Best gay blog. Towleroad Wins Award

Chad Griffin Hub



04/19/2007


Arkansas Catholic School Teacher Fired After Marrying Same-Sex Partner

TiTippi McCullough has taught English at Mount St. Mary Academy in Arkansas for the past fifteen years. Unfortunately, her employment was terminated this week after she married her partner of fourteen years, Barb Mariani. As The Arkansas Times reports, earlier this week the couple travelled to New Mexico, where same-sex marriage licenses have been issued as of late, to officially tie the knot. However, only forty-five minutes after their ceremony was complete, McCullough received a phone call from a secretary at Mount St. Mary, "telling her she risked losing her job if she married." The secretary reportedly added, "that the school had learned of the coming marriage through 'the diocese.'" As the couple drove to Arizona (they planned to honeymoon at the Grand Canyon), McCullough spoke with Mt. Saint Mary principal Diane Wolf, who informed her that she no longer had a job at the school:

"She told me she never thought the day would come, that I was a great teacher and that she would give me a glowing recommendation if I resigned," McCullough said. "She said her hands were tied when I signed a legal document."

McCullough said a contract clause allows dismissal for a lifestyle contrary to church teaching. She she asked Wolfe for an explanation of how she'd violated that clause. "She said she wasn't going to get into a theological discussion and there was nothing she could do."

McCullough will get 30 days severance pay and an opportunity to pick up her things and arrange for COBRA continuing health insurance coverage. She said she's not sure what her vocational future holds. She said she'd been encouraged by support from other teachers. She said, too, that she was sure Wolfe knew of her long relationship with Mariani.  They never discussed it explicitly, she said, but "she knew." In their discussion yesterday, "I told her I thought it was unfair, that I was being singled out for being gay." She said Wolfe told her the nun who once headed the school had once escorted out an unmarried pregnant teacher.

HRC President Chad Griffin, an Arkansas native, blasted the school's decision:

"To fire a beloved teacher simply because she is gay is morally reprehensible...At a moment when Pope Francis is urging the Catholic hierarchy to put aside judgment and a decades-long campaign targeting devoted LGBT Catholics, it’s shameful that this school is ignoring that hopeful message in favor of explicit and baseless discrimination."

The HRC has started a petition to show opposition to Mount St. Mary Academy's decision to fire McCullough. You can sign it HERE.

(Photo via Facebook)


NOM's Brian Brown Collaborated with Russian Legislators on Country's Gay Adoption Ban: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 1.57.12 PM

Yelena MizulinaIn a report released yesterday, Right Wing Watch revealed that National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown participated in a joint meeting with Russian legislators back in June to discuss changing the country's international adoption laws to exclude same-sex couples. Brown's trip to Russia, which was not publicly announced by NOM, culminated in a rousing speech given to the Duma's committee on foreign affairs and its committee on family, women and children - whose chair, Yelena Mizulina (right), authored the ban on gay "propaganda" and the anti-gay adoption bill that was signed into law in July. 

Said Brown:

"We are talking about violations of rights, we are talking about the rights and problems of children in their education. We should not shy away from this and should not forget about it and create an illusion for ourselves. A reconsideration of the definition and understanding of marriage is in fact a real threat to rights. Very soon after a law was passed that legalized same-sex marriage in the state of Massachusetts, we saw that religious organizations were closing down, religious organizations that dealt with adoptions and that did not support adoption by same-sex families. They were closing one after another.

We have actually seen that in some schools, they are talking to children about homosexuality, but in fact they don't have the right to learn about a lot of things until a certain age. [...]

I think that this visit, the invitation to visit Russia, will enable the development of this movement around the world. We will band together, we will defend our children and their normal civil rights. Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother.

You can watch a Russian dubbed interview of Brown at the meeting, AFTER THE JUMP...

Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said the news of Brown's invovlement in Russia is proof of NOM's anti-gay animus knowing no boundaries.

