Discrimination Hub




Conservative Kansas Lawmakers Primed to Reintroduce Religious Freedom Bill

Kansas’s “religious freedom bill’ that would allow both public and private businesses to refuse LGBT customers service on religious grounds failed to make it past the Senate floor earlier this year following a deluge of complaints. Supporters of the proposed bill are gearing up to reintroduce it for legislative consideration following a federal court’s decision to overturn Kansas’s ban on same sex marriage.

FitzgeraldBefore dying in the Senate, the religious freedom bill successfully made its way through Kansas’s House of Representatives. Lawmakers like Kansas state senator Steve Fitzgerald (R) explained to the Wichita Eagle that the first iteration of the bill had been mischaracterized in such a way that derailed its advancement. Reintroducing the bill soon, he explained, would give conservative Kansans a chance at maintaining their religious freedoms.

“So what you’ve got is we’ll sue you and take everything you can get unless you participate in and help us celebrate what you consider to be gravely evil,” he said, recounting instances of conservative businesses being sued for discrimination. “So your freedom of religion is exactly, mmm, pay up.”

“You can be fired for being gay. You can be evicted for being lesbian. And you can be kicked out of a restaurant for being transgender. And you have no recourse,” said Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas.

“Should businesses that do business with the public have to serve everybody? Yes. That’s a principle of American society. You are open for business, then you’re open for business to everybody. And you don’t get to choose what classes of people you’re not going to serve.”


Lesbian Basketball Players Sue Pepperdine University For Discrimination, 'Mental Anguish' - VIDEO

Pepperdine

Pepperdine University basketball players Haley Videckis and Layana White are suing their head coach and the school for alleged civil rights violations regarding their sexual orientation, reports OutSports.

Pepperdine, a private religious school in California which is allegedly in receipt of some public funding, says its purpose is to pursue the highest academic standards "within the context that celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith."

Back in 2012, the Malibu-based university blocked the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance called 'Reach Out' because Dean of Students Mark Davis said homosexuality is against "God's Will".

Videckis and White claim they were harassed for being in a relationship with each other. They allege the mental anguish ultimately led to a suicide attempt by White.

The two are suing coach Ryan Weisenberg and the university for violating their civil right to privacy and for violations of a 1972 California law which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities.

The complaint alleges that coach Weisenberg said "Lesbianism is not tolerated on this team” and is “a big concern in women's basketball."

In a statement released over the weekend, the university said”

“We take allegations of this kind very seriously. We conducted an immediate and thorough investigation and found no evidence to support these claims. The University remains committed to a diverse and inclusive environment.”

Watch Videckis discuss a game victory back in February, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Lesbian Basketball Players Sue Pepperdine University For Discrimination, 'Mental Anguish' - VIDEO" »


UFC Fighter Anderson Silva Isn't Gay, But Is Keeping the Possibility Open

SilvaAs a child Anderson Silva was bullied because other children believed him to be gay. In an interview with Trip magazine, the 39-year old UFC fighter describes growing up as a black man whose race and sexuality were sources of cultural friction. Growing up Silva’s aunt got him into ballet, an experience that the fighter both loved and hated.

“My friends would all go like, ‘ah, little girl, little lady.’ And add that to my high-pitched voice—I was bullied a lot, but I started to like ballet.” he said of his childhood.

“Evander Holyfield practiced ballet. It’s got nothing to do with that, you know. If you want do ballet, you do ballet. You want to fence, you fence. You want to be gay, be gay, it’s all right. You respect people’s spaces, they respect yours, it’s all right.”

Silva’s perspective on gays reflects a recent shift the the UFC’s general position on members of the LGBT community. Earlier this year before his final fight Kyle Kingsbury showed his support for the legalization of gay marriage during a weigh-in. The UFC also recently launched its Protect Yourself at All Times campaign aimed at increasing HIV awareness amongst UFC fans under the age of thirty. The UFC, Silva insisted, owes it to the LGBT community to show its support because so many fighters, though closeted, are themselves queer-identified.

"There’s a lot of homosexuals in mixed martial arts," he asserted. "There are a lot of them who haven’t yet come out--nowadays it’s so silly to not express your feelings. As long as you respect people's spaces, and respect their limits. You have to live your life in peace and no one has anything to do with that."

Silva himself doesn't mind addressing his own sexuality either, saying he's not gay but is also keeping the possiblity open that he might discover a new side of himself someday.

"I’m still young, it could be that in the future I’ll find out that I’m gay. I take good care of my things, I put everything in a bag, I use soap, I put on a cream after training. People think it’s capricious. To each his own. Doesn’t mean you’re more man or less man, more gay or less gay."


Alliance Defending Freedom Wants to Make a Martyr Out of Anti-Gay Kentucky Printing Company - VIDEO

Hands on Originals

Anti-gay "Chistian" litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is once again playing the victim in a new video covering the Kentucky t-shirt company found guilty of violating Lexington's fairness ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, reports Good As You.

Best known for defending anti-gay retailers in trouble for defying laws banning discrimination, ADF also lobbies for homophobic laws abroad.

AdfBack in 2012, Hands On Originals refused to print the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization's Pride t-shirts. The company was found to have violated the non-discrimination code and was ordered to provide diversity training for staff.

