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24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO

Voting laws transgender people

Strict voter ID laws in ten states could create barriers to voting and lead to possible disenfranchisement for more than 24,000 transgender voters this November, reports LGBTQ Nation.

MapAccording to the study “The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2014 General Election,” about 84,000 transgender people across the ten strict photo ID states are estimated to be eligible to vote. The 24,000 transgender voters who may face barriers to voting reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In order for these 24,000 voting-eligible transgender people to obtain the updated photo IDs required to vote in the November 2014 general election, they must comply with the requirements for updating their state-issued or federally-issued IDs.

The study’s author Jody L. Herman, Ph.D, said:

“Some voters may not have the means or the ability to present the required voter identification for a variety of reasons, such as poverty, disability, or religious objection.

Transgender people have unique barriers to obtaining accurate IDs needed to vote.

As these ten states begin planning for their fall elections, educating poll workers is crucial in order to ensure that transgender voters in their states have fair access to the ballot.”

Watch the 2012 National Center for Transgender Equality's "Voting While Trans" campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "24,000 Transgender People May Be Ineligible To Vote In November Due to Voter ID- VIDEO" »


Southern Baptist Pastor: Gays Should Be Put To Death, God Can Cure Homosexuality - VIDEO

Robert Gallaty

Robert Gallaty, a pastor at a Southern Baptist church near Chattanooga, Tennessee, said in a sermon last week that god wants LGBT people to be put to death, reports The Raw Story.

In the hour-long sermon, Gallaty also claimed that although Christians have repented for racism, they will never repent for homophobia because African-American people cannot change the color of their skin.

Said Gallaty:

“A black man can’t change his race, a white man can’t change his race, a homosexual can stop engaging in homosexual acts. See, sexuality is a choice. Gender and race are not.”

Explaining the biblical basis for the death penalty, he said:

“God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live. So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, god gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… ‘If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’”

Comparing homosexuality to addiction, he said that same-sex attractions is “the same desire I had to get high and score dope years ago.”

Gallaty also suggested that God is active in the “ex-gay” movement, claiming he told a gay member of his congregation that he “may have to remain single for the rest of your life...the cool thing is this: God, over time, will heal you.”

Back in June, Rick Perry made a similar claim when he said that a homosexual deciding not to be gay is the same as an alcoholic choosing to not have a drink.

Watch the full sermon and the edited highlights, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptist Pastor: Gays Should Be Put To Death, God Can Cure Homosexuality - VIDEO" »


Tennessee Judge Upholds State's Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Gay Couple's Divorce Case

TN flag

A Tennessee judge has upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage and declined to recognize the Iowa marriage of two men seeking a divorce, the AP reports:

Frederick Michael Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman were married four years ago in Iowa. The Knoxville News Sentinel says they separated less than a year later after moving to Roane County, Tennessee, and Frederick Borman filed for divorce in March. [...]

Spokeswoman Leigh Ann Jones said the Tennessee attorney general's office is gratified by the ruling.

Attorney Mark Foster, who represented Borman, said his client is reviewing his options, including a possible appeal.

The ruling applied only to the case in question. Earlier this week, Tenessee's ban on gay marriage was heard before a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.  


Stacey Campfield, Tennessee Lawmaker Behind 'Don't Say Gay' Bill, Defeated in Reelection Bid

Campfield

Stacey Campfield, the virulently anti-gay Tennessee state senator who authored the "Don't Say Gay" bill forbidding discussion of homosexuality in schools, has been defeated in his bid for a second term. 

The Tennessean reports:

Campfield, a mainstay at the legislature since being elected to the House in 2004, finished with 5,824 votes, just 28 percent of the overall vote, compared to 13,977 votes, 67 percent, for Richard Briggs, a Knox County commissioner. [...]

Memorable comments and moments included: unsuccessfully attempting to join the Tennessee legislature's Black Caucus; blaming AIDS on a gay airline pilot having sex with monkeys and saying the disease is "virtually impossible" to contract during heterosexual intercourse; and, most recently, posting on his blog that "Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for 'train rides' for Jews in the 40s."


Chattanooga, TN Residents Vote to Repeal City's Domestic Partner Benefits for Gay Couples

A Chattanooga, Tennessee domestic partnership ordinance that would have provided health benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees has been repealed by a public vote.

