Best gay blog. Towleroad Wins Award

Mississippi Hub



04/19/2007


Mississippi Baptist Leader Threatened Retaliation On GOP Reps Who Didn't Vote For Anti-Gay Bill

Jimmy PorterMississippi's Senate Bill 2681 is a reprehensible piece of legislature that opens the gates wide for anti-gay discrimination masquerading under the guise of "religious freedom."

The bill passed, and should any GOP representatives have been on the fence about the issue, Jimmy Porter, executive director of the lobbying arm of Mississippi’s Southern Baptist convention, the Christian Action Commission, was sure to set them straight, promising a "political calamity" should any of them vote against Jesus.

Said Porter in part,

The fact is that one’s position on this piece of legislation can be made public whether a vote is taken or not.  The leadership of the House will take a lot of heat for its failure if that is the case but it will be undeserved.  The Christian Action Commission will work diligently to ensure the blame will be laid at the feet of these 20 alleged Republicans [against the bill].  Approximately 60,000 Baptist households will read about it and know the truth.  Add to that Pentecostal households, members of the Tea Party, followers of American Family Association, the Liberty Council and the Family Research Council, etc., and you begin to see the widespread interest in this bill.

Who Would Jesus Harangue?


Mississippi Governor Signs 'Religious Freedom' Bill into Law

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" into law, WLOX reports:

BryantMembers and supporters of the LGBT community are concerned the bill will open the door to discrimination against gay people and other groups. Opponents of the bill say the discrimination could also be directed towards ethnic minorities and other religious groups.

Supporters claim the bill mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Said Bryant: "I am proud to sign the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, which will protect the individual religious freedoms of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference. Mississippi has now joined 18 other states to defend religious freedoms on a state level."

The bill's language reads:

"A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against the government ... This section applies to all state laws, rules, regulations and any municipal or county ordinances, rules or regulations and the implementation of those laws, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the enactment of this section."

GetEQUAL released a statement:

Today is a sad day for Mississippi and a sad day for the country. Earlier today, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act -- a hate-filled bill that asserts both the moral and legal superiority of anti-LGBT Christians over and above everyone else.

We had hoped that the governor would see that this bill will further isolate Mississippi within the business community. We had hoped that the governor would see that this bill will hurt those who live in the state or who are considering moving there. We had hoped that the governor would see that this bill will, in fact, hurt his own family and people who he loves. We had hoped that the "family values" that the governor espouses would hold true and that he would act in a way that fully values his own family. Unfortunately, hatred and ignorance won out today -- and our hearts are with those fair-minded Mississippians who call the state home.


Thursday Morning Speed Read: Mississippi, Lesbian Chef, Tammy Baldwin, New Mexico, Scrutiny Rehearing

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

MississippiLGBT RALLY FOR VETO:

LGBT groups will hold a rally on the lawn of the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, at noon CDT today, in protest over the passage of a religious bias bill by the state legislature Tuesday. The groups, which include the national Human Rights Campaign, Equality Mississippi, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian and Gay Community Center, among others, will also hold a candlelight vigil this evening. As of Wednesday night, Republican Governor Phil Bryant has said he will sign the bill.

COURT UPHOLDS LARGE AWARD:

A state appeals court in New York on March 20 upheld a $1.6 million award to a lesbian chef whose boss who made repeated anti-gay statements, including saying all gay people were going to hell. A lower court judge granted the award for Mirella Salemi in 2012 against Edward Globokar, who owned the Manhattan restaurant at which she worked. The appeals panel said Globokar’s actions violated the New York City Human Rights Law by staging mandatory prayer meetings at work and “subjecting [Salemi] to an incessant barrage of offensive anti-homosexual invective.”

BaldwinBALDWIN INTROS FAIR EMPLOYMENT BILL:

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin also introduced the Fair Employment Protection Act (FEPA) March 13, to improve the law for the victims of workplace harassment. FEPA is specifically aimed at expanding an employer’s liability for workplace harassment. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an employer’s liability for harassment perpetrated by a supervisor is greater than if perpetrated by another employee. But last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that for a court to consider an employee a supervisor, the employee authorized to take tangible actions against an harassment victim. If the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is ever passed, LGBT workers would be able to benefit from the anti-harassment laws strengthened by FEPA.

