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Tuesday Speed Read: Obama, James Costos, Colorado, Brunei, Charlie Crist, Phil Bryant

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Blue_obamaOBAMA PREPS EXECUTIVE ORDER:

The White House indicated Monday that President Obama has “directed his staff” to prepare an executive order to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The White House official could not say how soon President Obama intends to sign the executive order. But the news comes during Pride Month, just two weeks before the White House hosts its annual reception in celebration of Pride Month, and just one day before President Obama is scheduled to be at an LGBT-related fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in New York.

HIGH MAINTENANCE HOUSE GUESTS:

CostosThe openly gay U.S. ambassador to Spain and his partner hosted President Obama, the First Lady, and eldest daughter Malia at their house in Rancho Mirage, California, over the Father’s Day weekend, according to the Desert Sun. Ambassador James Costos and his partner, White House decorator Michael Smith, have a home in a gated community known as Thunderbird Heights. The President and First Lady headed back to Washington on Monday morning.

SENATE AGREES TO VOTE ON NOMINEES:

GaylesThe U.S. Senate voted 55 to 37 Monday to proceed to a vote on the confirmation of Darrin Gayles to the U.S. district court in Miami and, in a separate but identical vote, to proceed to a vote on the nomination of Staci Yandle to a district court seat in Illinois. If confirmed, Gayles will become the first openly gay African American to be appointed to a federal court bench. Yandle won’t be the first openly lesbian African American appointed to the bench but, if confirmed, she will be the first openly gay federal judge named to the bench in Illinois. The confirmation votes for both are  scheduled for 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

ColoradoCOLORADO JUDGE HEARS TWO CASES:

A state district court judge in Denver on Monday heard two consolidated lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. The Denver Post reported that Adams County District Court Judge Scott Crabtree expressed skepticism for the state’s contention that 15 federal and state judges before him erred in finding similar bans unconstitutional.

LETTERS PILE ON AGAINST BRUNEI:

KerryMore than 100 members of the U.S. House signed onto a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last Thursday, urging that the U.S. halt negotiations with the government of Brunei on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Noting Brunei’s recent adoption of draconian penalties for being gay, the letter argues that such agreements must insist that participating nations “adhere to internationally recognized civil, political, and human rights standards.” All seven openly LGBT members of the House signed on. Four national LGBT groups also sent a similar letter last week to President Obama regarding Brunei’s brutal laws against LGBT people.

CristEQUALITY FLORIDA AND HRC ENDORSE CRIST:

The statewide LGBT group Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign both made independent announcements last Thursday that they are endorsing Democratic candidate Charlie Crist for the Florida governor’s race in November. Crist has a primary in August but is expected to win the nomination easily against two little-known candidates.

BryantCENTRAL PARK GREETING:

A small group of protesters followed Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant around Central Park Saturday to express their unhappiness with the state’s new “religious freedom” law, which goes into effect July 1. The protesters, which included members of GetEQUAL Mississippi, staged a mostly silent protest, and some hosted their own “Big Gay Mississippi Welcome” dinner, according to the Hattiesburg American.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Tony Perkins: Gays Will Soon 'Start Rolling Out the Boxcars' for Anti-Christian Holocaust - VIDEO

PerkinsOn his radio program last week, Family Research Counsel president Tony Perkins invited on Nicolle Martin – the attorney for the Colorado bakery that was repeatedly found in court to have discriminated against gay customers.

Never one to pass up on a homophobic opportunity, Perkins expressed his concerns to Martin that discrimination cases like hers are one step further down the road to the inevitable anti-Christian Holocaust.

Mused Perkins:

“I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” 

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via Right Wing Watch)

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Pastor: Forcing a Christian to Bake a Cake for Gays is Like Blacks Having to Serve the KKK - VIDEO

LandLast week the Colorado Civil Rights Commission rejected the appeal of Denver area Masterpiece Cake Shop and affirmed a prior ruling that found its owner, Jack Phillips, in violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. The commission ordered a change of policy, staff training, and quarterly reporting to confirm that the bakery is not turning away customers due to sexual orientation.

Yesterday, on the Family Research Council's radio show, evangelical pastor Richard Land was sitting in for Tony Perkins and said that forcing Phillips to bake a cake for a gay wedding is like forcing a black baker to serve the KKK.

