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Anti-LGBT Bills Become Law in Michigan, North Carolina

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Two states enshrined anti-LGBT discrimination into law yesterday, legalizing dangerously broad “religious freedom” aka right to discriminate laws.

The first one was North Carolina, where the House rushed through a veto override with no time for discussion. The Washington Blade reports:

North Carolina Map

The North Carolina legislature has succeeded in overriding Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of controversial legislation that would enable magistrates to opt out of performing marriages to which they have religious objection, including a same-sex union. The override succeeded in the House on Thursday by a vote of 69-41, which is three votes more than the three-fifths vote needed for the legislative maneuver. The Senate already succeeded in overriding the veto last week by a vote of 32-16. The legislation, Senate Bill 2, would enable magistrates and registers of deeds to opt out of issuing marriage licenses for a period of at least six months to same-sex couples — or any couple — based on a religious objection.

Up north in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder wasted no time signing his own state’s bills. The Washington Blade reports:

Michigan

“Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law on late Thursday morning a package of religious freedom bills seen to enable anti-LGBT legislation in the state’s adoption agencies. Snyder announced he had signed the legislation — House Bills 4188, 4189, 4190 — just one day after the Michigan Senate approved the bills. The Michigan House already passed the bills in March. In a statement, Snyder said he signed the legislation as a means to ensure children without homes in Michigan have access to families to care for them. The new laws are set to go into effect in 90 days.”

Let’s be clear that the laws in both states allow someone to refuse service to anyone, not just gays and lesbians, based on their own personal religious beliefs.

Arkansas Governor Signs Updated Bill

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

ArkansasWe 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

Indiana Governor Signs “Fix” for Right to Discriminate Law

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Governor Pence has signed a “fix” to the state’s right to discriminate law, but the debate is still swirling.

Here are the general updates around the law and the “fix”:

Legislature Passes the “Fix”: The Indiana House voted 66-30 to alter the divisive “religious freedom” law to remove fears that it would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The Indiana Senate voted 34-16 to OK changes to the “religious freedom” law. full story

Governor Pence Signs the “Fix”: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed into law a measure preventing the state’s new “religious freedom” law from being used to discriminate against LGBT individuals. full story

Commerce Groups Praise “Fix”: Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said the proposed changes that would prohibit service providers from discriminating against gays and lesbians are “what businesses and individuals from around the state, country and world needed to hear” while Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber called the proposed changes “a major step in the right direction in efforts to protect the rights of all Hoosiers.” full story

“Fix” Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Groups Say: Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign say the “fix” doesn’t go far enough to solve the state’s lack of protections against LGBT discrimination. full story

Angie’s List Calls “Fix” Insufficient: Angie’s List calls the revision to the “religious freedom” law “insufficient,” becoming the first major local company to reject the deal hammered out by Indiana legislators, the business community and others. full story

GOP Quiet About Law: The Washington Blade notes that few in the GOP have spoken out against the law. full story

55% Oppose Law: A HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 55 percent of people think businesses should be required to provide the same services to LGBT customers, while 31 percent said businesses should be allowed to refuse on religious grounds. The poll was taken before the “fix”. full story

Nix it Now Campaign Launches: In the wake of the Indiana experience, the National LGBTQ Task Force launched the “Nix it Now” campaign to discourage similar laws in the future. full story

Nix it Now

Anti Gay Pizza Parlor Gets Cash Bonanza: The anti-gay pizzeria that spoke out blatantly about its plans to discriminate will net almost $500K for their bigotry, thanks to an online crowdfunding page. full story

PizzaFund

We also have some analysis and opinions about the law and the “fix”:

What the “Fix” Does: According to Ian Millhiser at Think Progress, the “fix” basically prevents the law from usurping local LGBT rights laws, but does not apply to religious groups, and gives no new rights to LGBT citizens. full story

Dem’s Alternative Leaves Out Trans Citizens: Autumn Sandeen takes apart the law, and notices that the Democrats’ alternative leaves out transgender folks. full story

Gay Couple Speaks Out: A married Indiana gay couple speaks out about the law from inside the state. full story

How Hoosiers Feel About Boycot: After calls to boycott Indiana over the state’s ‘religious freedom’ law, Skylar Baker-Jordan looks at what LGBT people in the state actually think. full story

Fixes Are a Good First Step: Zack Ford at Think Progress says the “fix” is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to secure LGBT rights. full story

Law Passed Because Liberals Stayed Home: How did this law get passed in the first place? The Dallas Voice’s Hardy Haberman has the answer – liberals stayed home. full story

More states and localities consider banning travel to the state:

Maryland Governor – No Travel Ban: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday rejected a gay lawmaker’s request to ban state-funded travel to Indiana over its religious freedom law. full story

Colorado Governor Considers Ban: DENVER – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s (D-Colorado) office says the governor has not ruled out the option of banning or discouraging official travel to Indiana by Colorado state employees, but is waiting to see the “fix” being worked on by Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) and his state legislature. full story

Opponents of the las continue to speak out:

Drag Queen Argues Against Boycott: Drag Queen Lt. Moxie Anne Magnus argues for not boycotting the state, although she opposes the law. full story

moxie

Salesforce to Help Employees Relocate: Salesforce.com Inc. employees in Indiana who are uncomfortable with the state’s recently adopted Religious Freedom Restoration Act can relocate with help from the company, CEO Marc Benioff told CNN Wednesday. full story

LGBT Weekly Calls for Ban to Continue: Joel Trambley calls for continuing the boycott against the state until it repeals the law completely. full story

Ten Best Quotes: Queerty rounds up the ten best quotes opposing the law. full story

Mellancamp Speaks Out: Singer John Mellancamp, an Indiana native, speaks out against the law. full story

Boy George Calls kLaw Outdated: Out singer Boy George called the law outdated, but said he would perform in Indiana despite the state’s so-called religious freedom law. full story

Supporters of the law are still sounding off too:

Christie Defends Pence: NJ Governor Chris Christie, in his first remarks on the subject in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, focused on defending Pence: “I know Mike Pence, and he’s got nothing but love in his heart for people.” full story

Professors Support Marriage Equality, RFRA Laws: The Christian Post profiles three law professors who support both marriage equality and RFRA laws. full story

Ohio Group Jumps Into Fray: Citizens for Community Values, the Ohio group that successfully pushed an Ohio constitutional ban 11 years ago, is urging people to contact GOP lawmakers to preserve the right to discriminate law. full story

Senator Cotton – Be Glad You’re Not Being Hanged: Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton says gays should get some perspective on the Indiana bill and be glad they aren’t being hanged, like in Iran. full story

Jeb Bush Wavers on Support: After endorsing the law, Bush has now backtracked, saying a “better approach” would have been a “consensus-oriented” process that brought both people of faith and members of the LGBT community to the table. full story

Tweets from Supporters Who Hate “Fix”: Joe.My.God rounds up tweets from supporters of the law who hate the “fix”. full story

Perkins Says Veto the “Fix”: Tony Perkins urged the Governor to veto the “fix”. full story

NOM Urges Veto Too: The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown also urged the Governor to veto the “fix”. full story

Bryan Fischer is Sad: Bryan Fischer is upset about the “fix” and says Pence can forget about any Presidential aspirations in 2016. full story

Tony Perkins is Sad, Too: In the wake of the Governor’s signing of the “fix”, Perkins says “If the government punishes people for living their faith, there are no limits to what government can control.” full story

Wolf in Sheep’s Rainbow Clothing: Thomas Peters at The American Papist vividly illustrated “Christian” fears. full story

Wolf in Sheep's Rainbow Clothing

And finally, a little comedy to lighten your day:

Funny or Die Spoofs Law: James Van Der Beek and Anna Camp play a pair of bigoted home shopping network hosts who, thanks to Indiana’s “religious freedom” bill, are now free to refuse to do business with icky gay customers. full story

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Indiana Mess Continues As Legislature Struggles to “Fix” Law

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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

Celebrities Tweet Opposition to Indiana Law

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

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 6.40.50 AM

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

Cartoon spoofs state

Arkansas Governor Won’t Sign Bill Without Changes

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

ArkansasLots 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

Arkansas House Sends Right to Discriminate Bill to Governor

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

ArkansasFirst the state legislature wiped out all local LGBT protections in the state. Now they are sending a bill to the Governor that’s similar to Indiana’s new right to discriminate law:

LGBT Weekly reports:

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.

The Mayor of Little Rock asked the Governor to veto the bill:

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.

So did Walmart:

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.”

But the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown is calling on the state to hold the line:

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 Gives Indiana the Right to Discriminate Against Gays

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Governor Mike PenceGovernor Mike Pence opened the floodgates to anti LGBT discrimination, signing a right to discriminate bill yesterday.

Think Progress reports:

As expected, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed into law the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) Thursday morning in a private ceremony. Proponents of this bill had openly admitted that its intent was to enable businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples, but Pence dismissed those claims in a statement he issued about the bill. “This bill is not about discrimination,” he said, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana.”

Somebody has his head, um, let’s just say in the sand.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Indiana.

Image via FB – Governor Mike Pence

Matt Baume’s Field Guide to Sneaky Homophobic Bills

Friday, March 6th, 2015

Matt Baume

In a special two part video, Matt Baume takes viewers on a safari adventure through the country as he points out the four major types of anti-LGBT laws that are stealthily stealing away civil rights for everyone and what we can all do to stand up to this homophobic backlash.

Said Baume:

“Anti-gay discrimination is going extinct. But it’s not going without a fight. A beast is at its most desperate when its facing starvation. So it will do anything to adapt, to survive, and to pass itself on to the next generation.”

See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Slovenia Approves Marriage Equality

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Slovenia - Apple MapsSlovenia has become the first central European country to legalize gay marriage

Parliament Tuesday (3 February) extended all marriage rights, including adoption, to gay couples by a vote of 51 to 28, with five absentations.

United Left MP Matej Vatovec said parliamentary support ensured Slovenia would become a “truly tolerant and inclusive community. Today Slovenia is entering the 21st century,” he said.

By Darren Wee – Full Story at Gay Star News

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.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.