NewmexicoNEW MEXICO BLASÉ:

A Public Policy Polling survey of 674 registered voters in New Mexico between March 20 and 23 found that 76 percent said the legalizing of marriage for same-sex couples has had either no impact or a positive impact on their lives. The poll also found voters closely split on whether they support (47 percent) or oppose (45 percent) allowing same-sex couples to marry. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.8 percent.

SCRUTINY DECISION RE-HEARING?:

At least one judge on the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals bench has asked the full appeals court to review an historic panel ruling in January that said the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which struck the Defense of Marriage Act, “requires that heightened scrutiny be applied to equal protection claims involving sexual orientation.” The court last week asked both parties in SmithKline v. Abbott to submit briefs on whether the case should be reheard by the full court. But Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, he seriously doubts a majority of the Ninth Circuit would vote to rehear the case.


Mississippi Governor To Sign Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Phil_bryantYesterday, the Mississippi legislature passed a bill that will allow businesses to turn away LGBT people as an "exercise of religion." The state's Governor Phil Bryant has pledged to sign it.

Reuters reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union accused lawmakers of ignoring the public outcry against such measures. It noted legislators in other states, including Georgia, Idaho, Maine and Ohio, had rejected similar measures and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed her state's version of the bill in February…

Republican Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement provided on Wednesday that he was proud the measure would add the national motto, "In God We Trust," to the state seal.

Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi told Reuters, "We remain hopeful that courts throughout the state will reject any attempts to use religion to justify discrimination. Nobody should be refused service because of who they are."

The law will go into effect July 1.


Speed Read for Wednesday: Mississippi, Darrin Gayles, D.C., Virginia

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

MISSISSIPPI PASSES BIAS BILL:

BryantThe Mississippi House and Senate Tuesday adopted a final version of a religious bias bill, sending the measure to Republican Governor Phil Bryant for his signature. The final Mississippi Religious Freedom Act will enable any “person” to violate any state or local law or regulation (such as non-discrimination laws) by asserting the law burdens his free exercise of religion. The act carves out business exceptions, saying, “Nothing in this act shall create any rights by an employee against an employer if the employer is not the government.” If signed by Bryant, the bill goes into effect July 1. Opponents say some people will use the law to refuse services gays, blacks and others. There are no laws in Mississippi to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but the Human Rights Campaign says some universities have non-discrimination policies and the new law could allow pharmacists to refuse to provide HIV and hormone replacement drugs. Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said her group remains “hopeful that courts throughout the state will reject any attempts to use religion to justify discrimination.”

GAYLES’ GETS SMOOTH HEARING:

GaylesOpenly gay U.S. District Court nominee Darrin Gayles had smooth sailing Tuesday in his confirmation hearing. Senator Bill Nelson, in introducing Gayles and other nominees, noted that there was an emergency need for a judge in the Southern District of Florida, where Gayles is nominated. Senator Marco Rubio said Gayles has “dedicated himself to public service,” including two years at the Immigration Naturalization Service. Gayles noted that his life partner Raymond Zayas and other family members had accompanied him to the hearing. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Gayles what model he would use when interpreting the constitutional. Gayles replied that he’s always “followed the law and never interjected my own personal beliefs.”

GAY D.C. COUNCILMAN LOSES:

Four-term D.C. Councilman Jim Graham lost his Democratic primary Tuesday night to newcomer Brianne Nadeau. Graham, an openly gay councilmember who once led the LGBT community’s Whitman-Walker Clinic, was apparently hurt by a reprimand he was given by the D.C. Council last year for improperly involving himself in a lottery contract dispute.

