On Originals' refusal to print GLSO’s 2012 pride festival t-shirts was not based on the sexual orientation of the group’s members but on "the message advocating sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman."

He added that the owners of Hands On Originals have in the past turned down orders for shirts promoting strip clubs and containing violent messages.

Jim Campbell, a lawyer from anti-gay Christian litigation group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), said:

"The government can't force citizens to surrender free-speech rights or religious freedom in order to run a small business, and this decision affirms that.”

GLSO President Christopher Bauer said in a statement:

"We feel that this is just a reminder that there are still many out there who feel that their citizenship is worth more than that of members of the [LGBT] community.”

GLSO and the HRC are considering an appeal of the ruling.

Watch an ADF interview with Hands On Originals owner Dewayne Adamson, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Apple, American Airlines, Microsoft Denounce 'Harmful' Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bills: VIDEO

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Human Rights Campaign (HRC) yesterday launched a statement supported by a number of corporations calling on public officials to defeat or abandon efforts to enact harmful anti-LGBT legislation being considered around the United States.

HRC_Red-LogoAmerican Airlines, Apple, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Orbitz, Replacements, Starwood Hotels, Symantec and Wells Fargo have already signed the statement while other corporations are expected to sign on in the coming days.

HRC President Chad Griffin said:

"Business leaders have made it abundantly clear that these anti-LGBT bills undermine their core values and set dangerous precedents that stifle investment and economic growth. Anti-equality lawmakers who value corporate investments in their state should sit up, pay attention, and abandon these bills attacking LGBT people."

The HRC statement reads:

"Corporate leaders are speaking out against bills that could allow individuals and businesses to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and other minorities -- several versions of which are actively being considered in states across the country.

“This proposed legislation is bad for business.

“Equality in the workplace is a business priority to foster talent and innovation, and these state laws undermine this core value.

“These state laws set a dangerous precedent that stifles investment and economic growth by jeopardizing a state's status as a welcoming place for employees to live and thrive, undermining the success of a business at large.

“It is unreasonable for job creators to recruit a diverse workforce from states that encourage businesses to discriminate against our community of employees or consumers.

“While these bills won't alter our commitment to equality in the workplace, this legislation sends the wrong message about the states in which we operate and threatens our core corporate commitment to respect all individuals.

“We the undersigned call for public officials to defeat or abandon efforts to enact this type of harmful legislation."

Yesterday, 39 top tech leaders - including Yelp, Twitter, AirBnB and Evernote - released a joint statement supporting non-discrimination protections for LGBT people to civil rights laws around the country.

Watch a report on a Christian pizza restaurant in Indiana that unfortunately cannot cater for your same-sex wedding, AFTER THE JUMP...  Stupid warning - the owners actually believe that people "choose" the "gay lifestyle."

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Alibaba, China's Answer To eBay and Amazon, Throws Its Weight Behind Marriage Equality

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Alibaba is China’s answer to the West’s eBay and Amazon. The online commerce company made headlines last year after as it entered into the New York Stock Exchange with an IPO valued at $25 billion, the largest in world history. Incidentally, it's also pretty much the only investment that has maintained Yahoo's status as an economically viable business for the last few years. Suffice it to say that Alibaba is an economic force to be reckoned with. The company’s PR move in support of same sex marriage, however, makes it clear that it’s just as intent on winning over the public’s hearts as it is its wallets.

This Valentine’s Day TaoBao, one of Alibaba’s online shopping subsidiaries, is sponsoring massive ad campaign-cum travel context for 10 lucky same-sex couples who will receive trips to foreign countries where gay marriages are legal and recognize by local governments.

The contest, called We Do, is being backed by a number of big-name name Chinese businesses. Blued, China’s most successful geolocation-based social network, is signed on as a partner along with Bliss, a popular textile manufacturing company. As much of a goodwill gesture the campaign is, TechCrunch points out, it’s very much a well thought out attempt at tapping into the economic potential attached to China’s LGBT population.

All the same, We Do is one of the first and largest instances of a Chinese company openly showing support for LGBT rights in such a bold and stated way. TaoBao has invited its users to vote on a collection of gay couples to decide which 10 will travel to countries where they just might be able to tie the knot including the France, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the U.S.

