Discrimination Hub




With Gay Marriage Pushing Forward, Religious Conservatives Turn Attention to 'Religious Exemption' Bills

B3bpkfhtj9z3errtvn8uWith the battle against gay marriage losing ground throughout the country, some religious conservatives are shifting their attention to "religious exemption" laws.

The post-Hobby Lobby ENDA is wide open to laws like Mississippi's, or Arizona's (ultimately vetoed) bill, which allow for the denial of service to people, if it's based on religion (so, based on sexual orientation).

The AP reports

Sweeping carve-outs for faith-affiliated adoption agencies or individual wedding vendors will be an uphill battle. Public attitudes against exceptions have hardened, and efforts by faith groups in states where courts, not lawmakers, recognized same-sex unions have had little success.

Unfortunately, this may hold less true in some places. The AP article continues with a quote from Robin Fretwell Wilson, a legal specialist from the University of Illinois. She says:

Some of the states are so red — think South Carolina — that the legislature can likely lock down all kinds of religious liberty protections, even those we have not yet seen adopted anywhere, like protection for the small mom-and-pop wedding professionals, simply because they have the votes of like-minded colleagues.

Another example of Hobby Lobby-related problems presented by the article is that of Utah Republican State Representative Jacob Anderegg (pictured). The senator plans to come back to a bill he had held off on introducing for the last two years, while the fight on gay marriage was in full swing. Senator Anderegg's bill would allow clergy and justices of the peace to refuse particpation in same-sex weddings.

Said Anderegg: The bill reasserts and re-establishes fundamental principles: I have a religious objection. You can’t force me or compel me to do it." 


Right-Wing Freaks Out Over Houston's Subpoena of Pastors' Role in City's Equal Rights Ordinance Case: VIDEOS

Rightwing

Back in August we reported that anti-gay activists in Houston had failed in their efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would place Houston's LGBT-inclusive Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) up for a public referendum. The activists (which included local pastors) proceeded to sue the city over the rejection of signatures and a court date was set for January 2015. 

Then, earlier this week, it was revealed city attorneys had subpoenaed local pastors tied to the lawsuit for "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession."

Parker, for her part, acknowledged the subpoenas were too broad and clarified they were issued by outside attorneys working for the city pro bono, New York reports:

ParkerThey were looking into what instructions pastors gave out to those collecting signatures for a referendum on the non-discrimination law. (What exactly the pastors said, and what the collectors knew about the rules, is one of the key issues in pending litigation around whether opponents of the law gathered enough signatures for a referendum.)

"There's no question, the wording was overly broad. But I also think there was some deliberate misinterpretation on the other side," Parker said at a press conference Wednesday. "The goal is to find out if there were specific instructions given on how the petitions should be accurately filled out. It's not about, 'What did you preach on last Sunday?'" 

As you can imagine, right-wing commentators pounced on the story as the latest example of religious liberties being crushed under the supposed tyranny of LGBT equality. 

Check out their crazed, knee-jerk reactions, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Right-Wing Freaks Out Over Houston's Subpoena of Pastors' Role in City's Equal Rights Ordinance Case: VIDEOS" »


Springfield, Missouri Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO

Springfield city council

Earlier this week, the Springfield City Council approved a bill expanding the city's non-discrimiantion ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, the Springfield News-Leader reports:

Council Bill 2014-189, which goes into effect immediately, adds the protections in the case of housing, employment and public accommodations. Council members Jan Fisk, Cindy Rushefsky, Craig Hosmer, Doug Burlison, Jeff Seifried and Mike Carroll voted to approve the bill. Council members Bob Stephens, Craig Fishel and Jerry Compton voted against it. [...]

"It makes a simple statement of equality that should be a given for anyone who lives in a democracy," Rushefsky [second left] said. "It's a shame that we have had to struggle for so long to really establish that principle in our daily lives."

Compton, Fishel and Stephens all spoke before voting against the stronger bill.

"I believe there's insufficient evidence about a lack of existing remedy for these verifiable cases," Compton [far left] said. "Federal and state laws guard against abuse. I do believe there are inadequate safeguards to protect against wrongful use of the proposed ordinance."

Contrary to Compton's claims, there are no federal safeguards against LGBT discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. According to the HRC, Missouri only protects executive branch employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

Check out video of the council's vote and reactions to the bill's passage from both sides of the issue, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Springfield, Missouri Approves LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO" »


Norwegian Tourism Company Refutes Religious Discrimination Against Canadian Christian - VIDEO

Amaruk

A Christian graduate from Trinity Western University (TWU) in British Columbia, Canada, claims to have been discriminated against and "attacked" because of her religion after applying for a job with a Norwegian wilderness tourism company, reports CBC News.

All students at TWU - a private Christian liberal arts university - must agree to a covenant prohibiting sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage.

In her complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Bethany Paquette outlined a series of emails from Amaruk executives.

Amaruk Wilderness Corp. has rejected the claims. 

Bethany Paquette

A rejection email from Amaruk hiring manager Olaf Amundsen read in part:

"Unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.