JUDGE CANCELS VA. TRIAL:

VirginiaA federal judge hearing a class action suit against Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage announced Monday he was scratching the June 2 trial date and putting the matter on hold, pending a ruling from the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in another case. The plaintiffs in Harris v. Rainey, represented by the ACLU and Lambda, are now considered intervenors in the Fourth Circuit case, Schaefer v. Bostic, a case led by Ted Olson and David Boies and several Virginia attorneys. The Bostic case comes before the Fourth Circuit on May 13.

VIRGINIA IS FOR MARRIAGE:

A poll of Virginia voters March 19-24 found 50 percent support allowing same-sex couples to marry in Virginia, 42 percent oppose, and seven percent are undecided. The poll was conducted by Quinnipiac University with 1,288 voters and a margin of error at plus or minus 2.7 percent. Similar to other polling, the survey found that people under 30 and Democrats were much more supportive (69 percent each) and people over 65 and Republicans were more opposed (56 percent and 70 percent, respectively).


Mississippi Legislature Passes Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Less than a month after the Mississippi legislature sent the state’s Senate Bill 2681 (aka the “license to discriminate bill”) to committee for review, it returned — and has now passed, the Washington Blade reports:

IMississippi_flagn a development that largely went unnoticed on the national stage, the State House and Senate on the same day both approved a conference report for S.B. 2681, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The vote in the Republican-controlled House was 78-43 and the vote in the Republican-controlled Senate vote was 38-14.

Much like the controversial Arizona bill known as SB 1062 vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer, the six-page legislation never once mentions the words “sexual orientation,” “gender identity” or “gay.” Still, LGBT advocates insist the legislation would have the effect of allowing discriminatory practices against LGBT people seeking services in Mississippi.

The bill would allow businesses to deny service to LGBT people while claiming “exercise of religion.” But new text added to the resurrected bill would allow businesses to defy any “state laws, rules, regulations, and municipal and county ordinances” as long as they did so under “exercise of religion.”

The bill closely resembles the bill that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed in February. Keep in mind the the NFL, MLB, Intel, Apple and the last two Republican presidential candidates all spoke out against Arizona’s bill.

BryantDeep South Progressive reported on the bill yesterday:

The point, of course, is to say that there is almost nothing over which a claim of religious belief does not take precedence. A law doesn’t have to be intended to interfere with religious exercise; a religious person just has to claim it interferes.

This version of the bill goes beyond protecting free exercise of religion, instead solidly establishing claims of religious exercise in a privileged position above all else... That could jeopardize recent advances made in Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Oxford, where anti-discrimination effort – including discrimination against LGBT people and other minority – via diversity resolutions have passed to great fanfare in recent months.

The Blade adds:

Sarah Warbelow, the Human Rights Campaign’s state legislative director, said the bill would in essence make “LGBT people strangers to the law.”

“Before Mississippi has had the opportunity to robustly discuss the lived experiences of LGBT people, this bill would hollow out any non-discrimination protections at the local level or possible future state-wide protections,” Warbelow said. “Just as we’ve seen in other states, this bill is bad for business, bad for the state’s reputation, and most of all, bad for Mississippians. Gov. Bryant must veto the measure.”

The ACLU released a statement about the bill's passage:

If Governor Phil Bryant (pictured) signs, the law will go into effect on July 1, 2014

“We remain hopeful that courts throughout the state will reject any attempts to use religion to justify discrimination,” said Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “Nobody should be refused service because of who they are.”

The law could allow individuals and businesses to bring challenges against what they view as substantial government burdens against religion, including challenging existing nondiscrimination laws. Legislatures across the country, including in Georgia, Idaho, Maine, and Ohio, have rejected similar measures. On February 26, 2014, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona’s version. Bills are still pending in Missouri and Oklahoma.

“Even though the Mississippi legislature removed some of the egregious language from Arizona’s infamous SB 1062, we are disappointed that it passed this unnecessary law and ignored the national, public outcry against laws of this nature,” said Eunice Rho, advocacy and policy counsel with the ACLU. “We will continue to fight in state legislatures across the country to ensure that religious freedom remains a shield, not a sword.”


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged