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Jamaican Minister of Justice Snubs United Nations' Call For LGBT Equality

Screenshot 2015-05-25 16.33.38

Earlier this month, Senator Mark Golding, Jamaica's minister of justice, remarked that the conservative island nation was not interested in extending legal protections to its LGBT people. The decision came in response to the United Nations' insistence that Jamaica has had an objectively negative relationship with its LGBT population and has done little to protect them.

In a recent speech to Jamaica’s Senate, Golding explained that there had been a number of calls from other UN member nations for Jamaica to repeal its laws that criminalize homosexuality. According to Golding these recommendations “did not enjoy Jamaica’s support.”

“I assured the [UN Human Rights] Council that the Constitution of Jamaica guarantees basic human rights to all Jamaicans,” Golding said. “[A]nd indicated further that, in order to create greater understanding of the concerns of the LGBT community, several initiatives have been put in place.” He added,

“I informed the Council that the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Diversity Policy aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination and inequitable treatment toward members of the public, and guides members of the police force in their professional dealings with persons of particular groups, including LGBT people.”

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Posted by Charles Pulliam-Moore in Jamaica, United Nations | Permalink | Comments (10)

Texas Anti-Gay Marriage Bill Revived


A high-profile anti-gay marriage bill has been revived in the Texas Legislature. 

GOP Rep. Cecil Bell's House Bill 4105, designed to undermine a potential ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage, died two weeks ago when it failed to come up for consideration in the Texas House before the deadline.

However, the provisions of Bell's bill have now been added to other legislation. 

From The Quorum Report

After a bill that would have barred state and local governments from using public funds to issue same-sex marriage licenses died in the Texas House, very similar language was rolled out in a Senate committee Monday. But, the language was slipped into a benign sounding bill and so far has caught the attention of very few people.

Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, laid out the omnibus county bill by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, in Senate Intergovernmental Relations. In Lucio’s committee substitute for House Bill 2977, the same anti-gay marriage language pushed unsuccessfully by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, was inserted. Bell’s bill died because it wasn’t debated on the House floor prior to a key deadline.

It was not immediately clear whether Lucio, a socially conservative Democrat, initiated the amendment. He could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Given that HB 2977 was amended by the Senate, it would have to go back to the House for final approval. But Equality Texas legislative specialist Daniel Williams told Towleroad he believes that's unlikely given that the author, Coleman, is a staunch LGBT ally.

"Garnet Coleman will kill this bill before he lets it go through with that amendment on it," Williams said, noting it was added to Coleman's legislation because it's one of the few remaining bills on a similar topic. 

"They're desperate," Williams said. "This is a desperate move."  

UPDATE: The Senate committee reconvened at the request of other Democrats on Tuesday, before voting 4-2 to advance the bill with the anti-gay marriage amendment. Democratic Sens. Sylvia Garcia and Jose Menendez voted against it, and said they didn't realize before Monday's initial vote that that anti-gay marriage amendment had been added. Sen. Lucio apparently tried to sneak in the amendment. The bill is now slated for a floor debate Wednesday, but Lucio acknowledged its chances of getting back through the House before the session ends Monday are slim. 

Below is a release about the amendment from pro-LGBT groups: 


Senate Committee Sneaks Zombie Bill onto Omnibus County Bill


May 26, 2015

Just two weeks after it died in the Texas House, a measure designed to subvert a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage has been suddenly revived in the Texas Senate.

Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, added to an omnibus bill on county government — HB 2977 by state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston — core language from state Rep. Cecil Bell’s failed HB 4105. HB 4105 would have barred state and local officials from licensing, enforcing or recognizing a same-sex marriage even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. HB 4105 died in the House two weeks ago.

The committee first approved the revised HB 2977 Monday night. The committee took a second vote today after some committee members objected that Sen. Lucio hadn’t told them that the marriage language had been added to the bill. Sen. Lucio, a Democrat, voted with three Republicans to approve the revised bill. Two Democrats, Sen. Sylvia Garcia of Houston and Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio, voted against.

