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LGBT Georgians Find Unlikely Ally In Former Defender Of State's Anti-Sodomy Law: VIDEO

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Mike Bowers, the former Georgia Attorney General, has announced his opposition to “deeply troubling” pending religious liberty legislation in the state despite a long history of opposing gay rights, reports Buzzfeed.

Bowers, who served as attorney general from 1981 to 1997, defended Georgia’s sodomy law in the landmark Supreme Court case Bowers v. Hardwick. He also ignominiously rescinded a job offer to Robin Shahar after he found out that she planned to have a same-sex commitment ceremony with her then-partner. In 2013, Shahar was appointed as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's LGBT adviser.

Despite this anti-LGBT past, Bowers is expected to hold a news conference tomorrow to discuss his analysis of the pending legislation which is modeled in part on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

He has said that the legislation would provide an “excuse to practice invidious discrimination” and "permit everyone to become a law unto themselves in terms of deciding what laws they will or will not obey, based on whatever religious tenets they may profess or create at any given time.”

Additionally, Bowers has concluded that the measures could be used to “justify putting hoods back on the Ku Klux Klan” because people could use religious exemptions to the Anti-Mask Act which aimed to reduce the KKK’s presence in the state.

Watch a 2012 interview with Bowers relecting on his time in Georgia politics, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "LGBT Georgians Find Unlikely Ally In Former Defender Of State's Anti-Sodomy Law: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Discrimination Lawsuit: VIDEO

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Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired last month by the city’s Mayor Kasim Reed for publishing a controversial book labeling homosexuality as a “sexual perversion,” has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, reports AJC.com.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c70f613f970b-800wiCochran was initially suspended from his position last November after employees came forward to complain about the anti-gay opinions he had expressed in self-published book Who Told You That You Are Naked?, which also compared homosexuality with bestiality and pederasty.

Cochran will be represented by Christian litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization known for actively spreading anti-gay hate around the world.

Late last month, Cochran filed a federal discrimination complaint contending religious discrimination. City spokeswoman Anne Torres said at the time that it intends to fully defend Reed's decision.

Reed has said that the firing was not a direct result of homophobic comments in the book, but because of Cochran's ability to manage the department and his failure to get clearance to write the book.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Homophobic Fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Federal Discrimination Complaint

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Fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran officially filed a federal discrimination complaint contending that he faced religious discrimination after the city fired him for publishing a book with controversial, homophobic statements reports ajc.comChief Cochran mentioned that he was considering filing the complaint at a rally orchestrated by the Georgia Baptist Convention to reinstate him last week. The complaint filed on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by Cochran's attorney, Jonathan Crumly, alleges violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 by the City of Atlanta. Attorney Crumly, who is allied with group Alliance Defending Freedom that has rallied to Cochran's defense, issued a statement on behalf of Cochran.

Said Crumly:

"Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live without fear of losing their jobs because of their beliefs and thoughts. We are continuing to evaluate all available legal options to vindicate Chief Cochran after his unjust termination."

Atlanta city spokeswoman Anne Torres said the city did not know of the complaint, but it intends to fully defend mayor Kasim Reed's decision to fire Cochran. Reed affirmed in past statements that Cochran's firing was not a direct result of homophobic comments in the book, but because of Cochran's ability to manage the department and disregard for obeying the rules including not getting clearance to write the book.

Cochran, a deacon at Elizabeth Baptist Church, claims in his EEOC complaint that he did obtain permission from the city's ethics office to publish the book but was later told he also needed the mayor's permission and that he also violated "unspecified policies." Cochran says top city officials told him their investigation showed "zero" instances where he discriminated against anyone as chief.


New York Times Defends Firing Of Anti-gay Atlanta Fire Chief: VIDEO

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The New York Times has defended the decision of Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed (above) to fire Kelvin Cochran (below right), the anti-gay Atlanta fire chief who self-published a book he wrote titled Who Told You That You Were Naked?

In the book, Cochran labels homosexuality a "sexual perversion" and compares homosexuality to bestiality and pederasty.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c72fdc93970b-250wiThe newspaper argues that Reed “did the right thing and dismissed Mr. Cochran for what he called poor judgment: specifically, for failing to get approval for the book’s publication, for commenting publicly on his suspension after being told not to, and for exposing the city to possible discrimination lawsuits.”

“Mr. Cochran said he was fired ‘for no reason other than my Christian faith.’ But he and his sudden coterie of supporters have it backward. This case is not about free speech or religious freedom. It is, as Mr. Reed said at a news conference, about ‘making sure that we have an environment in government where everyone, no matter who they love, can come to work from 8 to 5:30 and do their job and then go home without fear of being discriminated against."

The Times argues that if Cochran “were an adherent of a religion that avowed the inferiority of white people, and that he distributed literature to that effect...he would not have lasted another day in a job that requires him to manage and protect the well-being of a large and diverse work force.”

“It should not matter that the investigation found no evidence that Mr. Cochran had mistreated gays or lesbians. His position as a high-level public servant makes his remarks especially problematic, and requires that he be held to a different standard.

“The First Amendment already protects religious freedom. Nobody can tell Mr. Cochran what he can or cannot believe. If he wants to work as a public official, however, he may not foist his religious views on other city employees who have the right to a boss who does not speak of them as second-class citizens.”

Watch a January 6th press conference in which Reed announces his decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

Update: NOM's Brian Brown isn't happy with the paper's position on the matter, writing:

But the biggest and most dangerous lie the New York Times put forward is that Christians (and those of other faiths) who actually have the temerity to speak up on their beliefs (you know, don’t hide their light under a bushel) on marriage and sexuality, should be fired.

