3527 posts categorized "Human Rights"

April 25, 2015

Congrats, Bruce. Now let's stop anti-trans bills

Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer is receiving glowing notices. Let's use this moment to fight the anti-trans panic that fuels discriminatory legislation.

Bruce Jenner: 'We're gonna change the world'

Bruce Jenner comes out as a transgender woman. The reaction I have seen on Twitter has been extremely positive. Garry Shandling's response is typical.

April 24, 2015

Court: Kenyan government can't block gay rights groups

Congrats to our African colleagues who won this legal victory. Our friend Pepe Julian Onziema of Uganda reacts below.

Ted Cruz files two anti-gay marriage bills

Just to show that his meeting with gay hoteliers doesn't mean anything.

If our rights depend on cozying up to a snake like this, to hell with us.

It's civil marriage, Mike. Civil.

Mike Huckabee lies:

If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law. It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal. God help us all.

No. The First Amendment to the Unites States Constitution protects any religious organization's right to grant or withhold its sacraments according to its own faith doctrines. At issue before SCOTUS in Obergefell v. Hodges and the other cases due for oral arguments on April 28 is civil marriage, not religious marriage. Stop lying, Huck. It's a sin, you know.

HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality

The latest ad from the Human Rights Campaign.

Wells Fargo Commercial: Learning Sign Language

Another beautiful sign of the culture shift in favor of our families, and the role of business in the shift.

Gay hosts of Ted Cruz, explain yourselves to this young man

On the surface, two different stories. But the excuses some make for tolerating hatemongers make it easier for bullies to assault gay youth while adults who should know better look on and shrug. If we would protect our youth, we must repudiate those who demonize a core part of who they are.

Cordileone cancels NOM hate rally appearance

PFLAG Canada: Nobody's Memories

Beautiful.

(Hat tip: John Becker)

April 23, 2015

Amendment to protect LGBT homeless youth fails in Senate

I am glad this measure got some Republican votes. That the rest of that caucus could not be minimally humane is very disturbing but sadly not surprising. When you say there is no difference between the political parties, and when you don't bother voting, or abandon an imperfect Democrat in favor of a third-party candidate you know cannot win, you should not be surprised when you get legislative results like this.

Family Research Council, spreading Christ's love, or something

This exemplifies a point that Mike Signorile made last evening at his book chat at Politics and Prose: It is time to make it clear to the media that it is no more acceptable to bring on religious bigots like Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of FRC to present "the other side" than it is to bring on white supremacists. They are entitled to their free speech, but they are not entitled to be given a media platform.

April 22, 2015

Fun at Politics and Prose book chat for @ItsNotOverBook

I ran into a bunch of other activists in Politics and Prose this evening at Michelangelo Signorile's book chat for his new book It's Not Over: Mike Rogers, Joe Sudbay, John Becker, Dana Beyer, Ian Thompson, and Kathleen Perrin (of Equality Case Files). I recommend the book, which I read on Kindle.

April 21, 2015

SCOTUS to Brian Brown: get lost

I hate these long goodbyes. Dear Brian Brown and NOM: don't go away mad, just go away.

Some justice in Catholic Church child rape coverup

Good for His Holiness; but St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson is still on the job.

At the center of the marriage equality case: Jim Obergefell

Here are a couple of pieces on the lead plaintiff in the lead marriage equality case being argued before SCOTUS on April 28.

O'Malley's amnesia on marriage

Excellent editorial by Blade editor Kevin Naff.

Carly's anti-gay record, down the memory hole?

Thanks to our friend Joel Lawson for correcting the record on improbable GOP presidential wannabe Carly Fiorina.

April 20, 2015

House Republicans take issue with another D.C. law

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(Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

WaPo reports that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called a committee vote for Tuesday (4/21) to mark up a resolution of disapproval against the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. GLAA's Craig Howell posted the following comment as a correction:

Contrary to this report, nothing in the Human Rights Amendment Act requires religious colleges and universities to officially recognize or fund LGBT student organizations. They would have to provide equal facilities to such groups. A court decision laid down this common-sense principle in the 1980s, only to have it capriciously overturned when Congress adopted the notorious Armstrong Amendment. Georgetown University has led the way to show how Catholic educational institutions can support their LGBT students without compromising either secular anti-discrimination laws or their own religious principle. Unfortunately, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic University and their nuttyfundamentalist allies on the Hill are more interested in playing the victim card and scapegoating the LGBT community than in promoting workable accommodations.

Roll Call reports.

Right-wing brief: legalizing gay marriage will cause 900,000 abortions

Another crackpot making stuff up. This anti-gay lawyer, who lost the Utah marriage case, admits to Dana Milbank that he has no proof: "It is still too new to do a rigorous causation analysis using statistical methods." In short: fraud!

