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Texas Atty General Ken Paxton Defends Disgusting Anti-Marriage Equality Bills on CNN: VIDEO

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared on CNN's New Day yesterday to defend a number of anti-marriage equality bills pending in his state legislature. One bill, the "Pastor Protection Act", would prevent churches and pastors from being forced to participate in gay weddings. The other, more dangerous bill, says "the state may not issue, enforce, or recognize a marriage license or a declaration of an informal marriage for a union other than a union between one man and one woman."

Paxton defended both bills and was asked how Texas would behave when the SCOTUS ruling comes down.

Asked anchor Alisyn Camerota: "Texas would have to conform to the federal law, yes?"

Paxton: "If the Supreme Court is making the ruling on marriage, we deal with that all the time."

Camerota: "Meaning what? Meaning that you would, that Texas would have to conform to the Supreme Court.

Paxton: "Again, we would have to see how it worked. We would have to see exactly how that opinion is written, versus how this law is passed....I don't know how those two are going to fit together or if somehow they'll be in direct opposition."

There is a bit of hope, however, the Austin Statesman reports:

Democrats became increasingly confident Wednesday that they can run out the legislative clock, killing a bill designed to make it difficult, if not impossible, for same-sex Texans to wed — even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules otherwise.

If Democrats can keep House Bill 4105 from receiving a floor vote before a midnight Thursday deadline, the anti-gay-marriage legislation would die — along with about 200 other bills scheduled for action behind it.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Benedict Cumberbatch Talks Alan Turing And Gay Persecution with Jimmy Kimmel: VIDEO

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Last night, following the announcement of his wedding, Benedict Cumberbatch appeared on Jimmy Kimmel to promote The Imitation Game.

The actor told the story of how he found out he was nominated for an Oscar, and he also discussed the historic importance of Alan Turing. Not only did Cumberbatch point out Turing's importance to the LGBT community, but also his influence on the tech sector — Silicon Valley and beyond. After Kimmel said he hadn't known Turing before Imitation Game, the actor replied:

He's known amongst the intelligence community, amongst the sort of gods of the computer world, the Silicon Valley, he's known amongst LGBT groups... what we've hoped to have done with this movie is to basically broaden an audience and an understanding of this extraordinary man, who at a very young age invented computer science and the idea of computing... [in terms of government persecution,] This man was utterly wronged...If you ask anybody in Silicon Valley — Bill Gates down — they still use Turing's mathematics.

Cumberbatch also pointed out how Turing's cracking of the Enigma code is estimated to have ended WWII two years early. Check out clips of the Kimmel appearance AFTER THE JUMP...

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Mario Cantone's Most Annoying Stories Of 2014: VIDEO

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2014 had a number of, shall we say, "problematic" news stories, such as rumors that the Pentagon was going to drastically shrink the size of the army, or that Boston was allegedly being plagued by a serial tickler. Meredith Vieira invited Mario Cantone onto her show to have him go over his own list of most annoying stories of the year and surprise! the Kardashians made the cut.

You can watch the rest of the celebretiy-centric rundown AFTER THE JUMP...

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Archdiocese of Miami Threatens To Fire Employees For Showing Support For Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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Following the overhaul of Florida's ban on same-sex marriage, Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski issued a letter (below) to employees of the archdiocese warning that any conduct or behavior “inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church", in other words, in support of same-sex marriage, could result in termination. NBC News reports:

The letter, from Archbishop Thomas Wenski, told employees that "because of the Church’s particular function in society, certain conduct, inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church, could lead to disciplinary action, including termination, even if it occurs outside the normal working day and outside the strict confines of work performed by the employee for the Archdiocese.”

Wenski’s letter also warned employees that the conduct requirements also extend to the Internet. “Employees should exercise discretion when posting on social media sites, and note that online activity indicative of prohibitive behaviors may subject an employee to disciplinary action or termination," it read.

Earlier, Florida's Catholic Bishops came out against the arrival of same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State, claiming same-sex marriage “threatens both religious liberty and the freedom of individuals to conscientiously object.”

Late last year Pope Francis was thought to have been sending mixed messages about whether he and the Catholic Church would reconsider their stance on same-sex marriage. However, following media speculation, the Pope was quick to make a statement clarifying that same-sex marriage was not on the table for discussion.

Watch a news report on the letter from the Miami Archdiocese, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

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The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Due In Court Today: VIDEO

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The trio of individuals accused in the September 11 assault on a gay couple in City Center, Philadelphia, are in court today for a preliminary hearing. The defendants, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams, are accused of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy. All three have plead not guilty. 

From Philadelphia Magazine: 

Here’s what we can expect to happen: The case will be brought before a municipal court judge to determine if there was probable cause to arrest the suspects in September. Attorney for Kevin Harrigan, Josh Scarpello, tells me, “we won’t decide the truth of the matter in that first hearing. It is a probable-cause hearing to establish if the case should go to trial.”

If the case goes to trial — and if no plea bargain is reached — Scarpello suggests that there might not be a trial date until well into the new year. "The earliest would be February or March," he says. "If it's scheduled to be a jury trial, it could take even longer."

The AP also reports that the defendants contest the plaintiff's version of the assault: "Defense lawyers insist that both parties played a role in the encounter, and say the men's sexual orientation wasn't an issue." Despite these claims, reports have abounded that the fight was preceded by homophobic slurs hurled against the victims by the defendants. You’ll also recall the social media sleuthing done by activist Scott Wooledge who dug into accused attacker Kathryn Knott’s Twitter account and found a history of homophobic remarks. 

Social media played a large role in the case from the onset, with the individuals being identified by social media sleuths looking to hunt down the perpetrators of the heinous assault. 

The accused will not face hate crimes charges as Pennsylvania does not currently have hate crimes legislation on the books that covers sexual orientation. However, that may change if State Rep. Brian Sims and State Sen. Jim Ferlo have their way.

Watch a news report on the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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