Discrimination Hub




Wedding Venues Can't Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples, New York State Agency Rules

Mccarthy

The New York State Division of Human Rights has affirmed the state's Human Rights Law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the case of Melisa and Jennifer McCarthy, a lesbian couple whose 2012 request to wed at an Albany area farm and wedding venue was turned down after owners found out they were a same-sex couple.  

New York Civil Liberties Union, who represented the couple, released the following statement:

“Marriage should be a time of celebration, not discrimination,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This ruling sets an important precedent protecting the rights of LGBT New Yorkers, and will help ensure that businesses understand New York law and treat all patrons with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Added Jennifer McCarthy:

“No one should have the happiest time of their life marred by discrimination. We hope this decision will protect all New Yorkers from having to go through the hurt that we experienced.”

Liberty Ridge, the wedding venue in question, was told to "cease and desist from discriminatory practices in public accommodations" and was ordered to pay the McCarthys $1,500 each and a fine of $10,000 to the state. The owners must also prove to the Division on Human Rights that they're conducting anti-discrimination training at their workplace. 


PA Bakery Owner Cites Desire to 'Stand True to God' In Her Refusal to Bake Gay Couple's Wedding Cake: VIDEO

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A popular bakery in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania is making headlines after denying a wedding cake to a gay couple, WFMZ reports:

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 9.04.42 AMBethany and Jennifer Petrich now have to make a change of plans for a ceremony to renew their vows, WBRE reported. The women wanted to get a cake from The Cake Pros, a bakery in Schuylkill Haven.

"I loved the work they did and it tasted great. It's a hometown bakery. I wanted to support my hometown," said Jennifer Petrich. "My mom, who is planning our wedding, called and made the appointment for us. It was okay at that time and she was open and honest and said it's for Bethany and Jennifer."

But the women say things took a not-so-sweet turn when Jennifer's mom received a phone call.

"They had called and said to her that they were a Christian bakery and the owner had talked to Jesus for two weeks and that because it was two females getting married she couldn't make our cake," said Jennifer.

Watch an Eyewitness News report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 8.52.55 AMSaid bakery owner Lorraine Fleming:

"I'm not sorry for my decision and I feel strong. I know that I'm doing the right thing...It was hard to do. We have homosexuality in our family and it was a hard decision to make. But in the end, when I die and am one-on-one with God, I have to stand true to him"

Fleming said since news got out of her refusal, her employees have faced harassment and she has been forced to take down the cake shop's Facebook page. 

Last week, we reported on a similar story out of Columbia County, Pennsylvania - where a bridal store turned away a lesbian couple looking to buy wedding gowns.

Pennsylvania remains one of the 29 states without a comprehensive, sexual orientation-inclusive non-discrimination law on the books. 

Continue reading "PA Bakery Owner Cites Desire to 'Stand True to God' In Her Refusal to Bake Gay Couple's Wedding Cake: VIDEO" »


Florida Pastor Sticks By Decision Canceling Man's Funeral Because He Was Gay: VIDEO

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The Tampa pastor who created a firestorm last week after it was revealed he had canceled a man's funeral after discovering the man was gay and married isn't backing away from his actions, saying that the 'trials' his church is facing in the public eye have "come to make us stronger."

Florida station WTSP went to New Hope Missionary Baptist Church service on Sunday to ask Rev. T.W. Jenkins about what happened. The station was initially not allowed into the building, but were permitted to enter at a later time. In the video, Jenkins can bee seen talking about his family's well-being and thanking his congregation for their prayers.

"My family is doing fine," he said to claps from the audience. "Church family please remain focused and prayerful ... and we will continue to stand on the word of God."

The Reverend and church's concern for the family of the gay man? Not so much..

Watch WTSP's reports, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Florida Pastor Sticks By Decision Canceling Man's Funeral Because He Was Gay: VIDEO" »


Pennsylvania Bridal Shop Refuses to Sell Wedding Gown to Lesbian Couple: VIDEO

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A bridal store in Columbia County, Pennsylvania is under fire for turning away a lesbian couple looking to buy wedding gowns, the AP reports:

W.W. Bridal Boutique owner Victoria Miller tells the newspaper that "providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God's law."