The ordinance lost 13685 votes (62.6%) to 8184 (37.4%)

Andy_Berke_Chattanooga_NSHNewschannel9 reports:

Last year the Chattanooga City Council voted to allow the partners of city employees in domestic partnerships to get equal benefits. But the measure was forced to a public vote, and it appears the public disagrees with the 5-4 council vote. [...]

Following the vote Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke [pictured] said, “I have no doubt Chattanoogans value fairness and equality, and I am proud of the volunteers who spent nights and weekends to ensure our employees are treated equally. The City of Chattanooga’s non-discrimination ordinance was repealed tonight, but I want every City employee to know one thing -- your work is valued and you are important to the future of our community.  Regardless of the results tonight, my Administration will continue to hire and promote the best people who provide excellent service to our constituents."

Human Rights Campaign Deputy Field Director Jeremy Pittman released the following statement:

“Despite this hurtful and disappointing result tonight, we know that fair-minded Chattanoogans and people across Tennessee are ready to keep fighting until full equality reaches every corner of the state and every corner of this country. As LGBT equality moves forward across this country, this work isn’t over until every American can expect the same decent treatment under the law.”


Marriage Equality Hangs in the Balance at the Sixth Circuit

6th circuit

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Yesterday's marathon arguments before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reminds us that one judge can have a lot of power. A three-judge panel consisting of one Clinton appointee and two George W. Bush appointees could be the first federal appellate court to side against marriage equality in the post-Windsor era or they could join the chorus of colleagues tossing these discriminatory bans on the ash heep of history. Based solely on the questioning from oral argument, it may come down to one judge: a conservative named Jeffrey Sutton.

6Attorneys for Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee took turns arguing that the bans are justified because only opposite sex couples procreate naturally. Judge Martha Craig Daughtry questioned how it was possible that keeping gays out of the institution of marriage could in any way help or encourage heterosexuals to give birth to more kids. One attorney even cited the decreased birth rates in Europe and Russia as a reason for encouraging opposite sex couples to marry. But, as Judge Daughtrey, the most vocal judge, noted, it is unclear how discriminating against gays achieves that goal.

Judge Deborah Cook spoke the least. She has a history of anti-plaintiff, conservative decisions on discrimination. When she did speak, she seemed to suggest that states have broad power to regulate marriage and could maintain traditional institutions as they see fit.

Judge Sutton is a bit of a wild card. A conservative -- he wrote in the Harvard Law Review: "Count me as a skeptic when it comes to the idea that this day and age suffers from a shortage of constitutional rights" -- Judge Sutton voted in favor of the constitutionality of Obamacare and does not always follow a party line. His questioning was back and forth, balanced between the sides. A review of his questions and a cursory analysis of some of his writings and decisions suggest that he is primarily concerned with judicial modesty and restraint. He thinks that the federal courts have done too much, creating new rights and reading rights and regulations into the Constitution that do not belong.

It is unclear whether that preference for restraint means that he will deny that a right to marry exists for gay couples.

He wondered if his court could even make a decision or whether the judges were bound by a 1971 Supreme Court decision (Baker v. Nelson) that said that marriage lawsuits do not belong in the federal courts. Almost every other court to address marriage equality addressed and dismissed the Baker canard: gays had not recognized federal rights in 1971; today, after Windsor, after Lawrence, and after Romer, is a different time. Judge Sutton didn't seem too sure.

I Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 5.39.25 PMf he could get passed the Baker threshold, Judge Sutton still was holding his cards close to his chest. He was pretty clear that the states could not win if antigay discrimination merited some form of heightened scrutiny, but he did not hint that he was leaning in the heightened scrutiny direction.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Judge Sutton's questioning came later in the day when he wondered aloud if the plaintiffs in the cases really want the courts to get involved when the marriage equality movement seems to be gaining political steam and social esteem. Judge Sutton implied, true to his radical vision of judicial abdication of responsibilities, that political outcomes are somehow more legitimate than judicial ones.

It is hard to imagine that view as a legitimate basis for deciding against the marriage equality. Judge Sutton has written a lot about how federal judges do too much. He would prefer that judges take a back seat to the political process, an entirely conservative position given the greater access that money and majorities have to political votes. But just because he prefers judges abdicate their constitutional responsibilities should not absolve him of actually deciding the legal questions before him. The legal questions involve equality and fundamental rights, not some policy preference for more judicial modesty.

This is why marriage equality hangs in the balance. Judge Sutton was not clear where he stands. 

***

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Check out my website at www.ariewaldman.com.

Ari Ezra Waldman is a professor of law and the Director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and is concurrently pursuing his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. Ari writes weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.


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