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New Orleans Mayor Blasts Bobby Jindal's Anti-gay Crusade, Issues Counter Executive Order to Combat Discrimination

Landrieu

In the wake of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision yesterday to bypass the state legislature and issue a controversial executive order protecting religious-based objection to same-sex marriage, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is hoping to counter the growing anti-LGBT narrative in his state with an executive order of his own. 

The New Orleans Advocate reports:

JindalIn a statement that directly referenced Jindal’s order, Landrieu said New Orleans has managed to protect religious freedom — the stated purpose of Jindal’s order — without opening the door to discrimination.

“In New Orleans, we believe religious liberty and freedoms should be protected and discrimination prohibited, and we have passed our own laws to reflect that principle,” Landrieu said. “This executive order is an important, symbolic affirmation that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in New Orleans — and it should not be tolerated anywhere in Louisiana.”

New Orleans, a heavily Democratic city that has a substantial gay community, has a history of sailing against the prevailing winds of social conservatism that dominate politics in the rest of the state. The city also has more to lose from the Jindal order than most of Louisiana because so much of the economy is based on conventions, tourism and special events. Jindal’s order, and the now-dead legislation that inspired it, spawned fears that Louisiana could be shunned and possibly boycotted outright by conventioneers and other visitors.

The city has had non-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals on the books for two decades. 

Read Landrieu's full executive order, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gallup Survey Confirms San Francisco Is The Nation's Gayest City (#7 May Surprise You Though)

Sf
(via babson.edu)

Not surprisingly, San Francisco has the highest concentration of LGBT people of any city in the US, at 6.2 percent, according to a new Gallup survey

However, there are some surprises on the list, including Salt Lake City, which is ranked No. 7.

From The New York Times:

Gallup1It might seem surprising at first that the city most associated with the Mormon Church — which believes that sex and marriage should occur between only a man and a woman — has the seventh-highest share of L.G.B.T. people, at 4.7 percent.

But another aspect of the Mormon culture — the importance of community and family — goes a long way toward explaining the pattern, people in Salt Lake City say.

Though many gay people who were raised Mormon (or L.D.S., an acronym for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) describe feeling expelled from the community, a large number still choose to stay close to their families and culture. “If you grow up L.D.S. like I did, you still have these deep Mormon values that are embedded in your DNA,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group.

The Gallup survey includes the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas and is believed to contain the most detailed estimates yet about where LGBT people live. 

Birmingham, Alabama, has the lowest concentration of LGBT people, at 2.6 percent, but according to Gallup, the overall margin is small:  

The distribution of LGBT identity across the largest metro areas in the U.S. is relatively narrow, with a range of 3.6 percentage points from the highest to the lowest MSA among the top 50. This mirrors previous analyses of the distribution of the LGBT population across states, which show similarly fairly even distribution, at least in comparison to the many other pronounced geographic differences found on race, ethnic, political and ideological variables.

The lack of sharp distinctions could reflect in part that the geographic MSAs used in this research are large, and for most areas, include significant suburban populations around center cities. The sample sizes involved do not allow for an analysis of center cities per se, but perhaps the LGBT percentage is larger in these areas than in the metropolitan area as a whole.

Gallup2


Gay Travel Dispatch of the Day: New Orleans Mardi Gras

Nola1
(instagram jonnodotcom)

This new series features dispatches from LGBTQ travel writers, bloggers, and photographers who are on the road in far-flung places. If you know somebody who should be featured here, send us an email at travel@towleroad.com.

Today's dispatch is culled from the stunning Instagram feed of John d'Addario, writer, photographer, and chronicler of things "mostly" New Orleans.

Nola8
"Royal Street, 9 AM"

As you may know, today is Mardi Gras in New Orleans when the streets are crammed with drunken revelers draped in glittering strands of purple, green, and gold beads. Mr. D'Addario has been taking some choice shots of the pre-Fat Tuesday Big Easy glam, which is making us reminisce about our trip down South last Halloween.

Atop this post, a man of many textures named "Greg". Below, "En route to the Societé de Saint-Anne Bal Masque."

Several more, AFTER THE JUMP...

Nola2

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Gay Texas Couples Ask 5th Circuit To Allow Same-Sex Marriages Immediately

DeLeon

Yesterday we reported that same-sex couples in Missouri and South Dakota had asked federal judges to allow marriages to begin immediately in those states. 

Now attorneys for two same-sex couples in Texas, including Cleopatra DeLeon and Nicole Dimetman (above) have done the same. 

Like the Missouri and South Dakota motions, the Texas filing relies on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this week to allow same-sex marriages to begin in Alabama

The Texas Observer reports: 

LaneIf the 5th Circuit doesn't lift the stay for all same-sex couples, the motion asks that it be lifted for the limited purpose of establishing the parental rights of plaintiff Cleopatra DeLeon, whose wife, Nicole Dimetman, is expecting a child in March.

The motion cites the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to halt same-sex marriages in both Alabama and Florida, after federal district judges struck down bans in those states. The high court will hear appeals in April from four states where same-sex marriage bans were upheld. ... 

Neel Lane (right), an attorney for the couples, said in a statement he remains confident the 5th Circuit will rule in favor of marriage equality.

"But same-sex marriages are proceeding across the South and Southwest, while Texas remains the most populous state where gays and lesbians are deprived of that right," Lane said. "Today we urge the Fifth Circuit to remedy that omission immediately.”