Bloomsburg Town Council plans to discuss the incident at a meeting on Monday. Council members say they will consider whether to propose legislation to ban businesses from refusing to serve gays and lesbians.

Check out a news report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

The New York Daily News adds

In the meantime, Miller isn’t budging. She’s hired an attorney to help defend her in case a lawsuit is filed.

Her lawyer Al Luschas says his client has a “liberty interest” in refusing to be involved in a wedding that violates her “firmly and honestly held religious beliefs.”

Pennsylvania remains one of the 29 states without a comprehensive, sexual orientation-inclusive non-discrimination law on the books. 

Continue reading "Pennsylvania Bridal Shop Refuses to Sell Wedding Gown to Lesbian Couple: VIDEO" »


Florida Church That Cancelled Gay Man's Funeral Receives Swift Internet Backlash

Evans

On Friday, we reported on the small Tampa-area church that hastily cancelled funeral arrangements for Julion Evans last month after discovering he was gay and married to another man. The pastor of the church made the abrupt announcement to Evans' mother the day before the funeral, with the pastor saying it would have been "blasphemous" for a gay man's funeral to take place inside the church. 

Since news broke, the church, New Hope Missionary Baptist, has been forced to take town their website and contact information following a flood of negative comments and reviews.

Included in the set of 281 one-star reviews on Facebook:

  • Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 12.16.13 PMDisgraceful. Utterly disgraceful and unforgivable. There are no "Christians" attending or acting as Pastor at this church. To cancel a man's funeral, simply because you and your "flock" do not agree with or like Homosexuals is beyond evil. A persons life before they have died has no baring on their right to a funeral. Do you refuse to hold funeral services for murderers? Adultors? Unwed mothers? People who have pre-maritial sex? All of these are also "sins" in the Bible but you don't refuse to grant these people a funeral at your church. You are all hypocrites and you disgust me. 
  • Christian = Christ like; There is nothing Christ like about what this Church just did. I am appalled that this should occur in a place were the compassion of Christ should be seen most. Shame on this place!
  • True evil. So glad that I don't call myself a christian anymore, because churches like yours that are so exclusive and show none of God's love.

[via The New Civil Rights Movement]


Death Of Gay Tulsa Man Regarded As Suspicious, Tulsa Police Counter Claims

Benny Longoria

Benny Longoria of Tulsa, OK was found dead in his apartment on June 20th, but despite Longoria's body being found naked and the apartment covered in blood, Tulsa police are allegedly refusing to investigate the case as suspicious. Dallas activist C.D. Kirven was contacted about the case as it was suspected to be one of HIV/AIDS-related discrimination.

Tulsa Police Sgt. David Walker claimed that Longoria's death was a combination of ethanol abuse and HIV/AIDS, but Longoria's physician Dr. Frances Haas has not signed a death warrant nor has he confirmed any cause of death. Under these circumstances the Tulsa police are supposed to be investigating the death as suspicious. Additionally, Longoria's body was cremated, allegedly at the request of the police due to his HIV status.

Tulsa police are countering this claim and saying that the original Dallas Voice piece contains false information. They released a statement, saying: 

Mr. Longoria’s death was not suspicious in nature therefore it was not further investigated. The Tulsa Police Department does not investigate deaths in which there are no signs of foul play and the individual’s attending physician will sign the death certificate. The Tulsa Police Department responds to many natural deaths in which the attending physician signs the death certificate and there is no autopsy conducted.

Sgt. Walker and other members of the Department have spoken with the family members of Mr. Longoria several times to provide information reference area funeral homes, the medical examiner’s phone number as well as providing them with the victim’s obituary.

The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner claimed that Longoria's death was of natural causes, and that the request for cremation came through legal forms signed by Longoria's family.

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