A coalition of civil liberties and LGBT-rights organizations — American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, Texas Freedom Network and the Human Rights Campaign — issued the following statements about the revised bill:

Kathy Miller, President, Texas Freedom Network:

“This reckless move tosses aside the state’s responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution and callously betrays loving gay and lesbian couples who simply want to make a lifetime commitment and protect their families the same way everyone else does. Every senator, regardless of party, should reject this amended bill and save Texas from the same firestorm of criticism that swept through Indiana and other states that have passed legislation promoting discrimination against LGBT people and their families.”

Terri Burke, Executive Director, ACLU of Texas:

“Sen. Lucio’s attempt to stain Texas’ reputation with this retrograde legislation demonstrates that he’s on the wrong side of history and not in line with Texas values. In the long run, we are confident that the Supreme Court will grant loving LGBT couples the freedom to marry in Texas. And we call upon the Senate to defeat this attempt to enshrine discrimination in our state.”

Chuck Smith, Executive Director, Equality Texas:

“At its core, the amendment added to HB 2977 by Sen. Lucio is an attempt to subvert any future ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the freedom to marry. Pursuing a strategy to defy the Supreme Court will cost Texas taxpayers millions in litigation and cause great damage to our economy and reputation. In its present form, HB2977 must be defeated.”

Marty Rouse, National Field Director, Human Rights Campaign:

“This amendment sends an extreme message about the future of the Lone Star State – a future where all Texans are not welcome to live and thrive. Texas Senators must do everything in their power to stop this destructive and divisive assault on LGBT Texans and their families before it inflicts needless damage on this great state.”

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Posted by John Wright in Gay Marriage, Texas | Permalink | Comments (5)


'Harry Potter' Star Destroys Anti-Gay Trolls

1174960_556510701052382_502676700_nIrish actress Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, is making her displeasure known over hateful anti-gay messages she has been receiving from internet trolls on her various social media accounts. 

Lynch penned an open letter on Facebook after receiving a particularly hateful message on Instagram in response to an image she posted (below right) in support of Ireland's yes vote on its marriage referendum. Lynch captioned the photo:

Back home for a few days and Ireland is looking more spangly than ever✨💞 Now every day in Ireland can freely be a Fab Gay Day if you want it to be!! Proud to be part of the generation that made sure same-sex marriage was legalized yesterday!! 💙💚💛💜💗❤️💞👭👬👫 #goIreland #FabGayDay #marriageequality #danceparty

While Lynch noted that she would understand receiving anti-gay comments on her social media more if she had "devote[d] her life to fighting this fight to expand people's minds on the definition of marriage and to break down people's prejudices towards homosexuality", she noted that, "this [fight] is not my life's purpose, it's just life as I see it, something I endorse and the nasty, scathing and downright cruel remarks just Wear. Me. Out." She continued,

I believe in always promoting a positive message and I don't want your poison all over my carefully curated wall of light and positivity heart emoticon And let me be very clear and say people's 'beliefs' have nothing to do with this. It is your attitude and the way you choose to react. Please don't for a second pin the intolerance and hatred you spread on 'religion' for no religion endorses the darkness you're spreading. It is possible to not like the idea of homosexuality, to find it a wholly alien, uncomfortable concept and to NOT impose this view on the people it affects and above all to NOT shame people for the way they are.

FabgReferring to her fan following, Lynch expressed her confusion as to why anyone so hateful would follow her given the character she played in the Harry Potter films: 

And on a not-unrelated note, why are you following me? I think it's safe to assume that the majority of you on here clicked 'like' on account of my portrayal of the character 'Luna Lovegood' in the Harry Potter films...The clue is in the name, people! Luna Lovegood's love is a GOOD kind of love. It is not conditional or possessive or needy or demanding. It doesn't fall apart the moment you expose a piece of yourself that is unconventional or even unbecoming. Luna is a character who accepts all people and creatures in all forms, loves them for exactly what they are and who is constantly in awe at the diversity, strangeness and newness of each being she encounters...Luna is someone who has always taught me to love myself and I don't know what you are doing on my instagram, facebook or twitter helping others feel awful about the way they are.

