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South Carolina Town Takes Action in Defense of Fired Lesbian Police Chief: VIDEO

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Last week, we reported the developing story on the controversial firing of Police Chief Crystal Moore of Latta, South Carolina. Moore says she was fired by Mayor Earl Bullard because of her sexual orientation, a claim backed up by a leaked audio recording of Bullard saying he’d rather have an alcoholic be responsible for his kids than a gay person with a “questionable” lifestyle.

The city council, which has been looking into the issue, is now taking action in defense of Moore.

Think Progress reports:

First, the Latta Town Council voted unanimously (6-0) on an emergency ordinance that blocks Bullard from replacing Moore for about two months. During that time, the town will have a chance to vote on a referendum adjusting the basic governing structure to grant more power to the council and less to the mayor. If that adjustment is made, council members say they will vote to rehire Moore.

In a separate symbolic vote, the council voted 6-0 to support Moore for her 20 years of service to the town.

Earlier this week, Moore also appeared on MSNBC to discuss her situation. You can watch the interview AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "South Carolina Town Takes Action in Defense of Fired Lesbian Police Chief: VIDEO" »


Thursday Speed Read: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Ohio, Oregon, Michael McShane, NOM, Crystal Moore

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE?

NixonThe Republican-led committee of the Missouri legislature discussed a proposal Wednesday to impeach Democratic Governor Jay Nixon because he issued an executive order allowing same-sex couples who have obtained marriage licenses in other states to file joint state tax returns in Missouri. Rep. Nick Marshall, who introduced the resolution, said he did so because Nixon “usurped the people and their authority to determine their constitution.” Voters in 2004 amended the constitution to ban same-sex marriages. The St. Louis Dispatch noted that the resolution has little time to advance, given the legislature adjourns in four weeks. Earlier this month, a Missouri judge denied a petition for a temporary restraining order to block Nixon’s directive. The judge will hold a hearing on the challenge May 2.

LET THE SIGNING BEGIN:

An LGBT group in Ohio earned a go-ahead to begin collecting signatures to put a ballot measure before voters to repeal the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. The Ohio Ballot Board announced Tuesday that FreedomOhio can begin collecting signatures the more than 385,000 signatures it needs. A spokesman for the group told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that FreedomOhio is working with other gay groups to determine what ballot to shoot for.

‘VOTING ON PEOPLE’S RIGHTS’:

McshaneOpenly gay U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane held a two-hour-long hearing Wednesday on two lawsuits seeking to strike the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The Oregonian newspaper said McShane asked attorneys whether voters should get another vote at the ballot box "before the court steps in." Sheila Potter, representing the attorney general, who says the ban is unconstitutional, replied, "We are asking you to make a statement that we don't get to vote on peoples' constitutional rights." Basic Rights Oregon has a proposed initiative in the works to put a repeal measure on the ballot in November. The group has said it will drop that plan if the court strikes the ban as unconstitutional before May 23, an important ballot measure deadline.

ABOUT THOSE MARRIAGE PLANS:

NomlogoMcShane said he would hold a hearing May 14 on whether the National Organization for Marriage qualifies to intervene in the lawsuits to defend the ban since the attorney general has declined to do so. NOM has complained publicly that there are “serious ethical questions” about whether McShane should be presiding over the two marriage lawsuits because he is gay. “Judge McShane is in the same position as the two gay men challenging the marriage amendment, raising troubling questions about his impartiality," said John Eastman, an attorney for NOM. In court Wednesday, Judge McShane addressed that suggestion. According to the Oregonian, McShane said he and his partner “have no plans to get married.”

TINY TOWN FIGHTS BACK:

MooreLatta, South Carolina, population 1,410, is fighting to keep its openly lesbian 20-year veteran police chief. Many people in town believe Mayor Ed Bullard fired Crystal Moore because she is gay. On Tuesday, the town council voted unanimously to block Bullard from replacing Moore during the next two months. That followed a vote last week to hold a referendum June 24 on a new structure for government that would enable the town council to hire Moore back. WPDE News reported that a standing room only crowd turned out for a council meeting to show their support for Moore.