"The Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually  see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition and way of life."

In a reply email, Paquette wrote "your disagreement with Trinity Western University, simply because they do not support sex outside of marriage, can in fact be noted as discrimination of approximately 76 per cent of the world population!!! Wow, that's a lot of diverse people that you don't embrace."

She signed the email God Bless “probably partially because I knew it would irritate them.”

Amundsen then shot back that “propaganda is lost on me” because he is “a Viking with a PhD in Norse culture. So propaganda is lost on me”:

"In asking students to refrain from same-sex relationships, Trinity Western University, and any person associated with it, has engaged in discrimination...'God bless' is very offensive to me and yet another sign of your attempts to impose your religious views on me.

“There are practical concerns about a Christian university that rejects the concept of evolution but still grants ‘biology’ degrees.

"I do not want to be blessed by some guy who was conceived by a whore, outside of marriage, and whom has been the very reason for the most horrendous abuse and human right violations in the  history of the human race. If I was to meet the guy I’d actually fuck him”

Amaruk employee Christopher Fragassi-Bjørnsen then joined the discussion, writing that while "Trinity Western University believes that two men loving each other is wrong… we believe a man ending up with another man is probably the best thing that could happen to him. But we do not force these views onto other people, and we are completely fine if a guy decided to go the emasculation route by marrying a B.C. woman.”

TWU spokesperson Guy Saffold said "Canadians shouldn't be treated this way by a foreign company. Mocking of their religion — there is a personal shaming element to it that was most unfortunate."

Micheal Vonn of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said employers are not supposed to express opinions about an applicant's religious background:

"You are allowed to think anything you like. But you have obligations as an employer to act in a non-discriminatory manner.

"What you have is written documentation that more or less is tantamount to a sign on the door that says no one of religious affiliation need apply for employment here. We don't usually see discrimination cases that are quite this stark."

However, in a statement issued last week, Amaruk said:

"We regret that Bethany Paquette was [em]inently unqualified for an assistant guide internship position with our company.

"We strive to make applicants aware of the minimum requirements for each position.

"Unfortunately, Bethany Paquette applied for a position when she knew, or ought to know, that she was unqualified for the position, did not meet the minimum requirements of the position, and did not hold the necessary certifications for the position."

Read the full email exchange here and watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Norwegian Tourism Company Refutes Religious Discrimination Against Canadian Christian - VIDEO" »


Gay Houston Couple Kicked Out of Cab for Kissing, Told They are Going to Hell: VIDEO

Houston

The Yellow Cab company in Houston, Texas is investigating a driver after Travis Player and his partner, Andres Orozco, claimed they were thrown out of the driver's cab for kissing, ABC7 reports.

Said Orozco: "The man just turns back to us and tells us that he doesn't give gay people rides. And he proceeds to tell us we're going to hell for being gay."

Yellow Cab said it would take immediate action and released a statement to the news station:

"Yellow Cab immediately investigated this allegation of discrimination, including talking to the independent contractor driver. the driver stated that he would have taken the same actions if it was a man and a woman in the taxicab. Evidently, the driver was overly sensitive to passengers kissing. Yellow Cab does not have a policy about passengers showing affection in taxicabs. in fact, we encourage kissing in our taxicabs."

Houston's recently passed LGBT rights ordinance would not yet protect Orozco and Player in this situation because it is being challenged and not enforced, and the state of Texas does not have public accommodation anti-discrimination laws.

Watch ABC7's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Houston Couple Kicked Out of Cab for Kissing, Told They are Going to Hell: VIDEO" »


UK Supermarket Apologizes After Security Guard Tells Lesbian Couple To Stop Their 'Disgusting' Kissing

Sain

And it happened on National Coming Out Day.

Twenty-two year old Annabelle Paige had just given her girlfriend a "light kiss" at a Sainsbury's supermarket in Brighton, England when the security approached the couple and asked them to stop kissing. Paige recounted the incident to The Times of London.

Ann"(The security guard) told us she was sorry to have said that but a customer had complained saying what we were doing was ‘disgusting’ and had claimed they were worried for the safety of their child so the security guard felt she had to come and say something to us. That word, disgusting, it really resonated and shook me."

"I get that if another customer is uncomfortable that’s a bad thing … but the problem is the other customer was in the wrong and essentially being homophobic. The guard didn’t seem to understand that, I was absolutely humiliated."

Paige also claims that the security guard asked the couple to leave the store, something Sainsbury's denies. The supermarket chain has since issued an apology to the women:

"This should never have happened - it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way. We have called Miss Paige to apologise and will be making a donation to a charity of her choice."

According to the Daily Mail, Paige also claims that the security guard revealed to her that she herself is also a lesbian:

The security guard later apologised, saying that she herself was gay and had simply been asked to speak to us by another customer who found us “disgusting” and was “worried for her child."

I felt sorry for the guard. However, the fact is that she perpetrated a hate crime on behalf of Sainsbury’s.

Paige has accepted the company's apology as well as their £100 donation to the charity of her choice.


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