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

Kansas

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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Jon Stewart Takes a Look at Gay Marriage Arriving in Alabama and Roy Moore's 'Selma' Sequel: VIDEO

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On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart took a look at the on-the-ground gay marriage situation in Alabama - including efforts by Chief Justice Roy Moore and certain probate judges to stop marriages from taking place.

Stewart also put the spotlight on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's executive order removing LGBT protections in the state - with Stewart wondering why Brownback's name hasn't been "Santorumed" yet considering it already sounds pretty much like a sexual word. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jon Stewart Takes a Look at Gay Marriage Arriving in Alabama and Roy Moore's 'Selma' Sequel: VIDEO" »


Twitter Bans Westboro Baptist Church: VIDEO

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Ailing anti-gay listed hate group Westboro Baptist Church has had Twitter account @WBCSays suspended because the “church” picketed Twitter at the end of last year, reports Pink News.

The nasty “Christian” organization run by wingnut Shirley Phelps has become famous worldwide in recent years for picketing funerals, gigs, colleges, schools and just about everything else you can think of.

Recent “work” by the group includes an attempt to block same-sex marriage in Kansas and a picket at a Brad Paisley (above) concert last year at which the singer took a selfie with the hate group protesters.

Unfortunately, Twitter has allowed other Westboro accounts - @WBCSigns and @WBCSaysRepent -  to remain active.

In more positive news, as Westboro continues to come apart at the seams with defections and members getting some sense, in December of last year Shirley’s daughter Grace travelled to Jamaica to work with gay people who have been ostracized by society and made homeless.

Watch Russell Brand rip bottom feeder members of the "church" a new one, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Federal Judge Speeds Up Kansas Same-Sex Marriage Case

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb07b6c643970dA federal judge has today expedited a case brought forth by the ACLU intended to once and for all clear up that state's marriage mess. The AP reports:

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree on Wednesday directed opposing attorneys to narrow factual disputes and to propose a schedule at the end of January for him to hear legal issues.

Both the state’s attorneys and lawyers challenging ban want to expedite the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in October for couples denied marriage licenses. The U.S. Supreme Court blocked Kansas from enforcing its ban while the case goes forward and the ACLU expanded its lawsuit to force the state to recognize the resulting gay marriages.

Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court could rule before July on whether states can keep banning gay marriage.


Conservative Kansas Lawmakers Primed to Reintroduce Religious Freedom Bill

Kansas’s “religious freedom bill’ that would allow both public and private businesses to refuse LGBT customers service on religious grounds failed to make it past the Senate floor earlier this year following a deluge of complaints. Supporters of the proposed bill are gearing up to reintroduce it for legislative consideration following a federal court’s decision to overturn Kansas’s ban on same sex marriage.

FitzgeraldBefore dying in the Senate, the religious freedom bill successfully made its way through Kansas’s House of Representatives. Lawmakers like Kansas state senator Steve Fitzgerald (R) explained to the Wichita Eagle that the first iteration of the bill had been mischaracterized in such a way that derailed its advancement. Reintroducing the bill soon, he explained, would give conservative Kansans a chance at maintaining their religious freedoms.

“So what you’ve got is we’ll sue you and take everything you can get unless you participate in and help us celebrate what you consider to be gravely evil,” he said, recounting instances of conservative businesses being sued for discrimination. “So your freedom of religion is exactly, mmm, pay up.”

“You can be fired for being gay. You can be evicted for being lesbian. And you can be kicked out of a restaurant for being transgender. And you have no recourse,” said Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas.

“Should businesses that do business with the public have to serve everybody? Yes. That’s a principle of American society. You are open for business, then you’re open for business to everybody. And you don’t get to choose what classes of people you’re not going to serve.”


Kansas Lawmakers Aim To Revive 'License To Discriminate' Bill Because Gay Marriage Is 'Gravely Evil': VIDEO

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A gay Kansas man who got married on the steps of the courthouse in a public ceremony last month was fired two days later after his boss saw him on the news, according to Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas. 

But Terry Fox, pastor of Wichita's Summit Church, wants to ensure that this type of discrimination remains perfectly legal. Fox is among those pushing Kansas lawmakers to revive a "license to discriminate" bill in the upcoming legislative session. 

"As the courts ignore the people's definition of marriage we need more protection to not have to violate our core Christian values," Fox told KWCH-TV

FitzgeraldThe bill passed the House earlier this year but died in the Senate after lawmakers were flooded with angry phone calls and emails, The Wichita Eagle reports. Some legislators — like Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth (right) — apparently haven't learned their lesson, and now they're emboldened by the arrival of marriage equality in Kansas: 

He says the bill is meant to protect religious Kansans from lawsuits. He pointed to a recent case in New York State in which owners of a farm that regularly hosts weddings were fined $13,000 for refusing to let a lesbian couple hold their wedding there.

“So what you’ve got is we’ll sue you and take everything you can get unless you participate in and help us celebrate what you consider to be gravely evil,” Fitzgerald said. 

In fact, Fitzgerald believes the bill should even extend to public employees, which could lead to police and firefighters refusing to help same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs: 

“Should a judge be required to perform a ceremony? A question for you,” Fitzgerald said. “The basic question is regardless of your employment should you be forced, compelled, coerced, made under force of law or threat of suit, to go against your own morals?”

The fact that the bill would have extended to public employees was one of the reasons it was halted by Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who said at the time that "public service needs to remain public service for the entire public.”

And even Republicans who supported the bill, including House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, have said they regret the decision and appear reluctant to revisit the topic.   

Unfortunately, that probably won't stop someone like Fitzgerald from reintroducing the measure, and with anti-gay Gov. Sam Brownback at the helm, anything's possible.

Brownback is refusing to recognize same-sex marriages despite a federal judge's decision saying state law violates gay couples' right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

As for that ruling, Fitzgerald had this to say:  

“So we’re to believe that the Reconstruction Congress was anxious to spread sodomy throughout the states at the time? That was the intent of the 14th Amendment due process clause?”

Watch KWCH-TV's report, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Kansas Lawmakers Aim To Revive 'License To Discriminate' Bill Because Gay Marriage Is 'Gravely Evil': VIDEO" »


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