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Anti-LGBT Texas Activist Likens Gays To Murderers, Compares Same-Sex Marriage To Holocaust: VIDEO

Hotze

Last month we told you about a video in which Houston anti-LGBT activist Dr. Steve Hotze promoted a rally outside the Texas Capitol featuring Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.  

BellOn Wednesday, Hotze took his message inside the state Capitol, where he testified in support of a bill from GOP Rep. Cecil Bell (right) that would prohibit state or local funds for being spent to issue or recognize same-sex marriage licenses. 

Hotze, president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, was among 15 anti-gay witnesses who testified during the hearing, joining the likes of Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz and Texas Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch

The Texas Observer reports: 

Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), a member of the House Committee on State Affairs, grilled Hotze about whether he wants Texas to ignore “the law of the land” if the high court rules in favor of marriage equality.

“If you passed a law that we’re going to go and round up people of an ethnic group and put them into jail and exterminate them, would you abide by that law?” Hotze responded. “What did they do in Nazi Germany? It was legal to round up Jews and put them in the chambers and kill them. And the defense they said is, that was the law.”

After Turner suggested all people should be treated equally regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation, Hotze said there’s a difference because being gay is a choice.

“If people are involved in an activity that’s immoral and wrong, you can love them but you don’t respect what they do, and you try to help them find a way out,” Hotze said. “Whether they’re alcoholics, whether they’re murderers, whether they’re adulterers, whether they’re perverts or pornographers or whatever, you want to help them out—or homosexuals, you want to help them out.”

The bill, one of more than 20 anti-LGBT measures in Texas this year, was left pending after a two-hour hearing, and the committee chair told the Observer he's unsure whether he'll call it back up for a vote.

Watch a clip from Hotze's testimony, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Anti-LGBT Texas Activist Likens Gays To Murderers, Compares Same-Sex Marriage To Holocaust: VIDEO" »


Houston Rejects Anti-Trans Petition Due To Bigot's Embarrassing Blunder

Wilson

Last week we told you how anti-LGBT Houston activist Dave Wilson wants to enshrine a transgender bathroom ban in the city charter.

Earlier today, Wilson turned in his petition seeking to repeal transgender protections in both the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and Mayor Annise Parker's 2012 executive order covering city employees.

But apparently Wilson misread the rules for amending the city charter. He was under the impression that he needed only 17,200 signatures on the petition for his proposal to appear on the ballot. However, Texas law clearly states that he needed 20,000 signatures. As a result, the city rejected Wilson's petition. 

From KHOU-TV

Parker.Annise4"On its face, there's no reason to count them," said Mayor Annise Parker. "And I have no clue what he thought he might achieve by turning in an insufficient number of petitions, other than to show that he couldn't collect enough petitions."

Wilson later conceded he hadn't turned in enough signatures because he misread the arcane rules surrounding petition drives.

He confused the city's requirements for repealing an ordinance with the state's rules for amending city charters. Wilson said he collected roughly 19,700 signatures, but the state's local government code requires at least 20,000.

Wilson — who infamously got elected to the Houston Community College board by pretending to be black — plans to collect the additional 300 required signatures. However, Parker said it's too late — he's already turned in the petition. Besides, the mayor said, because Wilson's petition aims to repeal the Equal Rights Ordinance, it needed to be turned in within 30 days of the law's passage last May: 

"We're going to stack 'em up and put 'em on a shelf someplace," Parker said of the petitions. "And we're not going to process them."

The city also rejected a separate petition to repeal the Equal Rights Ordinance, saying it didn't have enough valid signatures due to problems such as rampant forgery. Anti-LGBT activists sued the city over the decision, and a judge is expected to issue a ruling soon. 

At some point, you'd think these folks would learn not to mess with Parker. 


GetEQUAL Rallies Against Anti-LGBT #HateOutBreak In Texas, Florida, North Carolina

IMG_0577

GetEQUAL is staging rallies across the country in response to anti-LGBT legislation similar to Indiana's "religious freedom" law.

From the website for the group's #HateOutbreak campaign:  

HateAcross the country, religious extremists are introducing bills in state legislatures that would give carte blanche privileges to legally discriminate against anyone -- simply by invoking one's religion as the reason. 

