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Alabama House Votes to Allow Officials to Refuse to Conduct Marriages for Same-Sex Couples

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The Alabama House of Representatives gave its approval yesterday to legislation giving judges, ministers and other officiants the right to refuse to conduct marriage ceremonies for LGBT couples, AL.com reports:

Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody, said he sponsored the bill after receiving phone calls from judges and ministers concerned they would be required to perform marriages ceremonies they didn't want to perform.

House Bill 56, the Freedom of Religion in Marriage Protection Act, passed 69-25. The bill now moves on to the Senate for consideration.

In session today, Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Livingston, asked Hill:  "Why all of a sudden has this become an issue?"

Hill replied: "I can't answer that, sir."

Tears came to the eyes of Rep. Patricia Todd (pictured above), D-Birmingham, as she spoke against the bill on the House floor. Todd, the only openly gay legislator in the state, said the bill was drafted to discriminate against gay couples who want to marry.

"This is very hurtful to me as an openly gay person," she said.

The Montgomery Advertiser adds:

The legislation says "no church, synagogue, society or religious organization" can be sued over a refusal to provide accommodations or services "related to the recognitions, solemnization or celebration of a marriage."

Both Hill and critics said that current law does not force ministers to conduct marriages they oppose. But language surrounding recognition and accommodation, say opponents, could allow religiously-affiliated organizations like hospitals to deny services to same-sex couples, like visitation rights. 

Watch Todd and other lawmakers react to the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Alabama House Votes to Allow Officials to Refuse to Conduct Marriages for Same-Sex Couples" »


Openly Gay Alabama Representative Patricia Todd Receiving Death Threats Over 'Outing' Pledge: AUDIO

ToddRepresentative Patricia Todd is stirring up quite the controversy in Alabama with her pledge to out anti-gay lawmakers engaging in extramarital affairs. Todd alleges that her pledge has caused the posturing and rhetoric to die down, but that it has also incited some to start lobbing death threats her way - death threats that Todd is taking in an admirable amount of stride:

My life’s been threatened in the past couple of days. A lot of my friends are worried about my safety. The police are patrolling by my house more often. I’ve got an alarm system. I am being careful. But they’re not going to scare me back into my house. I’m not going to let them do that.

Todd still plans to honor her pledge and discusses the events surrounding her pledge and death threats in an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, which you can listen to AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Openly Gay Alabama Representative Patricia Todd Receiving Death Threats Over 'Outing' Pledge: AUDIO" »


Openly Gay Alabama State Legislator Doubles Down On Threat To 'Out' Anti-Gay Lawmakers Having Extramarital Affairs: VIDEO

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As we reported earlier this week, Alabama's first and only openly gay state legislator Dem. Rep. Patricia Todd took to Facebook over the weekend to fire back at politicians alleging that gay marriage would erode "family values" should it become legal in Alabama. Todd called out the hypocrisy of many lawmakers using the rallying cry of "family values" to prop up their anti-gay views when they are having extramarital affairs. Todd's remarks came on the heels of a federal judge (appointed by George W. Bush) ruling that the state of Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Wrote Todd:

"I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about 'family values' when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have," Todd, the state's only openly gay lawmaker, said on Facebook over the weekend. "I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out."

Todd was responding to comments from her fellow lawmakers after Friday's decision by a federal judge to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

"It is pretty well known that we have people in Montgomery who are or have had affairs …" Todd told the TimesDaily this morning. "I just want them to be careful what they're saying, some of it might come back to stick on them."

Todd has stuck to her message, appearing on All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC on Tuesday night to discuss why she is going after anti-gay politicians by using their own dirty laundry against them:

"I just wanna remind [politicians who oppose gay marriage], they don’t have the corner on family values. There are thousands of gay couples across the state, many raising children, that have much stronger family values than they do. It’s an attempt to try to cool the rhetoric…if you want to talk to me of the merits of the issue then that’s fine. But I’m not going to let you get away with a five second sound bite where you condemn me and my community."

Todd also weighed in Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice's Roy Moore's comments that he would not respect or uphold any federal judge's ruling that allows same-sex couples to wed as such decisions were "judicial tyranny" in his eyes.

Watch Todd tackle the right's hypocrisy on family values, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Openly Gay Alabama State Legislator Doubles Down On Threat To 'Out' Anti-Gay Lawmakers Having Extramarital Affairs: VIDEO" »


Alabama's First Openly Gay Lawmaker Threatens to 'Out' Anti-gay Colleagues Having Extramarital Affairs

Rep. Patricia Todd, Alabama's first openly gay legislator, has threatened to expose the adulterous affairs of certain anti-gay state officials should they start speaking out about "family values" in the wake of the state's ban on same-sex marriage being overturned by a federal judge.

AL.com reports:

ToddBut after seeing comments by Republican officials, particularly from Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, and seeing Attorney General Luther Strange's efforts to get a stay of the judge's orders, Todd fired off an emotional Facebook post making a threat to expose politicians' dalliances.

"This (is) a time where you find out who are accepting, loving people. To say I am disappointed in Speaker Hubbard comment's and Attorney General Strange choice to appeal the decision is an understatement. I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about 'family values' when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have. I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet OUT," Todd stated in her Facebook post over the weekend. [...]

