Gay Rights Hub

LGBT Activists Stage Valentine's Day Protests In Arkansas, Kansas: VIDEO


It used to be a tradition for same-sex couples to protest marriage bans on Valentine's Day — often by requesting licenses from clerk's offices. 

But now that marriage equality has arrived in 37 states, the focus has shifted. 

Instead of seeking legal recognition of their relationships, LGBT people are demanding that they be protected against discrimination based on who they are and who they love. 

On Saturday, activists in Arkansas and Kansas spent part of their Valentine's Day protesting decisions by Republican governors that effectively sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. 

In Kansas, nearly 1,000 people gathered outside the statehouse to protest Gov. Sam Brownback's decision to rescind an executive order protecting LGBT state employees. The Kansas rally featured some colorful signs and costumes. 

In Arkansas, about 70 people gathered outside the governor's mansion to call on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto SB 202, which would prohibit cities from passing LGBT protections. 

View more images and watch news reports on the two rallies, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Gay Arkansas Couples File Lawsuit Seeking Recognition Of 'Window' Same-Sex Marriages


Two Arkansas same-sex couples filed a lawsuit Friday against the state attorney general seeking to have their "window" marriages recognized. 

The couples were among about 600 who wed during a weeklong period in May after a circuit court judge struck down the state's marriage ban, and before the Arkansas Supreme Court put the ruling on hold

The Washington Blade reports: 

One of the plaintiff couples in the case is Angelia Frazier-Henson and Katherine Henson; the other is Markett Humphries and Dianna Cristy. Both are Pulaski County residents and wed on the first day same-sex marriage was available in Arkansas.

According to lawsuit, the state requires these plaintiffs to “commit a Class C felony in order to comply with Arkansas law requiring the filing of individual income taxes.” To make things more complicated, Humphries is a law enforcement officer and committing perjury “could result in the loss of her employment.”

The lawsuit alleges that denying recognition of these couples’ unions violates their right to due process and equal protection under both Arkansas Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The litigation calls for the court to enjoin Arkansas from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriages with respect to couples who wed during that week-long period in May. 

The Blade notes that the federal government has never announced it would recognize the Arkansas marriages, even though it has done so for so-called window marriages in other states, including Utah, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana. 

In November, a federal district judge also struck down Arkansas' marriage ban, but put the decision on hold pending the state's appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court. 

In related news, Arkansas LGBT advocates staged a love-in Saturday afternoon outside the governor's mansion to protest a bill banning local nondiscrimination ordinances. The bill has passed both the House and Senate, and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says she plans to allow it to take effect without her signature.

Ground zero for LGBT equality may have just shifted from Alabama two states to the west. 

Read the Arkansas' couples lawsuit seeking recognition of their marriages below:


TX Pastor Robert Jeffress: Christians Being Forced To Bake Gay Wedding Cakes Is A Sign Of The Antichrist - AUDIO


Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, says acceptance of homosexuality is paving the way for the Antichrist. 

Appearing Monday on The Janet Mefferd show, a nationally syndicated Christian radio show, Jeffress said same-sex marriage and the "persecution of Christians" are among signs the world is experiencing "labor pains" before the second coming of Jesus. Other signs include the popularity of the book and movie Fifty Shades Of Grey, which Jeffress calls "Fifty Shades of Perversion." 

Many of these views reportedly are detailed in Jeffress' new book, Countdown to the Apocalypse: Why ISIS and Ebola Are Only the Beginning.

The Christian Post reports: 

CountdownAlthough Jeffress also cited the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and other Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, he said that the increasing acceptance of gay marriage and homosexuality is as much an indicator of the sign of the Antichrist's nearing arrival.

He added that society has become too intolerant of the values and beliefs that Christians hold, and too frequently Christians are punished and criticized for maintaining their belief and acting upon their faith. He explained that the persecution of Christians who speak up for their faith is further laying down the path for the Antichrist to "martyr" Christians once he arrives. 

"What is happening is that we are becoming desensitized to the persecution of Christians just not globally, but also in our Country. The fact is that we are being told that Christians who refuse to serve a wedding cake to a gay couple, that they are extremists, its OK to take their livelihood and shut down their business," Jeffress said. "I believe that we are getting desensitized to that, which will pave the way for that future world dictator, the Antichrist, to persecute and martyr Christians without any repercussions what-so-ever."

Of course, hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric is nothing new for Jeffress, who began his legacy of homophobia when he led a campaign to remove gay-themed books from the public library in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1998. 

Since then, he has said that gays lead "a miserable lifestyle," that homosexuality leads to pedophilia, and that gay rights will lead to "the inevitable implosion of our country." 

Jeffress has also said President Barack Obama is paving the way for the Antichrist, defended "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson's anti-gay remarks, and compared homosexuality to plugging a TV into the wrong outlet and "blowing it to smithereens." 

In fact, Jeffress is so bad that not even Tim Tebow would speak at his church. 

You can listed to Jeffress' full interview here. Listen to clips about same-sex marriage and "Fifty Shades of Grey" via Right Wing Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Both Sides Claim Victory In Trial Over Houston LGBT Protections: VIDEO


Both sides are claiming victory after the jury reached a mixed verdict Friday in the trial over a petition to repeal Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance. 

But we won't know which side is right until the judge issues a final ruling about how many valid signatures are on the petition. And even then, the decision is likely to be appealed. 

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

The ruling is not final, and a judge will now consider the jury's findings about the work of more than 100 circulators of the petition that the city rejected last summer, citing overwhelming notary and signature-gatherer errors.

District Judge Robert Schaffer was not present for Friday's ruling after nearly six days of jury deliberation. Attorneys on both sides said he will now begin counting which signatures are valid to see if opponents have reached the needed 17,269-signature threshold. Schaffer retains wide legal discretion in what he deems valid.

