We also have some updates out of Arkansas, after the Governor there unexpectedly declined to sign that state’s right to discriminate bill, asking for changes.
Former AG Opposes Bill: Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wrote an op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette condemning the “religious freedom” bill passed this week by the legislature but that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has refused to sign. full story
Rights Initiative Can Collect Signatures: Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge approved a proposed referendum to add sexual orientation to a list of categories protected from discrimination full story
Governor Signs Amended Bill: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a religious freedom measure into law on Thursday after state lawmakers overhauled their proposal so that it mirrors the federal law. full story
Governor Considers Anti Discrimination Order: Hutchinson said he’s considering signing an executive order that bars discrimination among the state’s workforce. full story
ACLU Praises Governor: The ACLU issued a statement praising the Governor’s actions. full story
HRC Calls for LGBT Protections: “The fact remains that the only way to ensure LGBT Arkansans are treated equally under state law is to add explicit protections for them. Moving forward, Arkansas should explicitly clarify that the RFRA cannot be used to undermine non-discrimination protections at any level.” full story
State Supremes Create New Marriage Equality Case: In related news, the state Supreme Court created a new marriage equality case to determine if a justice sworn in in January should help decide whether gay marriage is legal in Arkansas. full story
The Indiana legislature started on a “fix” for the state’s new, reviled right to discriminate law. So many more updates for you – first the general stufff:
New Bill Might Have Some LGBT Protections: Indiana GOP leaders are vetting a proposed RFRA change that would clarify that private businesses may not discriminate against LGBT citizens on the basis of religious beliefs. full story
Text of Clarification: The clarification would say that the new “religious freedom” law does not authorize a provider – including businesses or individuals – to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, goods, or public accommodation to any member of the public based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, or military service. full story
Law Could Cost State $250 Million: Backlash over the passage of the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” signed into law in Indiana last week by Gov. Mike Pence, could cost the Hoosier state as much as $250 million in economic activity — and counting. full story
We also have some analyses of the new law and its impact and effects:
Law Exposes GOP Divisions: The fight over the law has exposed deep divisions in the GOP ahead of the 2016 elections. full story
Waldman Analyzes Law: Towleroad.com’s Ari Ezra Waldman takes a close look at what’s in the right to discriminate law. full story
Ramifications of the Law: Zack Ford at Think Progress looks at how the law empowers businesses to discriminate. full story
Should We Boycott: Matt Baume explores the good a boycott does, and the way to get these bills off the table before they are passed. full story
Law is Consolation Prize: The law is as a direct response to the failed attempt to place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, a consolation prize for anti-gay activists. full story
People and Corporations are still lining up to oppose the new law:
Evan Bayh Opposes Law: Retired Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) sharply criticized his home state governor on Tuesday for signing a controversial “religious freedom” law that he said would unambiguously invite discrimination against gays and lesbians. full story
Celebrities Tweet Opposition: Stars of stage, screen, sports, and television continue to lash out against Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act as they call for their fans to #BoycottIndiana. full story
More Corporations Oppose Law: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) yesterday launched a statement supported by a number of corporations calling on public officials to defeat or abandon efforts to enact harmful anti-LGBT legislation being considered around the United States, including American Airlines, Apple, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Orbitz, Replacements, Starwood Hotels, Symantec and Wells Fargo. full story
CNN Reporter Opposes Law: Out CNN anchor Don Lemon on Tuesday criticized an Indiana bill that supporters say protects religious freedom but critics argue targets the LGBT community. full story
Michael Stipe Has Suggestion for Governor: The former R.E.M. front man, who came out 20 years ago, shared his feelings in a brief video uploaded to his private Tumblr page: “Indiana and people of Indiana, I love you. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, no! Go fuck yourself.” full story
Leagues Should Condemn Law: College Sports writer Dick Weiss is calling on the NCAA, NFL, NBA and WNBA to condemn the state’s right to discriminate law full story
Meanwhile supporters of the law are growing more frustrated:
Rightwing Headlines Target Pence: Joe.My.God rounds up some of the angry headlines against Governor Pence’s call to “fix” the law. full story
USA: Micah Clark, executive director of the Indiana branch of the American Family Association and one of the people who helped draft the law, said that Christians involved in “spiritual warfare” are the real victims in the state’s “right to discriminate” fight. full story
Pat Robertson is Pissed: The anti-gay commentator says “They’re not liberal, they’re totalitarian dictators!” full story
Pete LaBarbera Also Pissed: Anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is also pissed that the state appears to be backing down. full story
Christians Will Be Slaves: Bryan Fischer is bringing back the “gays are making slaves of Christians” argument. full story
