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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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Three Arizona Cities Receive Perfect Scores In Human Rights Campaign LGBT Civil Rights Index

A report from the Human Rights Campaign's annual Municipal Equality Index indicates that the Arizona cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson received perfect scores of a 100 on a scale of 0-100 reports One Community. HRC's index scores 353 municipalities from all 50 states on how they treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, specifically in regards to what cities promote inclusiveness and provide equal rights for LGBT residents and workers. The three cities also were among 23 others designated "All Stars," for excelling on matters of equality without relying on state law.

Picture 4In 2013 Tempe received a score of 72, however the city unanimously approved Proposition 475 this year that bans workplace discrimination against LGBT workers. Additionally the city also passed an ordinance earlier this year in February that bans LGBT discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels, but includes exceptions for religious organizations and social clubs. The cities of Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff have similar ordinances in place as well.

However, some local Arizona politicians fear an uphill battle is looming after state Republicans, including new Gov. Doug Ducey, saw big wins in the recent election. Tempe councilman Kolby Granville, a major proponent of gay rights, expressed the state legislature may further stall LGBT civil rights protections.

Said Granville:

"When you look at the makeup of our state Legislature, particularly given this election last Tuesday, the politics are not there for state change as it relates to employment discrimination, as it relates to equal treatment and as it relates to health benefits,"

"If the cities can muster the votes they should move forward and let the state catch up."

Arizona's total score average is 68 out of a 100 points, which is above the national average of 59. the city of Peoria received the lowest score with a total of 33 points. With the legalization of gay marriage in Arizona, the overall score of the state should rise in the future should marriage remain unchallenged. The full report, along with a FAQ page on why certain cities are chosen for the survey, is available on the HRC website.


Gay Singer-Songwriter Eric Himan Has a Soulful Message for Bigoted Arizona Lawmakers: VIDEO

Arizona_himan

Gay singer-songwriter Eric Himan was traveling to Phoenix to play a show when lawmakers passed SB1062, the bill allowing businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs?

In a fit of inspiration, he says he wrote "Not Going Anywhere Tonight" and shot this impromptu video for the project.

Said Himan, who will be touring this spring with fellow singer/songwriter/activists Ani DiFranco and Leon Russell this spring: “I couldn't take it. I had to write this song and put it out there.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Towleroad readers may remember Himan's previous video "Red Hot Tears".

Continue reading "Gay Singer-Songwriter Eric Himan Has a Soulful Message for Bigoted Arizona Lawmakers: VIDEO" »


Phoenix and Tucson Stage Major Protests Against Anti-Gay Bill: VIDEO

Az_marquez

Major protests took place this evening in Phoenix and Tucson in opposition to the bill passed by the Arizona legislature that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs.

CNN's AC360 led off their show live from the protests in Phoenix.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Governor Jan Brewer must decide whether to sign or veto the legislation early next week.

The Republic reports:

The governor, who is attending a conference of national governors in the nation’s capital, rarely comments on bills before they reach her desk.

She spoke with CNN on Friday: “Well, it’s a very controversial piece of legislation. We know that. We know that it’s failed in a lot of states across the country. ... I’ve been reading about it on the Internet and I will make my decision some time before ... by next Friday ... if I do decide to sign it. But it’s very controversial, so I’ve got to get my hands around it.”

The governor has five days to decide on the bill so it's likely she'll need to deal with it before Friday as she says.

FYI you can call Brewer now  at (602) 542-4331 or (520) 628-6580 and urge her to veto the bill.

Suggested script: Hi, my name is __________ and I live in _____________. I’m calling to urge Governor Brewer to veto SB1062. Arizonans believe in freedom for all -- and that includes our gay and lesbian neighbors. Please reject this harmful legislation.

Continue reading "Phoenix and Tucson Stage Major Protests Against Anti-Gay Bill: VIDEO" »


Cindy McCain to Appear in Phoenix Production of Dustin Lance Black's Play About the Prop. 8 Trial

Cindy McCAin is set to appear in a Phoenix production of 8, Dustin Lance Black's play dramatizing California's Proposition 8 trial produced by the Arizona Theatre Co. and former Tempe mayor Neil Giuliano, Phoenix Business Journal reports:

MccainNicole Stanton — the wife of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and an attorney at the commercial law firm Quarles & Brady LLP — is also scheduled to appear in the play on May 7, along with well-known attorney Grant Woods, media personality Pat McMahon and Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot. Simplot is also CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association real estate group.

Neither McCain’s Senate office nor Hensley responded to requests for comment. The Republican senator has said in the past that he and his wife, as well as his outspoken daughter Meghan McCain, have differing views on gay marriage. Cindy and Meghan McCain appeared in “No on Prop. 8” advertisements in 2008.

McCain and Stanton are going to play Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandra Stier.


Phoenix, Arizona City Council Approves Broad LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 5-3 Vote: VIDEO

Phoenix

In what is being called one of the most contentious City Council meetings the city has ever had, Phoenix, Arizona, the sixth most populous city in the nation, last night passed broad laws barring discrimination against LGBT residents, the Arizona Republic reports:

Gay-rights advocates said the move was a long time coming. They said Phoenix, the sixth-largest city in the country, is playing “catch-up” with at least 166 other U.S. cities and counties that have adopted similar laws.

An estimated 500 people packed the Orpheum Theatre, and dozens of people spoke on both sides of the issue. Many supporters wore “yes” stickers and rainbow pins.

The paper adds:

Mayor Greg Stanton fast-tracked the reforms, which ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression — those who identify as a different sex than they were born as.

The changes approved Tuesday would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels. Businesses and individuals that don’t comply could be criminally prosecuted and face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by a $2,500 fine.

Phoenix currently offers few such safeguards for gay people but bans discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age and marital status.

Watch a news report with video of the meeting, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Phoenix, Arizona City Council Approves Broad LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 5-3 Vote: VIDEO" »


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