Gay Rights Hub

Lewiston, Idaho Passes LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

IdahoThe city of Lewiston, Idaho has become the 9th city in the state to ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation, gender identity or familial status. As The Lewiston Tribune reports, the vote came last night and the ordinance passed 5-2. 

One of the two "no" votes came from Mayor Pro Tem R.J. Johnson who previously commented that the ordinance would infringe “on our basic civil liberties." Councilor Clinton Daniels cast the other "no vote", surprising few as he was equally as concerned as Johnson in the lead up to the vote about how the legislation could lead to jail time and fines for those refusing to serve LGBT customers:

"My strong belief in liberty compels me to oppose ordinances that do not respect private property, freedom of association, and voluntary contracts; even when the stated goal of such ordinances is something I support.

When you engage in commerce, whether it be for a personal sale or a commercial one, it is a form of a contract, and in a free society all contracts should be voluntary."

UN Urges Kyrgyzstan To Reject Russian Style Anti-Gay Law

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6f55abf970b-250wi (1)Following an overwhelming vote by Kyrgyz lawmakers in favor of a Russian-style ban on the promotion of positive attitudes towards so-called "non traditional sexual relations", Pink News reports that the United Nations has urged the former Soviet Republic to abandon the discriminatory law:

Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)Ravina Shamdasani said: “We call on the Kyrgyz Parliament and authorities to refrain from passing draft legislation that would embed in law discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).”

She added: “The proposed law would also violate fundamental human rights, including the rights to liberty, security and physical integrity and to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. These rights are protected by human rights treaties ratified by Kyrgyzstan.”


Ms Shamdasani’s statement highlights the concern expressed by the UN with regards to previous incidents of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan. She said:

“The draft law adds to those concerns and may lead to further violations.”

Ms Shamdasani further pointed out that: “The adoption of this law would also go against the commitments made by Kyrgyzstan during its Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council in 2010.”

The bill still needs to pass two more readings before lawmakers can send the bill to President Almazbek Atambayev for his signature. The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan has also condemned the law. 

Previously, we reported on accounts brought forth by Human Rights Watch of gay men being targeted and tortured by police in Kyrgyzstan.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Alabama Is 'Too Slow on Equality for the LGBT Community'

At a speech before Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and other state officials today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the state needed to better address LGBT rights, the Montgomery Advertiser reports:

CookCook, a native of Robertsdale and Auburn graduate, told fellow members of the Alabama Academy of Honor that the civil rights struggle in the state shaped his life, and said equal access to education and protections for LBGT employees were critical to achieving "equality in truth."

"As a state, we took too long to take steps toward equality," Cook, one of this year's inductees into the Academy, said to a crowd gathered in the Old House Chamber at the Alabama State Capitol. "We were too slow on equality on African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage. And we are still too slow on equality for the LBGT community."

Back in December, Cook received Auburn University's Lifetime Achievement Award and used his speech to call for an end to anti-LGBT discrimination. 

Alabama remains one of the 18 states without marriage equality. 

Bill Clinton Praises LGBT Progress, Highlights the Movement's Next Steps at HRC Dinner: VIDEO


At the HRC's National Dinner last night, former president Bill Clinton gave a impassioned speech about the importance of the many victories the LGBT community has won since he last addressed the HRC back in 1997. Clinton also pointed out the work that still needs to be done in the South and abroad to bring about full LGBT equality. 

The speech is about 30 minutes long, but is well worth a watch AFTER THE JUMP...

Some memorable lines from the speech, if you don't have the time for the full address:

>"I remember so well when I came here in 1997 and I ask everybody to stand up who was involved in our government and a lot of people stood up. As an example of how far we have come, believe it or not 17 years ago that was a big deal because everybody could remember a time when no one who was LGBT who was working in the government in a prominent position could stand up in public and say so. That's how far we've come. Everybody was cheering that night because it was such a unusual feeling. Now it would be unusual if anybody noticed. And that's a good thing." 

>"I love HRC, the initials are great, the other person with those initials once famously said as Secretary of State that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights."

