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Minnesota Lawmaker Introduces 'Religious Freedom' Bill Allowing Business Owners to Refuse Service to Gay Couples

A "religious freedom" bill opposed by both gay rights supporters and Democratic-Farm-Labor Party members has been introduced in the Montana State Senate, the Grand Forks Herald reports:

GazelkaState Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said business owners with strong opposition to same-sex marriage shouldn’t be forced to cater to those ceremonies.

“I was one of the legislators who opposed gay marriage, but even then I said that gays and lesbians should be able to live as they choose,” Gazelka said. “I’m simply asking that Christians and people of faith be allowed to live as they choose without ... threat of punishment.”

Gazelka's bill would provide a "sincerely held religious belief" carve out in the state's law prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation, meaning religious organizations and small businesses involved in the wedding industry would be free to refuse service to same-sex couples. 

Gazelka said he attempted to "build consensus" on the bill with DFL lawmakers and gay-rights groups but LGBT rights organization OutFront Minnesota has come out against the bill and so far only Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors. 

With the 2015 legislative session closing soon, lawmakers will have to wait until next year to take action on the proposal. 


Minnesota High School Students Protest Billboard Advertising 'Ex-Gay' Therapy: VIDEO

Minnesota

High school students gathered at the Minnesota Capitol on Saturday to protest a billboard promoting "ex-gay"  therapy on State Highway 10 in the town of Elk River.

PickupThe billboard is an advertisement for David Pickup (right), who practices "reparative therapy" in Los Angeles and Dallas, and reportedly was put up with the help of Minnesota's anti-LGBT Pro-Family Forum. After Pickup recently put up a billboard in Dallas, the owner of the sign took it down after realizing what the ad was promoting.

KARE-TV reports on Saturday's protest in Minnesota: 

"We noticed the sign a few weeks ago and we knew instantaneously that it needed to be taken down. It's not OK," said 17-year-old Emily Motin, who helped coordinate the protest.

The billboard advertises Reparative Therapy asking "Do gay feelings mean you're "born gay?" People around the world say no!" ... 

"We've researched the therapy and it has been shown to be horrible and tortuous to its patients," she said.

Sign1Pickup, who identifies as "ex-homosexual," told KARE-TV the billboard will be coming down in the next few weeks because the two-month contract is nearly up.

"Reparative therapists do not harm people," Pickup said. "We don't force them to change. We don't attack gay people. We don't tell them, oh, they should change." 

Watch KARE's report, AFTER THE  JUMP ...

Continue reading "Minnesota High School Students Protest Billboard Advertising 'Ex-Gay' Therapy: VIDEO" »


Trans Activist Michael Hughes Discusses Viral #WeJustNeedToPee Campaign With MSNBC's Thomas Roberts: VIDEO

Hughes.Michael

Michael Hughes had been suicidal for years — and even attempted to take his life once — when he accidentally stumbled upon a book that would change his life forever. 

The book was "Body Alchemy," by photographer Loren Cameron, a compilation of images of trans men before and after their transitions. 

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c762a0ff970b-250wi"It was the first time I realized that I could do something about it, and there was a path to take to become the person I knew myself to be," Hughes said. "So within a couple of weeks of that I packed up and moved from Texas to Boston, Massachusetts, and changed my name a week later, and started this crazy journey. 

Hughes, of course, is the 45-year-old Minnesota activist who brought the #WeJustNeedToPee campaign to the US, following the lead of Canada's Brae Carnes. The campaign continues to garner significant attention, and this week Hughes appeared on MSNBC to discuss it with Thomas Roberts. 

Hughes also spoke to The Advocate, explaining that for him personally, the campaign marked a major turning point:  

"It was a bit of a tough decision, I knew I was forever outing myself," but "I knew I could get at some of these conservatives by showing them a tall bearded man in a women's bathroom," Hughes says, taking a break from preparing himself for a Wednesday interview on MSNBC about the selfie campaign. Hughes notes that before the unexpected publicity his photos have garnered, he primarily lived stealth — a term used in the trans community when a trans person is not open about their trans status. 

Hughes said despite the campaign's popularity, he's gotten some negative feedback from within the LGBT community. But Hughes, a father of four, said he wishes more trans people would follow his lead and become more visible: 

"Our youngest had to come out to her friends [about having a trans parent] when this broke," he says. "She's so brave and she was so proud to do it. She brought me cupcakes yesterday because she wanted to celebrate with me!

"It's sad that [legislators] imagine us to be these people that are so removed from normal," Hughes laments. "Yet we're as normal as the family next door."

Watch Hughes' interview with Roberts and check out some of the latest photos from the #WeJustNeedToPee campaign, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Trans Activist Michael Hughes Discusses Viral #WeJustNeedToPee Campaign With MSNBC's Thomas Roberts: VIDEO" »


#WeJustNeedToPee Trans Activist Speaks Out, Says Going To Bathroom In High School Was 'Nightmare': VIDEO

Hughes.Michael

Michael Hughes, the Minnesota transgender activist behind the #WeJustNeedToPee campaign, says he endured intense bullying in high school and just going to the bathroom was a nightmare.