We've all seen the negative response to Indiana's right to discriminate law but this #HateOutbreak is bigger than the Hoosier state. The surge in legislation aimed at legalizing discrimination, disguised as religious freedom, has many asking what can we do to fight back. 

On Saturday, nearly 100 people gathered at the Texas Capitol to protest a record number of anti-LGBT bills in the state Legislature. Among the speakers was Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who warned that Indiana-style legislation could threaten the city's booming economy. From the Texas Observer

“Apple is here, Google is here, because the people who work for Apple and Google, they want to live here,” Adler said. “It’s real important that we not go down that path, and it is scary to me that our state Legislature right now is considering doing that.”

The Austin rally was one of three planned in Texas over the weekend. Rallies were also planned in Gainesville, Fla., and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Monday. 

Watch video of openly gay former Texas state Rep. Glen Maxey speaking at Saturday's rally in Austin, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "GetEQUAL Rallies Against Anti-LGBT #HateOutBreak In Texas, Florida, North Carolina" »


Over 100 Tech Leaders Call for Nationwide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections: LIST

Tech

The list of technology industry leaders calling for nationwide protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity continues to grow, HRC reports.

“The unified message from these business leaders is clear: Pass LGBT non-discrimination protections and pass them now,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Until legislators finally step up to the plate and take action, this issue is not going to go away. It’s time for elected officials to listen to the overwhelming voice of fair-minded Americans demanding equality for their LGBT loved ones, friends, and neighbors. No American should risk losing their job, be denied housing, or refused service simply because of who they are or whom they love.”

New recent cosigners of the call to action include leaders from YouTube, AppNexus, Coupons.com, Consumer Electronics Association, Hotsuite, Google, Uber Technologies, Intuit, Facebook, GoPro, Cisco, Pinterest, Pandora Media, Yahoo!, Logitech, and many others companies.

Read the full updated list of leaders and the full statement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Over 100 Tech Leaders Call for Nationwide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections: LIST" »


LGBT-Affirming Church Barred From 'Celebrate Jesus Easter Parade' In Gay-Friendly Eureka Springs, Arkansas: VIDEO

Eureka

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, has long been known as "the gay capital of the Ozarks." 

But in a state that recently banned LGBT protections and passed an anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law, the popular resort town increasingly finds itself at the epicenter of the battle for equality. 

The latest culture clash occurred this weekend, when Eureka Springs simultaneously hosted one of its three annual "Diversity Weekends" as well as the Celebrate Jesus Easter Parade. 

A pro-LGBT Methodist Church asked to participate in the parade, but was turned away. OzarksFirst.com reports: 

The Celebrate Jesus Easter Parade has been growing in Eureka Springs over the past three years. This year the Eureka Springs First Methodist Church applied to be in the parade, wanting to carry a sign saying "Jesus loves all." The church was denied, and now they're asking why. 

First United Methodist of Eureka Springs applied to be in the parade, and was initially accepted. One week before the parade, however, they were told they were no longer welcome. Church member Suzie Bell believes it's because of their stance on the LGBT community. 

"They wanted to know what our banner was going to say, and it said "Jesus loves all. They had decided that they did not want us in the parade, and that we weren't welcome." Bell said. 

Bell said she believes the church was turned away "based purely on our love and acceptance of the LGBT community." Meanwhile, parade director Laura Nichols released a statement that failed to explain the decision. From the statement: 

"This day isn't a day of pointing fingers or playing the blame game. This parade is to honor our Lord and Savior and for praising God for sending His only Son who willingly went to the cross, died and rose on the third day that when we repent of our sins and accept Him. ... 

"Regardless of what has been stated in the papers. We do not have anything against the Methodist Church. After all my uncle was a Methodist minister. Nor do we have anything against the homosexual community. When I worked downtown I had homosexual people that I considered my friends and still do."

With the Arkansas Legislature set to ban local LGBT protections in February, Eureka Springs quickly passed a nondiscrimination ordinance, in hopes that officials could eventually challenge the state law in court. Then, last week, the Legislature passed an anti-LGBT religious freedom law that was ultimately revised before being signed by the governor due to backlash. But the friction between LGBT-friendly Eureka Springs and anti-LGBT forces goes back far beyond that. 

ChristThe massive Christ of the Ozarks statue (right) overlooks the town from a theme park that is home to theatrical re-enactments of the events around Jesus’s crucifixion. But attendance at the park dropped off as Eureka Springs became known as a gay destination, and it closed in 2012 before reopening recently, according to The Guardian.  