The jury's ruling Friday will trigger a series of legal dominoes that, eventually, will yield a definitive answer: The judge will count the signatures, issue a decision on whether the petition is valid and then the case will almost certainly go to the appellate courts

Jurors determined there was widespread forgery on petition pages they reviewed, but no fraud. They also found that in many cases circulators failed to properly sign and subscribe petition pages.  

Geoffrey Harrison, the lead attorney for the city, told the Chronicle that supporters of the Equal Rights Ordinance should "be thrilled and dancing in their kitchen" about the verdict. Mayor Annise Parker, who authored the ordinance, issued this statement:  

Parker"I am very pleased with the jury’s verdict, and I expect the court will apply the law to the verdict and issue a final judgment confirming that the petition failed.  The City of Houston has had in place for over 100 years the same rules and legal requirements governing the referendum process to ensure fairness and avoid fraud, and the jury’s verdict confirms that the petitions did not meet the legal requirements. The plaintiffs are expected to appeal any outcome that is not in their favor.  That would be unfortunate for the City.  I believe that the majority of Houston wants this divisive fight to be over so that we are able to provide equal rights protections for all of our residents. The City is confident it will prevail."

But opponents of the ordinance were also claiming victory. Plaintiff Jared Woodfill, the former chair of the local GOP, sent out a press release under the headline, "Favorable Jury Verdict Should Result in Victory for Voters and Religious Liberty!"

Woodfill"Great news...the jury returned a verdict that should allow the people to vote on Mayor Parker's Unequal Rights Ordinance," Woodfill wrote. "Judge Robert Schaffer will now apply the ruling to the almost 55,000 individuals who signed the petition. I am confident he will conclude we had the requisite 17,269 signatures necessary for the people to vote on this issue."

The Texas Pastor Council, the anti-LGBT group that led the petition drive, also said it's confident the judge will determine there are enough valid signatures: 

The coalition of pastors and community leaders behind the historic referendum effort to repeal Mayor Annise Parker’s pro-LGBT so-called “Equal Rights Ordinance” and the corresponding lawsuit after Parker and her legal team invalidated the petitions, responded with faith, confidence and optimism to today’s jury verdict that was nearly a fifty/fifty split on questions they considered.

“The Mayor’s lawyers went to extraordinary lengths to discredit, demean, denigrate and disqualify as many petitions and signatures as possible. Thankfully, in spite of an incredible amount of detail presented and even oft repeated by the city’s attack team, our God has again raised His standard of justice,” stated Dr. F.N. Williams, lead plaintiff for the pastors of the No UNequal Rights Coalition and Senior Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church as well as President of Houston Ministers Against Crime. ...

“We are thankful that the God of justice stood with this David again against the Goliath of the machinery of city government in the hands of those like Annise Parker intent on serving her personal agenda even at the cost of voting rights of the people,” added Pastor Hernan Castano, an influential Hispanic pastor and network leader as well as one of the “Houston Five” subpoenaed by the Mayor.

Watch a report from KTRK-TV, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Lionsgate Picks-Up LGBT Rights Drama ‘Freeheld’ Starring Ellen Page, Julianne Moore

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 5.37.47 PM

Freeheld, an LGBT drama starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, was picked up by Lionsgate after the company and several other high-profile companies including Sony Pictures and Netflix bid on the feature reports SheWired. Execs only saw 12 minutes from the film and went through a night-long bidding war that resulted in Lionsgate acquiring the film.

FreeheldThe film tells the true story of Laurel Hester (played by Moore), a lesbian police officer with terminal cancer who fights government officials for equal rights so her partner Stacie Andree (played by Page) can have access to Hester’s pension benefits. Moore and Page’s co-stars include Steve Carell, Luke Grimes and Michael Shannon. Ron Nyswayner wrote the script for the film and the feature is directed by Peter Sollet. Page is also a producer on the film and considers it her passion project. Moore is a strong contender for this year’s Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Still Alice, and Carell is nominated for his work in Foxcatcher. The film is currently in post-production.

A documentary on the couple, also called Freeheld, was released in 2007. The feature film adaptation is currently in post-production. You can watch the heart wrenching trailer for the 2007 documentary, AFTER THE JUMP

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Anti-Gay Texas House Candidate Calls Opponent 'El Diablo' For Supporting LGBT Rights


Last month we told you about Nunzio Previtera, the rabidly anti-LGBT Texas House candidate who says God didn't intend people to be gay. 

NunzioWith early voting now under way in his runoff against former Councilman Diego Bernal, who authored San Antonio's LGBT protections, Previtera (right) is at it again. This time, his supporters reportedly are distributing the hateful anti-gay flier shown above. reports: 

A group of supporters of Republican candidate Nunzio Previtera, calling themselves Tejanos Against Politicos, is distributing a flyer to voters in Texas House District 123 that shows two men kissing and former City Councilman Diego Bernal, Previtera’s Democratic rival in the race, depicted as “El Diablo,” the devil.

The two men kissing, of course, are gay Marines Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells. So it seems that in addition to Bernal, Previtera's supporters are attacking all military servicemembers. 

But the worst part is that Previtera was endorsed this week by Texas Rebublican Gov. Greg Abbott. From

Governor Greg Abbott rolled into San Antonio on February 11 to offer his endorsement of Nunzio Previtera, the Republican anti-LGBT candidate who’s running against Democrat Diego Bernal in the race for Texas House District 123.

The governor spoke to a group of about 150 people who gathered at a local pizzeria off Blanco Road saying, “We don’t need another Nancy Pelosi-type Democrat in Austin, we need Nunzio.”


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