As we reported earlier this week, Hughes is the bearded, tattooed transman from Rochester, Minnesota, who followed the lead of a Canadian activist and began taking selfies in women's restrooms. The campaign is designed to highlight the stupidity of legislation in Minnesota, Florida and Texas that would bar transgender adults and students from using restrooms in accordance with their gender identity. 

In an interview with Rochester's KTTC-TV, Hughes explained how he does it: 

Hughes"So I come in, go right to the mirror with a female friend behind me, and we quick get the selfie, and get back out before anybody comes in and gets startled by my presence in the women's restroom,” Hughes said, pointing his cell phone at the mirror of the women's restroom at the People's Food Co-op. ... 

"I'm hoping that even the most conservative lawmakers and voters will be able to look at them, take a step back," said Hughes.

Although the Minnesota bill, which deals with schools, wouldn't affect Hughes, he said the campaign is ultimately about trans youth: 

"Those youth, those 16, 17-year-old people just coming to terms with who they are. It's going to hurt them. It's going to be tremendous,” said Hughes.

Hughes worries the bill could make things more awkward with an already vulnerable group.

"Just going to the bathroom in high school was a nightmare for me," Hughes said, thinking back to his own experiences. "I would get nauseous just at the thought of having to go."

Hughes told The Rochester Post-Bulletin that like many transgender youth, he once tried to take his own life:  

"That's the most vulnerable part of our community. That's pretty scary for me," he said.

When Hughes was in high school, Hughes said he endured intense bullying because of his gender identity. He became suicidal at age 16 and attempted to end his life at 19. He said he wants to gather a group of transgender individuals and supporters and travel to St. Paul to urge lawmakers to reject these proposals.

Watch KTTC-TV's report and check out some of the latest tweets from the #WeJustNeedToPee campaign, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "#WeJustNeedToPee Trans Activist Speaks Out, Says Going To Bathroom In High School Was 'Nightmare': VIDEO" »


This Guy Jumping Onto a Frozen Trampoline Might Just Make Winter Worth The Cold: VIDEO

Trampoline

Jumping on a frozen trampoline in the dead of winter sounds like an extremely bad idea. It probably is, but this episode of the YouTube series 'Minnesota Cold' decides to freeze one up and show you what happens anyways.

Will there be ice angels? Pratfalls? A trip to the hospital? Find out AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "This Guy Jumping Onto a Frozen Trampoline Might Just Make Winter Worth The Cold: VIDEO" »


Dan Savage: Marcus Bachmann Is A 'Tormented Closet Case' - VIDEO

In an interview with Playboy, Dan Savage has attacked “tormented closet case” Marcus Bachmann for promoting “ex-gay” therapy.

BachmannBachmann, the husband of Republican supreme wingnut Michele Bachmann, is probably Minnesota’s best-known practitioner of the harmful practice. An attempt earlier this year to ban conversion therapy in the state failed. In one of her viler outbursts of the year, Mrs Bachmann said that gay people want laws changed "so that adults will be able to freely prey on little children sexually."

In the interview, Savage says “anybody who has gaydar—anybody who has eyes” looks at Bachmann and “sees a tormented closet case who has externalized his internal conflict and is abusing other people, doing his reparative-therapy bullshit.”

He continues:

“It’s so sad and pathetic. A lot of the self-destructive behaviors gay people are prone to drifting into are directed inward, and then you have these shitbags like Marcus Bachmann for whom it’s all directed outward.

"Marcus Bachmann is the photo negative of the guy on the last bar stool in the gay bar, drinking and smoking himself to death, except instead of destroying himself, he’s destroying other vulnerable queer people in an effort to destroy the queer inside himself.”

Savage also opens up about coming out to his mother when he was 18 and the It Gets Better project.

On the issue of bullying faced by LGBT youth, Savage says:

“It hasn’t quite sunk into the thick skulls of high school administrators and teachers that they can’t abuse queer kids with impunity anymore, because the families are likely to be on the kids’ side. We’ve got lawyers now and we will come after you. We’re winning and we’re not going to sit idly by anymore. You can’t just beat up a queer kid at a high school in Mississippi and have it be a local story. We will jump down your fucking throat.”

Read Savage's full interview with Playboy here

There is some hope for Marucs - last month John Smid, a former "ex-gay"activist and Exodus International board member, married his same-sex partner.

Watch a video in support "the gay husband of ghastly gay-bashing anti-american religio-psychotic kook and incompetent Michele Bachmann, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Dan Savage: Marcus Bachmann Is A 'Tormented Closet Case' - VIDEO" »


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