‘THE NAACP FOR GAY PEOPLE’:

In an interview with Jo Becker, author of the controversial book Forcing the Spring, NPR’s Terri Gross mentioned that Chad Griffin is now head of the Human Rights Campaign, which is, “you know, a big gay rights group.” “Exactly,” said Becker. “It’s the NAACP for gay people.”

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


South Carolina Police Chief Says Homophobic Mayor Fired Her for Being Gay: VIDEO

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The city council of Latta, South Carolina is investigating the circumstances surrounding the firing of Police Chief Crystal Moore by the town’s mayor. Moore claims she was fired because of her sexual orientation.

Mayor Earl Bullard fired Moore earlier this week after giving her seven written reprimands in one day (the first reprimands in her 20-plus years on the job).  Some elected officials and city residents, however, have rallied to Moore’s side, believing that Bullard has held a long-standing vendetta against Moore because she’s gay.

WBTW reports:

"I can't believe that we still have no equal rights. That's the biggest issue. I've been harassed, intimidated. This is the first time it's been this public. I'd tried living a quiet decent life and do what I'm supposed to," Moore said.

In an audio recording provided to WBTW by city councilman Jared Taylor, Mayor bullard is heard saying he’d rather have an alcoholic be responsible for his kids than a gay person with a “questionable” lifestyle:

Bullard“I would much rather have someone who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children, because that ain’t the damn way that they’re supposed to be,” Bullard says on the call. “I don’t agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don’t say anything because that’s the way they want to live. But I’m not going to let my child be around. I’m not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it, and I’m not going to see them do it with two men neither. I’m not going to do it, because that ain’t the way the world works.”

The city council held a special meeting Thursday and voted for a referendum to weaken the mayor’s power. City residents will now be able to vote on the measure. 

Watch WBTW's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "South Carolina Police Chief Says Homophobic Mayor Fired Her for Being Gay: VIDEO" »


Tuesday Speed Read: Taxes, South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Violence Against Women Act

TAX DAY PROTEST:

SouthcarolinaEquality South Carolina is staging a tax day protest in Columbia, the state capital, today to show support for same-sex couples in South Carolina who have married in other states but must lie on their state tax returns and claim to be single. South Carolina is one of a number of states which are requiring legitimately married same-sex couples to file as single, even though the federal government requires such couples to file as married on their federal returns. The Human Rights Campaign has created a guide to the basics of what each state requires concerning same-sex married couples. Some states, like Texas, don’t have a state income tax. Others, like South Carolina and Michigan, require that, if couples file married for federal income tax purposes, they have to then recalculate their incomes as two single people on a federal return and fill out their state income tax return with that information.

OHIO JUDGE STRIKES BAN, STAYS ORDER:

T_blackU.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black issued a ruling yesterday, striking as unconstitutional Ohio’s ban on recognition of marriages for same-sex couples. In a footnote on the last page of the ruling, he stayed enforcement of the ruling in order for parties to the Henry v. Himes lawsuit to file briefs by 3 p.m. Tuesday, saying why they support or oppose a stay to remain in place “until completion of appeal” to the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. He added, however, that he is “inclined” to allow the ruling to go into effect for the four plaintiff couples “because they have demonstrated that a stay will harm them individually due to the imminent births of their children and other time-sensitive concerns.” The case involves four couples –three who are due to give birth in June and one who is seeking to adopt— all of whom sought the right to include both parents’ names on the birth certificates of their children-to-be. Black announced in open court on April 4 that he intended to find the ban unconstitutional. His order Monday indicated he would rule “expeditiously” on the motion to stay.

ACLU SUES FOR THOSE WED IN MICHIGAN:

SnyderThe ACLU of Michigan filed suit in a federal district court in Detroit Monday on behalf of more than 300 same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses in the state before a federal appeals court granted a stay of a decision striking the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. The lawsuit, Caspar v. Snyder, names eight same-sex couples married on March 22 and says they are being denied the benefits that “all legally married couples and their families deserve and are entitled to under the law.”

