Texas lawmakers have pushed forward extreme anti-LGBT legislation, despite warnings from major corporations, technology leaders, and child advocacy organizations of the dangerous consequences. HB 4105 – a bill that takes direct aim at stopping marriage equality in Texas – passed through the House State Affairs Committee yesterday. HB 3864—a bill that would enshrine into Texas law special anti-LGBT discrimination rights for child welfare providers based on the “provider ’s sincerely held religious beliefs”—passed through the House Juvenile Justice and Family Affairs Committee last Wednesday. Both bills are part of more than 20 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation being considered by the Texas legislature.
Making it abundantly clear that these anti-LGBT bills undermine their core values and set dangerous precedents that stifle investment and economic growth, dozens of major corporations – including major Texas employers like PepsiCo, parent company of Frito Lay, and American Airlines – have joined HRC in condemning these bills as bad for business. Signing on to HRC’s Equality is Our Business pledge, these corporations are calling on public officials to defeat or abandon efforts to enact these harmful pieces of legislation.
While in bed at a nursing home, Alice Barker received the treat of a lifetime. For the first time in the 102-year-old’s life, she was able to see herself dancing on film. Barker was a prolific dancer during the Harlem Renaissance—performing along the likes of Sinatra, Gene Kelley, and Bojangles Robinson. The surprisingly sharp centenarian recalls this fascinating time in American history.
Watch the video after the jump…
Regardless of your gender, all South Carolina residents who want to wear makeup in their driver’s licenses now can thanks to a lawsuit filed by a transgender teen. Chase Culpepper was outraged when she was told to remove her makeup before taking her photo. “From Day 1, all that I wanted was to get a driver’s license that looks like me,” Culpepper said during a news conference Wednesday. “And, now, that I can finally have my photo taken with makeup, my new license will reflect that.” After a lawsuit, the state’s DMV has officially changed their policy, and as part of the settlement, she’ll be allowed to retake her photo—with makeup. All DMV employees will be trained, and allow patrons to take their photos in how they appear on a day-to-day basis. “…even when their hair, makeup or clothing doesn’t match the DMV’s expectations of how a man or woman should look.” [TheState]
The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 87-8 and Senate 38-5 to approve a bill that would prevent clergy from marrying gay and lesbian couples. According to the AP: “The bills protect clergy members and others authorized to perform weddings from being required to perform them if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. They also shield churches from being required to participate in the ceremonies.”
“E. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, no person who is authorized by law to perform or solemnize a marriage shall be required to perform or solemnize any marriage in violation of his or her right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No church or qualified church-controlled organization, as defined pursuant to 26 USC 3121, shall be required to participate in a ceremony performing or solemnizing a marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of such church or qualified church-controlled organization.”
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Anti-LGBT activist Acra Lee Turner claims to be a man of the cloth, but also admits to sexually assaulting multiple women, including an 80-year-old who was beaten so badly that she was almost unrecognizable, according to media reports. A video released this week by anti-equality activists in Eureka Springs, Arkansas prominently features the convicted rapist who relocated from Oklahoma to Arkansas. Turner’s victims petitioned to keep him locked up, fearing he would commit the crimes again. But despite their valiant efforts to keep him behind bars, Turner was eventually released and has now made LGBT people his target — this time as an alleged pastor.
In a jaw-dropping moment of painful irony, at another point in the same video that features Turner, an older woman named Joann Turner says, “As a mother and a grandmother and having young children and even innocent ladies going into the bathroom, this would open us up to being abused in any way.”
Keep reading after the jump…
Artsy, liberal, laid-back Brighton is London’s coolest cousin. It’s an hour train ride from Victoria Station, and it won me over in just one weekend.
More than a seaside resort, its famed Brighton Pier (www.brightonpier.co.uk) offers an amusement park at one end, and cafés, shops, crowds, and fish and chips everywhere else, no matter what the weather. The Pier’s adjacent beach is long, wide, and free, the English Channel laps serenely at its rocky shore, and there are umbrellas, mats, and chairs to rent and people to watch. Should you prefer to see more of them, you might try the very private nudist beach a mile east, Cliff Naturist Beach. It’s shielded from the road and very popular with you know who.
That gay demographic is considered to be about 30,000 strong in this city of 250,000, so let’s call Brighton über-gay- friendly. One of the first cities in England to offer marriage equality meant that many early civil partnership ceremonies were conducted here. The city was also the one-time hangout of Oscar Wilde, who stayed at the seafront Royal Albion Hotel(www.royal-albion-hotel.co.uk) in the latter part of the 19th century. Unfortunately, the Regency-style hotel with its original columns and balconies is a bit sad and faded, these days.
In probably the best string of campaign questions, another reporter asked a Republican if he would attend a gay wedding. Rick Perry got thrown for a loop when asked and responded in the affirmative.
Yeah, well, I probably would [attend a same-sex wedding]. But I think the real issue here, you know, is that’s the ‘gotcha’ question that the Left tries to get out there…We need to be standing up and saying, hey, listen that’s an interesting question, here’s my answer but get this thing back to talking about how do we get Americans back working again…
…It’s the economy, and it’s national defense. And if you’re not really not talking about those two on a regular basis and coming up with solutions on how to get this country back working, how to get this debt under control, and how to put America back into a position of being respected by our allies and being an influence in the world, then you’re spending some time that frankly doesn’t need to be spent on some issues that are secondary or tertiary to the future of this country.
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/#ixzz3Y3ECOiiy
Our friend Mark Edward hosted a wonderful party in New York last night for the release of his new book Art of the Male Body. Held at the G Lounge & Gallery in Chelsea, the space was transformed by sensual and provocative large format prints of the stunning photos featured in his book. Whether you’re already a fan of Mark’s photography, or you’re just discovering him for the first time, you will be inspired, overjoyed, and aroused by the photos of the men featured in Art of the Male Body.
Take a look at a selection of images from last night’s event on the next page.