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Arkansas Cities Unite To Protest Discriminatory Law Banning Local LGBT Protections: VIDEO

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Residents in Little Rock and North Little Rock, Arkansas are taking matters into their own hands to protect the rights of gay people after the state last month passed a law banning local governments from expanding anti-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

On Monday night, leaders in North Little Rock unanimously voted to revise city policy to state their commitment to fair and equal opportunities regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or marital status.

Meanwhile in Little Rock, businesses are leading the charge against House Bill 1228 which would allow companies to refuse service based on religious principles. Business owners have started posting a small decal (above) that reads "we serve and hire equally" on their front windows.

Ed David, the owner restaurant The Faded Rose, said:

"The only people we discriminate against are bad actors. I know what a bitter feeling it is when somebody turns you away and I just swore I'd never do that."

Republican Rep. and 1228 sponsor Bob Ballinger (above) said that although he is “not in the business of judging other people,” “religious protections are something that's necessary.”

Arkansas is the second state to pass such a measure. Tennessee has a similar law on the books that was passed in 2011.

Watch a report on the Little Rock protest against House Bill 1228, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously, "Conway, Arkansas Approves LGBT Rights Ordinance Despite Discriminatory New State Law" [tlrd]

Continue reading "Arkansas Cities Unite To Protest Discriminatory Law Banning Local LGBT Protections: VIDEO" »


HRC Throws Support Behind Utah Anti-Discrimination Bill Backed By Mormon Church

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 2.37.26 PMThe Human Rights Campaign today announced its support for a proposed non-discrimination bill in Utah that would extend employment and housing discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity today. HRC President Chad Griffin is pleased with the support behind the bill, including backing from the Mormon Church.

Said Griffin: 

"This is an extraordinary moment for the state of Utah, for LGBT Americans, and for the Mormon Church, which, by supporting this legislation, shows a willingness to align with others on the right side of history. The desire exhibited by the Mormon Church to work toward common ground should serve as a model for other faith traditions here in the United States."

The bill, S.B. 296, is headed to its first hearing tomorrow and contains three consequential provisions. In short, the bill states employers, landlords and property owners are prohibited from denying jobs and housing based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and no religious exemptions from non-discrimination provisions will be permitted for individuals or for-profit businesses. Should Utah legislators approve the measure, the state would join 21 other states that have explicit non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, and 18 other states that have explicit gender identity protections. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow hopes Utah legislators move quickly on the matter.

Said Warbelow:

"This is a very encouraging step for all of us committed to equality. With just a short time remaining in the state legislative session, we hope for quick and positive action on this important measure."

The HRC had spurned a previously proposed non-discrimination initiative that was supported by Mormon leaders. Many critics, including the HRC, found the proposed initiative's more robust exemptions for religious organizations unacceptable.


Russia Wants To Block Benefits For Families of Gay U.N. Employees

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Russia has demanded that the United Nations (UN) reverse last year’s decision to offer marital benefits to LGBT employees, reports Foreign Policy.

Speaking on Monday morning at a UN budget committee, Russian diplomat Sergey Khalizov said that the administrative ruling announced by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (above) last June violates a General Assembly resolution that left it to UN employees’ governments to determine whether employees are eligible for spousal benefits.

2000px-Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svgRussia’s spokesman told Foreign Policy:

“For us it is a very important issue. We would prefer to make a decision…by consensus but if some delegations do not demonstrate a constructive approach to the concerns raised by us and shared by many other member states, then we’ll have no other choice but to call for a vote.”

It is thought that Russia could win if it calls for a vote on the issue, partly because the permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) cannot use a veto at the budget committee, known as the Fifth Committee.

The move is seen as a cynical political maneuver that aims to check the authority of a UN leader who has clashed with Moscow over its policies from Syria to Ukraine.

Jessica Stern, the executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said:

“[Russia] is looking for any excuse to curtail the UN Secretary-General’s authority. It’s no secret that the Secretary-General and Russia have been at cross-purposes over Ukraine and Syria, and the Russians have found the perfect political vehicle for attacking him.”

