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Indiana Passes Anti Gay Right to Discriminate Bill

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Indiana Governor Mike PenceA right to discriminate law just passed the Indiana legislature.

Melanie Nathan reports:

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.

A campaign has been launched to ask Governor Mike Pence to veto the bill:

“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.

The Governor doesn’t seem inclined to listen:

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?

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Policing the Bathroom Police

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Winter Laurel MullenixThis 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.

Authored By Winter Laurel Mullenix – See the Full Story at the Dallas Voice

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Chile: House Passes Civil Unions Bill

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Chile FlagThe bill had previously been passed by the Senate on a 28-6 vote in a slightly different version.

The Washington Blade reports:

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.

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Gambian President Signs Bill to Lock up Gays for Life

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Gambia - Apple MapsAfrica took another huge step backwards on LGBT rights this week.

Pink News reports:

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.

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Mexico City Lawmakers Approve Transgender Rights Bill

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Transgender FlagA bill that would legally allow transgender people to change their gender without a court order was approved by lawmakers.

The Washington Blade reports:

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. :)

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Marriage Equality Bill Filed in Texas Legislature

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Texas mapA marriage equality bill has been filed in the Texas legislature.

KRWG reports:

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.

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Could Tiny Norfolk Island Be Next for Marriage Equality?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Norfolk Island

The self-governing Australian territory us considering a bill to legalize gay marriage.

Gay Star News reports:

At 10.30 today, Sydney time, a bill to create legal same-sex marriages was tabled in the parliamentary Assembly of the autonomous Australian territory of Norfolk Island – putting it on a course to become the first part of Australia where same-sex couples will be able to legally marry. The bill was put forward by Norfolk Island Assembly member Hayden Evans and aims to allow Australian same-sex couples to marry on their home soil rather than having to travel overseas.

‘Over the years, gay and lesbian Norfolk Islanders have made a really important contribution to our community and I want to recognize this by giving them equality and dignity in return,’ Evans said. ‘That’s why I am tabling a draft Bill to allow same-sex couples to commit to each other through marriage and have the same rights and recognition heterosexual couples have. If the bill becomes law it will showcase to the world that Norfolk Island is an accepting and supportive community where everyone is valued.’

Norfolk Island would be the third South Pacific same sex wedding destination, by my calculations, after Hawaii and New Zealand.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources on Norfolk Island.

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Kenya Considers “Stone the Gays” Bill

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Kenya - Google Maps

From Google Maps

More bad news out of Africa as yet another country considers a draconian anti-gay bill.

Pink News reports:

A new Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been submitted by the Republican Liberty Party in the National Assembly. It would introduce harsh punishments for homosexuality, with life imprisonment or the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

The bill’s author, Edward Onwong’a Nyakeriga, said: “The petition aims at providing a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Kenya, legal, religious and traditional family values against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Kenya.

It’s a scary thing to see people animated by such unjustified hatred toward gay people. Any US Pastors made the trip to Kenya recently? Interestingly, the article also notes that Polygamy is now legal in Kenya – for straights.

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Croatia Civil Partnerships Bill Passed 89-16

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

CroatiaParliament passed the new Croatia civil partnerships bill by a lopsided majority Tuesday.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Eastern European country of Croatia on Tuesday approved a law granting civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Croatia-flagThe Life Partnership Act, approved in the Croatian parliament by a vote of 89-16, grants same-sex couples many of the same rights as marriage, with the exception of adoption. Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic proposed the legislation, saying he was determined to establish legal rights for same-sex couples.

It’s a great step forward for the country’s LGBT community, but it’s not marriage, and once again adoption proves to be a sticking point…

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US Virgin Islands Marriage Equality Bill Introduced

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

USVI Senator Judi BuckleyThere’s some surprising movement on US Virgin Islands marriage equality this week.

Towleroad.com reports:

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The Virgin Islands Daily News reports Senator Judi Buckley of the U.S. Virgin Islands has proposed a new bill that would allow people in the islands’ jurisdiction to marry. Until now there has been now proposal of such kind, but Buckley says this felt like the “right time” to introduce the bill, given the ongoing action on gay marriage in the U.S. The senator states that while she may not be still be in office by the time a decision is made on the bill (her term ends in 2015), she is happy to have started a conversation.

One step forward for equality in the Caribbean.

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