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Founder Of Russian LGBT Teen Support Group Fined For Violating 'Gay Propaganda' Law

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The founder of Russia's version of the "It Gets Better" campaign has been fined 50,000 rubles for violating the country's "gay propaganda" law.

Journalist Elena Klimova (above), founder of the Children 440 group on the Russian social network VKontakte, was fined the equivalent of $775, BuzzFeed reports

Klimova launched the group shortly before Russia passed its anti-gay law in 2013. The name Children 404 is a reference to the “Page Not Found” online server error.

Most users who post photos on the site obscure their faces and include the message, "We exist." They also share stories and can interact with volunteer psychologists who offer counseling.

BuzzFeed reports on Thursday's hearing: 

LGBT activists said that Klimova’s lawyer could not attend today’s hearing for medical reasons and she was left without counsel when the judge declined to postpone the proceedings.

“Today the court has violated the article 48 of the Russian Constitution, according to which everyone shall be guaranteed the right to qualified legal assistance,” Maria Kozlovskaya, a lawyer with the Russian LGBT Network, said in a statement. “We are going to challenge this decision at all levels including the European Court on Human Rights.”

View photos from Children 404's Facebook page and watch a trailer for the film about the campaign, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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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" »


Lesbian Widow Sues FedEx For Refusing To Pay Survivor Benefits: READ

 

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The widow of a FedEx employee is suing the company for refusing to provide her with federally required pension benefits, reports NCLR.

Lesly Frances TABOADA-HALLThe company’s decision to deny Stacey Schuett (pictured above left) benefits is solely because both spouses are women.

Schuett and Lesly Taboada-Hall (pictured right and above with their two children) were together for 30 years before they married in 2013. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Taboada-Hall and Schuett married from a hospital bed in their California home in front of their two children and close family members and friends.

At the time of Taboada-Hall’s death, she had been a FedEx employee for more than 26 years.

FedEx has refused to provide the benefits because its pension plan incorporates the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), even though that law was struck down as unconstitutional in 2013.

Representing Schuett, attorney Nina Wasow said:

“Federal pension law protects same-sex spouses just as it does opposite-sex spouses. Employees who have same-sex spouses deserve the same certainty as others that their hard-earned retirement benefits will be there to protect their families.”

Also representing Schuett, NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter added:

“FedEx cannot hide behind DOMA to justify its discrimination against Ms. Schuett and her family. The Supreme Court’s decision striking down DOMA made clear that employers must recognize the spouses of their gay and lesbian employees.”

Read details of Schuett's complaint, AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Gay People Shouldn't Have Babies', Grocery Cashier Tells Shocked Couple

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UK supermarket chain Tesco has apologised after an employee allegedly told a lesbian couple that gay people “shouldn’t have babies,” reports Pink News.

The incident occurred in Surrey Quays mall in east London on January 3rd.

A cashier at the supermarket is alleged to have made the comments to Natalie Rivans and her girlfriend Helen Embleton about a pregnant woman in the queue in front of them, saying “it’s wrong - gay people shouldn’t have babies.”

When Rivans challenged the employee, she was told “it’s a free country so I can say what I like.”

On the incident, Rivans said:

“I’ve been out and gay for a long time however my partner not so much. This has really upset and stressed her out.

“I’m thoroughly disappointed [and I] feel as though the LGBT family need to know about this.”

According to spokesperson for Tesco, an internal investigation is now underway.

Back in 2013, Tesco caused a storm when it pulled an inflatable gay best friend from its website. The product had been listed with the term "gay" (censored "g*y") and was suggested for recipients between the ages of 3 and 4 years old, although its description deemed it appropriate for bachelorette parties.


Lesbians Ordered to Leave Vienna Cafe After Kissing

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A lesbian couple was ordered to leave a cafe in Vienna, Austria last week after they shared a kiss which was deemed appropriate “in a brothel,” reports Pink News.

The couple, Eva Prewein and Anastasia Lopez, were told to leave Café Prückel after a waiter refused to serve them.

When they complained to the manager, they were told that kissing belongs “in a brothel and not in a traditional coffee house."

Around 2,000 people have indicated they intend to take part in a kiss-in protest planned at the cafe this coming Friday.

Café Prückel claims to "offer everything a Viennese coffee house has made world famous" - excluding a welcome for LGBT customers it would appear.

In June of last year, Austria's first openly gay politician, Ulrike Lunacek, was attacked with acid at Vienna's Rainbow Parade.


Majority Of Bangladesh LGB People Live In Fear Of Being Outed

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A survey of 751 self-identified LGB people in Bangladesh has found that more than half of respondents live in constant fear of being outed, reports Dhaka Tribute.

Bob_logoThe survey by LGBT activist group Boys of Bangladesh and magazine Roopbaan (above) is the first of its kind in the predominantly Muslim country.

With responses from eight major cities, the survey also found that many respondents considered their sexual orientation sinful.

Although around 59 percent of respondents said they have never faced discrimination due to their sexual orientation, many of the 25.8 percent of those who had faced anti-gay discrimination said they had either had no knowledge of or no access to legal support.

Survey spokesperson Shakhawat Imam Rajeeb said:

“Sexuality in general needs to be talked about in our country. There is such a wide spectrum of sexuality – we have to be open to different interpretations of it. That can only happen when you bring in different voices from society."

Launched a year ago, Roopban - named after the Bengali folk character Roopbaan, who symbolizes the power of love -  is Bangladesh's first LGBT magazine.


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