Good As You’s interpretation of ADF’s latest moan?

“There is not one shred of difference between the protections that apply to gay customers and their perfectly fair consumer requests and the protections that apply to Black, Chinese-American, Jewish, straight, disabled, or Christian customers. The only difference is the sense of entitlement that far too many anti-LGBT Christians believe they deserve. And why wouldn't they believe this? There are scores of false witness bearers and false witness-bearing organizations desperate to keep that lie alive.”

Watch long-suffering pro-discrimination advocates talk about the Hands On Originals case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Alliance Defending Freedom Wants to Make a Martyr Out of Anti-Gay Kentucky Printing Company - VIDEO" »


Bobby Jindal 'Prayer Guide' Blames Gays For Hurricane Katrina - VIDEO

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Louisiana Governor and anti-gay “Christian” nutjob Bobby Jindal is claiming in material for a prayer rally to kick off his possible presidential run that Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters are the result of god’s anger at gay people, reports Right Wing Watch.

Last month, Jindal spoke at an anti-equality, "pro-family" event in Dallas. He has also given anti-gay Duck Dynasty star Phil Roberston an award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

Jindal is set to kick off the potential presidential campaign in January with a stadium prayer rally organized by anti-gay groups and individuals including listed hate group the American Family Association.

It would appear that Jindal’s campaign is being closely modeled on Rick Perry’s disastrous 2012 run for president. Organizers are actually reusing material from Perry’s 2011 prayer rally in Texas that blame natural disasters on gay people, marriage equality, legal abortion and Internet pornography. 6a00d8341c730253ef01a511ba7967970c-800wi

The prayer guide for the rally also appears to be exactly the same as the guide distributed to participants in Perry’s 2011 event.  As Right Wing Watch points out, the materials have not “even been updated to include the increased number of states that are bringing God’s judgment on America by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

The prayer guide includes the following nuggets of “Christian” wisdom:

“We have watched sin escalate to a proportion the nation has never seen before. We live in the first generation in which the wholesale murder of infants through abortion is not only accepted but protected by law. Homosexuality has been embraced as an alternative lifestyle. Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and Washington, D.C. Pornography is available on demand through the internet.

“Biblical signs of apostasy are before our very eyes. While the United States still claims to be a nation 'under God' it is obvious that we have greatly strayed from our foundations in Christianity.

“This year we have seen a dramatic increase in tornadoes that have taken the lives of many and crippled entire cities, such as Tuscaloosa, AL & Joplin, MO. And let us not forget that we are only six years from the tragic events of hurricane Katrina, which rendered the entire Gulf Coast powerless.”

Watch Jindal speak at this year's anti-gayathon GOP-backed Values Voter Summit, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bobby Jindal 'Prayer Guide' Blames Gays For Hurricane Katrina - VIDEO" »


Gay-Friendly Corporations Refuse To Come Out Against 'License To Discriminate' Bills In Texas

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Eight companies with perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index have contributed money to the campaign of Texas Republican Sen. Donna Campbell (above right), the author of legislation that seeks to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constituion. 

But none of these otherwise gay-friendly companies have come out in opposition to SJR 10, which Campbell filed early last month.

The Texas Observer reports: 

“SJR 10 is one of thousands of bills filed, we will weigh in and comment on bills when and if they are scheduled for hearing,” said Mona Taylor, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based AT&T Inc., which contributed $5,000 to Campbell’s campaign through its PAC this year.

Other companies with perfect HRC scores that have contributed to Campbell’s campaign in the last year include General Motors Co. ($2,500), Citigroup Inc. ($1,500), UnitedHealth Group Inc. ($,1000), the Raytheon Co. ($1,000), Merck & Co. ($1,000), Genentech Inc. ($750) and Astellas Pharma Inc. ($500).

On Monday, Plano added itself to the list of cities in Texas that have passed ordinances banning anti-LGBT discrimination. Two days later, state Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas (above left), filed a House version of Campbell's "license to discriminate" bill — and another lawmaker is threatening to introduce a similar measure, The Observer reports. 
 
Experts say the legislation would severely limit cities' ability to enforce nondiscrimination ordinances, since any business owner could claim an exemption if they have "a sincerely held religious belief." But the unintended consequences of the constitutional amendment could be far worse, according to Equality Texas' Daniel Williams.
 
Texas already has a statute, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that provides strong protections for religious freedom. But the proposed amendments would supplant the RFRA and go much further, overriding the statute's exceptions for things like zoning regulations and civil rights laws, according to The Observer
 

“A church or a synagogue or a mosque could conceivably be built anywhere with no concern to traffic flow or how much parking is available or building codes,” Williams said. “There are butchers that butcher in accordance with very specific religious laws, and they’re able to do that, but the city and the state enforce environmental protections that ensure we don’t wind up with giant ponds of blood in residential neighborhoods. If you take away the ability of cities to enforce those, it’s going to have an enormous negative impact on the quality of life for everyone in that area.”

Williams said Campbell has introduced similar measures in three previous legislative sessions. Given the senator's penchant for seeking to enshrine a "license to discriminate" in the state Constitution, the companies' campaign contributions could reasonably be interpreted as an endorsement of the legislation — at least until they publicly state otherwise. 


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