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!
Belgium: The country’s openly-gay PM Elio di Rupo called out African leaders on their moves against LGBT rights. full story
Russia: Six judges in Kostroma have overruled a ban on a gay pride protest. full story
UK: Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, says that if the Church of England backed LGBT rights in the UK, it would lead to a “massacre” of Christians in Africa. full story
USA: Five same sex couples won the ACLU’s help planning their weddings in the “My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding”. full story
USA: A federal judge has ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is covered by existing sex discrimination laws. full story
USA: A board member at World Vision has resigned in protest over the organization’s backtracking on hiring married gay employees. full story
USA, California: Former Who’s the Boss star Dan Pintauro married his long-term boyfriend in Dana Point. full story
USA, Colorado: Marriage equality could bring $53 million to the state. full story
USA, Florida: A judge has delayed a decision on a married lesbian couple’s request to divorce, scheduling another hearing. full story
USA, Maryland: Will the religious right try to overturn Maryland’s transgender bathroom protections with an initiative? full story
USA, Minnesota: An anti-bullying bill just passed the state Senate on a 36-31 vote. full story
USA, Missouri: A judge heard arguments in a lawsuit attempting to block married same sex couples from filing their taxes jointly n the state. full story
USA, Ohio: Closing arguments in a marriage equality lawsuit will be presented tomorrow. full story
USA, Washington DC: The city has launched a new “safe bathrooms” campaign to raise awareness of the issues transgender citizens face. full story
The Advocate reports:
Mississippi Republican governor Phil Bryant today signed a bill into a law that will allow business and individuals to deny service to anyone in the interest of religious liberty, according to ThinkProgress. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 2681, the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would allow businesses and individuals to deny services to anyone, if serving that person or organization would “substantially burden” the individual’s “religious exercise.” It also adds the words “In God We Trust” to the official state seal. It received overwhelming support in the GOP-controlled legislature.
Some arm-twisting was involved.
The bill passed, and should any GOP representatives have been on the fence about the issue, Jimmy Porter, executive director of the lobbying arm of Mississippi’s Southern Baptist convention, the Christian Action Commission, was sure to set them straight, promising a “political calamity” should any of them vote against Jesus.
Said Porter in part, “The fact is that one’s position on this piece of legislation can be made public whether a vote is taken or not. The leadership of the House will take a lot of heat for its failure if that is the case but it will be undeserved. The Christian Action Commission will work diligently to ensure the blame will be laid at the feet of these 20 alleged Republicans [against the bill]. Approximately 60,000 Baptist households will read about it and know the truth. Add to that Pentecostal households, members of the Tea Party, followers of American Family Association, the Liberty Council and the Family Research Council, etc., and you begin to see the widespread interest in this bill.”
Where’s Matt Barber with his “long knives” when you need him?
The Washington Blade reports:
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili last week proposed a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the former Soviet republic.
Identoba, a Georgian LGBT advocacy group, noted Garibashvili announced “the homophobic intention of his government” to amend the country’s constitution as he spoke about an anti-discrimination measure his administration sent to the Georgian Parliament. The organization added the proposed amendment “can only be seen as a homophobic move” because Georgian law already bans same-sex marriage.
“If the amendment is successfully initiated, it will directly violate universal equality of single parents, LGBT community and many others who do not live in nuclear families,” said Identoba. “Alarmingly, this homophobic and cynical move ultimately kills the very spirit of equality protection of the incoming Anti-Discrimination Law.”
Another backward step in Eastern Europe. Sad to see this in the face of advancing equality in so many other parts of the world.
The Advocate reports:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has updated Medicare rules so that couples in same-sex marriages can apply for benefits covering hospital stays and physician care. The new rules “help to clarify” the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision last year striking down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act and therefore allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today in a press release.
One more step forward for married same sex couples. The arc of the moral universe is bending quickly now.
Gays Don’t Fight Fair
Indiana State Senator and Tea Party member Mike Delph is complaining about losing the battle to get the anti marriage equality bill on the 2014 ballot, saying “opponents of traditional Judeo-Christian values don’t fight fair or with honor. They fight to win, and to date have been very successful.” Like marriage equality opponents have fought fair, using children as a shield and piling lies upon lies to get these things passed?
Graham Crackers Are the Snacks of Satan
American Decency Association board member Steve Huston is freaking out about Honey Maid’s new gay-friendly ad campaign. “…it’s a matter of an evil agenda which is being pushed upon America and around the world. Satan continues to attack God’s design and skew it to his own workings.” Just wait until he sees that rainbow oreo cookie!
Transgender Bill Will Let Men Attack Women in Bathrooms
Washington Times senior opinion editor Emily Miller is warning of dire consequences should a bill protecting bathroom access for transgender citizens become law. “The most dangerous impact of this new law is that a man cannot be stopped from going into a women’s bathroom, locker room or pool changing room… this law that endangers every single female.” I’ve got news for you, Ms. Miller – those public restroom doors are not locked – any man who wants to can already enter to assault a woman. It’s just a smoke screen meant to drum up fear and opposition.
Homofascists Have Long Knives and a Pride Necklace
Matt Barber is ever so pissed that Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich stepped down in the face of opposition to his anti gay marriage stance, saying “Christians, buckle up. Your whole world is about to change. The Rainbowshirts are emboldened and they’ve broken out the long knives. ‘Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence’ – Psalm 73:6.” Mr. Barber, he wasn’t fired. He stepped down. Unlike the legions of LGBT workers who are fired every year, including several prominent cases in Catholic schools this year. So let me get this straight – it’s just dandy for a school to fire someone for being gay. But when someone can’t stand the heat for being anti gay and resigns, that’s the “gaystapo” with their “long knives”?
The new CEO of Mozilla has resigned after it was revealed that he had donated to the backers of Prop 8.
ABC news reports:
“I have decided to resign as CEO effective today, and leave Mozilla,” Eich said in a statement provided by Mozilla. “Our mission is bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader. I will be taking time before I decide what to do next.” Eich was previously chief technology officer of the company, but had been involved in Mozilla’s development starting from its conception in 1998. The previous acting CEO Jay Sullivan had left the company to pursue “new opportunities,” the company said.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I’m torn over it – on the one hand, it’s sad to see someone who is opposed to marriage equality running a progressive tech company. On the the other hand, have we just created another martyr for the religious right? He did step down, and was not fired, but such distinctions are often lost on our opponents.
The Crime Victim Center of Erie and an organization from Gannon University, Students Against Violence Everywhere, are holding a Take Back the Night Vigil on Monday, April 7 in the streets of Erie, Pennsylvania. Events like this are far too common across the US, and should not have to happen. We should be live in a society free of violence and abuse against one another. However, our newspapers and television news broadcasts tell tales of victims of violent crime every day. Whether murder, arson, burglary, or terrorism, we cannot escape a daily deluge of violent behavior across the US.
I decided to write this article after Dan Genarro, the Community Outreach Assistant brought to my attention that this event would happen. Representatives from ME4PA will be attending this event to remind others who are marching alongside us that Pennsylvania law lacks any sort of hate crime statute that protects lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgender people. Far too many hate crimes in Pennsylvania go unpunished under state law, because the law we used to have was ruled unconstitutional by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2008. Attempts to rewrite and pass a new law have not been fruitful. While other minorities are protected against hate crimes in Pennsylvania, the LGBT community lacks even basic protection.
No amount of violence is acceptable within a civilized society. Laws won’t change the hearts and minds of people when it comes to curbing violence. For that, we need to take back the night!