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Arizona Wedding Planner Refuses to Do Business With Lesbian Couple - VIDEO

Crystal Allen and Kenyata White

A wedding planner in Phoenix, Arizona, has refused to do business with a same-sex couple planning to marry in December, reports AZ Central.

In February 2013, Phoenix, the sixth most populous city in the U.S., passed broad laws barring discrimination against LGBT residents.

Crystal Allen and Kenyata White had made contact with AffordableWeddingMinister.com, but Susan Latimer refused the business when she realized that the couple she was preparing to marry were two women.

In an email to the couple, Latimer wrote “we are very uncomfortable with same-sex marriage as it is directly against our beliefs. We would not be a very good fit."

Latimer’s website states:

“We really Love Jesus, God the Father and The Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus loves everyone and the concept he gave is ... Marriage is HOLY and right for one man and one woman.”

The website also claims that the company is “non-judgemental.” Susan Latimer

AZ Central goes on to recommend that the couple “don't play into the hands of those who are itching for a reason to bring back Senate Bill 1062, last year's debacle of a bill that attempted to legalize discrimination in the name of the Lord."

Attorney Brendan Mahoney, who co-wrote the city's LGBT anti-discrimination law, said that because Latimer is a licensed minister she can decide who she wants to work with.  Mahoney added that Allen and White would be best served to “go find a place that wants to marry you, that looks forward to marrying you, and have a happy wedding.”

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Phoenix Suns Players Pranked With Dinosaur On Halloween: VIDEO

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Of all the things you wouldn't want to come face-to-face with on Halloween, "dinosaur" is probably somewhere near the top of the list.

NBA team the Phoenix Suns got pranked by the BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs exhibition, an arena show that confronts attendees with life-like, life-sized dinosaurs.

Watch the team's reactions as a dino pops out from behind a curtain. Pictured above, probably the highlight of the vid, rookie Archie Goodwin proves himself "a live one" and good at thinking on his feet, throwing his water jug at the creature. There are plenty of more great reactions, though.

Check out the residual Halloween fun, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Los Angeles Couple Reach Plea Deal In Torture, Murder Of 'Gay Acting' Eight-Year-Old Son - VIDEO

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Pearl Fernandez has reached a plea deal in the murder and torture of her “gay acting” eight-year-old son Gabriel, reports NBC. Fernandez, along with former boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, will also plead guity to the charges and avoid the death penalty. 

Fernandez_aguirreThe two will be be sentenced to life in prison without parole in exchange for their guilty pleas to first degree murder and torture with special circumstances. Both have waived their right to appeal. 

Fernandez and Aguirre had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Gabriel, who died in May 2013, was allegedly beaten, doused with pepper spray, forced to eat his own vomit and locked in a cabinet with a sock in his mouth to muffle his screams.

Two of the boy’s siblings confirmed that Gabriel was forced to eat cat feces, rotten spinach and vomit; that he slept in a locked cabinet and wasn't let out to go to the bathroom; and that Fernandez and Aguirre called him gay, punished him when he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school.

Fernandez allegedly once jabbed Gabriel in the mouth with a bat and knocked out several teeth.

One of Gabriel’s siblings said that on the day of the fatal beating, Fernandez began hitting her son because he didn't want to pick up his toys. She then dragged him into a bedroom, where Aguirre joined her, and the siblings heard screaming, banging and then silence.

The incident has prompted calls for reforms to the Los Angeles County foster-care system because child welfare workers failed to remove Fernandez from his home. Moves have since been taken to fire two social workers and two supervisors, while others involved in the case have received letters of warning or reprimand.

Watch an NBC report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nebraska University To Offer Same-Sex Spouse Health Benefits Despite Catholic Church Objections - VIDEO

President Rev. Timothy Lannon

Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced that it will soon offer health benefits to employee’s same-sex spouses despite the objections of Catholic archbishop George J. Lucas, reports KETV7 ABC.

Creighton UniversityOutlining the decision in a letter sent Monday to trustees, President Rev. Timothy Lannon, said that although Creighton continues to support the Catholic Church's teaching about marriage, the university is taking this step to meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities that already offer similar benefits.

Lannon added that 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S. already offer similar benefits.

The letter to trustees reads in part:

"Dear Trustees,

"This is to inform you that I have decided that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits in 2015 to the same-sex spouses of our colleagues who have been legally wed in other states.

"I have notified Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha of my decision, acknowledging his disagreement and disapproval of such a decision based upon a previous conversation he and I had.

"I asked the University Benefits Committee to consider benefits coverage for legally married same-sex couples. They were unanimous in supporting this change. The extension of benefits is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages but rather an acknowledgement of our responsibility to serve the needs of faculty and staff who faithfully serve our students and patients every day.

"This decision not only reflects a commitment to our colleagues, but our ongoing commitment to health and wellness.

"I anticipate that we may receive some negative media attention for this decision. Nevertheless, I believe it was the right thing to do."

However, in a statement made on the same day, Lucas expressed his disappointment with the decision, arguing that it is in fact an approval of same-sex marriage.  He added:

“I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage. There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice; both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love.

"When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits."

Last year, a ticket giveaway for Creighton University students to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis was postponed following protests from the Omaha school's Catholic Student Organization over the rap duo's vocal support for marriage equality.

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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News Anchor Slams Florida Gov. Rick Scott for 'Appalling' Refusal To Take Responsibility For Preventing Same-Sex Marriages: VIDEO

PUTNEY

ABC News Anchor Micahel Putney recently slammed Florida Governor Rick Scott for his refusal to own up to the fact that same-sex marriage is illegal in Florida in no small part because of his actions. While the state's ban on same-sex marriage has been fought in the courts, Attorney General Pam Bondi has continued to defend it. Scott meanwhile has claimed, 'he doesn't have a thing to do with it', a claim Putney is quick to refute:

"That is just nonsense. Governor Scott is the top elected official in the state. If he didn't want Attorney General Bondi to file those appeals he can simply call her up and say, "hey stop it." Or he can order her to stop it. That's what Governor Scott Walker did in Wisconsin, what the governor of Virginia did, they did it in Arizona...The fact that Gov. Scott refuses to take responsibility [for preventing same-sex marriage] is appalling. But it's not the first time."

Watch Putney's spot-on take down of Scott, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Alliance Defending Freedom Claims Anti-gay Idaho Wedding Chapel Never Sought Non-Profit Status - VIDEO

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Anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has posted a response to a letter from the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho relating to the litigation group's discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a local wedding chapel, reports Joe My God.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the owners of Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, claim in the lawsuit that the city's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages.

Back in May, the Knapps said that they would rather close their doors than perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

The letter sent by the city to ADF on October 20th makes it clear that, although the Knapps registered their business as a religious corporation early this month, “based on the facts and their corporate status at the time [the couple refused to perform a same-sex wedding],” Hitching Post comes under the city’s non-discrimination order.

However, ADF has posted a response on its website backtracking on claims that Hitching Post has in fact been registered as a non-profit religious organization.  ADF has attacked the city’s “disingenuous waffling” and is now arguing that the Coeur d’Alene intends to “prosecute a for-profit business.”

Knapps“The city has said explicitly, repeatedly, and publicly that it would prosecute a for-profit business. That’s what the Hitching Post is, and it has never claimed to be anything other than that.

"While the Knapps do operate a ministry, they charge a fee for the ceremonies in order to be able to make a modest living. Therefore, the city, in its letter and elsewhere, is admitting that it would prosecute these pastors, who are clearly under a present threat of being sent to jail, fined, or both.

"The city has had months to figure out its own ordinance, and our clients have years of incarceration and devastating fines hanging over their heads. The city’s disingenuous waffling is indefensible.”

Earlier this month, the ADF began lobbying Slovakia's constitutional court to allow activists to place a referendum on the country's ballot that would reinforce the current bans on gay marriage, adoption, and domestic partner protections. The ADF's efforts in promoting bigotry abroad were profiled in Human Rights Campaign's "Export of Hate" report last month.

Watch an ABC report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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