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Let’s Admit What Really Went Wrong in Houston

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Hayden MoraIt’s a dangerous myth that Houston was unexpected. National leadership of the LGBTQ movement has known or had very good reasons to suspect that our opponents — still reeling from their defeat around same-sex marriage — would seize on trans issues to energize their supporters, refill their treasuries, and create a new opportunity to gain traction with voters and the public at large.

But our funding has been so focused on marriage equality that we were left fighting for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance without the proper resources for political strategy, organizing, and effective, wide-scale public education. We were caught unprepared and that is inexcusable.

The voters’ decision on HERO comes at a pivotal time in our movement and raises key questions for all of us — especially our leaders — about what happened, why it happened, and where to go from here. How much and how quickly we learn from this loss depends on whether we, as a movement, engage in an unsparing and rigorous analysis not just of the Houston campaign, but also the ways in which we have and have not prioritized trans issues.

The reaction to the loss itself is telling. Many whose engagement is bounded by the victory of marriage equality and the goal of passing the Equality Act are left shocked. On the other extreme, for those who spend most of their lives working on the “margins” of our community — the undocumented, the young, people of color, trans folks, and those that hold multiple marginalized identities — Houston is like a distant rainstorm amid an ongoing level 5 hurricane of profound and pervasive violence and oppression. Identifying how and working toward bridging this divide is part of the crucial work that must occur in order for us to develop a stronger, smarter, and more holistic strategy of how to move forward.

By Hayden Mora – Full Story at The Advocate

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.

The Birth of the Left-Wing Wedge Issue

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Gay Wedding

Here’s a little datum that may have slid by you: Gallup has just found that on social issues, the country is now equally split between liberals and conservatives. The question was: “Thinking about social issues, would you say your views are” very conservative, conservative, liberal, or very liberal?

And the answer came back: Grouping the first two into one category and the last two into another, it was a dead heat at 31 percent each. This is pretty close to seismic. Just five years ago, the conservative edge on social issues was 39 to 22 percent. Now it’s totally wiped out. The implications for our electoral politics are obvious and enormous, and I mean good-enormous.

I’m not sure when people started using the phrase “wedge issue.” But we’re all sure what wedge issues are: They’re cultural politics issues used in elections by the right–and always only the right–to drive a wedge into the liberal coalition. Nixon did it expertly, even though the phrase wasn’t in use back then. Reagan did it well, cleaving so many working-class white ethnics away from the Democratic Party. George H.W. Bush and Jim Baker did it–remember Willie Horton (race was the original wedge issue). And Bush the younger and Karl Rove expanded it out to include guns and gays.

Authored By Michael Tomasky – See the Full Story at The Daily Beast

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

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 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.

Indiana Right to Discriminate Law Updates – April 1st

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

A lot more news on the state’s right to discriminate law yesterday.

Governor Pence, appearing once again on Fox, claimed to abhor discrimination, invoking Selma:

Indiana Governor Mike Pence appeared on FOX & Friends this morning again drawing false comparisons between Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and legislation that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama signed years ago. Pence was also asked by Steve Doocy about accusations that the law is also racist.

Pence’s response was to invoke Selma: “Five years ago my wife and my family walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis when I co-chaired the pilgrimage to mark the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I abhor discrimination. If I was in a restaurant and saw a business owner deny services to someone because they were gay, I wouldn’t eat there anymore. Frankly, that’s how most Hoosiers are.”

Governor Pence then held a Press conference, continuing to insist that the law does not allow discrimination, but calling again for a “fix”.

Meanwhile, two GOP leaders admitted it’s legal for a business to discriminate against the LGBT community in the state:

“This law does not create a license to discriminate, and this law does not give businesses a right to deny service to anyone,” Pence said. “I think it would be helpful if the general assembly were to get legislation to my desk that were to make that clear.” The governor, who repeated that he was “proud” to have signed the bill into law last week, rejected allegations that lawmakers intentionally sought to draft a bill that would make Indiana a less welcoming state. “I don’t believe for one minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate or deny services to anybody,” said the governor, then reiterating that he would “welcome” legislation to make that clear.