"This goes well beyond marriage," said Griffin. "Apparently NOM is expanding its portfolio to include the international persecution of LGBT people. We knew that Brian Brown had it out for gay people in America, but it's now become clear that he's hell-bent on ruining the lives of gays and lesbians worldwide."

Continue reading "NOM's Brian Brown Collaborated with Russian Legislators on Country's Gay Adoption Ban: VIDEO" »


HRC Says Olympic Committee Should Do More For LGBT Rights Than Accept 'Verbal Promises' From Putin

After receiving 'assurances from the highest level' that any LGBT individuals participating in the upcoming 2014 Winder Olympics will be exempt from Russia's newly minted anti-gay laws, the IOC released a statement on Friday in the hopes of putting growing concern at ease.

The Human Rights Campaign, however, isn't letting the IOC off the hook that easily.

Chad GriffinSays HRC President Chad Griffin:

"Mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough...The IOC must obtain ironclad written assurance from President Putin. But more importantly, they should be advocating for the safety of all LGBT people in Russia, not simply those visiting for the Olympics. Rescinding this heinous law must be our collective goal."

Putin, for the record, is still adamant that that homosexuals are "full fledged members of [Russian] society and are not being discriminated against in any way.


NBC Olympics Coverage Facing Controversy Over Russian Anti-Gay Laws

SOchi OlympicsRussia's newly-adopted anti-gay laws are already the subject of worldwide controversy. The laws have already been used to justify police brutality against Russian LGBT activists, as well as the imprisonment of advocates from inside their borders and beyond. LGBT advocates have called for the boycott of many Russian goods as a result. Many others have turned their sights to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which will be taking place in the Russian city of Sochi. 

The International Olympic Committee has already told press that it will "work to ensure" that LGBT athletes from around the globe will be able to compete freely in the games without fear of any legal trouble. Many LGBT athletes have expressed their apprehension anyway. Other athletes and advocates have called for a boycott of the games by the United States and the IOC, including the likes of Harvey Fierstein and Dan Savage. 

Sochi-mapAll of this controversy is creating headaches for NBC Universal, who will be broadcasting across the U.S. and beyond. Comcast forked over $4.38 billion to secure that privilege through 2020. As a result, many advocates are turning their sights in NBC's direction, such as HRC President Chad Griffin, who wrote a letter to NBC Universal CEO Stephen Burke saying that the network has a "responsibility to expose" the atrocities committed by Russia towards LGBT people. According to Buzzfeed, HRC hasn't yet taken a formal position on a potential boycott. Rather, Griffin states that...

"NBCUniversal … has a unique opportunity — and a responsibility — to expose this inhumane and unjust law to the millions of American viewers who will tune in to watch the Games."

He also added:

"You no doubt agree that it wouldn’t be right to air the opening ceremonies, which is an hours-long advertisement for the host country, without acknowledging that a whole segment of the Russian population — not to mention foreign athletes and visitors — can be jailed for an immutable aspect of their identity." 

NBC Sochi OlympicsNeither NBC nor Comcast have issued any comments on the Sochi Olympics controversy. As it stands, NBC Universal currently scores a perfect 100 on the HRC's annual "Corporate Equality Index", which grades various companies on their commitment to equality on a scale of 0 to 100. As was noted by Griffin in his letter, that perfect score could potentially be at risk should NBC choose to sweep this issue under the rug.

Should NBC eventually decide to boycott the games, as was noted by Variety, it would not be a first. 

"The mere mention of a boycott evokes memories of the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow, which the United States boycotted in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. NBC had paid $85 million for the rights but cancelled its live coverage."

Variety also pointed out that there was no boycott of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, which took place under the watch of the Hitler regime. Similar controversy also surrounded the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, which even resulted in the resignation of Steven Spielberg as a creative consultant. As was noted by Harvey Fierstein in his recent New York Times op-ed, "There is a price for tolerating intolerance." Chad Griffin echoed this sentiment to Variety, saying that “there is a skunk at the garden party that can’t be ignored.”

