Discrimination Hub

Gov. Butch Otter: 'Idaho Is Pro-Traditional Marriage and I'm Not Going to Do Anything to Put That In Danger' - VIDEO

OtterGubernatorial candidates in Idaho traded barbs over gay marriage and LGBT-inclusive discrimination protections during yesterday's debate - with Governor Butch Otter pledging to continue defending his state's 2006 voter approved amendment to the Idaho Constitution banning gay marriage.

Said Otter:

"In 2006, Idaho looked at it and said we are going to change our constitution. And they asked the people of Idaho and go to the polls and vote for a constitutional amendment, Article Three, Section Twenty-eight of the state constitution, to define legal marriage in Idaho, as a union between one man and one woman. And from that all of the detractors, and probably including the author of that question, that all of a sudden Idaho is anti-gay. That we are anti-something. We are not. Idaho is pro traditional marriage. And I am not going to do anything to put that in danger."

BalukoffOtter's Democratic challenger, A.J. Balukoff, criticized that position, saying the amendment was discriminatory:

"No matter how many of our citizens vote to pass the law, we cannot pass a law that violates the United States Constitution. This is about discrimination, treating all people with fairness and respect. Regardless of what our personal beliefs may be, we still need to treat them equally."

Libertarian candidate John Bujak, meanwhile, appeared to take the middle ground on the issue - saying that while he's personally opposed to gay marriage he recognizes those types of views don't hold up in court.

Watch a video of the gay marriage portion of the debate, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)  

Boise Weekly adds:

Balukoff and Otter also widened their differences on the debate over Add the Words, the effort to add the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

"The governor and the Idaho legislature represent ALL the people of Idaho," said Balukoff. "To stonewall this issue for eight years is not acceptable. We should grant a legislative hearing and strengthen the human rights act to add the four words."

AddthewordsOtter said he had met with Add the Words organizers on two occasions during the 2014 legislative session and had expected a legislative hearing to surface.

"That is, until their antics started up," said Otter, referring to the multiple arrests of Add the Words advocates at the Statehouse. "I can understand the angst of the legislature and their reluctance to take up the issue."

Otter said a hearing on the matter is expected during the next legislative session. 

On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit upheld a ruling striking down Idaho's gay marriage ban. The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily stayed the Idaho ruling, however. 

Continue reading "Gov. Butch Otter: 'Idaho Is Pro-Traditional Marriage and I'm Not Going to Do Anything to Put That In Danger' - VIDEO" »

Kentucky Human Rights Commission Says Printing Company Cannot Discriminate Against Gay Customers


A Lexington-based printing company has been found guilty of violating the city's fairness ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in its refusal to print the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization's Pride t-shirts back in 2012.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports:

[Hearing officer Greg Munson] wrote that the application of the Fairness Ordinance did not violate the T-shirt vendor's right to free speech and the free exercise of religion. [...]

Hands onIn the statement, Hands On Originals' co-counsel Bryan Beauman, with the Lexington firm of Sturgill, Turner, Barker and Moloney, said, "No one wants to live in that kind of America — a place where people who identify as homosexual are forced to promote the Westboro Baptists and where printers with sincere religious convictions are forced to promote the message of the GLSO. ... In America, we don't force people to express messages that are contrary to their convictions."

The ruling also stipulates that within the next year, Hands On employees must undergo diversity training to ensure future discrimination does not occur. 

Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian litigation group that defended Hands On Originals, released a video last month speaking out about the case. You can watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kentucky Human Rights Commission Says Printing Company Cannot Discriminate Against Gay Customers" »

University Of Texas Fraternity Suspended For Anti-Gay Discrimination - VIDEO

Lambda Phi Epsilon

The University of Texas (UT) has temporarily suspended a fraternity following reports that a student had been denied a bid due to his sexual orientation, reports The Daily Texan.

The UT Austin chapter of Lambda Phi Epsilon is under investigation by its national board after civil engineering senior Diwu Zhou said he rushed for the fraternity this fall but was asked a “derogatory” question in the initial interview process. He said that the interview panel included members of the official UT chapter along with members who ran an “underground” chapter that operated while the organization was banned from campus 2005-2011.