Gingrich Invokes “Lynch Mob”: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich slammed the opposition to the recently passed religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas, calling resistance to the legislation is part of a liberal “lynch mob” mentality and is an example of “selective outrage.” full story
Fiorina Endorses Law: Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina defends Indiana’s “religious freedom” law, and also suggested she would support civil unions for gays and lesbians. full story
Ted Cruz Takes Up Religious Liberty Cry: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says concerns about religious freedom could unite Republicans and rally conservative Democrats to the GOP in 2016. full story
Stossel Calls Gays Totalitarians: Fox Business’ John Stossel backs gay marriage too, but told Bill O’Reilly tonight, “This movement has moved from tolerance to totalitarianism. It’s the totalitarianism of the left.” full story
USA, Indiana: Memories Pizza, an anti-gay pizzeria in Walkerton, has temporarily closed its doors due to the backlash it has received since publicly stating they would not cater a same-sex couple’s wedding. full story
Pizzeria Gets $33K in Crowdfunding: But don’t feel too badly for them – online supporters donated more than $33,000 in three hours to Memories Pizza after the pie maker’s controversial pledge not to cater same-sex weddings spawned a wave of criticism. full story
Meanwhile the fight still rages over travel bans to the state:
NYC Bans Travel: In addition to the state, NYC’s Mayor Bill DeBlasio has also banned official travel to the state. full story
Illinois Governor Won’t Ban Travel: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will not be issuing a directive banning official travel to the state. full story
Minneapolis Firefighters Cancel Trip: Members of the Minneapolis Fire Department won’t make a planned trip for a conference in Indianapolis, after Mayor Betsy Hodges asked for a moratorium on city funded travel to Indiana. full story
Others are trying to poach the state’s businesses:
Dayton, Ohio Goes After State Businesses: Dayton officials are working to attract companies and individuals looking to leave Indiana because they oppose the new law, touting the southwestern Ohio city’s recognition for diversity and inclusiveness. full story
Virginia Wants Indiana Businesses: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says his state would also welcome Indiana businesses. full story
Ontario Wants State Businesses, Too: Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s openly lesbian premier, urged state businesses upset with the law to move to Canada’s most populous province. full story
And last, a little comedy:
Conan Spoofs State’s Homophobia: Conan O’Brien had a little fun at the state’s expense, inviting Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Czar” on the show for a spoof segment. full story
Cartoon Spoofs Governor: A new The Washington Blade cartoon spoofs the state and Governor. full story
Lots of news out of Arkansas yesterday after the legislature sent a right to discriminate bill to the Governor’s desk:
Governor Refuses to Sign Bill: Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced Wednesday that he would not sign the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) as it was presented to him by the legislature on Tuesday, urging the legislature to recall the bill and tweak it so that it better mirrors the narrower federal bill. full story
Governor’s Son Publically Opposed Bill: The Governor revealed that his son Seth Hutchinson publicly denounced his plans to sign the bill, signing a petition. full story
Little Rock Nine Opposed: In a symbolic move, two members of the Little Rock Nine — Carlotta Walls Lanier and Ernie Green have voiced their opposition to Arkansas’ H.B. 1228. full story
Activists Rally for Changes: Hundreds of LGBT rights activists rallied for changes to the bill. full story
Starnes Hates on Walmart: Anti gay commentator Todd Starnes tweeted that Walmart, which opposed the law, is “the home of low prices and no values” and called for a boycott. full story
Senate Approves Amended Bill: The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday night approved transmitting two amended existing bills to the House that add language that mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. full story
Jake Tapper Interviews Bill Author: Watch this guy babble and deflect in some truly Pence-ian doublespeak and note how he repeatedly says “homosexual” rather than “gay.” full story
A religious freedom bill that is similar to the Indiana law that has faced national backlash for legalizing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people cleared the Arkansas Legislature Tuesday. The bill will now go before Gov. Asa Hutchinson, where it is expected to be signed. According to The Huffington Post the Arkansas legislation allows a person who feels his or her exercise of religion has been “substantially burdened” to cite that argument as a claim or defense in a private lawsuit. The legislation also grants corporations the right to religious freedom. This language is not in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and critics say it could be used to override existing anti-discrimination protections.
Little Rock’s mayor is urging Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a “religious freedom” bill that critics have said sanctions discrimination against gays and lesbians and that the mayor argues will hurt the state’s economic development efforts. Mayor Mark Stodola called the bill “simply too divisive” in a letter sent to Hutchinson and released by the city on Tuesday.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest company, on Tuesday asked Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto the freshly-passed HB 1228, a so-called “religious freedom” bill that is really a “religious bigotry” law. Immediately after the bill was passed, Wal-Mart released a statement from its CEO, Doug McMillan, asking the governor to veto the bill. In the statement, McMillan says: “Every day in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve. It all starts with our core basic belief of respect for the individual. Today’s passage of H.B. 1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold. For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation.”