The Texas motion includes powerful arguments in favor of lifting the stay at least for DeLeon, outlining the many steps the couple would have to go through for her to adopt their expected daughter, and explaining that if something happens to Dimetman during childbirth, she may never be able to do so. 

"If Dimetman is otherwise incapacitated, DeLeon’s right and ability to care for the child will be far from assured, as she will not have parental rights unless and until the adoption is completed. Thus, DeLeon may not be able to rock the baby to sleep; she may not be able to comfort the baby when he or she is upset; she may not be able to direct the baby’s medical care. Adoption takes time, and if something happens to Dimetman, time will not be a luxury that DeLeon and the baby have."

Last February, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia struck down Texas' marriage ban as unconstitutional, but stayed his decision pending the state's appeal to the 5th Circuit, which heard oral arguments last month. 

Observers believe a 5th Circuit panel is likely to rule in favor of marriage equality, but it's unclear whether it will do so before the Supreme Court addresses the issue. The high court will hear appeals in April from four states where marriage bans were upheld.

In December, Judge Garcia denied a motion to lift the stay in Texas — but that was before the Supreme Court allowed marriages to begin in Alabama and Florida. 

Read the full motion, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Bobby Jindal Defends AFA Prayer Rally At LSU As Anti-Gay Hate Group Plans Similar Events In Other States: VIDEO

Jindal

Last week we reported that LSU students are organizing protests and other events in response to "The Response," a prayer rally to be hosted by the American Family Association — an anti-LGBT hate group — on the university's campus January 24. 

Since then, the LSU Faculty Senate has issued a strongly worded condemnation of "The Response," which will be headlined by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal (above) as he prepares to kick off his 2016 presidential campaign. The Faculty Senate said although it doesn't appear the university can legally deny the rental of space to the AFA, the rally is "inconsistent with the goals and aspirations of a great university":

The Faculty Senate has made use of its extensive media resources to focus public attention on this matter. ... In all of these interview opportunities, Faculty Senate representatives have stressed that the “Response” event both damages the University and conflicts with its values, whether by associating intolerance with University venues or interfering with the goal of disseminating the best in science. ... 

The story of “The Response” is far from over, but I do want to assure the LSU and the statewide higher education community that the LSU Faculty Senate is working vigorously to assist the administration not only in repairing the damage resulting from this event but also in using it as an educational, formative opportunity.

Despite widespread opposition from students and faculty at LSU, Jindal continues to defend holding "The Response" on campus. The other day, he insisted the rally is "not a political event, it's a religious event":

"Christians have the right to rent, to pay for a hall at a public university so they can come together and pray," Jindal told reporters at an economic development announcement in New Orleans.

Asked if he agreed with the American Family Association's agenda, Jindal sidestepped that question and said, "The left likes to try to divide and attack Christians."

Jindal said the protesters themselves should consider joining the prayer rally. He said they "might benefit from prayer."

Meanwhile, in addressing criticism of the event, AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer continues to suggest that gays are to blame for natural disasters. The website for "The Response" initially included a prayer guide blaming gays, abortion and pornography for Hurricane Katrina, but it was quickly removed. However, Fischer told The Times-Picayune:  

Fischer"We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgement on an unrepentant nation. It's fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

The AFA's David Lane told The Times-Picayune that "The Response" is the first in a series of similar events the group is planning next year, and he hinted that other possible headliners include perennial GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. 

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry headlined an AFA prayer rally in Houston in 2011 to kick off his presidential campaign, so we assume Perry and GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be fighting over the Lone Star State's AFA hatefest next year. 

Ultimately, though, these events may only backfire by galvanizing progressive opposition in places where they're held, such as in Baton Rouge. A reader poll on The Times-Picayune website shows that 66 percent of respondents believe "The Response" should be held at a private building or church. 

Watch Jindal's invitation to "The Response," AFTER THE JUMP ...

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102 Hot Shots on Bourbon Street at Gay Halloween New Orleans: PHOTOS

2014-10-26 19.09.10

Last weekend, Towleroad hit The Big Easy for Halloween New Orleans!

We were so excited to participate this year as a media sponsor and our crew was headquartered outside OZ bar each day at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets in the French Quarter where the revelry that New Orleans is famous for continued day and night.

2014-10-26 19.29.14Our Bourbon Street gallery features photos we took in and around the gayest intersection in NOLA, and inside OZ bar. We were happy to meet so many Towleroad readers and look forward to see you again next year.

Also, coming up shortly we'll have galleries of both the Friday night NEON party at Republic nightclub and the main 'Descent' costume ball where there was plenty of sexiness, skin, drag, and devilry to be found.

Halloween New Orleans is one of the largest and most amazing party events of the season and the weekend, now in its 31st year, is one of the only 100% donation/volunteer event weekends left in the U.S.. Project Lazarus, a home in New Orleans which provides healthcare and support services for men and women with AIDS, is the sole beneficiary of all the funds that are raised.

The weekend includes four days of events including a black tie ball, two big parties, and a brunch and a traditional brass band Second Line parade through the city.

Check out 102 photos from Bourbon Street, AFTER THE JUMP...

STAY TUNED: Galleries of the NEON party and Halloween Costume Ball coming soon!

2014-10-26 17.54.29

Continue reading "102 Hot Shots on Bourbon Street at Gay Halloween New Orleans: PHOTOS" »


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