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb0794b2d4970d-800wiThe seven year ban came about after Phanta ''Jack'' Phoummarath, a freshman pledge at the fraternity, was found dead after a fraternity house party.  His body had been defaced from head to toe with tags including “FAG,” “I’m gay” and “I AM FAT.”

The fraternity restarted at UT in fall 2013 and is on probation this year.

Zhou said that when he was told he did not receive a bid, a member of the fraternity told him the reason he was not selected was because he is gay.

Charles Andrean, the fraternity’s national president, said:

“We have received a complaint about the undergraduate chapter, and our priority right now is a full investigation and finding out everything that potentially could have occurred here.”

Phil Butler, sorority and fraternity life advisor for the Office of the Dean of Students, confirmed that Lambda Phi Epsilon is currently banned from conducting any activity on campus but added that he is not aware of an “underground” fraternity organization.

David Chen, business graduate student and officer and media contact for the UT chapter, declined to comment on behalf of the fraternity.

Back in April, a student at the Central University of Florida claimed that he was rejected by the Beta Theta Phi fraternity because he is gay.

As part of their legal settlement following the death of Phoummarath, fraternity members participated in the production of an educational anti-hazing video which you can watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "University Of Texas Fraternity Suspended For Anti-Gay Discrimination - VIDEO" »

Anti-gay Christian College in Massachusetts to Review Policy Banning 'Homosexual Practice'


A Christian university in Massachusetts has been given a year to review it's policy on forbidding "homosexual practice" on campus after the school's accreditation board, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, raised questions about the school's policy violating the commission's standards for accreditation. 

Boston Business Journal reports:

The commission asked Gordon College to submit a report next September. The report should describe the process by which the college has approached its review of the policy “to ensure that the College’s policies and procedures are non-discriminatory,” the statement said. [...]

In its joint statement, NEASC and Gordon College called the review process a “period of discernment” that will take place over the next 12 to 18 months. What “carried the day” for commission members was Gordon College’s decision to conduct its own review, Brittingham said. She said the long time frame that Gordon College has been allowed for the review is appropriate considering that Gordon College's policy is "deeply embedded in the culture of the college" and such things "don't change overnight."

LindsayThe NEASC began looking into the matter after news broke in June about Gordon College President Michael Lindsay signing a letter along with about 140 other religious leaders asking President Obama to secure exemptions for faith based groups in his executive order barring LGBT discrimination in federal contract work. Lindsay's letter also led the City of Salem to end its contract with Gordon College. 

In related news, Gordon College alumni gathered at the First Church in Wenahm on Friday to show support for the school's LGBT community and to call for a change in the school's anti-gay policy. 

(pictures via website)

AZ Secretary of State Candidate Blasts Opponent's Vote For Anti-gay Religious Discrimination Bill in New Ad: WATCH

Az ad

Terry Goddard, the Democratic Secretary of State candidate in Arizona, has a new ad out blasting his opponent state Sen. Michele Reagan on her vote earlier this year for the controversial bill that would have allowed religious-based discrimination against LGBT citizens (the bill was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer). 

The ad, titled "Fairness," tells the story of Melanie Puskar-Blakely and Tonya Blakely and how their family would have been treated as second class citizens if Reagan had had it her way.  


Continue reading "AZ Secretary of State Candidate Blasts Opponent's Vote For Anti-gay Religious Discrimination Bill in New Ad: WATCH" »

Gay London Couple Denied Housing For Not Being A 'Regular Couple'

George Poole and Matthew Greenaway

Greg Rutherford - the Olympic athlete who bears a striking resemblence to Neil Patrick Harris - had a pair of friends looking for housing in Clapham, south London. The couple, who are gay men, found a promising ad through Gumtree, but when they contacted the landlord they received a less than hospitable (though polite) response:

"Hi guys, sorry but we are looking for a regular couple. Thanks for understanding."

George Poole, one of the two men denied housing, said when he spoke with the Standard:

It is weird - it is so backward. We all come into this world as equals so why can we not all be treated as equals? Especially somewhere like London - you would not expect that. And Clapham itself is generally considered quite gay friendly.

Unfortunately for the landlord, denying housing based on orientation runs afoul of the Equality Act 2010 which makes such a denial illegal, so turbulent times may be in his near future.


Towleroad - Blogged