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HRC Warns 12 States ‘Don’t Repeat The Mistakes Of Indiana' In New Media Campaign

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The Human Rights Coalition launched a new ad campaign asking 12 state governors to reject bills that target LGBT people like the one Gov. Mike Pence passed in Indiana. HRC's new campaign comes after a study conducted by the organization yielded results stating that a majority of Hoosiers believe Pence’s bill is damaging Indiana’s economy. JoDee Winterhof, HRC's vice president for policy and political affairs, warned of the repercussions states could endure if they follow Pence’s example.

Said Winterhof:

"Gov. Mike Pence found that experimenting with anti-LGBT bills that allow businesses to discriminate killed his approval ratings and damaged the Hoosier economy. Governors who go down the same path as Mike Pence and put their state economy at risk in an attempt to further discrimination are going to find themselves at risk of being rejected by the voters."

The results of HRC's study reflects Winterhof's warning as a majority of voters (70% to 24%) believe that businesses should not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or identity. Surprisingly a majority of Republican voters (58% to 36%) concur. Pence’s approval ratings have since plummeted, allowing for a potential Democratic challenger to make gains in the state. HRC's media campaign officially began today on social media in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Texas. Although Pence attempted to clarify that official language in the new law would prevent LGBT discrimination, HRC isn’t buying it, noting that the state’s laws are still devoid of any clear LGBT anti-discrimination laws that would grant full protections to LGBT people in the state.


Bobby Jindal Has a Message for Businesses Concerned With Louisiana's Anti-gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill: 'Save Your Breath'

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is taking the hard-line stance on LGBT rights in a NYT op-ed on why he's holding firm against gay marriage and will continue to push for a bill in his state that will allow individuals and businesses to discriminate on religious grounds.

Writes Jindal:

JindalAs the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.

In 2010, Louisiana adopted a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits government from unduly burdening a person’s exercise of religion. However, given the changing positions of politicians, judges and the public in favor of same-sex marriage, along with the potential for discrimination against Christian individuals and businesses that comes with these shifts, I plan in this legislative session to fight for passage of the Marriage and Conscience Act.

The legislation would prohibit the state from denying a person, company or nonprofit group a license, accreditation, employment or contract — or taking other “adverse action” — based on the person or entity’s religious views on the institution of marriage. [...]

If we, as conservatives, are to succeed in advancing the cause of freedom and free enterprise, the business community must stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for religious liberty. The left-wing ideologues who oppose religious freedom are the same ones who seek to tax and regulate businesses out of existence. The same people who think that profit making is vulgar believe that religiosity is folly. The fight against this misguided, government-dictating ideology is one fight, not two. Conservative leaders cannot sit idly by and allow large corporations to rip our coalition in half.

In Jindal's State of the State address earlier this month, he declared that enacting an Indiana-style "license to discriminate" bill was one of his top three legislative priorities. IBM has already spoken out against the bill, warning Jindal that the company "will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law," and that the legislation "is antithetical to our company's values." 

“It’s disappointing that Gov. Bobby Jindal is supporting this bill which permits discrimination in the name of religion,” adds SarahJane Brady, executive director of the Forum for Equality. “This bill permits discrimination against interfaith couple and interracial couples, not just the gay and transgender community. The truth is this bill is not about religious freedom — we all have that guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions. The bill just gives a license to discriminate in Louisiana.”

 


Bobby Jindal Digs His Heels In on Discriminatory Religious Freedom Bill As IBM Issues Stern Warning to Lawmakers

Seemingly unfazed by the backlash Indiana and Arizona faced during their debates over "licenses to discriminate," Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is moving full steam ahead on a "religious freedom" bill, the AP reports:

JindalThe Republican governor, speaking to reporters in a wide-ranging interview, attempted to flip the script on opponents by describing the bill as an anti-discrimination measure designed to protect Christians who are morally opposed to same-sex marriage in an increasingly permissive society.

"Religious liberty is not just about the ability to pray a couple of hours a week," said Jindal, who has presidential ambitions built on an appeal to evangelical Christians and social conservatives. "Religious liberty is about being able to live your life seven days a week according to your beliefs."

