Discrimination Hub

Meet Cathi Herrod, Arizona's Leading Anti-gay, Pro-Discrimination Bigot: VIDEO


Earlier this month, NBC's Phoenix affiliate Channel 12 News had a "heart to heart" with one of Arizona's leading anti-LGBT culture warriors - Cathy Herrod, the president of the Center for Arizona Policy.

Herrod, who was the architect behind Arizona's proposed license-to-discriminate bill that made headlines earlier this year, spoke at length about her anti-gay, pro-discrimination policy positions - all while keeping a softspoken, almost "grandmotherly" demeanor....which somehow makes her even more of a creep than she already is.  

Listen to her spout b.s. about the "social science" on gay relationships:

The social science data shows that marriage between a man and a woman is still the best family unit for men, women and children. This is never aimed at any individual, but it's aimed at what's the best public policy. 

And why she thinks its a-okay for religious folks to turn away LGBT customers:

HerrodShould the photographer or the baker be able to have the freedom to practice their religious beliefs in their businesses and not be compelled by the government to participate, for example, in a same-sex wedding ceremony that goes against their conscious? This is people of faith and no faith and that's not trying to shove religion down someone's throad, its simply saying 'Let me live my life according to my faith'"

Watch the full interview, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

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Florida DMV Threatens To Revoke Gay Couple's Driver Licenses If They Don't Change Names - VIDEO


The state of Florida is threatening to revoke a same-sex couple's driver licenses because they obtained them using an out-of-state marriage certificate.

Daniel [left] and Scott Wall-Desousa, of Palm Bay, Florida, have been together for 10 years and were married in New York City. 

Earlier this year, both men attempted to get their hyphenated, married name — which appears on their Social Security cards — on their Florida driver licenses.

Daniel Wall-Desousa had no trouble, but Scott was rejected at a different DMV office — based on Florida's constitutional amendment prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages from out of state, according to a report from WFTV Channel 9.

After an extended back-and-forth with state officials, Scott went to a different DMV office and was able to obtain a license with his married name. The couple then appeared on WFTV, which reported they were one of the first couples in Florida to change their name thorugh an out-of-state same-sex marriage.

However, state officials apparently took notice, and within days of the report airing, the Wall-Desousas received a letter saying their driver licenses will be revoked unless they obtain new ones in their previous names, WFTV reports.

"It informs me and notifies me that my driving privileges will be canceled indefinitely as of Nov. 22," Daniel Wall-Desousa said of the letter.

The couple now says they intend to file a lawsuit. Several state and federal judges in Florida have struck down the state's marriage amendment as unconsitutinal, but those decisions have been stayed pending appeals by Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi.

In Texas earlier this year, a woman was similarly denied a driver license when she tried to obtain one using an out-of-state same-sex marriage certificate. But the woman, Connie Wilson, was later able to obatin a license with her married name using a US passport. 

No word on whether Texas plans to try to revoke Wilson's license.

Watch WFTV's initial report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Arizona Wedding Planner Refuses to Do Business With Lesbian Couple - VIDEO

Crystal Allen and Kenyata White

A wedding planner in Phoenix, Arizona, has refused to do business with a same-sex couple planning to marry in December, reports AZ Central.

In February 2013, Phoenix, the sixth most populous city in the U.S., passed broad laws barring discrimination against LGBT residents.

Crystal Allen and Kenyata White had made contact with AffordableWeddingMinister.com, but Susan Latimer refused the business when she realized that the couple she was preparing to marry were two women.

In an email to the couple, Latimer wrote “we are very uncomfortable with same-sex marriage as it is directly against our beliefs. We would not be a very good fit."

Latimer’s website states:

“We really Love Jesus, God the Father and The Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus loves everyone and the concept he gave is ... Marriage is HOLY and right for one man and one woman.”

The website also claims that the company is “non-judgemental.” Susan Latimer

AZ Central goes on to recommend that the couple “don't play into the hands of those who are itching for a reason to bring back Senate Bill 1062, last year's debacle of a bill that attempted to legalize discrimination in the name of the Lord."

Attorney Brendan Mahoney, who co-wrote the city's LGBT anti-discrimination law, said that because Latimer is a licensed minister she can decide who she wants to work with.  Mahoney added that Allen and White would be best served to “go find a place that wants to marry you, that looks forward to marrying you, and have a happy wedding.”

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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GOP Texas Lawmaker Wants To Enshrine 'License To Discriminate' Against Gays In State Constitution

A Tea Party Republican in Texas wants to enshrine a "license to discriminate" against LGBT people into the state Constitution.

CampbellState Sen. Donna Campbell filed a proposed constitutional amendment Monday that could allow business owners and government contractors to turn away gay people, or fire LGBT employees, under the guise of religious liberty. The amendment could also undermine LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances that have passed in all of Texas' major cities.

Campbell's proposed constitutional amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 10, states that government "may not burden an individual’s or religious organization’s freedom of religion or right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief unless the government proves that the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest."

SJR 10 goes on to say that a "burden" includes "indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, and denying access to facilities or programs."

PizerJenny Pizer (right), senior counsel at Lambda Legal, told Towleroad that in addition to undermining local nondiscrimination laws, she believes Campbell's proposal would open up government to all sorts of litigation from people who have religious objections to a wide variety of regulations.

"What it probably means is that the government's ability to challenge discrimination would be limited," Pizer said. "While she wants to permit religiously motivated discrimination against gay people, what about religiously motivated discrimination by one religion against another? What if the Jewish doctors decided to stop providing medical services to Christian fundamentalists? 