Despite Gov. Mike Pence’s insistence that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is all about protecting religious freedom and not about discriminating against folks, two Indiana lawmakers have admitted that even without the RFRA, businesses in their state can legally post “no gays allowed” signs. Raw Story reports that Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, acknowledged that because the state has no law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, such discrimination is legal in most parts of the state.

Think Progress looks at four kinds of discrimination Pence’s track record shows he doesn’t abhor, including:

Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation In The Workplace: While in Congress, then-Rep. Pence voted no on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which proposed to ban discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation. (Gender identity was considered too controversial at the time and stripped out of the bill, but all subsequent versions of the bill have included protections for gender identity as well as sexual orientation.)

Seth Meyers jumped into the debate, taking Governor Pence to task:

David Letterman also mocked the Governor:

Rachel Maddow also looked at the issue:

“It is a clear as day reminder of how conservative politics works in this country — at a very different level from public opinion….In the Terri Schiavo case 10 years ago and the Indiana legalize discrimination case today the rest of the country may have a very distinct revulsion for what is going on, for what politicians are doing…but inside the conservative movement they are listening to different voices, they are hearing different people, and if enough of them are in power, they get their way, as the country watches, slack-jawed and shocked, and they don’t care.”

Actor Nick Offerman, from Parks and Recd and also married to Megan Mullally, had this to say to Governor Pence:

Nick Offerman Tweet

Newsman Keith Olbermann wants the Final Four moved out of Indiana:

“The football league in this country and the college sports league in this country are tacitly supporting a law that allows those that have voluntarily chosen to join a group to discriminate and be prejudiced at the expense of those who may or may not have had any choice at all and the reality of course is not. The NCAA needs to move the Final Four out of Indianapolis and the NFL must warn Indiana and the Colts. Because ultimately you and I have a choice – do we participate in these laws, or do we do only as much as even the narrow prejudiced sports leagues of the 1930s, the 40s, and the 50s did. Opt out. Stay away, keep our business elsewhere until the laws of hate are gone.”

Meanwhile, CT Governor Dannel Malloy called on the NCAA to move the 2016 women’s Final Four out of the state:

Connecticut’s governor and UConn’s athletic director called on the NCAA on Monday to consider moving next year’s Women’s Final Four out of Indianapolis unless changes are made to Indiana’s new religious-objections law.

Greg Louganis, Jason Collins, and other gay athletes plan to protest at the NCAA Final Four:

Greg Louganis and Jason Collins and other gay athletes are planning to protest Indiana’s ‘religious freedom’ law during the NCAA Final Four, despite Gov Mike Pence’s promise to ‘fix’ the law before the national college basketball championship begins on Saturday… ‘It should be totally repealed,’ Louganis, whose husband is from Indiana, said on the ABC podcast Capital Games. ‘Everybody should feel embraced. And I feel that the majority of the populace of Indiana do embrace all people. I felt very embraced… They’ve been so wonderful. This is just so contrary to my feelings of Indiana people.’

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie attacked the law:

“The recent passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act has brought significant negative attention to the state of Indiana throughout the nation and indeed the world, because the law is widely viewed as signaling an unwelcoming and discriminatory atmosphere in our state. For its part, Indiana University remains steadfast in our longstanding commitment to value and respect the benefits of a diverse society. It is a fundamental core value of our culture at Indiana University and one that we cherish. To that end, Indiana University will recruit, hire, promote, educate and provide services to persons without regard to their age, race, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. Equally importantly, we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of any of these same factors.”

Even Nascar has denounced the new law:

“NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in Indiana and anywhere else we race.”

Nike also stood up against the new law:

“NIKE proudly stands for inclusion for all. We believe laws should treat people equally and prevent discrimination. NIKE has led efforts alongside other businesses to defeat discriminatory laws in Oregon and opposes the new law in Indiana which is bad for our employees, bad for our consumers, bad for business and bad for society as a whole. We hope Indiana will quickly resolve this.”

