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Suspect In Nebraska Gay Pride Flag Arson Case Heads To Trial: VIDEO

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A Nebraska man arrested on suspicion of taking his neighbor’s pride flag off their front porch and burning it is officially headed to trial reports wowt.com. Cameron Mayfield attended a preliminary hearing with his defense attorney, James Martin Davis, in a Douglas County court room Wednesday morning. 

Davis asked that his client’s felony charge be reduced to a misdemeanor charge, arguing Mayfield didn’t know the couple is gay and doesn’t know that rainbow flags symbolize the gay community. The prosecution objected, arguing that the rainbow flag has symbolized the gay community for more than 40 years; the judge rejected Davis’ request, noting that a hearing is to establish probable cause to a crime, not to ascertain guilt or innocence.

Mayfield now faces a felony arson charge and hate crime and is headed to trial at a later date. Omaha Police Department Burglary Detective Chad Simmons noted in his testimony that the Mayfield family had a sign posted in their yard that read "Protect Traditional Marriage" six months before the crime occurred.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.15.43 PMThe couple, Ariann Anderson and Jessica Meadows, filed a Harassment Protection Order against Mayfield after the incident; the court granted their request. The couple filed the order after police detectives informed the couple that Mayfield was making "delusional claims about stalking." At the time of the incident Mayfield's father told detectives that his son had recently lost his job and was drinking leading up to the incident. The couple has since replaced the flag and announced that they plan to marry again in their home state after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

After the hearing, Mayfield issued an apology on-air to the couple saying that it was a prank and that he doesn't "hate anybody or anything." The couple feels quite differently.

Said Ariann Anderson:

"Regarding Mr. Mayfield's comments: a prank is defined as a 'trick of an amusing or playful nature.' Mr. Mayfield's actions were neither amusing or playful. The events that night were frightening, especially considering that we have small children at home."

Watch Mayfield's on-air apology, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Federal Judge Declines To Lift Injunction Blocking FMLA Benefits For Gay Couples In 4 States

Paxton.Ken

An untold number of gay workers in four states remain unable to take unpaid time off to care for their ailing spouses, after a federal judge in Texas declined to lift an injunction Friday. 

Last month, Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (shown with Sen. Ted Cruz) filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a new labor department rule extending benefits under the Family & Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples who live in states that don't recognize their marriages. 

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a President George W. Bush appointee, issued an order blocking the new FMLA rule from taking effect as scheduled on March 27 in Texas and three other states that joined Paxton's lawsuit — Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.  

The U.S. Department of Justice appealed the order, but O'Connor declined to lift it during a hearing Friday, according to NBCDFW.com.  

Paxton, a tea partier who took office in January and is under investigation for securities fraud, is also seeking to void the marriage of a 30-year lesbian couple, one of whom has ovarian cancer. 

Presumably, the Justice Department will appeal O'Connor's decision, which will be overturned anyway if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of nationwide marriage equality in June. 

The Family Medical & Leave Act grants workers 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year "to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition."  

So perhaps we should thank Paxton for drawing further attention to the tremendous harm inflicted by state same-sex marriage bans. 


Nebraska Lesbian Couple’s Pride Flag Stolen And Burned By Neighbor: VIDEO

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An Omaha, Nebraska couple awoke in the middle of the night to find their neighbor from down the street stealing and lighting the pride flag they fly from their front porch on fire reports The New Civil Rights Movement. Ariann Anderson and Jess Meadows-Anderson woke up around midnight on Sunday after hearing noises outside their home, and both thought their home was being broken into. Jess ran downstairs to check on their two girls while Ariann ran to the window and saw the suspect, 23-year-old Cameron Mayfield who lives 10 houses down the street from the Andersons, flee with the smoldering remnants of their flag down the street. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 5.37.57 PMPolice later arrested and charged Mayfield with felony second-degree arson; a resisting arrest charge was added after Mayfield attempted to flee from police when authorities tried to question him at his home. Mayfield’s father told media that his son recently lost his job, was denied unemployment benefits and was drinking at the time; Meadows-Anderson expressed some sympathy for Cameron.

