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Activists Push For Hate Crime Designation in Brutal Knoxville Beating

Hatecrime

The Tennessee Equality Project is pushing law enforcement in Knoxville, Tennessee to prosecute the brutal attack of a local gay man, David Keck, as a hate crime. Keck was savagely beaten by suspect Dennis Wilder after Keck allegedly made sexual advances towards Wilder. The report of the night's events is according to Wilder who turned himself into police after beating Keck unconscious and stealing $100 in cash from him along with his car. WVLT reports:

According to witnesses, two men, identified as Wilder and David Keck, left Bullfeathers Bar and headed to Keck's place at the Brendon Park apartments off Cedar Bluff.

Wilder is quoted in a police report telling officers he had hit Keck "several times" after David came on to him sexually at the apartments.

When police showed up, they found David Keck "beaten unconscious," and say Wilder told them he was afraid he'd killed Keck.

Keck is currently suffering from short term memory loss due to the heinous attack. Wilder does not currently face any hate crimes charges, only aggravated robbery chargers, a fact the Tennessee Equality Project is looking to change:

"Thankfully because Tennessee does have sexual orientation under hate crime law the D.A. can ask for enhancement, which would be a stricter penalty as well," [said Gwen Schablik, the Tennessee Equality Project Committee Chair for Anderson, Knox and Blount Counties.]

The Knoxville Police Department says it is unlikely the district attorney's office will bring hate crime charges against Wilder.

Wilder is scheduled to be in court on Friday.

Keck shared the images above with WVLT "because he wants us to show and tell his story."


Southern Baptist Leader Denounces 'Ex-Gay' Therapy - VIDEO

Russell Moore

Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore has denounced “ex-gay” therapy at a conference in Nashville, reports Huffington Post.

The American Psychological Association has urged mental health professionals to avoid “ex-gay” therapy since 2009. Since then, California and New Jersey have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors.

Speaking to journalists at the group’s national conference yesterday, Moore, who serves as president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said that “ex-gay” therapy has been “severely counterproductive.” Sbclogo

“The utopian idea if you come to Christ and if you go through our program, you’re going to be immediately set free from attraction or anything you’re struggling with, I don’t think that’s a Christian idea.

“Faithfulness to Christ means obedience to Christ. It does not necessarily mean that someone’s attractions are going to change.

“The Bible doesn’t promise us freedom from temptation. The Bible promises us the power of the spirit to walk through temptation.

“The idea that one is simply the sum of one’s sexual identity is something that is psychologically harmful ultimately. And I think also we have a situation where gay and lesbian people have been treated really, really badly. The response is not shunning, putting them out on the street. The answer is loving your child.”

On the same morning that Moore made similar comments to an audience of 1,300 people, three representatives from the “ex-gay” movement spoke at the conference.

In July, "ex-gay" Yvette Schneider published a “coming out” interview with GLAAD calling for bans on reparative therapy.

Watch Moore discuss his opinions on same-sex marriage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Southern Baptist Leader Denounces 'Ex-Gay' Therapy - VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Billboard In Tennessee Quotes 'God', Draws Mixed Response From Locals: VIDEO

TennesseeBillboard

A billboard in Portland, Tennessee has been drawing mixed reactions from locals for a few months now. The advertisement depicts an open Bible with a passage from Leviticus 18:22 on one page that reads, "You shall not lie with man as with a woman it is an abomination," and the oft-heard phrase, "Love the sinner, hate the sin" on the other page. The quote is attributed simply to "God." 

Some Portlanders see the billboard as a bullying tactic while others agree with the message and deem it a product of free speech. The backers of the board are unknown, but the bottom corner reads: "paid for by concerned Christians."

Fox 17 Nashville reports:

"I was infuriated. It's pretty cruel to single out one group of sinners," said [Ashley]Alderson...

Glenn Pennington says he sees the billboard as a freedom of speech issue.

"That's how they feel if the opposite side wants to put something up it's their business," said Pennington.

One local, Elna Harman, said she believed that the billboard was a positive promotion of God's word.

"It's a love for people," said Harman.

A mixed bag of responses to be sure, but not one person explicitly supportive of the LGBT community. Interesting that Alderson, though not in favor of the billboard, still deems the idea in question a sin. 

A spokesperson from the Tennessee Equality Project responded to the billboard with particular concern for LGBT teenagers who could be negatively impacted by its message.

Watch Fox 17's news coverage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Billboard In Tennessee Quotes 'God', Draws Mixed Response From Locals: VIDEO" »


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.  


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