Honeymaid once again supported LGBT rights

Honeymaid Indiana Ad with an ad targeting the state:

Towleroad.com has a list of many of the companies who have now come out in opposition:

Dozens of companies are taking action against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act including NASCAR (below), Anthem, Cummins, Dow, Roche, Starbucks, Apple, Angie’s List, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin (below), YELP, Salesforce, Eli Lilly, NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever (below), Marriott (below), NCAA, and Gen Con:

The New York Times looks at how tech companies have come together in opposition to the law:

The technology industry’s leaders have found their collective voice on a social issue in the last week, rallying with great intensity against a new Indiana law that will allow businesses, they predict, to discriminate against gay couples. The heads of Apple, Salesforce.com, Yelp and Square have all publicly criticized the law, as have some leaders from other industries. But on many other issues of the day that ignite strong passions — from race relations to income inequality to gun control — tech leaders are much quieter.

Washington DC just banned official travel to the state:

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday issued an executive order banning the use of city funds for travel to Indiana in response to the state’s approval of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say will allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. – See more at: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/03/31/bowser-bans-d-c-government-travel-to-indiana/#sthash.Tehxv4Gz.dpuf

Former Maryland Governor and likely Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley called out GOP candidates for their support of the law and others like it:

“I think it’s shameful that presidential candidates in this day and age would try to give cover to a law that is sweeping across a lot of Republican-governed states,” he said, and that would “give license to the discrimination of gay and lesbian people.” He said: “It’s not who we are as a country.”

The Indianapolis visitor’s bureau hi-lighted the city’s LGBT friendliness yesterday:

Yesterday, visitindy.com added a new graphic to its website to highlight that it welcomes everyone to the city of the Indianapolis. While the nation has been focused upon the issues surrounding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in Indiana last week, it gets lost that many of the citizens of Indiana are fair-minded welcoming people.

VisitIndy

In the midst of the controversy, the Rolling Stones announced their tour dates:

The Rolling Stones announced a North American tour Tuesday which will include a stop in a now-controversial location — Indianapolis, Ind. The band has scheduled a concert at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4 near the end of the two-month tour. The Speedway is one of the largest venues they’ll play in, capable of holding roughly 400,000 fans.

Although Connecticut’s Governor has banned official state travel to Indiana, a UoC coach may still attend the Final Four:

University of Connecticut basketball coach Kevin Ollie could still travel to Indiana for the Final Four and the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention this week, despite an Indiana travel ban Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy imposed on all state employees, CT News reports… Ollie’s appearance at the hoops extravaganza is likely part of a contractual obligation that was hammered out long before the controversy, Hearst Connecticut Media has learned.

An Indiana Pizza Shop is thrilled they can now legally discriminate against gays without fear of penalty:

Memories Pizza, a pizza shop owned by the O’Connor family in Walker, Indiana, says they’re happy Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it backs up their beliefs, and if they were asked to cater a gay wedding, they wouldn’t. Said Crystal O’Connor to ABC57: “If a gay couple was to come in and they wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no…We are a Christian establishment…We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything. We definitely agree with the bill. I do not think it’s targeting gays. I don’t think it’s discrimination. It’s supposed to help people that have a religious belief.”

Anti-gay commentator Todd Starnes is pissed that Pence is not holding the line on discrimination:

Pence in reaction to question about protecting Christian business: This law does not give anyone a license to discriminate.” #shameful. Pence wants a religious liberty bill that does not protect religious liberty. #cowardice #capitulation #spineless

Glenn Beck thinks the reaction to the bill will lead to concentration camps:

The Advocate rounds up GOP Presidential candidate reactions – so far all in favor:

Except for Chris Christie and Rand Paul, who haven’t yet commented directly on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act… several Republican heavy hitters have lined up to echo Gov. Pence’s unwavering support for the law as it was passed. Here’s what the Republicans reportedly considering a presidential run in 2016 have said about Indiana’s law.

