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Arkansas Senate Passes Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bill, Governor Asa Hutchinson Says He'll Sign

An Indiana-style bill allowing individuals to discriminate based on religious beliefs has just passed the Arkansas Senate. Arkansas Online reports the bill first heads back to the House to consider amendments added on the Senate side before heading to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk.

Hutchinson said Thursday he intends to sign the bill. 

HRC reacts via statement:

HutchinsonToday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and HRC Arkansas condemned the Arkansas senate's passage of H.B. 1228, an Indiana-style bill that will open the door to discrimination against LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and other minority groups across the state. After a formal procedural hurdle, the bill will be on its way to Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk. HRC has repeatedly called on the governor to veto this legislation, including at a press conference featuring HRC president Chad Griffin yesterday.

"This bill is a poison pill for jobs and investment in the state of Arkansas, and Governor Hutchinson has a duty to veto it," said HRC President and Arkansas native Chad Griffin following the Senate vote. "If he does not, his reputation will be forever stained and the people of the state of Arkansas will suffer for his willingness to cater to a small political faction whose sole intent is to discriminate against their fellow Arkansans."

The bill has been opposed by Wal-Mart, Apple, and the Arkansas Municipal League for weeks. Yesterday, following the enactment of a similar bill in Indiana, a wave of high-tech companies like Yelp and Salesforce -- precisely the kinds of investment Governor Hutchinson has said he hopes to attract to the state -- have condemned this kind of legislation.

At a press conference today in Little Rock today, HRC President and Arkansas native Chad Griffin announced that the...

Posted by HRC Arkansas on Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jon Stewart ripped into the bill in a segment last week. Civil rights legend Julian Bond has also spoken out against the bill, saying:

"H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion--and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens. Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."

Hutchinson's office can be reached at 501-682-2345. 

Senate passes HB1228 and the amendment goes back to the House for final approval. This bill is on a fast track to the...

Posted by HRC Arkansas on Friday, March 27, 2015

 


Former One Direction Member Zayn Malik Reportedly Working on 'Slowed Down, Sexual' Solo Album

Malik

Zayn Malik may not be out of the spotlight for long, as the former One Direction member admitted to The Sun he's already begun work on a solo album.

The Daily Mirror has more:

A source told Now: “Zayn has a clear vision for the music he wants to create, and the direction he wants to take his career in.

'He's been writing for a while now during his downtime on tour and has already recorded two tracks this week alone.”

They continued: “The music he's making is completely different to anything One Direction have ever done before, it's very slowed down R&B and quite sexual. It's going to blow fans' minds.”

Ready to be blown?

Zayn


Tim Cook Pledges to Give His Apple Fortune Away to Charity

In a lengthy profile for Fortune magazine, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed he will be donating nearly all of his multi-million dollar fortune to charity:

CookTo Cook, changing the world always has been higher on Apple’s agenda than making money. He plans to give away all his wealth, after providing for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew. There should be plenty left over to fund philanthropic projects. Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, is currently about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested. Cook says that he has already begun donating money quietly, but that he plans to take time to develop a systematic approach to philanthropy rather than simply writing checks.

Cook also discussed his decision last year to come out as gay:

Looking back, he says that he primarily acted out of concern for kids who were bullied at school, some to the point of suicide, and because of the many states that still allow employers to fire workers over their sexual orientation. Also, whereas U.S. courts were moving surprisingly quickly on the issue, “I didn’t feel like business was exactly leading the way in the executive suite.”

Cook says that he’d come to the decision of coming out “quite some time ago” and that his announcement was viewed internally at Apple, where his sexual orientation was more or less well known, as a “yawner.” Speaking out so publicly was a big step for Cook, though, who has described himself as intensely private and who is rare among big-company CEOs for being genuinely ill at ease talking about himself. “To be honest, if I would not have come to the conclusion that it would likely help other people, I would have never done it,” he says. “There’s no joy in me putting my life in view.”

Cook remains the only openly LGBT CEO in the Fortune 500.

Read the full Fortune piece here.  


Advocates Mobilize to Stop Georgia's Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Bill: VIDEO

Georgia

An anti-LGBT "religious freedom" bill similar to the one signed into law in Indiana yesterday is currently working its way through the Georgia Legislature, but activists are hoping to stop this one before it gets to the governor's desk. 

