Gay Rights Hub

Wyoming Republicans Lash Out At GOP Governor Matt Mead For Not Appealing Gay Marriage Ruling

Back in October, Republican Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead declined to appeal a federal district judge's ruling striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban. 

Mead recognized that since the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Wyoming, had struck down similar bans in other states, and that since the U.S. Supreme Court had declined to review the decision, such an appeal would be futile. As a result, same-sex couples began marrying in Wyoming.

Mead.MattTwo months later, GOP leaders in Goshen County are still smarting over the outcome, and they've decided to lash out at Mead (right). Thirty-three members of the county party's central committee have written a letter to Mead — along with the Senate president and the House speaker — slamming the governor for not appealing the decision.  

The Casper Star-Tribune reports: 

“We hold that Gov. Mead was remiss in not strenuously supporting and defending our platform planks on family and marriage which was manifested in his failure to appeal the same-sex marriage ruling of the U.S. District Court,” the letter states.

“While the opportunity to appeal has regrettably passed, we call on all our Republican office holders and leaders to do all they can from this point forward to support and promote our official party platform planks relating to family and marriage.”

Mead, who was re-elected in November, issued a statement in response to the letter saying he continues to oppose same-sex marriage: 

“But we need to recognize where we are with the courts, and I do recognize that. This group or other groups are free to pursue any recourse they believe is available. Interestingly, when I was fighting the case in Wyoming federal district court and a separate case in Wyoming state court, I did not hear from this group.”

Jeran Artery, chairman of Wyoming Equality, had this to say about the letter: 

“The Goshen County Republicans are on the wrong side of history,” he said. “I wonder, when they issue a statement like that and sign their names to it, what their grandkids and great-grandkids are going to think of this.”

And Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of National Log Cabin Republicans, said: 

“If you are a fiscal conservative, continuing a stringent opposition to civil marriage equality in the wake of these bans getting struck down, one after another, is in many respects doing a disservice to the taxpayers of the state,” he said.

Last month, a poll found that 53 percent of Wyoming residents now support same-sex marriage, compared to only 39 percent who oppose it. 

Meanwhile, LGBT advocates in Wyoming hope the marriage ruling will create new momentum for a bill to outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination.  

Other county GOP groups reportedly intend to send similar letters criticizing Mead for not appealing the ruling, but despite their efforts, it sounds as though Wyoming may be on its way to living up to its nickname: The Equality State. 

LGBT Advocates Cry Foul After Texas Leases 222 Acres To Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Of America For Nominal Fee


LGBT advocates in El Paso are objecting to the state of Texas' decision to lease a large tract of land to the Boy Scouts of America for a nominal amount.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved a 25-year lease Thursday for 222 acres in El Paso that reportedly will be the site of one of the Boy Scouts' largest urban camps. 

The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, lifted a ban on gay youth last year but retained a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The El Paso Times reports:  

The state is waiving a requirement that it seek fair-market value for the property "for social mitigation purposes."

It's not appropriate to give such public resources to an organization that does not allow gay men to serve as scoutmasters, said Skip Rosenthal, executive director of the group International AIDS Empowerment of El Paso and Las Cruces.

"Our city should be opposing this," Rosenthal said. "We should not be giving government perks to an organization that discriminates against gay men."

Rosenthal is calling on the city of El Paso, which has an ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, to pass a resolution opposing the lease. 

Texas has no state law that prohibits it from entering contracts with organizations that discriminate against gays.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry (above), who appoints members of the Transportation Commission, is an Eagle Scout who published a book about the Boy Scouts in 2008 in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism. 

Of course, the irony of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay adult leaders is that the organization has been covering up sex abuse by Scoutmasters for nearly a century. 

This week, a jury in Connecticut found the Boy Scouts negligent and awarded $7 million to a man who was sexually abused by a Scoutmaster in the 1970s. It was the largest compensatory damages verdict ever against the Boy Scouts. 