Read Griffin's full letter to NBC HERE...


House Republicans Give Up On Gay Marriage Fight: READ

HOUSE

After spending more than $2 million defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a number of cases, House Republicans announced Thursday they would no longer defend the law in a case before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts citing The Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor, BuzzFeed reports. The announcement came via a legal filing from the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a group controlled by House Republicans. In the case in question, McLaughlin v. Panetta, servicemembers challenged not only section 3 of DOMA, but also, "Title 38 of the U.S. Code regarding veterans’ benefits that define 'spouse' as 'a person of the opposite sex.'" In their filing, the BLAG lawyers state:

"The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality. See United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. __ (2013), 2013 WL 3196928 (U.S. June 26, 2013). The Windsor decision necessarily resolves the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality in this case. While the question of whether 38 U.S.C. § 101(3), (31) is constitutional remains open, the House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute. Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant."

Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker of the House, John Boehner, weighed in with a curt, "The document from the legal team speaks for itself." HRC President Chad Griffin noted the stunning nature of the Republican reversal, stating, "After millions of taxpayer dollars wasted defending discrimination, it’s a historic sign of the times that the House leadership is dropping its pointless quest to maintain second-class status for lesbian and gay couples." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for House Republicans to drop their involvement in the remaining cases to which they are a party defending DOMA and similar statutes. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told BuzzFeed:

"The Supreme Court’s ruling is clear. Rather than trying to delay justice for particular married gay and lesbian couples and their families, Speaker Boehner should immediately file motions to end House Republicans’ involvement in the remaining cases and stop spending taxpayer dollars to defend unconstitutional discrimination."

Check out the filing in full AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "House Republicans Give Up On Gay Marriage Fight: READ" »


Majority of Arkansans Support Employment Non-Discrimination, Anti-Bullying Laws

At a news conference this week, Grant Tennille the head of Arkansas’ economic development agency and Chad Griffin director of the Human Rights Campaign implored Arkansas to lead on LGBT issues in the south:

Arkansas(Tennille) said Arkansas, to both attract jobs and keep the state's intellectual capital from leaving, must create an atmosphere of equality. "It's an incredibly simple concept," Tennille said. Arkansas needs to be a place where all are welcome."

Tennille added that he didn't think he'd change Gov. Mike Beebe's mind on his opposition to marriage equality. Beebe at least allows Tennille to speak freely. Indeed, Beebe said later that Tennille was entitled to his opinion but his belief that marriage should only apply to a man and woman hadn't changed.

Rep. Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, who introduced the speakers, said it was time to let those in the LGBT community know "that we stand with them as allies," and Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, said he would urge "all Arkansans to go out and change hearts and minds." UALR student Ty Stacey talked about coming out to her family at age 18 and how difficult it was but that she was helped by role models like former state Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock, the only open gay lawmaker to serve in the legislature. Other speakers were James Rector, head of the Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality, which has worked with students to fight bullying, and Ruth Shepherd, director of Just Communities of Arkansas, who pledged JCA's support in efforts to bring about change.

A poll of 600 Arkansas adults conducted late last month offers a few encouraging statistics from the state:

· 61 percent of Arkansans under age 30 support marriage equality, and 63 support legislation that would ensure no one could be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity...

· 90 percent of people of faith in Arkansas agree that the Golden Rule — treating others as we ourselves would wish to be treated — extends to LGBT people.

· Nearly 70 percent of Arkansans support anti-bullying laws against LGBT youth.

· 64 percent of Arkansans believe it does more harm than good when a religious leader condemns LGBT people.

Late last month, Arkansans for Equality submitted a constitutional amendment to the state attorney general seeking to repeal the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. If approved, the group will need to collect 78,133 registered voters' signatures to get the amendment on the 2014 ballot.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged