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EEOC Finds Walmart Discriminated Against Lesbian Employee Who Sought to Add Sick Wife To Health Plan

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found Wal-Mart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her sick wife and has now ordered a resolution for violating her civil rights reports ABC News. In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, the agency stated Wal-Mart employee Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Mass. “was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex."

Cote attempted to enroll her wife Diana Smithson, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, in Wal-Mart’s health plan in 2008 however, her coverage was denied and the company didn’t provide it until 2014. Randy Hargrove, a spokesman with Wal-Mart, said the company is willing to meet with the couple to resolve the issue at hand.

Said Hargrove: 

"While we disagree with the finding of reasonable cause, we have notified the EEOC of our willingness to meet with them and Miss Cote to discuss resolving the matter."

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 9.26.23 AMSmithson, who married Cote in Massachusetts in May 2004, attempted to enroll her wife online starting in 2008 but found that the system denied her from proceeding when she denoted that her spouse is a woman. Cote sought an explanation and was told that same-sex spouses are not covered. Cote attempted to enroll every year since then, including 2012 when Smithson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Cote approached Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in 2013, which filed a discrimination charge with the EEOC the following year. 

The couple has $100,000 in medical bills and paid out of pocket for said expenses in 2012 when Smithson lost private health coverage.  The couple’s attorney, GLAD attorney Allison Wright, is seeking a settlement negotiation with the retail giant to cover Smithson’s costly treatments.

Cote, 52, and Smithson, 63, met while working in a Wal-Mart store in Augusta, Maine. For Cote, the lawsuit is more than just recouping damages. "I'm not only doing this for me, I'm doing this for other gay and lesbian couples that have been discriminated against as well," said Cote. 

Wal-Mart expanded its policy in January 2014 to cover same sex spouses and domestic partners.


Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively Considers Run For Congress in Massachusetts: VIDEO

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Vile homophobic activist Scott Lively, who has been accused of inciting anti-gay hatred in Uganda, is considering running for Congress in a challenge to Democratic Representative Richard Neal, reports Right Wing Watch.

Lively, who was profiled in last year’s Human Rights Campaign report The Export of Hate, made the announcement on BarbWire, the nasty website belonging to Peter LaBarbera, one of the more dangerous anti-gay activists in the U.S.

His run at congress appears to have come about following a “huge victory” in last year’s run for Massachusetts governor - Lively polled 19,000 votes, less than 1% of those cast.

Lively explains he is hoping to serve in Congress in order to fight the “homosexual agenda” and "anti-Russian propaganda" that is "robbing social conservatives of their most valuable potential alliance in the world today.”

He also makes clear that god is on the side of the bigots in their fight to implement the “goals of Biblical Christianity” around the world.

It is not clear how the news that Lively is to stand trial for crimes against humanity for his “work” spreading anti-gay hatred around the globe will affect his run for congress.

“There are a number of reasons why I would pursue Congress rather than a state office, but one of them is my interest in foreign policy and concern about the disastrous actions of the Obama administration around the world.   

“I am especially concerned that the Neoconservatives (read Republican liberals) have aligned with the Obama administration re Russia and are jointly waging a campaign of anti-Russian propaganda designed to deceive conservatives into supporting a hot war with Russia.

“This is a not only very dangerous game geopolitically, it is robbing social conservatives of their most valuable potential alliance in the world today.  American and Russian conservatives could today be cooperating together to roll back liberalism around the world.  Instead, the cultural Marxists of both major US political parties are trying to drive a wedge between us with the absurd lie that Russia is trying to revive the Soviet Union.

“Neither Russia nor its president are without flaws, and it is as impossible to defend them against a campaign of relentless criticism as is anyone else but Jesus Christ.     

“But if  we ask the simple question ‘Which countries of the world and their current leadership align most closely to the goals of Biblical Christianity and of ideological conservatism?’ it’s a whole different ballgame.

“If we rank the current leaders and countries of the world by that standard Putin and Russia rank high on the list — certainly much higher than Obama and his version of America.  Indeed, is there any world leader speaking in defense of persecuted Christians in the Middle East like Putin has?  Is there any other ‘first world’ nation standing up against the homosexual agenda like Russia is doing?"

Watch Lively explain his bizarre theory on the different types of homosexuality, AFTER THE JUMP... (hint - you're a dysfunctional bully)

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively Considers Run For Congress in Massachusetts: VIDEO" »


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's Daughter Announces Engagement to Girlfriend

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Katherine Patrick (above left), Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s daughter, has announced her upcoming wedding to girlfriend Alisha Lemieux. The couple currently reside in the San Francisco Bay area where Patrick is pursuing her doctorate in psychology and Lemieux is studying sociology.

“The Governor and Mrs. Patrick joyfully announce the engagement of their daughter Katherine Wintersmith Patrick to Alisha Marie Lemieux of New Bedford,” Patrick’s office said in a press release:

"Ms. Patrick is a graduate of Smith College and is studying for her doctorate in psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California.  Ms. Lemieux is studying for her bachelor's degree in sociology at Mills College in Oakland, California.  The couple reside in the Bay Area."

Katherine Patrick has been active in her father’s campaigns, contributing to its social media presence and and appearing with the Governor in a number of LGBT events throughout Massachusetts.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren Challenges FDA Gay Blood Ban: 'Have the Courage to Set Policies Based on Science'

1069185_10151577989208687_1095263248_nLast week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) again spoke out against the FDA's new blood donation policy —  accepting blood from gay men, but only those who have been abstinent for at least one year.

Through Twitter, Warren called for concrete, alternative methods of ensuring blood safety, challenging the FDA to shake up the status quo.

Here's the Tweet:

This statement is in line with the recent letter, signed by 80 congressional Democrats including Warren, which called for "risk-based blood donation policy," and stated:

The pertinent scientific question is not whether a cross-section of the population is more likely than another to transmit an infection, but rather whether an across-the-board, risk-based screening will reduce the likelihood of all infectious contaminations.

In related news, the FDA released a statement this week saying it had considered individual self-assessments, but did not find them reliable:

"Assessment of high-risk sexual behaviors would be highly burdensome on blood donation establishments and potentially offensive to donors." 

John Aravosis over at AMERICAblog has some colorful commentary on the FDA's recent response:

So to recap, the FDA believes that a total stranger asking a man if he’s gay — a highly personal, and for some embarrassing, admission that could get you fired from your job, and disowned by your family — is not “offensive.”

Nor is it offensive to ask a gay man when the last time is he screwed another guy.

But if you ask a straight man whether he’s monogamous, how non-monogamous he is (how many different partners he’s had), and whether he use condoms during intercourse, suddenly the FDA becomes a collective prude.

I try not to over-use the word “homophobia.” But the FDA’s response to this mess is deplorable, offensive, and homophobic.

What do you think of the one-year deferral policy and the FDA's handling of the situation?


Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

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The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

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Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will next year include representatives of gay veterans group OutVets, reports ABC News.

The parade’s organizers the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which in 1995 won a Supreme Court decision upholding their right to ban gay groups from the parade, yesterday voted 5-4 to allow OutVets to march in the parade scheduled for March 15th. The group has also been given permission to carry a blue banner with five white stars representing the branches of the military, and six vertical rainbow stripes.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcce3e89970b-800wiBryan Bishop, OutVets founder and U.S. Air Force veteran, said:

"I think it's very significant. Ensuring that there is 100 percent inclusivity is important."

Council commander Brian Mahoney added that OutVets is being allowed to march because of their military service, not sexual orientation:

"This conforms to the tenets of the parade. The parade is devoted to honoring the service of veterans. It's is our aim to honor that service and the history of the Irish Catholics in Boston. Anything that detracts from that is verboten."

This year, LGBT group MassEquality was invited to take part in the parade but the invitation was later rescinded. Boston mayor Marty Walsh refused to take part last March because of the exclusion of LGBT people. Sam Adams beer also pulled out as sponsor of the parade.

In a similar move, Guinness dropped sponsorship of New York’s controversial St Patrick’s Day parade this year.

Watch Mahoney discuss his reasons for pulling out of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO" »


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