Law - Gay, LGBT Hub




Alliance Defending Freedom Claims Anti-gay Idaho Wedding Chapel Never Sought Non-Profit Status - VIDEO

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Anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has posted a response to a letter from the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho relating to the litigation group's discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a local wedding chapel, reports Joe My God.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the owners of Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, claim in the lawsuit that the city's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages.

Back in May, the Knapps said that they would rather close their doors than perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

The letter sent by the city to ADF on October 20th makes it clear that, although the Knapps registered their business as a religious corporation early this month, “based on the facts and their corporate status at the time [the couple refused to perform a same-sex wedding],” Hitching Post comes under the city’s non-discrimination order.

However, ADF has posted a response on its website backtracking on claims that Hitching Post has in fact been registered as a non-profit religious organization.  ADF has attacked the city’s “disingenuous waffling” and is now arguing that the Coeur d’Alene intends to “prosecute a for-profit business.”

Knapps“The city has said explicitly, repeatedly, and publicly that it would prosecute a for-profit business. That’s what the Hitching Post is, and it has never claimed to be anything other than that.

"While the Knapps do operate a ministry, they charge a fee for the ceremonies in order to be able to make a modest living. Therefore, the city, in its letter and elsewhere, is admitting that it would prosecute these pastors, who are clearly under a present threat of being sent to jail, fined, or both.

"The city has had months to figure out its own ordinance, and our clients have years of incarceration and devastating fines hanging over their heads. The city’s disingenuous waffling is indefensible.”

Earlier this month, the ADF began lobbying Slovakia's constitutional court to allow activists to place a referendum on the country's ballot that would reinforce the current bans on gay marriage, adoption, and domestic partner protections. The ADF's efforts in promoting bigotry abroad were profiled in Human Rights Campaign's "Export of Hate" report last month.

Watch an ABC report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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New York Times Columnist Apologizes For Taking Part In Anti-Gay Fundraiser - VIDEO

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New York Times columnist Ross Douthat [top left] has apologized for appearing at a fundraising event for anti-gay litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), reports Media Matters America.

ADF was recently profiled by Human Rights Campaign for its attempts to criminalize homosexuality abroad, most recently in Slovakia and is currently litigating on behalf of a wedding venue in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that refused to perform a same-sex marriage.

On October 16th, Douthat spoke at the ADF event that aimed to draw attention to a number of popular right-wing horror stories about the threat LGBT equality poses to religious liberty. Douthat spoke alongside the homophobic Benham brothers who recently compared themselves to the victims of ISIS' beheadings because their reality TV show was cancelled due to their extremist statements and views.

Apologizing, Douthat said that he did not know ADF's event was a fundraiser and plans to decline the honorarium he received from the event.

"I was not aware in advance that this event was a fundraiser and had I known, I would not have agreed to participate. I was invited by an events organizing group, not by ADF directly. I understood this to be a public conversation about religious liberty. This is my fault for not doing my due diligence, and I will be declining the honorarium."

Richard Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., said that Douthat’s decision to take part in the ADF event is disturbing because of the group’s extreme activism and relentless “attacks on equal protection of gay people and families.”  Rosendall added that Douthat’s participation “says unfortunate things about” the journalist.

Watch a video from the event where David Benham discusses the "sexual anarchy agenda," AFTER THE JUMP...

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North Carolina Magistrate Resigns Over Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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A North Carolina magistrate yesterday took the decision to resign rather than perform same-sex marriages, reports WITN.

A memo to state magistrates on Wednesday said officials would be violating their oaths of office if they refuse to marry gay or lesbian couples.

Rockingham County Magistrate John Kallam Jr. said performing same-sex marriages would violate his religious beliefs and "would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself."

Kallam Jr. sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins saying when he took his oath of office, he didn't take it with the understanding that he would be required to marry gay couples.

On Monday, a magistrate in Pasquotank County refused to marry two men, citing religious objections.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NYC Councilman Corey Johnson Introduces Groundbreaking Transgender Birth Certificate Legislation

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A bill introduced yesterday by New York City councilman and LGBT rights activist Corey Johnson aims to change the law under which transgender people wishing to change sex on their birth certificate must prove that they have had “corrective surgery,” reports Capital New York.

The Department of Health will propose new regulations mirroring Johnson's legislation.

Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Tuesday that will make it easier for transgender Californians to obtain a birth certificate with sex and name alterations

New York City law currently requires anyone wishing to change their birth certificate to undergo surgery. However, under the proposed change, transgender people would only be required to provide a signed form from a physician, a doctoral level psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, licensed master social worker, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, marriage family therapist, mental health counsellor or a midwife.

According to advocates, although New York City in 1971 became the first municipality to permit changes to a birth certificate for transgender people, the policy has not been updated and now stands as too restrictive.

Johnson - a former political editor for Towleroad - said that the change is a human rights issue and is necessary “because transgender people currently do not have accurate documents to be able to access basic things like a driver's license that matches who they are.”

Michael Silverman, Executive Director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said:

“We applaud both of these efforts to help transgender people born in New York City update their birth certificates to match who they truly are. These proposed policy changes reflect modern medical standards for transgender health care.

"A birth certificate is a fundamental form of identification. Yet New York City’s existing policy makes it all but impossible for transgender people to get birth certificates that reflect their true identities. It requires surgical procedures that most transgender people have not undergone, either because of discriminatory health insurance exclusions that make such procedures unaffordable, or because such procedures are medically inappropriate for some people.”


Nationwide Marriage Equality: Why We Might Not Even Need the Supreme Court

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BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Back in June, I argued that there may never be a need for the Supreme Court to take a marriage equality case.

We have marriage rights in Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The Ninth Circuit just declared the bans on marriage equality in Idaho and Nevada unconstitutional. Both states will have to comply in short order. Since there is no reason to stay those cases given the Supreme Court's recent denials of review, we will soon have marriage equality in at least 32 states! 

The Supreme Court has denied review in cases out of the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits. That leaves marriage equality lawsuits  on appeal at the Fifth (the Texas case) and Sixth (the Michigan case). Marriage equality is almost a sure bet in, at least, the entire Ninth Circuit now.

At some point, the conventional wisdom says, all these cases will lead back to the Supreme Court.

Not necessarily. Looking at the map and our string of marriage equality victories, I wonder whether we will need the Supreme Court at all. A nationwide freedom to marry could be a fait accompli without five justices of the Supreme Court.

I make the argument AFTER THE JUMP...

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Colbert Welcomes His 'Government-Mandated Life Partner' Since Gay Marriage is Inevitable: VIDEO

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After hearing Jeffrey Toobin tell Wolf Blitzer that it's "inevitable the rest of the country will follow" the states that have adopted gay marriage, Stephen Colbert thanked his wife Lorraine "for 25 good years" and welcomed his new husband and welcomed his new "government-mandated life partner Roger Cornsworth."

Still, Stephen is "pumped to the gavels" for the start of the Supreme Court session and takes a look at the rise in influence of "friend of the court", or amicus briefs, which were cited by SCOTUS 124 times from 2008 to 2013.

"As a wise man once said, there's nothing wrong with quoting someone who doesn't know what they're talking about."

Colbert welcomes Professor Allison Orr Larsen to examine whether this phenomenon is a good or a bad thing.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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