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Springfield – How to Get By When Your Community Betrays You

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Chance HeltonOn Tuesday, Springfield, Mo., had a very important vote. Sadly, the residents of Missouri’s third-largest city decided that GLBTQ people no longer deserved the right to be protected by antidiscrimination laws.

I, however, had no idea that the vote was going to turn out that way. I was in shock; the news hit me like a brick right between the eyes. How was it possible for so many people to be so filled with hate and fear that they thought such a step backward would ever be a good thing?

Lots of information floating around made me angry, from blatant lies about restroom safety to local churches pressing their members to vote to rescind the recently enacted ordinance that protected LGBT people in matters of housing, employment, and public accomodations. There is a desolate feeling in my heart when my community turns its back on me, leaving me stranded and worried for my safety and livelihood, and it’s unbearable.

Authored By Chance Helton – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Springfield, Missouri Repeals LGBT Rights With Heartbreaking 51.4% Vote

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Springfield, MissouriThe religious right has it figured out – put LGBT rights repeals on the ballot in special elections, and they can turn-out enough people to get them off the books. It happened again in Springfield, Missouri yesterday:

Voters in Springfield, Missouri today repealed protections for LGBT citizens which were added by the City Council to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance last October, KY3 reports: With all the votes tallied, about 51.4 percent of the voters on Tuesday said they wanted to repeal the City Council’s action, while 48.6 percent wanted to retain it. The raw numbers are 15,347 people voted “yes” to repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance and 14,493 people voted “no” to keep it on the books. For a brief time on Tuesday night, when about 60 percent of the precincts were counted, the “no repeal” votes had a slim lead over the “yes, repeal” votes. As more precincts were counted, however, the “yes” votes went back on top.

They did it with the same pack of lies that has worked elsewhere, using scary lines about men using women’s bathrooms. It just makes me crazy to see these hateful lies used again and again, and even more to see that they work.

Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Challenge May Fall Short

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Texas mapThe city is close to finishing a validation of the signatures turned in by opponents of the new Houston LGBT rights ordinance.

Joe.My.God reports:

From JMG reader Mike Craig of Out & Equal Houston: When the Houston Area Pastors Council turned in 7 boxes of petitions to the City on July 3rd, they boasted of gathering more than 31,000 valid signatures. An independent group of concerned citizens has spent the last three weeks independently reviewing each page of that repeal petition in an effort to provide additional accountability to the referendum process. This was a grass-roots effort involving more than 100 volunteers who communicated via social media and participated in a crowd-sourced effort that uncovered fatal flaws with what was turned in. Having finished this exhaustive review, the HERO Petition Review Working Group concluded that the petitioners did not, in fact, turn in enough valid signatures in order to place this issue on the ballot… Based on these simple criteria, this independent review showed only 16,499 valid signatures were turned in. Additional scrutiny can only lower that number further. A full report detailing these findings has been provided to the City Secretary, City Attorney and Mayor. While it is our hope that the City’s own determination will come to a similar conclusion, we understand that it is ultimately the legal & statutory responsibility of the City Secretary and we will abide by that office’s findings.

The official report has not yet been released, so we have to wait and see if the repeal does quality for the ballot. If not? Expect a lawsuit.

Cases like this make it really clear. It was never really about the word “marriage”. It’s about preventing the granting of any right at all to LGBT citizens.

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Gay Soldiers Living Openly in Wake of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Don't Ask Don't TellWhile the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military, it didn’t mark radical changes to the way the fighting force looked or behaved. Instead, it brought the possibility of marriage and spousal benefits to soldiers that were previously denied. And, an opportunity to live more freely.

“When you come out and you’ve been out so long, it’s hard to just go back in,” said Spc. Corderra Dews, 24, who was living in Austin, Texas, and openly gay before he joined the Army in 2011.

While there are no solid statistics on the number of gay and lesbian soldiers currently in the military, a group of soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, spoke with The Leaf-Chronicle about life in the military before and after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the Army’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses, furthering the full inclusion of gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

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She’s Baaaaaack – Pennsylvania’s Zombie Clerk at it Again

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Zombie ClerkThe Pennsylvania clerk who continues to go after gay marriage in the state with a zombie-like determination is at it yet again. After being slapped down by the US Supreme Court.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A Pennsylvania county clerk seeking to overturn a federal judge’s ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state, is now asking that the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit consider her bid to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Register of Wills and Orphans’ Court Clerk for Schuylkill County, Pa., has sought to intervene and appeal a federal judge’s May 20 ruling striking down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban.