As written, the "Marriage and Conscience Act" — a cornerstone of Jindal's legislative agenda — would prohibit the state from denying any resident or business a license, benefits or tax deductions because of actions taken "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction" about marriage.

The proposal has already received push-back, with IBM writing this week that the company "will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law," and that the legislation "is antithetical to our company's values."

Jindal responded to IBM with a letter of his own, which you can read AFTER THE JUMP...

Promisingly, Senate President John Alario remains "skeptical" of the legislation. 

Continue reading "Bobby Jindal Digs His Heels In on Discriminatory Religious Freedom Bill As IBM Issues Stern Warning to Lawmakers" »


Federal Judge Declines To Lift Injunction Blocking FMLA Benefits For Gay Couples In 4 States

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An untold number of gay workers in four states remain unable to take unpaid time off to care for their ailing spouses, after a federal judge in Texas declined to lift an injunction Friday. 

Last month, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (shown with Sen. Ted Cruz) filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a new labor department rule extending benefits under the Family & Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples who live in states that don't recognize their marriages. 

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a President George W. Bush appointee, issued an order blocking the new FMLA rule from taking effect as scheduled on March 27 in Texas and three other states that joined Paxton's lawsuit — Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.  

The U.S. Department of Justice appealed the order, but O'Connor declined to lift it during a hearing Friday, according to NBCDFW.com.  

Paxton, a tea partier who took office in January and is under investigation for securities fraud, is also seeking to void the marriage of a 30-year lesbian couple, one of whom has ovarian cancer. 

Presumably, the Justice Department will appeal O'Connor's decision, which will be overturned anyway if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of nationwide marriage equality in June. 

The Family Medical & Leave Act grants workers 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year "to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition."  

So perhaps we should thank Paxton for drawing further attention to the tremendous harm inflicted by state same-sex marriage bans. 


Louisiana Lesbian Student Wins Battle to Wear Tuxedo to Prom

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Resolving a case that received nationwide attention this week, Principal Patrick Taylor of Monroe City High School in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana has agreed to let Claudetteia Love wear a tuxedo to prom, NCLR reports, via press release:

The negative response against Principal Taylor's decision was swift. Two members of the Monroe County Board of Education, which oversees Carroll High School, vowed to ensure that Claudetteia would be allowed to wear a tuxedo to her prom.

"We are pleased to hear that Principal Taylor and the Monroe City School Board corrected this wrong before any serious harm was done. Forbidding girls from wearing a tuxedo to the prom would have served no purpose other than to reinforce the worst sorts of harmful stereotypes and censor a core part of Claudetteia's identity," said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. "The school is doing the right thing by supporting its students and teaching them the value of respect and acceptance of one another's differences."

[Claudetteia's mother Geraldine] Jackson, who is fully supportive of Claudetteia's sexual orientation and her decision to wear a tuxedo, stated: "I am very happy that the school reversed its position in time for Claudetteia and her friends to attend the prom together. Also, I am proud of Claudetteia for standing up for her right to wear a tuxedo to prom and for being true to herself. She should not have to miss out on an important milestone for all high school students because of what others might say or do."

Now was that so hard?


Bobby Jindal Says He Supports Louisiana's Aggressively Anti-Gay 'Religious Liberty' Bill

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A "religious liberty" introduced in Louisiana last week is as aggressive and anti-gay as the one that caused nationwide outrage in Indiana last week and Governor Bobby Jindal now says he'll support it, the Times-Picayune reports:

The Louisiana legislation is not exactly the same as the laws introduced in Indiana and Arkansas, but it deals with many of the same issues related to same-sex marriage and religious protections.

Legal scholars said the bill would allow private businesses to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, should it become legal in Louisiana. The legislation would -- among other things -- allow a private company to not offer the same benefits to legally-recognized same-sex married couples as other married couples, on the basis of a religious objection.

Governor Bobby Jindal, who appeared on Meet the Press over the weekend but did not commit to supporting the bill, now says he will:

"Yes, we support the bill. This is a common sense bill that provides necessary protections for individuals to prevent adverse treatment from the state based on religious beliefs regarding marriage," said Shannon Bates Dirmann, spokeswoman for the governor, in a written statement.

Jindal also told hate group leader Tony Perkins on his radio show that Christian businesses who won't serve gays are the real victims of discrimination.


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