Yes, the New York Times actually states that employees "have the right to a boss who does not speak of them as second class citizens." When the Times says that we are speaking of employees as second class citizens, it lies again—of course we don't believe that—we just know that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. And even though the Times acknowledged that there is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Cochran discriminated against gays or lesbians, it still argues that he should be fired because he had the temerity to publicly acknowledge his beliefs in this book.

The Times has just declared war on Christians and members of other faith communities that serve in government position. It is open season, according to the New York Times, to make sure that we lose our jobs. The new authoritarians now state openly that we can have our beliefs—we simply can’t talk about them. And then they are going to actually have the gall to say that "this is not about free speech or religious freedom."

Continue reading "New York Times Defends Firing Of Anti-gay Atlanta Fire Chief: VIDEO" »


Tony Perkins Equates Firing Of Anti-Gay Atlanta Fire Chief To Charlie Hebdo Attack: VIDEO

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(photo by Patrick Saunders)

Another conservative is coming to the defense of fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council comparing the chief's firing to the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 dead reports On Top Magazine. Right-wing media, including Perkins and radio host Erick Erickson, have an odd fixation with capitalizing on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and using it in comparison with former Chief Cochran's firing. Although Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has clarified that Cochran's firing was a result of the chief not following protocol, Perkins is saying Cochran's case is a matter of "free speech under attack."

Said Perkins:

"Make no mistake about it. Last week's violent assault was designed to intimidate and silence others who would dare exercise that fundamental human right of the freedom of speech, but whether a journalist in France satirically writing about religion or a fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia writing about the sacred teachings of his faith, the silencing of either is a threat to the freedoms of all."

The Georgia Baptist Convention organized and held a rally at the Georgia State Capitol on Tuesday to get Cochran reinstated. Around 200 people showed up to the rally including the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., Alveeda King, and Tony Perkins in support of Cochran and "religious liberty." King cited several Bible passages and bemoaned “this seemingly never-ending debate over sexuality,” while Dr. J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, held a Bible up in the air and called for a stronger stand on religious liberty. Cochran spoke last to his crowd of supporters.

Said Cochran:

"Indeed a strong statement has been made. All people groups are welcomed and embraced in the city of Atlanta, except the groups that believe the scripture regarding God’s purpose for sex."

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.16.30 PMCochran stated he's considering a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, but he declined to answer questions about any legal groups he may have talked to. Mayor Reed fired Cochran on Jan. 6, announcing his decision at a City Hall press conference surrounded by his entire cabinet and local LGBT leaders. At the conference, Reed reiterated the city’s nondiscrimination policy that prohibits prejudice based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as race, color, religion, and sex. Reed said Cochran was given the option of resigning but refused to do so resulting in his termination. However, Reed says the true reason behind Cochran's firing was his judgment and ability to manage the department, and not because of his book's virulent, religious anti-gay rhetoric in a statement on his Facebook page.

Said Reed:

"I believe [Cochran's] actions, decisions, and lack of judgment undermined his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce. Every single City of Atlanta employee deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide our employment decisions.

"His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension eroded my confidence in his ability to serve as a member of my senior leadership team."

However, Republican politicians are still attempting to pass "Religious Freedom" bills in the state. R-Rep. Sam Teasley filed HB 29 on Dec. 30, which would amend Title 50 and "preserve religious freedom," and State Sen. Josh McKoon vowed to file a bill on the matter as well. Teasley and McKoon's proposed versions of the bill last year but both failed. 

You can watch Cochran's statement to supporters at the State Capitol building, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tony Perkins Equates Firing Of Anti-Gay Atlanta Fire Chief To Charlie Hebdo Attack: VIDEO" »


Fox News Erick Erickson Calls LGBT Community 'Terrorists,' In Firing Of Anti-Gay Atlanta Fire Chief

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Fox News contributor and radio talk show host Erick Erickson boldly declared "the terrorists won in Atlanta," just hours after Paris' horrific terrorist attack, blaming the LGBT community for the firing of Atlanta's anti-gay Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran reports Media Matters For America

Right-wing media falsely claimed that Cochran was fired because of his religious beliefs and anti-gay remarks in a book he wrote. On Jan. 6, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed debunked those claims and said that Cochran was fired because the chief displayed a lack of judgment in distributing the book to his employees, and disregarded instructions regarding his month-long suspension over publishing the book without notice to the city is what led to his termination.

On Jan. 7, just hours after the horrific attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 people dead, Erickson wrote an opportunistic blog post likening the LGBT community to terrorists for objecting to the former fire chief's book stating, "The terrorists won." 

An excerpt from Erickson's post reads:

"A publisher published something that offended. It mocked, it offended, and it showed the fallacy of a religion. It angered.

"So the terrorists decided they needed to publicly destroy and ruin the publisher in a way that would not only make that destruction a public spectacle, but do it so spectacularly that others would think twice before publishing or saying anything similar.

"The terrorist wants to sow fear. The destruction of an individual is not just meant to be a tool of vengeance, but a tool of instruction. It shows others what will happen to them if they dare do the same. It is generates self-regulating peer pressure. Others, fearing the fall out, will being to self-police and self-regulate. They will silence others on behalf of the terrorists. Out of fear, they will drive the ideas from the public square and society will make them off limits.

[...]

"So they demanded the Mayor of Atlanta fire the Chief of the Fire Department for daring to write that his first duty was to "glory God" and that any sex outside of heterosexual marriage was a sin.

"And the terrorists won in Atlanta."


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