While it’s almost certain that TaoBao and Alibaba’s intentions with We Do are primarily economic in nature, there’s something to be said for the companies’ unabashed support of marriage equality. Regardless of their intentions, the impact of the contest (and the implicit messaging behind it) could be invaluable in shifting the conversation about queer rights in China.

    


Gay Couple Evicted From Uber Cab For 'Kissing And Cuddling': VIDEO

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A gay couple in London, England say they were thrown out of an Uber cab for kissing and cuddling, reports ITV.com.

O-UBER-facebookJordan Sloan claims that on New Year’s Day, the cab driver “pulled over and told us to get out.”

After evicting Sloan and his partner Corey Watts, the driver allegedly said "I take gays but they don't normally do this."

Toronto native Sloan said:

"I've never had any homophobic stuff happen to me so I was caught off guard. You don't expect it to happen in one of the world's biggest cities. I wanted to understand what he was thinking so I asked the driver: 'Would you do the same thing if it was a guy and a girl?'"

In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said:

“Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination either by our partner drivers or towards our partner drivers.

"We opened an investigation from the moment we learned of this unacceptable incident and have been in contact with the rider to extended our sincere apologies and get further information."

The couple were charged for their journey but later refunded.  

The cab driver has been suspended while the incident is under investigation.

Although Watts has received mostly messages of support on Twitter, some of the feedback - including Uber driver @PhDCab - was less than enlightened.

Last April, an Uber drive in Paris, France was fired for refusing to pick up two gay customers.

In July, Uber provided 8 lucky couples spontaneous weddings in San Francisco in celebration of the city's Pride event and marriage equality. 

Watch a video of Uber's San Francisco wedding celebration, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Launches LGBT Tourism Task Force - VIDEO

6a01a3fd2097df970b01bb07addc44970d-250wiVirginia has announced the formation of the state’s first LGBT Tourism Task Force, reports Loudon Times.

Made public during the Virginia-1 Tourism Summit in Reston yesterday by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, the task force aims to showcase Virginia as a gay-friendly state for both residents and visitors.

According to state tourism officials, the task force is the second of its kind in the nation and the first in the South.

Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones will head up the panel comprised of “industry stakeholders, LGBT community members and business leaders,” said McAuliffe.

McAuliffe’s address focused on the broad impact the $21.5 billion tourism industry has on state's economy:

“Tourism plays an important role in attaining that goal, building communities, and helping drive the new Virginia economy.” We have an opportunity to build upon the progress Virginia made this year in achieving marriage equality and ensure that visitors across the globe know that the commonwealth is open and welcoming to all.”

Jones added:

“Tourism has consistently proven to be a sound investment for Virginia. It is an instant revenue generator, channeling millions of dollars into the Commonwealth’s coffers and into the revenue stream to local governments.”

Watch McAuliffe speak at the conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins Attacks Tim Cook, Hints At Apple Boycott - LISTEN

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73d7033c4970d-200wiHomophobe Tony Perkins, the leader of listed hate group Family Research Council has taken umbrage with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s decision to come out, reports Good As You.

Last month, Perkins claimed that gay rights are part of a wider "anti-life" agenda to end humanity as we know it.  In February he attacked Disney for featuring a same-sex couple on ‘Good Luck Charlie.’

Although it goes without saying that Perkins and co. will jump on any anti-gay bandwagon, he is less than happy when business leaders take a pro-equality stance. Back in April for example, and with a complete lack of insight, Perkins weighed in on the Chick-Fil-A controversy by claiming that “tolerance is a one-way street for [people who seek equal rights]. What they want to do is force the rest of America not to just to tolerate but to celebrate what they're doing.”

With his finger firmly on the pulse, Perkins says that Cook's announcement has "upset the apple cart" and hints at a potential boycott:

"When companies get involved in cultural battles, every consumer is forced to take part. As conservatives we aren’t looking for businesses to take our side - we just want them to be neutral. Of course, Tim Cook has the right to express his views but consumers have rights too, including the right to respond. As Christians we’re called to be good stewards of god’s money...and apps like 2nd Vote and Faith-Driven Consumer help shoppers do exactly that. Let’s face it, money talks and corporate America is listening.”

Who wouldn't love to see Family Research Council boycott Apple for Christmas?

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

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