Philippe Bolopion, the UN representative for Human Rights Watch, said member states “should push back hard against Russia’s backwards efforts to impose on the UN the same kind of homophobic attitudes Moscow promotes at home.”

UN officials say if the Russian initiative were to succeed, it could have an impact well beyond same-sex marriages, risking benefits for children adopted in a foreign country.


California Attorney Files Ballot Measure Calling For Execution Of All Gays: VIDEO

You read that headline correctly.

A California attorney has filed a proposed ballot measure with the state Attorney General’s office asking voters to criminalize homosexuality and impose the death penalty, reports LGBTQ Nation.

CAdeathpenaltygaysThe “Sodomite Suppression Act” filing will allow Matthew G. McLaughlin to start the process of collecting the roughly 365,000 signatures (around 5 percent of the electorate) required to put the measure on an upcoming ballot. 

McLaughlin’s unbelievable proposal states:

“The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha.

“The People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.

CA“This law shall be known as ‘The Sodomite Suppression Act’ and be numbered as section 29 in Title 3 of the Penal Code, pertaining to offenses against the sovereignty of the state. The text shall be prominently posted in every public school classroom. ALL laws in conflict with this law are to that extent invalid.”

McLaughlin is on active status with the State Bar for California but the address he provides routes to a Mailbox Express store rather than a law office.

In 2004, McLaughlin filed for a ballot measure to put the King James Bible in the hands of public school students as a literary text.

The 2003 Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas ruled that same-sex sexual activity is legal. That decision cannot be overturned by a simple ballot initiative in California.

Watch a report on Lawrence v. Texas, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "California Attorney Files Ballot Measure Calling For Execution Of All Gays: VIDEO" »


23 Gay Rights Activists Arrested In Idaho State Capitol

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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.19.19 PMAn estimated 23 gay rights activists were arrested in Idaho yesterday morning after protesting in the Idaho House and Senate chambers, attempting to pressure lawmakers to pass anti-discrimination protections reports Boise State Public Radio. The activists, wearing black shirts that said, "Add the 4 words Idaho," warned they would not leave until legislators added sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Protesters risked arrest if they did not disperse before the House and Senate convened; Police began to arrest protesters that refused to leave on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, two of whom were juveniles. The group issued a statement to the media on the matter.

Said Protesters: 

"Plain and simply, it is time the Idaho Legislature to use its voice to set the field level for those who live quiet lives in all our communities, those who are your own daughters and sons, those who deserve for our state to set in law that unfair businesses practices and intentional cruelty and discrimination against them is wrong."

This protest follows similar protests held during 2014s legislative session; up to 100 protesters were charged and arrested with misdemeanor trespassing during those protests. Republican lawmakers rejected legislation that would have amended the state’s Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity earlier this year. A House committee heard over 20 hours of testimony, with most in favor of passing the bill however, concern over the bill’s impact on religious freedoms caused the panel to vote the measure down.


Attorney General Eric Holder Names Openly Gay Man to Lead DoJ Civil Division

Former Ohio solicitor general Ben Mizer has been promoted to Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Mizer is one of more than a dozen out gay lawyers Holder and the Obama administration have appointed to senior positions at the Department of Justice, according to The Victory Fund.

Mizer“Ben Mizer’s unassailable integrity, sound judgment and steadfast commitment to the mission of this department are just a few of the reasons he’s been chosen to serve as the new Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division – a critical and demanding post, and one in which he will undoubtedly thrive,” said Attorney General Holder in a statement. “Ben’s work here in Washington and as Solicitor General for the state of Ohio has put him in some of the most challenging and demanding positions a lawyer can encounter.  But in every instance, Ben has repeatedly demonstrated that he is both a gifted lawyer and a capable leader."

If confirmed, Ben would be the second most senior openly gay official at the Department of Justice. Stuart F. Delery, the gay senior Justice Department lawyer who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of the Obama Administration back in 2012 and previously served as head of the Civil Division, was promoted to Associate Attorney General back in September. Delery is the department's no.3 lawyer and the highest-ranking openly gay official to ever serve in the DoJ.


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