Hubbard issued a brief statement to AL.com in response to Todd's Facebook post. "I consider Rep. Todd a friend, and we have always enjoyed a good and cordial relationship, so I am sorry that she is upset about my remarks," Hubbard stated. "We do have a fundamental disagreement on allowing same sex marriages in Alabama, and I will continue to voice my opinion on this important social issue, just as I expect she will continue to voice hers, but we can disagree without being disagreeable."

Todd said she believes public sentiment towards same-sex marriage in Alabama has changed significantly in the past few years. "The leadership needs to recognize that now," she said.

Todd married her longtime partner Jennifer Clarke in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 2013. She is also the lead sponsor of an anti-discrimination bill protection LGBT Alabamians that is named after Apple CEO Tim Cook, a native of the state. 


Friday Speed Read: ENDA, Utah, NOM, IRS, Puerto Rico, Patricia Todd, Uganda, Immigration

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Finalvote_endaTWO MORE GROUPS DISS ENDA:

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Illinois issued separate statements Thursday, joining the chorus of those who say the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) “falls short.” Equality Illinois says that, while it supports ENDA, its members “strongly oppose including any exemptions that would give LGBT people less protection than other protected groups already enjoy under federal civil rights law.” NCLR said it is “confident the current discriminatory religious exemption in ENDA will not be part of the final legislation,” but added it would “not continue to support ENDA if it is not changed to be consistent with Title VII’s religious exemption."

UtahTENTH CIRCUIT STAYS RECOGNITION ORDER:

The Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed Thursday to a temporary stay of a federal district court judge’s ruling that Utah must recognize, for the purpose of state benefits, the 1,300 marriages performed for same-sex couples in the state prior to a U.S. Supreme Court stay of a decision striking the state ban. The appeals court is expected to decide by June 12 whether to grant a more permanent stay, in Evans v. Utah, until the Tenth Circuit can rule on the state’s ban, in Kitchen v. Herbert.

NOM-logoJUDGE DISMISSES MOST OF NOM-IRS LAWSUIT:

A federal district court judge in Virginia on June 3 dismissed most of a lawsuit by the National Organization for Marriage that claimed an employee of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service deliberately leaked a confidential tax document from NOM to the Human Rights Campaign. Judge James Cacheris said NOM failed to provide any evidence that the disclosure was deliberate and politically motivated; but, he said the IRS may bear some responsibility for the legal expenses NOM incurred as a result of that error and scheduled that issue for trial June 30. Story to follow later today.

RodriguezLESBIAN NOMINATED TO P.R. SUPREME COURT:

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla on Wednesday nominated lesbian attorney Maite Oronoz Rodríguez to serve on the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Rodríguez is director of legal affairs for the city of San Juan, served as deputy solicitor general for PR and briefly as its acting solicitor general. Lambda Legal issued a statement applauding the nomination of the “first openly lesbian judge” to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. The nomination now goes to the PR senate for confirmation.

ToddMORE ELECTION WINNERS:

Openly gay Alabama state Representative Patricia Todd beat out two Democratic challengers in a primary race Tuesday, seeking her third term to represent Birmingham. Todd, the state’s first and only openly gay elected official, took 64 percent of the vote. And Richard Garcia was elected mayor of Long Beach, California, becoming the city’s first openly gay mayor.

Chad_griffinHRC URGES OBAMA ACTION AGAINST UGANDA:

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin sent President Obama a letter June 2, urging him to take “immediate, concrete” action to “illustrate the United States’ commitment to protecting human rights in Uganda.” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in February. President Obama said at the time that the law would “complicate” U.S. relations with Uganda and the administration began an “internal review” of those relations.  “Delay is putting lives at risk,” wrote Griffin. “…The world is waiting for action….”

GROUPS URGE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION:

The Human Rights Campaign and 14 other groups signed onto a letter to President Obama June 3, urging him to take “swift executive action to suspend mass immigration detention and deportations.” The letter says Immigration and Custom Enforcement “has failed to take adequate steps to protect LGBT people from abuse and inhumane isolation in detention centers….”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Alabama House Passes Resolution Calling for Gay Marriage Ban in the U.S. Constitution

The Alabama House approved a resolution that calls for a convention to put a gay marriage ban in the U.S. Constitution, the Montgomery Advertiser reports:

LairdThe resolution, sponsored by Rep. Richard Laird, I-Roanoke, quotes a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex unions, and calls marriage “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” The resolution also cites several court cases, including five from the 19th century. It goes on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court “officially severed its respect for marriage” last year, when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the recognition of same-sex spouses under federal laws.

Laird’s resolution calls for an Article V convention, which would require 34 states to ask Congress to call a convention to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the resolution, the convention would specifically propose an amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and bar legal recognition of any other form of marriage.

Laird infuriated Alabama's only openly gay lawmaker, Patricia Todd, after blindsiding her with the resolution by not describing its contents until it was time for the vote to be taken, thus heading off her objection to it.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard had also told Todd such an amendment would not come up for a vote.


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