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Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes 'Substantial' Contribution To HRC Campaign Targeting His Home State Of Alabama

Six weeks after coming out publicly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a "substantial" contribution to a campaign aimed at bringing LGBT equality to his home state of Alabama. 

Cook.TimThe Human Rights Campaign announced Cook's contribution Thursday to its Project One America, an $8.5 million, three-year effort targeting Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. Cook grew up in South Alabama and attended Auburn University. 

The Associated Press reports: 

The amount of Cook's contribution to the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign wasn't disclosed, but the advocacy organization called it "substantial." ... 

The campaign includes advertising on TV and elsewhere, direct-mail fliers and staff members hired in each state.

"We hope Tim Cook's substantial personal investment inspires others to support this vital and historic project," Jason Rahlan, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, said in an email.

President Chad Griffin wrote on HRC's blog

When Tim first learned about HRC's Project One America – our bold, comprehensive campaign to dramatically advance equality for LGBT Americans in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi – he said, “I'm in.” Thanks to his generous personal financial investment in the program, together we will move the needle forward at the local and state level, tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most.

Shortly before coming out, Cook delivered a speech in Montgomery in which he said Alabama was moving "too slow on equality for the LGBT community." The state's only openly gay lawmaker recently announced she plans to name a nondiscrimination bill after Cook in the upcoming legislative session. 

Cook, who heads the world's largest corporation, is the only openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. 

RedIn related news, Cook announced in an email to employees that Apple's Product (RED) holiday campaign raised over $20 million for AIDS research, Business Insider reports: 

"I’m thrilled to announce that our total donation for this quarter will be more than $20 million — our biggest ever — bringing the total amount Apple has raised for (PRODUCT) RED to over $100 million. The money we’ve raised is saving lives and bringing hope to people in need. It’s a cause we can all be proud to support," Cook wrote. 

Watch a video for HRC's Project America campaign in Alabama, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chad Griffin Grilled on Whether HRC Would Support LGBT Civil Rights Bill With Broader Religious Exemption

Some additional follow-up from Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade regarding Senator Jeff Merkley's (D-OR) announcement Wednesday that he'll spearhead a comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill in the next session of Congress.

Johnson reports: Merkley

In response to a question from the Washington Blade during the question-and-answer portion of the event, Merkley said he expects discussions among stakeholders to take place on the religious exemption for the legislation, but he wants language that should track "identically the provisions that we currently have for race."

Given his support for legislation that would have a religious exemption mirroring existing civil rights law, one idea, as opposed to a standalone bill for comprehensive protections, is amending the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Merkley wouldn't rule out the possibility of that path when asked about it by the Blade.

"That certainly is a possible strategy," Merkley said. "And because I want to bring forward a coalition and work in partnership with the stakeholders, I won't now say that there is only one path to get there, but that is certainly one of the strong candidates."

C_griffinJohnson then took his questions to HRC President Chad Griffin:

LGBT advocates who took part in a panel discussion after Merkley's remarks, including Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, expressed a strong preference for a comprehensive bill with a narrow religious exemption.

...

Griffin said there's "universal agreement" from LGBT groups on what the religious exemption should look like, but LGBT advocates have to make a better case for that language on Capitol Hill by saying LGBT people want the same exemption that exists for other groups under existing law.

"It already exists in law," Griffin said. "There's already a religious exemption, and that's what we've got to do a better job of talking about."

Following the event, the Blade asked Griffin to clarify whether those words mean HRC would decline to support a non-discrimination measure in the upcoming Congress with a broader religious exemption. Griffin replied that he addressed this issue during the event, reiterating that HRC will "support a religious exemption that is the same religious exemption that already exists under law, and I think all of us, all of us — whether advocates, journalists or otherwise — can better make the point that there already is a model religious exemption."

Asked again by the Blade whether that means HRC won't support a bill with a broader religious exemption, Griffin insisted he answered that question directly, adding he doesn't think LGBT allies on Capitol Hill would support a bill with a greater religious carve-out than what's already enshrined under existing civil rights law.


Extreme Anti-Gay 'Christian' Scott Lively To Stand Trial For Crimes Against Humanity - VIDEO

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The First Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday denied an attempt by anti-gay bigot Scott Lively to have a crimes against humanity suit against him dismissed, reports Michael In Norfolk.

In 2012, an American group called the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing a Ugandan group called Sexual Minorities Uganda, sued Lively in federal court in Massachusetts for crimes against humanity.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d07d8f6b970c-800wiOf the many anti-gay activists in the U.S., Lively is arguably the nastiest.  Recently profiled in Human Rights Campaign’s Export of Hate report, Lively last week suggested that homosexuality is worse than murder.

In October, we reported that the nasty bigot - a driving force behind Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill - appeared in a Russian state-funded "documentary" called Sodom.

Lively, the head of virulently homophobic listed hate group Abiding Truth Ministries, has been accused of helping play a part in the persecution, arrest and murder of gay people in Uganda, a charge which he has denied.

The First Circuit ruling means that Lively will now have to stand trial.

Watch the apocalyptic hate-filled "documentary" Sodom - no subtitles, but the tone gives it away - in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Gay Wingnut Scott Lively: Homosexuality An 'Infection', Worse Than Murder - LISTEN

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Anti-gay wingnut Scott Lively has warned that the growing acceptance of gay people and LGBT rights is leading to the destruction of America, reports Right Wing Watch.

Lively, the head of virulently homophobic listed hate group Abiding Truth Ministries, was recently profiled in Human Rights Campaign’s Export of Hate. The report investigated anti-gay activists in the U.S. responsible for spreading their message abroad and campaigning for anti-gay laws in countries including Russia and Uganda. 6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d06b1176970c-800wi

Last year, US District Judge Michael Ponsor ruled Lively's persecution of LGBT peoplecrime against humanity.

Speaking on “Truenews” on Monday, Lively - who claims to be a Christian - told host Rick Wiley:

“Society has an immune system also and we can allow a certain amount of this infection without collapsing.

“The infrastructure of Judeo-Christian civilization in America has all but disappeared and we are in the end game, the radical left, the cultural Marxists are mopping up at this point.”

Not yet sated, Lively added that homosexuality should be considered worse than “murder or mass murder” because it is to blame for Noah’s flood:

“When you look in the Bible, there are sins that you would think of as worse, you know, murder or mass murder, but what does it come down to? Leviticus 18 tells the Hebrews exactly what it is that God identifies as the most rebellious behavior, the behavior that causes the land to actually vomit out its inhabitants and every item on that list, except for child sacrifice, is sexual perversion, and child sacrifice is often a form of sexual perversion. So that’s where we are.

“Homosexuality is not just another sin, it is the sin that defines rebellion against God, the outer edge of rebellion against God and it is the harbinger of God’s wrath, that’s why the Scripture gives the warning, ‘as in the days of Noah.’”

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

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District Of Columbia Council Approves Bill Protecting LGBT Youth From Conversion Therapy

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The District of Columbia Council unanimously approved a bill today that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from the unhealthy and discredited practice of conversion therapy reports the National Center For Lesbian RightsUpon the signing of the bill, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction-after California and New Jersey-to ban the deranged practice of conversion therapy that often leads to depression and suicide in its "patients." Samantha Ames, the NCLR staff attorney and coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at NCLR, commended the council's decision.

Said Ames:

"Today, the D.C. Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved.

"The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign collaborated on organizing a coalition that backed the bill, which was authored by Democratic Councilmember Mary M. Cheh. Several groups supported the Youth Mental Health Protection Act, including national LGBT and mental health organizations, youth advocates, religious faith leaders, civil rights organizations and reproductive justice groups. 

Support for the repeal of the practice is mounting as the United Nations Committee Against Torture called the dangerous therapy "troubling," when they convened last month, and questioned the U.S. Department of State representatives asking why the unviable treatment is still in practice. Even former practitioners of the therapy are condemning its use, including Exodus International co-founder Michael Bussee, who called the practice "Poison to the soul," along with eight other prominent ex-gay leaders. 


10 Businesses to Avoid This Holiday Season If You Care About LGBT Rights

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Many LGBT people know they should think twice about putting money in the Salvation Army's red kettles, resist the temptation of waffle fries at Chick-fil-A in the food court, and avoid fueling up at ExxonMobil on the way to grandma's house. 

But even though they may not be as infamously anti-gay, many other major American retailers still aren't coming anywhere close to treating their LGBT employees equally in 2014. With Black Friday just days away, it's time to take a look at where not to spend our estimated $830 billion in annual buying power if we truly care about gay rights. 

The Human Rights Campaign's annual Buying For Workplace Equality guide recommends avoiding any retailer that receives 45 points or less on the Corporate Equality Index, which was released this week. 

"Whether you are buying a cup of coffee or renovating your home, by supporting businesses that support workplace equality you send a powerful message that LGBT inclusion is good for the bottom line," HRC says. 

For a searchable database of all employers in the Corporate Equality Index, go here. Below are 10 retailers LGBT people should avoid based on their record on gay rights. 

 

BedBathBeyond

Bed, Bath and Beyond

HRC Score: 30

Headquarters: Union, N.J. 

 

BrooksBrothers

Brooks Brothers

HRC Score: 0

Headquarters: Enfield, Conn. 

 

Cabelas

Cabela's

HRC Score: 0

Headquarters: Sidney, Neb.

See the rest of the list, AFTER THE JUMP... 

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