Said Meadows-Anderson: 

"You almost feel bad for a minute. He’s a young man and he made a hate-filled, drunken mistake that will have a lasting effect on his life and his family."

The suspect’s father says Cameron will remain behind bars until after his arraignment but believes the incident wasn't motivated by hate. Meanwhile Jess and Ariann have bigger news to celebrate after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, ruling it unconstitutional. The Andersons, who originally married in Iowa and plan to marry again in their home state once it becomes legal, have already replaced their burnt flag with a bigger, and much brighter, pride flag on their front porch.

You can watch the Anderson's interview with local news regarding the incident, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Nebraska Ban on Gay Marriage

BataillonA federal judge has struck down Nebraska's ban on gay marriage, Omaha's KETV reports:

According to an order filed in federal court Monday, Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said "all relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage."

The order is effective March 9 at 8 a.m.

Read the ruling below:

Gay Marriage Ruling

Developing...


Nebraska Ends Ban on Gay Foster Parents

Nebraska child welfare officials have lifted the 20-year-old ban on gay foster parents, the Omaha World-Herald reports:

RickettsAccording to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ spokesman, the state’s current procedure no longer considers the sexual orientation of people seeking to foster or adopt state wards.

Nor does the procedure bar children from being placed with licensed foster parents simply because of the parents’ sexual orientation.

“The policy hasn’t changed but the Department (of Health and Human Services) has fallen out of compliance with it,” Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said Friday. [...]

The policy has been in place since 1995, when HHS’s then-director outlined it in an administrative memo.

The memo bars unmarried, unrelated adults who live together from becoming foster parents or from having children placed with them. The policy affects homosexual couples, unmarried heterosexual couples and platonic roommates.

The policy also bars licensing or placing children with “persons who identify themselves as homosexuals,” whether those people live with a partner or not. Other single people are not prohibited from being foster parents in Nebraska.


Hunky Nebraska Senator Poignantly Smacks Down Anti-Gay Witness During Committee Hearing: VIDEO

Morfeld

A Nebraska state senator obliterated an anti-gay witness Wednesday during a committee hearing on a bill that would allow gays to serve as foster parents. 

Nebraska is one of only two states, along with Utah, that prohibits gay foster parents, and the law is currently being challenged in court. 

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, D-Omaha, has also introduced a bill to overturn the ban, which was heard by the Unicameral's Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

Anti-gay attorney Greg Neuhaus told the committee he felt the bill is "promoting an agenda," according to a video posted by Aksarbent

Sen. Adam Morfeld, D-Lincoln (above), a committee member who has also introduced pro-LGBT legislation, responded that Nordquist's measure would merely ban discrimination.  

Neuhaus then said that in addition to sexual orientation, the bill would also ban discrimination based on marital status, saying he's "just as opposed to placing a child with an unmarried heterosexual couple."   

"And why's that, sir?" Morfeld responded, his voice rising. 

"Because I don't think it's in the best interest of the child," Neuhaus said. 

Morfeld"So, my mother was a single mother for 15 years," Morfeld said. "I grew up, I didn't get into trouble. I went to school. I went to school after working full-time for two years. I went to night school while working full-time for two years. I had a part-time job on top of that. And then I went to the University of Nebraska and worked my way through the University of Nebraska, and then after that I went to the University of Nebraska College of Law. During that time, I started a nonprofit that now employs 30 full- and part-time staff. My mother was a single mother. Did she do something wrong?"

"I didn't say she did. No," Neuhaus responded.

Sensing he was in trouble, Neuhaus then tried to get up and leave the witness table.

"I'm not going to just be lectured to," he said. "If you want to ask me a question, I'll answer it."

Morfeld responded that Neuhaus could walk away, but he was going to finish regardless. 

"Under your rationale," Morfeld said, "my mother who's a single mother likely isn't the most fit parent, and the point that I'm trying to make is that fit parents come in all shapes and sizes, all kinds of sexual orientations, and that's all I have to say. Thank you for your testimony." 

Drops mic. 

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Hunky Nebraska Senator Poignantly Smacks Down Anti-Gay Witness During Committee Hearing: VIDEO" »


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