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Justice Dept. Sues University For Firing Professor Who Transitioned

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The Justice Department has announced the filing of a lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU) and the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) for discriminating against a transgender employee.

The lawsuit claims that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, SOSU and RUSO discriminated against the transgender employee on the basis of her sex and retaliated against her when she complained.

Attorney General Eric Holder (above) announced last year that the Department of Justice will extend Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination protection to claims based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status.

2000px-Seal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_Justice.svgAccording to the complaint, Rachel Tudor began working at SOSU as an associate professor in 2004. At this time, Tudor identified as a man. In 2007, she began to present as a woman. However, in 2009 the university  denied an application for a tenured promotion and overruled the recommendations of her department chair and other tenured faculty from her department.  

The following year, Tudor filed complaints regarding the denial of her application. Shortly after it learned of her complaints, SOSU refused to let Tudor re-apply for promotion and tenure despite the college’s policies permitting re-application.  At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, SOSU and RUSO terminated Tudor’s employment because she had not obtained tenure.

On the announcement of the lawsuit, Holder said:

“By standing beside Dr. Tudor, the Department of Justice sends a clear message that we are committed to eliminating discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity.

We will not allow unfair biases and unjust prejudices to prevent transgender Americans from reaching their full potential as workers and as citizens.  And we will continue to work tirelessly, using every legal tool available, to ensure that transgender individuals are guaranteed the rights and protections that all Americans deserve.”

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jenny R. Yang added:

“This is a tremendous example of how collaboration between EEOC and the Department of Justice leads to strong and coordinated enforcement of Title VII. This case furthers the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan, which includes coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions as a national enforcement priority.”


Two Men Found Guilty in Perth, Australia Gay Bashing Murder

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Two men in Perth, Australia have been found guilty of murdering gay man Warren Batchelor (right) in a vigilante attack, reports ABC.

A_160315genwarren1_1ahabtl-1ahac7cDaniel Wade Jones and Mark Taylor fatally bashed 48-year-old Batchelor at Middle Swan Reserve in November 2013. Mr Batchelor had been having a sexual encounter with another man in a public toilet when the attack took place.

Prosecutors described the murder as a vigilante attack designed to rid the area of gay men.

Both Jones and Taylor denied fatally injuring Batchelor who was king hit, punched and stomped while on the ground, then hit with a pole. He died two days later in hospital.

Taylor's lawyer said it was Jones who struck the victim with the pole and denied that his client injured the victim. He added that Taylor had done "stupid" things such as taking a knife to the toilet, but did not plan to kill anyone.

Jones' lawyer claimed his client did not injure the victim and was not in the toilet at all.

A statement issued by his family described Warren as "a kind, loving and caring man” who they miss every day.


Legal Case Against Irish Bakery That Refused to Bake 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Begins: VIDEO

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Legal proceedings against a bakery in Northern Ireland for refusing to take an order for a cake with the slogan “support gay marriage” began yesterday, reports RTE.

Based in Newtownabbey, Ashers Baking Company is named after a verse from the Bible which refers to "Bread from Asher.”

Customer and gay rights activist Gareth Lee is supported in his action by the Northern Ireland's Equality Commission (NIEC).

Opening the case against Ashers, Robin Allen QC said the baker’s objections on religious grounds was not lawful and as unjustifiable as a postman declining to post a letter.

Noting the publicity surrounding the case, Allen said that “law must not be determined by those who shout loudest,” adding “this is a case about commerce and discrimination.”

The NIEC alleges that the stance of the company was in breach of legislation. Initially, the commission asked Ashers to acknowledge that it had breached legislation and offer "modest" damages to Lee. However, when the baker refused, the commission proceeded with the legal action.

Arriving at court ahead of the hearing, Ashers owner Daniel McArthur said he was putting his trust in God.

The hearing is expected to conclude today.

Watch a Christian Institute interview with McArthur, AFTER THE JUMP...

Earlier this week, the government in the Republic of Ireland indicated there will be no "right to discriminate" provision in the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage.

Continue reading "Legal Case Against Irish Bakery That Refused to Bake 'Bert and Ernie' Cake Supporting Gay Marriage Begins: VIDEO" »


Mississippi Man Claims Facebook Panic In Brutal Beating Of Gay Man: VIDEO

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Corinth, Mississippi resident James Scott denies that a vicious attack on gay man Devin Norman last weekend was a hate crime, reports WREG.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c768cd54970b-800wiScott (above) has admitted to attacking Devin Norman (right) in the car park of a Corinth Walmart last Friday.  Norman suffered a broken cheekbone and other serious facial injuries.

Scott alleges that Norman threatened to out him using images posted on Facebook.

Scott said:

“I cannot see how it could be a hate crime. I don’t even have an emotional hatred for him. The only thing I dislike about it was that he took something from me...I should have know better. I should have been more of an adult. I should have thought before I acted.”

Charges against Scott are likely to be upgraded from simple assault to aggravated assault after police found out Norman suffered broken bones.

Watch an interview with Scott and Norman, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

 

Continue reading "Mississippi Man Claims Facebook Panic In Brutal Beating Of Gay Man: VIDEO" »


Jason Collins Blasts Indiana's Anti-Gay 'License To Discriminate' Bill: VIDEO

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Jason Collins, the first openly gay pro athlete in the four major North American sports leagues, has spoken out against Indiana’s recently passed “License To Discriminate” bill, reports IndyStar.

By a vote of 63-31, the Indiana House of Representatives yesterday passed the bill which allows private businesses, individuals and organizations to discriminate against LGBT individuals on religious grounds.

.@GovPenceIN, is it going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come to the #FinalFour? http://t.co/uBlKbIf8YK

— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) March 23, 2015

Governor Mike Pence says he is "looking forward" to signing the bill.

Collins, who has been mentoring other young, gay basketball players who have yet to come out of the closet, played for 13 seasons in the NBA for multiple teams, including the New Jersey Nets.

Watch the trailer for new documentary Out to Win, which provides insight into the lives of LGBT athletes including Collins, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Wade Davis and Brittney Griner, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jason Collins Blasts Indiana's Anti-Gay 'License To Discriminate' Bill: VIDEO" »


Cameroonian LGBT Advocate, Dubbed 'The Devil's Lawyer' By Opponents, Is An Ally Worth Honoring

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For the better part of the last decade Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer, has been doing everything in her power to strike down Article 347 of Cameroon’s penal code. Article 347, like many of the antiquated morality laws first created under colonial rule, punishes consenting adults who engaging in same-sex sexual activities. Currently Nkom is in the process of challenging Article 347’s constitutionality through in two separate cases being presented to Cameroon’s Supreme Court.

“If we unite our efforts and our resources, we will get the supreme court to join the other supreme courts in the world to firmly condemn the use of Article 347 as a basis for legal action or verdicts,” Nkom said to The Guardian. “I need everyone because right now, I am a little isolated. It’s on occasions like this that we must show we are one, united, universal in this fight.”

MbedeBoth of the cases Nkom has decide to throw her weight behind stem from seemingly innocuous situations. Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé (pictured right with Nkom), who is now dead, was arrested in 2011 after professing his love for another man via text message. In 2012, two other Cameroonian men were detained by local police for their outwardly feminine gender presentation. Nkom is representing both of these cases to the Cameroonian Supreme Court in an effort to shed light on the country’s mistreatment of its queer population. 

Her actions have earned her the title of  “the devil’s lawyer” from opponents who view her defense of LGBT rights as an a sin. In Nkom’s mind, however, she’s merely fighting against a longstanding, illegal overreach of the Executive Branch of Cameroon’s powers. 

“Even in Europe, when we look at the countries that penalise homosexuality today, and I am thinking of Russia, we see that the problem is an absence of democracy,” she said. “The two are linked.”

Nkom hopes that drawing more global attention to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights will bring the support Cameroon’s sizable LGBT population needs to properly defend itself from dubious legal charges.

“This is a fight for human rights. Its does not pit African traditions against western traditions or the colonised against colonizers,” she explained. “Africa has the same universal values and belongs to humanity. It is not separate, and neither is Cameroon.”


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