Focus on the Family claims liberals have launched a war on the freedom of religion:

Rush Limbaugh also “rushed” to the law’s defense:

Good old Rush Limbaugh. Not content with claiming that same-sex marriage will lead to incest, he’s now got a bee in his bonnet because you might want to marry your dolphin or something. Addressing the backlash to Indiana’s ‘right to discriminate’ law on the March 31st edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, he argues that the ban is “not about honoring…discrimination against homosexuality, it’s about people whose religious beliefs prohibit them from engaging in activity which lends credence in support of gay marriage.” Nothing out of the ordinary so far. However, Limbaugh goes on to claim that a “UK woman who wanted to marry her dog…I think..and did…you remember that? She married a dolphin… ok, whatever. She wanted to marry an animal that was not a man…”

Rick Santorum announced his support of the state’s law and others like it:

The only sensitivity training we need is to respect every person. Tolerance is the most misused word in the English language. Tolerance means you can say really horrible nasty things that I hate and offend me. That’s how we get along. You have a right to be mean — a right to be nasty to people. That’s how this country works, because we have thick skins and we aren’t offended. Should a gay or lesbian-owned printshop have to print signs for the Westboro Baptists that say ‘God hates fags’? Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my — fill in the blank,’ then I’ve got a problem with that.

Several anti-gay “Christian” groups are now boycotting Angie’s List to punish the company for its opposition to the law:

The FRC’s boycott announcement came hours after the same move yesterday by the AFA’s One Million Moms: Angie’s List, a company that lists crowd-sourced recommendations for local services, decided that religious freedom wasn’t good for business and has threatened to suspend plans to expand its Indianapolis headquarters because of the passage of the law. Bottom line: Angie’s List takes the position that religious freedom is bad for business. We, on the other hand, think freedom is the foundation for good business. Businesses that undermine freedom — especially our First Freedom — ultimately undermine their own business. If you have a membership to Angie’s List, I urge you to cancel your membership and show them that as a supporter of religious liberty, you won’t stand for paying dues to a company that disregards the freedom of people to live their daily lives according to what they believe. When you cancel, politely let them know the reason why.

The Washington Post looks at how businesses have shifted on anti-LGBT discrimination:

Economists used to assume that discrimination helped firms attract customers and workers who themselves supported discrimination. As economists such as Gary Becker and Milton Friedman argued, if the customers didn’t care, the owner would pay a penalty in higher wages or lost business from refusing to hire or serve certain groups. As Rampell writes, the Indiana example shows that businesses’ concerns have shifted.

The Indy Star looks at the impact the controversy in the state is having on similar bills in other states:

A “religious freedom” measure similar to Indiana’s is close to becoming law in Arkansas, despite the national uproar and economic boycott Indiana faces as Gov. Mike Pence scrambles to change his state’s law… “To the extent that both Georgia and Indiana have larger populations, and Atlanta and Indianapolis are big magnets for large events, I think the business pressure is more salient there than it is in Arkansas,” he said. And that’s despite the fact that one of the opponents to the Arkansas measure is heavyweight Wal-Mart.

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?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Marriage Equality Round-Up – December 6th

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Here’s our daily quick round-up of the marriage equality and LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!

Australia, South Australia: The government is seeking the public’s views on whether to allow gays to adopt. full story

Uganda: Gays in the country live under a constant threat of violence. full story

USA: A new map shows the percentage of politicians (governors and members of congress) by state that support marriage equality – white is 0% and dark purple is 100%. full story

Washington Post marriage equality map - politicians

USA: An appeals court has refused to dismiss a case against homophobic pastor Scott Lively, who is set to stand trial for crimes against humanity.
full story

USA: House Republicans are trying to stall an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. full story

USA, Alaska: The state’s new Attorney General, Craig Richards, says he will review litigation over same-sex marriage in the state strictly along constitutional lines. full story

USA, Illinois: The former music director of a suburban Chicago parish has filed a human rights complaints after he was fired earlier this year following his engagement to his partner. full story

USA, Kansas: Westboro Baptist Church once again wants to intervene in the marriage equality case in the state. full story

USA, Kansas: Reverend Jackie Carter, one of the first ministers in Kansas to perform same-sex weddings, has revealed that she is getting frequent death threats. full story

USA, Tennessee: In a little-noticed case, the Governor asserts that “transsexual individuals are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex (including discrimination for failure to conform to gender stereotypes) by the THRA [Tennessee Human Rights Act] – See more at: http://sdgln.com/commentary/2014/12/05/did-lgbt-tennesseans-just-get-legal-protections#sthash.caTcUnvw.dpuf…” full story