Dear Marriage Supporter, DON’T LET THEM DO TO ARKANSAS WHAT THEY DID TO INDIANA! Minutes ago Arkansas passed a religious freedom bill. We know the other side is going to try to bully and intimidate Governor Hutchinson out of signing this bill. The time to act is NOW! Support Governor Hutchinson and urge him to Not be Bullied and Sign the Law. Also tweet out #IStandWithArkansas and get onto Facebook and let everyone know your support! It’s urgently needed that you forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to take action as well. We must stand up against this pernicious assault against religious liberty.
The Governor has previously indicated that he plans to sign the bill.
Governor Mike Pence (R-Indiana) is being urged to veto SB 101, a piece of legislation that would be one of the most anti-LGBT laws in the nation. The legislation allows individuals to ignore any law they deem to conflict with their religious beliefs. A broad coalition of groups in Indiana is against the proposed law including civil rights and faith leaders, small business owners and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
“As a seminary graduate, this bill is deeply offensive,” said Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEQUAL. “The fact that religion is being used as a smokescreen for deeply hateful and vile sentiments by right-wing extremists, and then cemented into law, is not just un-Christian – it’s un-American.”
As activist Scott Wooledge puts it: “I’ve engaged in the battles against these bill in Arkansas, Arizona, and Tennessee in 2011. My message to those pushing these regressive, reactionary “religious freedom” laws is we will follow you to whatever state you try this and we will fight you aggressively. And my message to our allies and friends is we will pressure to defend your LGBT friends’ and workers’ right to live their lives free of discrimination.”
Scott McCorkle, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud of Indianapolis, has also said SB 101 threatens future growth in Indiana. “Our success is fundamentally based on our ability to attract and retain the best and most diverse pool of highly skilled employees…” The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, engine maker Cummins, health-care provider Eskenazi Health and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. have also voiced concerns about SB 101’s impact on their businesses.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence released a statement following the House passage yesterday of SB 101, a sweeping bill that would allow Indiana business owners to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.
Said Pence: “The legislation, SB 101, is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact. I strongly support the legislation and applaud the members of the General Assembly for their work on this important issue. I look forward to signing the bill when it reaches my desk.”
Dark days in Indiana – how soon will the first case test this new discriminatory law?
This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems going to the bathroom. When I was 21 years old, I worked in an office complex. I was openly transgender and an activist for six years already. The whole town knew about me.
Employees at the water cooler, their Dixie cups overflowing with gossip, talked about that “tranny” they hired over in Building III. My coworkers filed complaints about bathroom use.
I was banned from the ladies’ room by human resources because my presence was “threatening.” They forced me to use the men’s rooms, but the men weren’t having it either. So, where did they expect me to go? I use the bathroom for one thing only. To pee. And that other thing. That’s two things.
Confused, embarrassed and about to burst from that gallon of tea I downed earlier, they allowed me a women’s bathroom on the very opposite end of the complex.
The Chilean House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. La Tercera, a Chilean newspaper, reported the measure passed by an 86-23 vote margin with two abstentions. “People of the same-sex will have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the right to be happy,” said gay Congressman Claudio Arriagada Macaya after the vote, according to La Tercera.
Rolando Jimenez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, also praised the vote. “We dedicate this day, this moment, to the gay and lesbian families that have suffered a historic burden of misunderstanding and prejudices,” he said in a statement. “Today it will be the state’s turn to strengthen them and protect them on equal terms.”
Some opponents cried foul, claiming God had sparked a forest fire last year in protest.
President Michelle Bachelet says she will sign the bill when it reaches her desk.
The president of Gambia has signed into law a bill which calls for life imprisonment for people caught having gay sex. The law was passed by the National Assembly in September, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.” The Associated Press reports that a draft bill contains identical language to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law earlier this year.
I guess it’s easier to scapegoat the LGBT community than to deal with the real problems afflicting your country.
Members of Legislative Assembly of the Federal District, in which Mexico City is located, approved the measure by a 42-0 vote margin. Six lawmakers abstained from the vote on the measure that Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera proposed. Manuel Granados Covarrubias of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, known by the Spanish acronym PRD, welcomed the proposal’s approval. “It eliminates cumbersome trials and judicial proceedings, procedures, to generate the administrative change of a legal action to which everyone has the right,” said Granados in a press release the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District released after lawmakers approved the measure. “Their dignity is also recognized.”
Since the mayor proposed it, it seems likely he will sign it.
S.J.R. 13 by Senators Rodriguez and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proposes a constitutional amendment that would repeal the existing same-sex marriage ban in the Texas Constitution. “Texas is now only one of 18 states that deny legalized same sex marriage to its residents,” said Senator Rodriguez. “This not only shows the rest of the country that we remain mired in our history of inequality, it sends the message that our leadership would rather listen to the voice of intolerance than provide many of its residents the dignity and respect that they deserve. The time to change that is now.”
Not that it has a snowball’s chance in hell of passage, but it’s great to see the effort being made.