The Connecticut Post reports: 

During the trial, the plaintiff's attorneys introduced evidence that the Boy Scouts of America knew for decades before the 1970s that child sexual abuse was widespread in Boy Scout troop activities across the country. Witnesses in the trial said the Boy Scouts maintained thousands of secret cases it called "the Confidential Files," dating to the early 1920s. The files were held in locked cabinets in the Boy Scouts national headquarters in Dallas, according to the attorneys.

Rather than using the information to inform and educate local troop leaders, parents and Scouts about the existence of sexual abuse, the plaintiff claimed, the Boy Scouts hid the information, partly out of concern for protecting the Boy Scouts' all-American image.

Evangelical Pastor Has Violent Anti-Gay Meltdown, Attacks Deputy in Chilean Congress: VIDEOS


An anti-gay evangelical pastor named Javier Soto was ejected from the Chilean House of Deputies yesterday and began attacking lawmakers for approving an LGBT-inclusive initiative that would give legal protections to unmarried couples.

Soto burst into the chamber holding a poster for the AVP (Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja) bill, yelling (translation via euronews):

"Record, gentlemen... This is the filth they are offering up? To Chileans, this is perversion. This half-naked man… look at this and film it, gentlemen. This is what Mr. Rolando Jimenez (spokesperson for gay rights group Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation) does. Just look. Tell me otherwise."

He added: "I am an evangelical pastor and defend the gospel, gentlemen. Does this not lack modesty and decency?"

Soto then proceeded to go into full meltdown mode, and attacked Deputy Peter Brown before being ejected from the room.

The debate caused concern for the safety of lawmakers as nobody knew how Soto had gained access to the chamber but LGBT rights group MOVIHL told Noticia Cristina that it was by the invitation of another Deputy, Jorge Sabag.

Watch videos of the incident, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Bills Aim To Overturn Anti-Gay Texas Law That Punishes Children For Having Same-Sex Parents


The founders of a popular support network for gay dads are taking on a Texas law that prohibits them from having both of their names on their son's birth certificate. 

Austinites Andy Miller and Brian Stephens (above and below), founders of The Handsome Father, say the law is "mean-spirited" because it punishes their son, 7-year-old Clark, for something over which he has no control. From The Texas Observer

“As he got older, it became less about us and it became more about him,” Miller said. “This is his document that he’ll carry with him the rest of his life, and it very clearly only lists half of his family on it, and that’s when we kind of became angry and said the state is treating our son differently because of who his parents are, not because of anything he has done or hasn’t done. This needs to change because of our kids. The state is basically targeting them for unequal treatment.”

Acting in the name of "conservative values," the Texas Legislature decided in 1997 to require supplemental birth certificates issued to adoptive parents to have the name of one man and one woman. Texas is one of a handful of states with similar laws, and marriage equality won't solve the problem. 

On Wednesday, lawmakers in the state House and Senate introduced bills to overturn the law. State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, told the Observer

“I think if you asked every member of the Legislature, they would say they care about orphaned children, and if we can get them to understand that this bill is about children and not about who their parents are, then that should carry the day. There’s no doubt that this policy has cruel effects.”

Daniel Williams, legislative specialist for Equality Texas, called the law "the lowest form of politics possible — if you don’t like someone, attack their children.”

A few years ago, Lambda Legal challenged a similar law in Louisiaina, but lost the case when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear it

Equality Texas is calling on people to contact their legislators in suport of the bills.  



Texas Business Owner Puts Up Sign Saying 'The GLBT Agenda Is Bad For America,' Prompting Gay Employee To Quit: VIDEO


The proprietor of a Texas animal clinic has put up a sign outside his business saying, "The GLBT agenda is bad for America." 

Jody Kincaid put up the sign outside the Anthony Animal Clinic in Anthony, Texas, just north of El Paso. KFOX Channel 14 reports: 

"People have the right to be gay, and I would protect that in anyone's life," Kincaid said. "At the same time, the gay movement has no business coming into a business and saying you have to do business the way we tell you."

The Anthony veterinarian said he was only practicing his freedom of speech.

"The messages I put up are part of everyone's First Amendment," Kincaid said.