>"This campaign that the HRC is going to undertake in Arkansa, Mississippi, and Alabama - if you had asked me ten years ago if this was a good idea I would have offered to personally pay for Chad's psychiatric treatment. But one thing we have learned is that no human heart is immune to an honest outreach. No one can forever ignore their personal experience. If you asked somebody who the most conservative member of President George W. Bush's Administration was, most people would say Dick Cheney. But Dick Cheney was for gay marriage and gay rights because of his daughter, because of his personal, human experience."

>"I also want to say that i think the effort to take the HRC international is profoundly important. There are people who lost their battle to hold you back in the United States who think you can take the show on the road and win somewhere else. And there are about 80 countries now that have very serious restrictions on LGBT rights."

>"You should be happy and proud tonight, I've never seen a civil rights movement, at least in our country, move as far, as fast as your movement ever. But don't kid yourself, there's a lot of people who are left out and left behind. There's still some barriers that need to be brought down. And all over the world, there are young people who still have to cower in fear of their governments, their leaders, and sometimes their families. They need the poetry of your campaign."

There was conspicuously no mention of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or the Defense of Marriage Act, both of which were signed by Clinton while in office. 

Continue reading "Bill Clinton Praises LGBT Progress, Highlights the Movement's Next Steps at HRC Dinner: VIDEO" »

Former Reagan Aide Calls on Southern States to Secede to Stop the Spread of Gay Rights: AUDIO

Speaking with right-wing radio host Janet Mefferd this week about his new book The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country...Now, former Reagan administration aide Douglas MacKinnon laid out his bold plan for southern states to secede from the union in order to bring back "traditional" values.

Said MacKinnon:

MackinnonWhether it's in Washington, whether it's in local state Houses, whether it's in county government, for whatever reason the leaders we are picking are deciding not to stand firmly for traditional values, for our rights....if you happen to make a donation in favor of traditional marriage, you can lose your job. If you happen to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple because it goes against your religious beleifs, you can be driven out of business. If you're a football commentator and you happen to just say innocently, "Maybe I wouldn't have drafted a gay football player becasue I wouldn't want to deal with the distraction, many people on the Left will try and drive you out of a job as well...there's no reason we can't [secede] now. Obviously Thomas Jefferson talked about it in the Declaration of Independence that it was our right to do so. 

MacKinnon went on to discus the logistics concerns related to the creation of this right-wing splinter nation (resource needs require it to start in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida) as well as the proposed interim name for the country ("Reagan")

Listen to the insanity, AFTER THE JUMP...

Fun fact: MacKinnon also served as press secretary to former Kansas Senator and GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole. 

[via Right Wing Watch]

Continue reading "Former Reagan Aide Calls on Southern States to Secede to Stop the Spread of Gay Rights: AUDIO" »

Gay Advocacy Group Equality Michigan Receives $3 Million Donation From Co-founder's Estate

Equality michigan

LGBT advocacy group Equality Michigan has received a $3 million donation from co-founder Dr. Henry Messer, reports Lansing State Journal.

Messer, a neurosurgeon, gay rights activist and co-founder of Triangle Foundation, which merged with Michigan Equality to form Equality Michigan in 2010, died in February at the age of 86.

With his partner of more than 60 years Carl House, Messer was a lifelong LGBTQ activist who got involved in the movement after being discharged from the military during World War II.


Equality Michigan announced that more than $1 million was given directly to the statewide anti-violence and political advocacy organization to support policy and victim services work, while another $2 million went to the organization’s endowment.

In a statement, Joy Geng, vice chair of the Equality Michigan board of trustees, said:

Messer"Henry [pictured far right with partner Carl House] was one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and one of my dearest friends. He dedicated his life to helping those most in need and did not just dream of a future where all LGBT people could live safely and openly, but committed his time, talent, and resources to making that dream a reality.

“Out of the tragedy that he did not live to see his dream fulfilled comes an historic opportunity for Equality Michigan to finish the work he started and make that dream come true for future generations. I am confident that our team will not let him down, and that his legacy will live on through the organization he loved so much for decades to come."


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