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Plano LGBT Ordinance Recall Effort Thrown Out – All Signatures Invalid

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Plano, Texas

Big news – the effort to repeal Plano’s new LGBT rights ordinance has failed in a spectacular fashion.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The team that screwed up the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance recall has proven to be equally incompetent in Plano. The “county of residence” requirement was omitted from the Plano petitions, which invalidated all of the signatures on it. In Houston, fewer than 4,000 signatures on petitions to overturn that city’s newly-enacted equal rights ordinance were valid out of more than 50,000 turned in. In Plano, none of the signatures were valid because that requirement was omitted. Plano spokesman Steve Stoler wrote in a press release this morning (Friday, Feb. 20), that the city of Plano has determined that the recently circulated petition is invalid and will not move forward. Plano’s city secretary was unable to certify the petition because it failed to meet state and local requirements for validation.

It’s great news for the ordinance and LGB rights, but it just hi-lights the fact that leaving out a transgender portion of the bill to protect bathroom access was a glaring mistake. It didn’t mute criticism of the bill, and divided supporters. Let’s hope this is a lesson going forward.

No word yet on whether the anti-gay forces plan to try again.

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Why Houston’s Pastor Subpoenas Have Nothing To Do With Religious Liberty

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Texas mapThere has been a new clash this week in the fight over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that would protect LGBT individuals and other targeted groups from discrimination. The latest hubbub involves the city subpoenaing five pastors for their sermons, which has prompted conservatives to claim that religious liberty is under attack and that the subpoenas are a form of intimidation.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, was on Fox News last night claiming that Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) is “taking a bulldozer to that wall of separation [of church and state]” and trying to “dictate what pastors preach.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted that the subpoenas constitute a “march against our freedoms.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called the subpoenas a “grotesque abuse of power.” And Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) wrote to the Houston City Attorney that the subpoenas should be unilaterally withdrawn because they reflect “hostility to religious beliefs.”

Assessing the veracity of these claims and the epic campaign conservatives are now launching in defense of the “Houston Five” requires an examination of how opponents are challenging HERO, what facts are material to their current lawsuit, and what exactly the city is asking for in its subpoenas of the pastors.

Authored By Zack Ford – See the Full Story at Think Progress

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Baton Rouge Votes Down LGBT Rights Ordinance 8-4

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Louisiana mapAnother city has voted down an LGBT rights ordinance, to the probable delight of Tony Perkins.

WAFB reports:

The EBR Metro Council has voted against the controversial fairness ordinance by a vote of 8 to 4. Councilmembers John Delgado, Donna Collins-Lewis, Chandler Loupe, and C. Denise Marcelle all voted in favor of the ordinance. The ordinance would have made it illegal to discriminate against veterans, seniors and members of the gay, lesbian and transgender communities in Baton Rouge when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodations. The vote comes after public comments and opinions from both sides were shared at its July 22 meeting for more than three hours, but the council couldn’t vote due to time limits.

Once again, a reminder. It has nothing to do with concern over the word “marriage”. The opposition doesn’t think the LGBT community should have any rights.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Louisiana.

Chattanooga, Tennessee Rescinds Domestic Partnership Ordinance 63%-37%

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Tennessee mapIn a lopsided vote, city voters overturned the domestic partnership ordinance recently passed by the city council.

Think Progress reports:

Voters in Chattanooga, Tennessee overwhelmingly decided Thursday to undo a recently passed law that extended health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. With a vote of 13,685-8,184, the town overturned the law originally passed 5-4 by the City Council. The Human Rights Campaign decried the vote as “hurtful and disappointing,” but Mayor Andy Berk was still hopeful. He told WTVC, “I have no doubt Chattanoogans value fairness and equality, and I am proud of the volunteers who spent nights and weekends to ensure our employees are treated equally.” He assured city employees, “Your work is valued and you are important to the future of our community.”

Once again, the lie that it’s only about the word “marriage” is exposed. It’s really about denying any and all rights to LGBT individuals, couples and families.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Tennessee.

Houston Gay Rights Opponents Turn in Signatures to Repeal LGBT Rights Ordinance

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

houston-petitions

It looks like opponents of the new LGBT rights ordinance in Houston have turned in more than enough signatures to force a public vote in November.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Opponents of Houston’s new LGBT-inclusive equal rights ordinance on Thursday delivered what they say are thousands of voters’ signatures requesting that it be repealed. The group, consisting of pastors and faith-based organizations, said they had collected more than 50,000 signatures calling for a ballot referendum aimed at repealing the measure; a total of 17,269 valid signatures are required to place the issue on the November ballot. They say they want the public to have a chance to vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance, and not just city council members.

It’s amazing to me that these folks hate us enough to want to block even employment and housing protections for the LGBT community. Remember how they always used to tell us it was just about the word “marriage”?

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Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Passes 11-6

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Houston Mayor Annise ParkerHouston LGBT rights took a step forward yesterday, passing a bill sponsored by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker.