So hos is this lone county clerk affording these continued challenges?

Santai-Gaffney is represented by the group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been involved in pressing a number of lawsuits nationwide opposing marriage equality, and whose attorneys frequently testify in court challenges and state legislatures against LGBT rights.

Seriously, how many times do the courts have to tell this woman “no” before she gives up and goes away? I guess not until the ADF runs out of money.

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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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Maryland Transgender Law Repeal Effort Fails

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Transgender FlagMaryland’s transgender rights bill will stand as anti-LGBT forces fail to collect enough signatures to force a public vote on the law.

The Washington Blade reports:

State Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington County), who led the effort, said in an e-mail to supporters that his website, MDPetitions.com, collected 17,500 signatures — roughly 1,000 shy of the third of the 55,737 signatures it needed to submit to state election officials by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday. Parrott said MDPetitions.com collected more than 6,000 signatures over the last two days, but it appears as though opponents never submitted them. “So many people did so much and we are very grateful for your enthusiastic support,” said Parrott. “It is difficult to come this close and then fall short, and yet we know that it was only through this effort that people became aware of the effects of this bill.”

They also failed to put a repeal of California’s law on the ballot. Could it be that transphobia is slowly fading in the US?

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USA, California: Judge Rules Against Group Trying to Repeal Transgender Kids Law

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Transgender FlagA group fighting to repeal a bill protecting transgender kids suffered another setback in court today.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A judge in Sacramento has ruled that elections officials in 30 California counties do not have to turn over records that would help sponsors of a failed ballot referendum challenge the invalidation of thousands of voter signatures. Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on Friday granted the state’s request to quash subpoenas issued on behalf of Privacy for All Students, which sought to repeal a new law that spells out the rights of transgender students in public schools. Relying on counts submitted by county offices, the secretary of state determined in February that the group was about 17,000 signatures short of the number needed to qualify its proposed referendum to repeal the law.

Hopefully this will put an end to this hateful attempt to take away the rights of some of the most vulnerable kids in the state.

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USA, Louisiana: House Votes 66-27 to Keep Invalid Sodomy Law

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Louisiana mapA law that was invalidated by the US Supreme Court more than a decade ago will live on in Louisiana.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, sought to remove consensual sex between people of the same sex from Louisiana’s crimes against nature law. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a similar Texas law a decade ago in Lawrence v. Texas. Smith brought the bill after Baton Rouge-area police arrested gay men using the law but couldn’t charge them because the district attorney said the law was unenforceable. She said the bill would help police officers do their jobs more efficiently by getting rid of an unusable law. “The bill only removes unconstitutional language,” she said. But Smith couldn’t win the backing of the House, which voted 66-27 against her repeal proposal. The bill was opposed by religious and conservative organizations.

You really get the feeling that these anti-gay folks on the right will do everything they can to hold on to their bigotry until the day they die, no matter how ineffective it is.

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USA, Missouri: Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Repeal Marriage Equality Ban

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Missouri Representative Mike ColonaOpenly gay state lawmaker Mike Colona just introduced a bill that would repeal Amendment 2, the state’s ban on gay marriage.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

House Joint Resolution 85, introduced by openly gay state Rep. Mike Colona (D-St. Louis), would repeal Amendment 2, which defines marriage in Missouri as between one man and one woman. The amendment was approved by 71 percent of voters in August 2004. “HJR 85 would allow the citizens of Missouri to vote on not just a repeal of the ban on same-sex marriage, but also to allow the State of Missouri to embrace marriage equality,” said Colona.

“Much has changed since this discriminatory measure was passed in 2004. Every single one of us has had friends, family and colleagues who have come out to their loved ones and been denied a basic right afforded to all of our citizens – the right of marriage,” he said.

Does this bill have a chance of passage in this conservative state? Maybe not, but by standing up and leading by example, Colona may at least change some minds.

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