DOJ CLARIFIES COVERAGE:

The U.S. Department of Justice issued guidelines April 9 to clarify the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) covers victims of domestic violence, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Among the specific guidelines is one saying that any entity receiving VAWA funds, including faith-based organizations receiving, cannot discriminate based on various factors, including gender identity and sexual orientation. “Gender identity is a person’s internal view of the individual’s gender. Transgender can be used to describe a person whose gender identity is different from the individual’s assigned sex at birth,” notes DOJ. “… best practices dictate that the [grant] recipient should ask a transgender beneficiary which group or service the beneficiary wishes to join.” 

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


SC State Senator Accuses School of Gay 'Recruiting', Says Homosexuality 'Not Normal': VIDEO

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Last month we reported on action taken by the South Carolina legislature to financially punish College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate for assigning gay-themed books to students, some of which were not required reading.

The controversy continued this week with lawmakers slamming a proposed two-day LGBT symposium at USC Upstate, WYFF reports.

Said state Senator Mike Fair: "It's just not normal and then you glorify, or it seems to me, that the promotion at USC is a glorification of same sex orientation."

Particularly irking Fair is a production during the symposium called "How to Become a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less" which Fair claims is "recruiting."

Assistant vice chancellor for USC Upstate communications, Tammy E. Whaley, responded to Fair's claims in a statement to WYFF:

"The title of ‘How to Become a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less,’ while deliberately provocative, is satirical in nature but has not been received as such. The controversy surrounding this performance has become a distraction to the educational mission of USC Upstate and the overall purpose of the Bodies of Knowledge symposium. As a result, we have canceled this segment of the symposium.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "SC State Senator Accuses School of Gay 'Recruiting', Says Homosexuality 'Not Normal': VIDEO" »


South Carolina House Votes to Financially Punish Colleges That Assigned Gay Books

The South Carolina House refused on Monday to restore book purchasing budget cuts assigned to College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate after the two institutions of higher learning taught literature dealing with homosexual content. Totaling nearly $70,000, the cuts reflect the amount of money the institutions spent on buying texts for the freshman class this year. Some saw the cuts as censorial attempts to limit what can be taught in colleges, while the majority argued vehemently that teaching Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and a book about an LGBT radio station, Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio promoted "a lifestyle" that they do not agree with.

Gildacobb-hunterAssociated Press reports:

When it comes to public colleges, legislators should be debating funding and building construction, not "pushing our own moral agenda on these institutions of higher learning," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (right), D-Orangeburg.

"Are we saying we don't trust the college students enough to expose them to something they may not have seen before? We can't let you read anything other than what we believe?" she asked. "What about the notion of freedom to have different views? Isn't this what we go all over the globe fighting for?"

Some thought, however, that making the books mandatory reading took it all a step too far.

GarrysmithRep. Garry Smith (right), whose subcommittee made the reductions, said he wanted to make a point after college officials declined to give students an option to read something else. He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course. He called it promotion of a lifestyle.

"Freedom comes with responsibility. These universities did not act responsibly," said Smith, R-Simpsonville.

Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, said opponents of the cuts argue for a diversity of ideas but don't want to consider conservatives' viewpoint. After House Speaker Bobby Harrell rejected Smith's suggestions to project illustrations from "Fun Home" on the House screen, Nanney said, "It's not appropriate to even put up in this room but we're giving it to 18-year-old kids?"

Sadly, it might just be that Representatives Smith and Nanney are less mature than the "18-year-old kids" who read the texts.

College of Charleston President George Benson said the university is committed to academic freedom, and any university education must include the opportunity for students to engage controversial ideas...

"Our students are adults, and we will treat them as such," Benson said. "Faculty, not politicians, ultimately must decide what textbooks are selected and how those materials are taught."


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