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Posted by Sean Mandell | Permalink | Comments (13)

Three Men Jailed In Morocco For Gay Sex, Activists Call For Repeal of Anti-Gay Law


Last Friday three men in Morocco were each sentenced to three years in jail for engaging in homosexual sex, an act that falls under Morocco's atavistic "sexual deviancy" laws, specifically Article 489. The police were tipped off by neighbors to two of the men, who were caught having sex in the workshop of one of the men who works as a professional mechanic. While detained the men said that they were introduced by a mutual friend, who was subsequently arrested and apparently admitted to also engaging in homosexual sex.

The judgment has drawn the ire of rights groups. Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, called out the hypocrisy of Morocco's own laws and called for a repeal of the discriminatory anti-gay laws:

Private life is protected under Morocco's 2011 Constitution, and yet the government persists in enforcing the law that criminalises consensual same-sex conduct. Convictions under this law are unjust. They also damage people's lives because of the social stigma against homosexuality, which the law reinforces. Morocco should immediately stop enforcing the law, pending its repeal.

Earlier this month the LGBTI rights group Aswat renewed their push for the repeal of the law with a manifesto signed by 50 Moroccan human rights activists, feminist activists, journalists, academics, writers, and others.

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Posted by Christian Walters in Africa, Discrimination, Law - Gay, LGBT, Morocco | Permalink | Comments (3)


Vlogger Raymond Braun Captures Ireland's Historic YES Vote On Marriage Equality: WATCH


Popular vlogger Raymond Braun was on hand to document Ireland's recent marriage referendum that saw a historic victory in favor of same-sex marriage. The referendum, which passed by a margin of 2:1, was the first time a nation has voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

BraunSaid Braun of Ireland's vote and his experience seeing it transpire:

Ireland gives me hope for all the other countries that don't yet offer full protections and equal rights for their LGBTQ citizens. We will get there because love conquers all. This was a historic moment not just for Ireland, but for the entire world. I hope this video captures some of the magic and love I felt in Ireland the past week.

As Braun toured Ireland and took the temperature of the country in the lead-up to the vote, he was joined by fellow Vlogger Riyadh K. You may recall Riyadh from his hilarious video where his mother read his Grindr messages. Riyadh also took an active role in the "YES" campaign and as Braun noted, became the face of the campaign for many people, especially younger voters. 

Watch as Braun documents Ireland's historic vote (which gets more than a bit emotional), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Posted by Sean Mandell in Gay Marriage, Ireland, YouTube | Permalink | Comments (7)

Landmark Protections for LGBT Citizens to Take Effect in Maryland: VIDEO

640px-Larry-HoganMaryland has passed landmark legislation providing protections for the LGBT community, reports the Washington Post:

One of the proposals requires health insurers to offer fertility treatments as a benefit regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, while the other allows transgender residents to change the gender on their birth certificates.

The House and Senate approved the legislation by wide margins earlier this year, and the LGBT community was watching carefully to see what Hogan (R) would do.

Set to go into effect on June 3rd, the measures were passed without the support of Governor Larry Hogan (right).

A spokesman for Hogan says that he has decided to neither sign nor veto the bills, thereby allowing them to take effect on their own.

Although he called for “tolerance and respect” in his 2014 inauguration, Hogan has so far mostly stayed away from divisive issues.

Said Equality Maryland executive director Carrie Evans:

“We’re really happy. These are bills that we worked very hard on, and they had bipartisan support in the General Assembly.

“It seems like [Hogan] doesn’t come in with a very entrenched opinion on social issues and that he really is looking at each bill individually.

“With a lot of the measures we’re supporting that don’t cost money, I think he’s going to support them. I think he’ll continue with a sort of fiscal-economic lens, and if we put forward something that would cost the state millions of dollars, he probably wouldn’t support it then.”

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Posted by Jim Redmond in Law - Gay, LGBT, LGBT Rights, LGBT Stories, Maryland, Video | Permalink | Comments (16)

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