Georgia's SB 129 allowing businesses to deny service to gay and lesbian customers based on religious beliefs passed the Georgia Senate last week. Yesterday, some good news came when the state's House Judiciary Committee voted to table the bill after an amendment was added to keep the bill from allowing discrimination - effectively gutting the bill's primary purpose.  

Session ends next week, but anti-LGBT opponents are reportedly still working to bring the bill back. You can follow the bill's progress here

Via HRC statement:

"This ill-conceived, discriminatory bill threatens not just the LGBT community, but women, racial minorities, members of minority faiths, and the economic climate of the state," said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. "All Georgians deserve to be treated fairly and equally with dignity and respect. We call on Speaker Ralston and Governor Deal to stop this bill before it becomes law, inflicting harm throughout the state."

Major local conferences have already threatened to move out of the state if the bill becomes law, including: American Society for Higher Education, American Academy of Religion, American Historical Association, German Studies Association, History of Science Society, Philosophy of Science Association, Society for Biblical Literature, and Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.

MckoonState Sen. Josh McKoon (pictured), the chief proponent of the "license to discriminate" bill, called these economic warnings against the bill "nebulous" and claimed the bill wouldn't impact the economic interests of the state. He obviously hasn't been paying attention to the #BoycottIndiana backlash.

In fact, a campaign calling on Georgia-based corporate allies to speak out against #SB129 is currently underway. Comic and fantasy convention Dragon Con has already done so:

Dragon Con is calling on Georgia lawmakers to reject the "license to discriminate" RFRA bill! Click "like" and share to...

Posted by Georgia Unites Against Discrimination on Thursday, March 26, 2015
The Augusta Chronicle's editorial staff, meanwhile, called SB 129 "a solution we don't need in search of a problem that doesn't exist."

The push by Georgia Republicans to further enshrine anti-LGBT discrimination into law has also faced opposition from an unlikely source recently: Mike Bowers. Bowers was the former Georgia Attorney General who defended the state's sodomy law in the landmark Supreme Court case Bowers v. Hardwick. Last month, he spoke out against so-called "religious freedom" bills as an "excuse to practice invidious discrimination."

Watch McKoon defend discrimination at yesterday's House Judiciary Committee hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Advocates Mobilize to Stop Georgia's Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Bill: VIDEO" »


Rachel Maddow on the 24 Pilots Over the Past 20 Years Who Have Deliberately Brought Down Planes: VIDEO

Maddow

Rachel Maddow took a look last night at the weak link in airline safety: humans.

Over the past two decades, 24 pilots have deliberately brought planes down, sometimes killing large numbers of people along with themselves. Maddow takes a look at those cases and the circumstances surrounding them, along with this week's tragic destruction of the Germanwings A320.

GwingsSaid Maddow:

"In large passenger aircraft, pilots are some of the few people on earth to whom we give the opportunity that if they want to commit mass murder, or if they want to carry out a lone wolf terror attack, to a degree greater than almost anyone on earth, we give them the power to take huge numbers of people with them, with very little effort on their part....We will inevitably now search for some technological fix to try to stop this from ever happening again....But what caused this in the first place is not a technological problem. It was a failure of flesh and blood. This was not a technologically-caused but rather a technologically-enabled, mass casualty, human, failure."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rachel Maddow on the 24 Pilots Over the Past 20 Years Who Have Deliberately Brought Down Planes: VIDEO" »


Overnight Inferno Destroys Multiple Buildings in Fire Island's Cherry Grove: PHOTOS, VIDEOS

Cherrygrove

A massive fire overnight burned a hotel, several homes, and the boardwalk in the central area of Fire Island's Cherry Grove, a summer destination for New York's gay and lesbian community.

News12 reported:

Officials say the first started just before 1:30 a.m. and two firefighters have been hurt. There is no word on the extent of their injuries. A total of 77 firefighters and 12 ambulance personnel took part in the effort to contain the blaze. News 12 Long Island has learned the Grove Hotel was destroyed along with two to three homes. Fire officials say there are some hot spots, but the fire is now considered under control. Officials are asking residents to not come until tomorrow to the area for their safety.

Videos, AFTER THE JUMP...

watch News12's video here.

Newsday

 

 

Continue reading "Overnight Inferno Destroys Multiple Buildings in Fire Island's Cherry Grove: PHOTOS, VIDEOS" »


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