The Dallas Voice reports:

After nearly nine hours of chanting and tears from seas of opponents and supporters in color-coded T-shirts, Houston City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday extending equal rights protections to gay and transgender residents, The Houston Chronicle reported. Despite weeks of discussion and dissent over the measure, the final vote was 11-6, a count that matched guesses made months ago, when Mayor Annise Parker– the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city — said she planned to bring forward such a measure. The approval was greeted with thunderous applause from the audience, largely full of supporters, and chants of “HERO,” for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Unfortunately, they were only able to pass the bill after removing a section that protected transgender people using public bathrooms.

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US Cities and LGBT Rights Ordinances

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Rainbow FlagWe have a few updates about cities across the US and LGBT rights ordinances.

We’ll start in Topeka, Kansas, which just passed a partnership registry for same sex couples AND an LGBT rights ordinance.

Edge Boston reports:

The Topeka City Council approved two ordinances aimed at reducing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, after hearing emotional testimony from both sides of the issue. The council on Tuesday approved establishing a city domestic partnership registry for same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are not married. It approved a second ordinance that would ban the city from discriminating in employment and hiring based on gender identity. That measure also requires the city to make a good faith effort to provide health coverage for any city employees registered as part of a domestic partnership, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Our second story comes from Pocatello, Idaho, where voters upheld an LGBT rights ordinance by a slim margin.

On Top Magazine reports:

An effort to repeal a non-discrimination ordinance in the town of Pocatello, Idaho was defeated on Tuesday. Voters narrowly voted to keep the ordinance, approved by city leaders last year. According to NBC affiliate KPVI, supporters eked out a victory with 50.4 percent of the vote. The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of employment and housing.

Our final story has a less happy ending – after one Councilman compared gays to Nazis, Saginaw, Michigan voted down an LGBT rights ordinance unanimously.

Towleroad.com reports:

Saginaw, Michigan’s City Council voted 9-0 on Tuesday against an LGBT non discrimination ordinance after Councilman Dan Fitzpatrick compared gays and LGBT allies to Nazis, MLive reports. Said Fitzpatrick: “Most people know my position. What I’m totally amazed at is a number of people I’ve talked to or heard from say, ‘Come on, just pass this thing.’ Find out what it means later. Well how does that sound? Doesn’t matter; if it’s bad, fix it. Fix it later. It’s going to happen eventually; just get with it. Be progressive. In about 1933 there was a real big youth movement in Germany called the party of national socialists. A lot of people said, ‘You know, I don’t like them. I don’t know; I don’t understand. But man they’re good for business.'”

Two steps forward, one step back.

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USA, Louisiana: Effort to Repeal Shreveport LGBT Rights Ordinance Halted

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Louisiana mapAn attempt to repeal a new LGBT rights ordinance in Shreveport, Louisiana has been put on hold.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Shreveport council member Ron Webb had cast the only dissenting vote when the ordinance was approved last month. Webb has since been pushing a repeal measure. However he withdrew the proposal at Tuesday’s council meeting after an hour of public comment. He said the issue would be discussed at a later date. Advocates for the new law showed up in force to oppose repeal. Transgender and gay community members who supported the new law at Tuesday’s meeting included a man who identified himself as one of Webb’s former teachers.

It’s a small but significant victory, especially given that it happened in Louisiana, not exactly a bastion of LGBT rights.

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USA, Arizona: Fifth City Passes Civil Unions Ordinance

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Arizona mapThe city of Cottonwood, Arizona became the fifth city in the state to pass a civil unions ordinance last night.

KPHO reports:

Cottonwood Town Council members approved the motion 6-1 Tuesday night. Jerome, Sedona, Bisbee and Tucson have already passed similar ordinances. Jesse Dowling made the motion to approve the civil unions ordinance and said, “I was the first to give the dissenting voter a great big hug. “You can have different views and still get along and care for on another,” Dowling said.

We think it’s time for Phoenix to throw its weight behind this thing. It’s becoming a movement, and the support of Arizona’s largest city could move it forward a lot.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Arizona.

USA, Arizona: Cottonwood Has Lively Debate About Proposed Civil Unions Ordinance

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Arizona mapThe Northern Arizona town of Cottonwood could be the next in the state to pass a civil unions ordinance.

The Verde Independent reports:

The passion in the room was so thick it could be cut with a knife. There were no smiles; everyone in the audience was deadly serious. The Cottonwood Council Chambers Tuesday night filled with people invested in a single subject: civil unions and how the city proposed to acknowledge them in city code. Jerome, Sedona, Bisbee and Tucson have already taken a similar position.

The usual religious folks came to speak against the ordinance:

Pastor Jack Pease was specific: “I have no objection to homosexuals, but for some of us, there is no middle ground. The homosexual goal is contrary to nature.” The lead pastor of Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Frank Nevarez, told he council, “The voice of the people is being left out of this process.” He called for a public vote on an amendment, too. Nevarez cited legal cases in other states where a person could be sued for failing to marry same-sex couples. He said, “I don’t want to be open to litigation.”

The Mayor had a reply:

Finally, Mayor Diane Joens, said, “I am a Christian and still have my faith, but my issue is discrimination. We used to discriminate against blacks, but they are equal.” She noted the city manager is deeply involved in the Holocaust training program in Yavapai County in the face of millions of Jews killed by the Nazis. She said her brother-in-law is gay and recalled a comment her mother made, “It’s going to be a hard life for him.”

The next meeting will be December 17th.

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