The sign has prompted an openly gay employee at the clinic, Nick Diaz, to quit his job, KFOX reports: 

"It just made me very sad that he would put a sign, an anti-gay sign, knowing that I'm an openly gay person and it would hurt my feelings," Diaz said.

Diaz said that same day Kincaid had talked to him about how his performance had been slipping at work. But Diaz said the message on the marquee is the reason he quit.

"My decision to leave was due to me feeling pretty much discriminated and sad to be at a place I felt not welcomed," Diaz said.

According to its website, the Anthony Animal Clinic offers "quality health care for both pets and people" — and specializes in holistic and homeopathic medicine, including herbs, acupuncture and nutrition. 

Kincaid is of course correct that he has every right to put the sign.

However, 21 states have laws barring business owners from turning away customers based on their sexual orientation, and courts have upheld them.

Unfortunately, Texas isn't one of them. Texas also doesn't have a law prohibiting anti-gay job discrimination, meaning Diaz likely can't sue Kincaid in state court.  

Several cities in Texas have added LGBT protections, prompting Republican state lawmakers to file "license to discriminate" bills that would undermine them. 

The key question is whether Kincaid thinks it should be legal for businesses to turn away blacks. And indeed, the most telling part of the KFOX report may be when it briefly shows the opposite side of his sign, which reads, "Why is our leader promoting racism?"

In case you're wondering, the Anthony Animal Clinic's Facebook page is here

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

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Russia Ignoring Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes, Which Have Spiked In the Wake Of Gay 'Propaganda' Ban


Anti-LGBT violence and harassment have increased dramatically in Russia since the country passed an anti-gay "propaganda" law in June 2013, and President Vladimir Putin's government isn't doing anything to stop it, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch

RussiaReportThe report, titled "License To Harm: Violence and Harassment Against LGBT People And Activists In Russia," is based on 94 interviews with people from 16 cities and towns in Russia. 

The interviews were conducted in the leadup to and aftermath of passage of the law, which bans distribution of information about LGBT relationships to minors and "effectively legalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation," according to Human Rights Watch. 

One Russian LGBT group cited in the report found that hate crimes have increased more than ten-fold in the wake of the anti-gay law, with 300 attacks in the last year, BBC News reports. 

From Human Rights Watch

All over Russia there has been an increase in attacks by vigilante groups and individuals against LGBT people in the past two years. There has also been an increase in attacks on LGBT activists, and anti-gay groups have used the 2013 law to justify mounting campaigns of harassment and intimidation of LGBT teachers and other school or college staff to get them fired from their jobs.

Although Russian law enforcement agencies have the tools to prosecute homophobic violence, there appears to be no will to do so and no policy or instructions from the leadership to take homophobic violence seriously. Aside from several isolated investigations, the authorities have done little to hold assailants accountable.

Instead of publicly denouncing anti-LGBT violence and rhetoric, Russia’s leadership has remained silent. In some cases public officials have engaged in explicit anti-LGBT hate speech.

The report documents anti-LGBT vigilante groups that have sprung up across Russia, luring gay men and teens on the pretext of dates before viciously assaulting them and posting videos of the attacks online. It also chronicles attacks on public pro-LGBT events, including just about every one in the last year, as well as "smear campaigns" designed to force LGBT people and their supporters to resign from their jobs — most of which have been successful. 

The report finds that Russian authorities have largely overlooked anti-LGBT hate crimes, ignoring motives and failing to properly investigate, while blaming victims and not adequately protecting them from perpetrators.   

Finally, the report issues a series of recommendations to Russian authorities, which Human Rights Watch summarizes as follows: 

Three key steps Russia needs to take are: first, for its leadership to publicly condemn such violence and commit to ending and preventing it; second, for its law enforcement agencies to start investigating and prosecuting homophobic violence as hate crimes under the law; and finally, the Russian government should immediately repeal the anti-LGBT propaganda law, which implicitly condones and encourages such violence in the first place, as well as harms children by denying them access to essential information.

To read the full report, go here





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