An 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.
"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.Sphere: Related Content
By a vote of 51-28, Slovenia's Parliament today passed legislation that would amend the current marriage and family relations act to allow same-sex couples to legally be married and adopt. As STA reports, "A coalition of conservative groups has already announced efforts for a referendum." Slovenia is the 12th European nation to recognize same-sex marriage.
(Photo via Twitter)Sphere: Related Content
In 2009 David Bahati made a name for himself by introducing an early version of what would eventually become Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Law. Colloquially known as the “Kill The Gays” Bill, Bahati’s proposal argued in favor of punishing those thought to be “recruiting” children into the “homosexual lifestyle” with death. By the time the law was passed in 2013 the penalty of death had been reduced to life in prison, but the sentiment became emblematic of Uganda’s social climate in regards to its gay population.
The law was repealed as a result of a procedural technicality, but Bahati and other members of the Ugandan Parliament have made clear their plans of reintroducing a similar bill. This past weekend Bahati reaffirmed his resolve to a new anti-gay bill and confirmed that the planning process is moving forward.
This time around, however, Bahati and Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni are likely to be faced by increased opposition from pro-gay Ugandan activists. Writing for The Daily Beast, Janson Wu, the executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender, explains that despite the country’s hostility toward queer people, those on the front lines are mobilizing much in the same way LGBT activists organized in the US.
Rather than attacking the law individually, Wu explains, Ugandan activists are turning their sights towards the manifestations of institutional homophobia that paved the way for the law’s creation:
“On a recent trip to Uganda, I met with local LGBT activists – and one lesson consistently emerged as key to their strategy: the fight for LGBT rights must be situated within a broader campaign for human rights and civil liberties.
This is how the early American LGBT movement began as well. It focused not solely on the equal rights of LGBT people, but on the constitutional liberties that all U.S. citizens – including LGBT people – are supposed to enjoy.
As the LGBT movement developed, the focus shifted to equal rights for LGBT people specifically. This was justified in its time: equal treatment and protection of LGBT people under the law (removing all “gay exceptions” from the books) is essential to equal citizenship and dignity. However, as we begin to move beyond formal equality in the law in some areas of the country, we must also broaden our sights if we truly are to achieve equal justice for the LGBTQ community.”
Read the full piece here.Sphere: Related Content
Can a break in the space time continuum alter your sexuality? Apparently, Marty McFly worried that it might.
In a deleted scene from the seminal Back To The Future, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) talks to Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) about how uncomfortable he is with a plan the two devised wherein Marty is supposed to put the moves on his mom, setting off a chain of events that would, eventually, get Marty back to 1985 (the year he was from). But hitting on your mom is weird, Oedipal business. Which somehow led Marty to think the incident could be so traumatic that it could make him gay: “I can’t believe I’m going to feel up my own mother,” Marty complains. “This is the kind of thing that could screw me up permanently. What if I go back to the future and I end up being… gay?” It being the 1950s and "gay" not yet becoming synonymous with "homosexual," Doc Brown responds, "Why shouldn't you be happy?"
The brief exchange fits in with the style of jokes throughout the film that highlight the difference between life in America in 1955 versus 1985. In another scene, for instance, Doc Brown laughs at Marty when he says that Ronald Reagan is the President of the United States in 1985: "Ronald Reagan?! The actor?! And who's Vice President, Jerry Lewis?" But the reason why this "gay" joke is different is that it suggests that someone or something can make you gay. And ultimately, that may have been the reason why it was left on the cutting room floor.
Watch the scene for yourself, AFTER THE JUMP...
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has not changed his position on same-sex marriage and will not sign an amicus brief being put together by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and other Senate Democrats urging the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize nationwide marriage equality when it considers same-sex marriage later in the year. The Washington Blade reports:
Asked by the Washington Blade if Manchin would announce support for marriage equality and add his name to the brief, Jonathan Kott, a Manchin spokesperson, replied, “No. His position has not changed.”
Now that former Sens. Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu have been voted out of office, Manchin is the only Senate Democrat to remain opposed to same-sex marriage. He’s designated as an opponent of gay nuptials on the Human Rights Campaign congressional scorecard, which cites a 2012 statement from a spokesperson saying Manchin believes marriage is between one man and one woman.
Manchin is unfazed by the dramatic shift in favor of marriage equality both across the nation and within his own party. The Blade notes that Manchin dodged the question of same-sex marriage earlier this year after President Obama historically called same-sex marriage a civil right in his state of the union address, saying he didn't remember Obama making such a grand and sweeping declaration in favor of marriage equality.
By remaining a stalwart opponent of same-sex marriage, Manchin is also directly opposed to his party's platform, which in 2012 stated,
“We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.”Sphere: Related Content
A Texas lawmaker has introduced a draconian anti-LGBT bill almost identical to the one that became law in Arkansas last month.
The proposal from GOP Rep. Rick Miller (above) would prohibit cities from enforcing nondiscrimination ordinances that include protected classes not contained in state law.
The Texas Observer reports:
Texas law doesn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. If passed, Miller’s bill would undo LGBT protections passed by numerous cities, including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and Plano. Altogether more than 7.5 million Texas are covered by such ordinances.
Miller’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
HB 1556 is more specific than a similar measure introduced by Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas). Huffines’ SB 343 would bar cities from enforcing any ordinances that are more stringent than state law, unless otherwise authorized by statute.
In Arkansas last month, a similar bill became law without the governor's signature. Grassroots activists criticized national LGBT organizations for not doing enough to oppose the Arkansas measure, SB 202, which was drafted in direct response to Fayetteville's passage of an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.
It will be interesting to see if things are any different in Texas.
Read the full text of HB 1556, AFTER THE JUMP ...