"It blows a hole in your nondiscrimination protections if people can ignore them for religious reasons," Pizer added. "It may be designed to trump local nondiscrimination protections, and that's a serious problem, but the bigger problem for government is the fact that it then becomes prohibitively expensive to enforce things like food safety law. What if somebody has a religious belief that requires them to make large bonfires in the backyard as part of a religious tradition, and you have dry, dangerous fire conditions? There are basic safety regulations. ... This is far-right grandstanding, but it's grandstanding with very serious potential implications for government."

Campbell, who's from the San Antonio area, strongly opposed that city's passage of an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance last year. In a letter to then-Mayor Julian Castro, Campbell wrote:

"San Antonio is an exceptional city in which every individual should feel welcome, and I believe that's the intent of the authors of the ordinance. However, by alienating a majority of Texans who believe in traditional marriage and values, it is having the opposite effect. San Antonio churches, families and businesses feel less welcome in their hometown as a result of this proposed ordinance, fearful that they may now be penalized or face costly lawsuits just for practicing their faith or expressing their opinion."

Campbell later told the Houston Chronicle

“Our Judeo-Christian values are under assault and I’m not going to let that stand. We have the right and religious freedom to express ourselves. When the government moves outside the proper bounds of the primary role, especially in order to legislate societal norms, they’re on shaky ground. Really it’s a few, just a few advocates, of tolerance. They are trying to criminalize faith and traditional values of the majority of Texans. Tolerance is going too far in this instance.”

Campbell introduced a similar measure two years ago, but it died in committee amid concerns that it would expand the right of Westboro Baptist Church to protest military funerals or even create a religious right to an abortion, according to Texas Monthly. Campbell's 2013 measure was backed by the anti-LGBT group Texas Values and opposed by Equality Texas. Daniel Williams, legislative specialist at Equality Texas, said Monday that Campbell's proposal would go far beyond an existing state statute.

“In 1999 Texas set the gold standard for protecting religious liberty with the passage of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” Williams said. “SJR 10 would gut the existing legislation.”

Earlier this year, amid national outcry, Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs, but a similar law later passed in Mississippi.

Texas cities with nondiscrimination ordinances that could be affected by Campbell's amendment include Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth and San Antonio. Last year, the Houston City Council passed an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, but the ordinance is on hold pending a lawsuit from opponents.

At a recent anti-LGBT rally in Houston, opponents of the city's Equal Rights Ordinance donned T-shirts saying, "We reserve the right to refuse service to homosexuals."

In an online press release about the bill, Campbell tied it to the city of Houston's decision to subpoena pastor sermons as part of its defense against the lawsuit challenging the ordinance. From Campbell's press release:

The Restoring Religious Freedom Amendment reflects a swift and measured response after controversy erupted in Houston last month when the City attempted to subpoena pastors' sermons. Those subpoenas stirred protest from Texas churches and elicited strongly worded statements from Governor-Elect Greg Abbott, Attorney General-Elect Ken Paxton, and Senator Campbell.

"The resolution I filed today provides a necessary layer of protection from overreaching governments that engage in acts of prejudice meant to intimidate Texans of faith from expressing their deeply held religious beliefs," Senator Campbell said.

Irish Bakery Faces Possible Legal Action Over Refusal to Make Bert and Ernie Gay Marriage Cake: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.42.48 AM

The Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland that refused to make a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie under the words "Support Gay Marriage" has been ordered to apologize and pay compensation or face legal action, The Telegraph reports

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.46.41 AMAshers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, was told by a Government equalities agency that it was guilty of “unlawful religious, political and sexual orientation discrimination” for its stance on the Sesame Street-themed dessert.

But the family-run firm said it was ready for a “David and Goliath battle” over the cake insisting it was “what God would want us to do”. [...]

Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, which is supporting the firm, said: “It is simply baffling for a body supposedly working for equality to be threatening a Christian family with legal action, all because of a cake.

“The Equality Commission has taken four months to dream up new grounds on which to pursue the McArthur family, claiming that they’ve breached political discrimination laws.

“If supporting same-sex marriage is a protected political opinion, so is supporting traditional marriage. Yet the Commission clearly favours one view over another and is prepared to litigate to prove it.

Northern Ireland remains the only part of the U.K. where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Watch a video featuring bakery's general manager speak about the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Estonia Becomes Third Country to Ban Homophobic Russian Actor


Estonia has become the third country to declare Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin persona non grata, following his violent, incendiary comments about homosexuality and Ebola.

You might remember the actor for his comments calling for the killing of gay people in ovens, saying they pose a "living danger" to his children. His recent comments focus on Ebola, and he has a theory that the disease is turning people into zombies; the actor cites cases where people killed by the virus had been "resurrected" days later.

Okhlobystin is best known for "Interns," a Russian sitcom derivative of "Scrubs." Before this role, he took a hiatus from acting to become a Russian orthodox priest.

The other two countries to have banned Okhlobystin are Latvia and Ukraine. In the latter case, he was also banned for supporting the Russian presence in Ukraine and Russia's annexation of the Black Sea Crimea peninsula.

Bafflingly, Okhlobystin seems to take the Estonian ban as a positive development, referring to his national bans as "stars," saying:

Our mole in the Capitol called, congratulated me on the third star...Thanks to the [U.S] State Department for a high evaluation of my achievements.

Easy as it may be to dismiss Okhlobystin as a mentally unstable attention seeker, it's worth pointing out that the actor/priest harbors political ambitions, and he is popular enough in his native Russia to have drawn applause from a packed crowd in making his aforementioned call for violence against gays.

[h/t Moscow Times]


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