Meanwhile, Phillips sat down with Fox & Friends' Elisabeth Hasselbeck earlier this week and said he'd rather go to jail than have to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

Listen and watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Hasselbeck_phillips

Continue reading "Pastor: Forcing a Christian to Bake a Cake for Gays is Like Blacks Having to Serve the KKK - VIDEO" »


Colorado Civil Rights Commission Finds Bakery Owner Discriminated Against Gay Couple

Jack phillips

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has rejected a Denver-area bakery’s appeal of an judge’s earlier ruling that bakery owner Jack Phillips “unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake” last July.

The commission affirmed the prior ruling that found Phillips in violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. The commission also ordered a change of policy, staff training, and quarterly reporting to confirm that the bakery is not turning away customers due to sexual orientation.

Said Paula Greisen of King and Griessen LLP, which represents the gay couple as cooperating counsel with the ACLU of Colorado: “Everyone who shops in our stores and conducts business in our state should be treated with equality and dignity. That’s what this ruling was about today.”

Phillips has pledged to close his cake shop if forced to bake a gay wedding cake.


Thursday Speed Read: Title IX, Rea Carey, Asylum Seeking, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PROTECTION FOR NON-CONFORMING:

EducationThe U.S. Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday 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.” The DOE’s guidance makes clear that its Office of Civil Rights “accepts such complaints for investigation.” The guidance requires school officials to “investigate and resolve allegations of sexual violence regarding LGBT students using the same procedures and standards that it uses in all complaints involving sexual violence.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey called it a “giant leap forward” toward “staggering rates of discrimination” against students who are transgender or non-conforming to gender role expectations.

NGLTF LEADER ARRESTED AT RALLY: Carey

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey was one of 27 people arrested for blocking an intersection on Capitol Hill Wednesday in a protest against the refusal of the Republican-led U.S. House to take up an immigration reform bill. The Fair Immigration Reform Movement organized the protest. NGLTF estimates that more than 250,000 of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants are LGBT.

FOCUS ON ASYLUM:

Immigration Equality held a press conference in front of the White House Tuesday afternoon to urge President Obama to provide relief to LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States. The group says it has more than 300 clients in need of asylum. According to the organization’s website, persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status can be a basis for the Bureau of Immigration Appeals to grant asylum.

OhioNEW OHIO LAWSUIT:

Ohio civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein has filed another lawsuit in federal court in Cincinnati seeking to strike down that state’s ban against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The lawsuit filed Wednesday, Gibson v. Himes, is being brought on behalf of six same-sex couples. Earlier this month, another Gerhardstein lawsuit won a ruling from a federal district court judge in Cincinnati to recognize the out-of-state marriages of four same-sex couples and put the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. That case is now on appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

ColoradoCOLORADO POLLS RISING?

A poll by Quinnipiac University of 1,298 registered voters this month found a whopping 61 percent support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Last December, Public Policy Polling surveyed 928 Colorado voters and found only 48 percent said they would support allowing same-sex couples to marry. The December poll, however, gave voters a choice of allowing gays to marry or have civil unions. Thirty-two percent were OK with civil unions. In terms of voters opposed, 18 percent said that in December there should be “no” legal recognition of same-sex relationships, 32 percent said they “oppose” allowing them to marry.

MarylandMARYLAND BALLOT BATTLE BREWING:

A Republican-led group announced Tuesday that it will seek a referendum this November on a bill passed by the Maryland legislature to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The governor has not yet signed the bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, but is expected to. The group, MDPetitions.com, is referring to the measure as “The Bathroom Bill,” a moniker frequently used by opponents of gender equality to stir fears that the non-discrimination law will enable men to enter women’s restrooms to harass or attack them.” The group must first collect 55,736 signatures by June 30, including one-third of those by May 31.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Colorado Military Vets Speak Out For Marriage Equality In New PSA - VIDEO

Gay_psa_1

Why Marriage Matters Colorado — a new effort organized by the LGBT PAC One Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the national marriage equality group Freedom to Marry — just released their first advertisement. It features active and retired military servicemembers discussing why they support equal rights for one of their gay troopmates.

The video’s description reads:

Three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf — who is still actively serving his country — represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers — former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont'Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn — talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

Colorado currently has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Why Marriage Matters Colorado says, “We can win marriage either by amending the constitution by a vote of the people or by winning in the courts. Both paths are being pursued simultaneously. Whatever our path, it’s important to have this public conversation about why marriage matters to us all.”

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP…

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