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While things were looking good in Mississippi when news spread that their bill SB2681 would no longer discriminate against gays, gay-rights organizations are pushing Mississippi legislature to further amend the proposed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in order to make real their stated desire that the bill not undercut the rights of LGBT people. HRC State Legislative Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement: “We respect and appreciate the lawmakers who listened to our concerns about the broad nature of the initial bill. There can and should be a balance between ensuring that religious liberty is protected without granting a blanket license for anti-LGBT discrimination. While we believe that existing statutes and case law are sufficient to address the protection of religious freedom, if the legislature moves forward on this bill, they have a simple solution for their actions to match their rhetoric. To ensure LGBT people are not targeted for discrimination, we call on legislators to adopt language that explicitly preserves civil rights protections in any effort to protect religious freedom. We encourage lawmakers in other states considering this type of legislation to heed the concerns of businesses, fair-minded religious leaders and civil rights advocates in order to ensure that no group of people is marked for second-class treatment.”
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In a newspaper interview Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s longstanding opposition to gay and lesbian marriage, but said that the church could evolve on supporting some form of civil union, according to CNN. “…Marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said, “[Bu] we have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” The Pope said that civil unions provided benefits: “as for instance in medical care.” This is the first time that the Catholic Church has ever indicated any kind of acceptance of civil unions.
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Following a Kentucky court’s decision that the state will recognize gay marriages from other states and countries, the state’s government has been fraught with disagreement. While Governor Steve Beshear plans to appeal the decision, State Attorney General Jack Conway sees this issue differently.
Conway is refusing to appeal the decision, saying if he did, “[he] would be defending discrimination, and that [he] will not do.”
As a result, Governor Beshear has not dropped his charge, and he will hire extra-governmental legal assistance—outside council from independent lawyers—in lieu of Attorney General Conway.
It’s a major blow to the fight against gay marriage in Kentucky, but the effect of Governor Beshear new strategy remains to be seen.
Categories: Gay Marriage, kentucky appeal, Attorney General, court, decision, discrimination, gay marriage, gay rights, governor, jack conway, Kentucky, outside council, steve beshear
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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have denied services to LGBT people if business owners felt it were against their religions. This morning, HRC delivered 65,000 petition signatures to Gov. Brewer as well as several major companies who called on her to veto the bill. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act could have been used to protect businesses that discriminate not only against the LGBT community but also unmarried women or veterans, among other groups. “With today’s veto, Governor Brewer spared her state from institutional discrimination and economic catastrophe. Make no mistake, there is no better way to doom jobs in a state than by signing license-to-discriminate bills,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “The bipartisan outpouring of opposition to this bill is all the proof you need that this country isn’t turning backwards. Governor Brewer did the right thing in stopping this assault on businesses and the LGBT community and we call on her and the legislature–and governors and legislators in other states–to resist any attempt to give license to discrimination.”
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Judge Orlando Garcia ruled today that a state constitutional amendment that bans gays and lesbians from marriage is unconstitutional after two gay couples sued the state. The judge, though, said he will give the state time to appeal his decision. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” Garcia wrote. “These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex.”
This is the first time that a court in the conservative 5th Circuit has reached this decision, and Texas’s Attorney General Greg Abbott is expected to appeal. [AP]
Equality Texas reacted to the news:
Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, called the decision “a huge victory that moves Texas one step closer to the freedom to marry.” “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Windsor made it clear that animus or moral disapproval is not an acceptable justification for denying any American their constitutional right to equal protection of the law,” Smith said. “We are gratified to see Judge Garcia uphold the Constitution of the United States and declare that Texas’ restrictions on the freedom to marry are unconstitutional and unenforceable. We anxiously await the day when the United States Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion.”
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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni today signed an archaic anti-gay bill into law. The bill, which once included the death penalty, calls for gay Ugandans or anyone “promoting” homosexuality to be jailed—potentially for life. Museveni made the decision to sign the bill after consulting with a panel of “medical experts.” The co-chair of that panel has publicly claimed that being gay “is just deviant behavior. It can be learned, and it can be unlearned.” HRC Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb made the following statement: “President Museveni sent a clear message today that bigotry and intolerance – which is now further codified into statute in Uganda – trump the rights of LGBT Ugandans. Let there be no room for doubt, this bill could destroy lives and tear families apart.
The announcement has received negative reaction around the globe, and has put pressure on the US Government to review their relationship. “Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
Click here to sign a petition via AllOut.org.
Categories: Africa, uganda Africa, anti-gay, anti-gay violence, david kato, gay Africa, gay rights, Gay Uganda, kill the gays, president obama, uganda
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Activists demand that the International Olympic Committee ensure that upcoming host cities follow the Olympic Charter’s principle of non-discrimination (known as Principle 6). LGBT organizations like Athlete Ally and All Out, as well as openly gay Olympic diver Greg Louganis are working together to ensure that the president of the IOC doesn’t choose another country with similar anti-gay laws like Russia.
They are asking the IOC to:
Overhaul the application process to ensure host cities do not have discriminatory laws, including anti-gay laws. Require selected host countries to agree not to introduce new discriminatory laws if they win the Games. Consider submissions from human rights organizations as a vital part of the application process.
“IOC President Thomas Bach must learn the lesson from the anti-gay fiasco in Russia and ensure this never happens again. We are calling on Bach to make upholding the Olympic Principle of non-discrimination a binding condition for all future Olympic host applications,” said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out, the international organization which has mobilized 1.9 million members and their social networks since 2011 to stop anti-gay laws in Russia. “Already Ukraine, where 4 anti-gay laws have been proposed in Parliament is in the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.”
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With over three million Facebook views, Dale Hansen’s scathing commentary about the hypocrisy in the NFL after Michael Sams’ historic coming out has fostered important dialogue about the future of openly gay players in major sports. To thank Hansen for speaking out, Ellen DeGeneres welcomed Hansen to her show to talk about the video.
You can see the video after the jump…
Categories: Ellen, Michael Sams, NFL, TV Ally, Dale Hansen, ellen degeneres, gay rights, michael Sams, nfl, sports, sportscaster, texas