The Rev. Phil Wilson, of First Christian Church, was one of the stars of the American Family Association's 2007 video, "They're Coming To Your Town," billed as “a look at how a handful of homosexual activists infiltrated the Eureka Springs, Arkansas, government and changed the very moral fibre of the city”.

Wilson is now leading opposition to Eureka Springs' LGBT protections — which will be voted on in May — based on discredited arguments about transgender bathroom use. 

The Guardian reports: 

“There have been many things that have happened in Eureka Springs that have made us be perceived as an eminently desirable homosexual destination,” he said. “We have 6,000 years of Judeo-Christian history that has affirmed that homosexuality is morally wrong and we live in a society that says it’s morally right.”

Asked if he truly believed that Christians in the US were under threat of oppression and needed laws to protect them, he referenced the Islamist terror attack that killed 147 people in Kenya on Thursday.

“It’s on Fox News continually in the last day or two,” he said. “I see persecutions.”

Watch OzarksFirst.com's report on the parade and a promo for AFA's hate video "They're Coming To Your Town," AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "LGBT-Affirming Church Barred From 'Celebrate Jesus Easter Parade' In Gay-Friendly Eureka Springs, Arkansas: VIDEO" »


Michigan Debate Reflects New Post-Indiana Landscape On Religious Freedom, Gay Rights

Michigan's Republican governor says he will veto a proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act unless it is accompanied by a bill creating statewide LGBT protections. 

Snyder.RickBut LGBT advocates say that's not enough. They want Gov. Rick Snyder (right) to press harder for LGBT protections and veto the RFRA no matter what. 

The debate in Michigan reflects the new landscape surrounding religious freedom laws in the wake of backlash over similar measures in Indiana and Arkansas.

MLive.com reports on Snyder's veto threat:

Dave Murray, a spokesman for Snyder, said Snyder plans to veto any standalone legislation similar to the controversial law passed in Indiana this month. He would consider a RFRA bill if there was also an expansion of the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include protections for gay people.

"Gov. Snyder has said he supports religious freedom but strongly opposes discrimination of any kind," Murray said. "He believes he should support constitutional protections and strike a balance."

He added, "Ensuring freedom of religion is a basic founding principle of our country but so is equality."

A proposal to expand the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act died in committee last year after Democrats said they wouldn't support it because it didn't include transgender protections. Meanwhile, the author of the RFRA bill, GOP Rep. Mike Shirkey, says he will continue to push it despite veto threat. From the Associated Press

ShirkeySen. Mike Shirkey (right), a Clarklake Republican and sponsor of the religious objections bill, said Snyder's veto threat shows that he is "not too willing to have a conversation about it." The religious liberty bill and the anti-gay discrimination bill are "apples and oranges," Shirkey said, arguing that the business community's backlash over Indiana's law is "hypocritical" because 19 other states have similar laws.

"Some of these very large corporations make millions and millions of dollars selling and marketing their products in countries who have horrible civil rights environments," he said.

Shirkey said his legislation would prohibit laws and ordinances that infringe on people's "strongly held" religious beliefs and "has nothing to do with private actions" such as a business refusing to serve a customer.

Equality Michigan says Shirkey's RFRA bill is dangerous even if it is accompanied by LGBT protections. From the AP:

Equality Michigan, an LGBT advocacy group, said it "appreciates" that Snyder supports updating the 1976 civil rights law.

"However, Michigan will not benefit from a so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and packaging these bills together could still harm Michigan families and bring the type of justified uproar to Michigan that Governor Snyder is trying to avoid," executive director Emily Dievendorf said in a statement. "We call on the Governor to press harder for passage of an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and that he veto any Religious Freedom Restoration Act, regardless of what it is packaged with."

Progress Michigan added

"If the Governor is serious about his commitment against discrimination, he should demand that Attorney General Bill Schuette retract his suit in defense of Michigan's discriminatory marriage ban," Scott said, "and call on the Legislature to immediately pass an updated version of the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act to protect the entire LGBT community."

In addition to the RFRA, Michigan lawmakers have introduced proposals to allow adoption agencies and hospitals to deny services based on sincerely held religious beliefs. 

In related news, Nevada's own "religious freedom" bill has been declared dead


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