April 17, 2015

Charles Francis: Best way to remember first White House protests

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In today's Blade, Mattachine Society of Washington President Charles Francis, marking today's 50th anniversary of the first gay picket outside the White House, describes the continuing struggle to unearth the history of anti-gay persecution:

[I]t is amazing after 50 years how much we still do not know about what was actually happening to these pioneers and the untold thousands of other gay men and lesbians whose careers and lives were destroyed by federal persecution. For example, most of the personal papers of the U.S. Civil Service Commission Chairman John W. Macy—the leader of the government’s gay ban at what is now the Office of Personnel Management — today remain unavailable to researchers at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin....

Working with our pro bono legal counsel McDermott, Will & Emery, The Mattachine Society of Washington has learned that John Macy’s personal papers are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. He donated them to the National Archives prior to the passage of the Presidential Records Act of 1978 that governs the official records of presidents created or received after 1981. In this way, John Macy to this day has been able to tie up his personal papers with restrictions supposedly to protect the privacy of individuals....

These boxes include the 1965/1966 period when Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, Paul Kuntzler, Lilli Vincenz, Kay Lahusen, Jack Nichols and others stood outside the White House fence demanding a meeting. Working with the National Archives, whose archivists understand the importance of the sealed boxes of gay and lesbian history, let’s open up the Macy papers as the best way to honor the men and women who took their case to the American people on a sidewalk with pickets, April 17, 1965. Frank would love it.

Also in today's Blade on the 50th anniversary of the first gay WH protests:

Activists to mark 50th anniversary of first gay rights protests

April 16, 2015

Clinton urges SCOTUS to rule for marriage equality

This represents a shift for Hillary, who previously said that marriage should be left to the states.

Note to Log Cabin: this means she has moved in the right direction, unlike Mitt Romney, whom you endorsed in 2012.

Rubio opposes marriage equality, but would attend a gay relative's wedding

David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement reports on the latest squirming from Sen. Marco Rubio.

Tony Perkins: gay marriage violates church-state separation

Right Wing Watch reports:

The Family Research Council announced today that it has partnered with Rick Santorum’s film company, EchoLight Studios, to produce a short film for churches to air during the April 26 event “Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk.”

In the film, which features appearances by Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the FRC warns that a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage would jeopardize religious freedom and undermine the separation of church and state. The film mentions cases in Oregon and Washington state where a baker and florist, respectively, were sued for violating their states’ non-discrimination laws — not marriage laws — for refusing service to gay customers. (The baker and florist both lost their cases).

Once again, FRC and its allies insist that their religious freedom entitles them to discriminate against other people. In other words, they demand the right to impose their beliefs on others in the public marketplace. Given that we live in a religiously diverse society, how is that going to work?

FRC President Tony Perkins lies in the above clip, stating that a majority of Americans agrees with him. In fact, 59 percent support marriage equality. If he embraces biblical truth, why doesn't he stop violating the commandment against bearing false witness?

April 15, 2015

Norton criticizes Reps. Black and Hartzler for violating local control principles

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Norton Wonders Why Representatives Black and Hartlzer Would Introduce Disapproval Resolutions Permitting Discrimination Against Women and LGBT Students in Violation of Their Own Local Control Principles

Apr 15, 2015 - Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Not long after a disapproval resolution was introduced on Monday that would license discrimination against District of Columbia women in the workplace, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) pledged to fight yet another disapproval resolution introduced yesterday that would permit discrimination against LGBT students by their own universities. She said she plans to mount a vigorous defense of home rule and workplace equality at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s (OGR) markup of the workplace discrimination bill scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. In total this week, Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced anti-local-control resolutions to block two D.C.-passed anti-discrimination bills, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), from taking effect, though only Black’s RHNDA disapproval resolution is scheduled to be marked up by OGR on Tuesday. RHNDA would prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee, spouse or dependent based on personal reproductive health decisions. Under RHNDA, a woman could not be fired for having an abortion after being raped, a man for using condoms, or parents for buying birth control for their daughters. HRAA would repeal a congressionally imposed rider that permits schools in D.C. to deny LGBT students equal access to school facilities and services.

“Representatives Black and Hartzler both assure their constituents in Tennessee and Missouri of their adherence to limited government on their websites,” Norton said. “Yet, in violation of their professed principles, they have introduced bills that would misuse the power of the federal government to block the local laws of a local jurisdiction from taking effect. I suspect the constituents of Representative Black in Tennessee and Representative Hartzler in Missouri would be surprised to learn that their Members, have taken time away from the vital issues of their own districts and national matters to focus time and energy on entirely local D.C. matters. Mind you, neither Representative Black nor Representative Hartzler represents the American citizens residing the nation’s capital, and my constituents cannot respond to their action. OGR will markup RHNDA, a local matter on which members have almost no background, without so much as a hearing on the bill, where D.C. officials would have had the opportunity to explain the importance of RHNDA to women and workplace equality.”

Congress passed the Home Rule Act in 1973 to give D.C. authority over its local laws, but all D.C. bills must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. Members almost always respect the D.C. Home Rule Act. RHNDA and HRAA were transmitted for a 30-legislative-day review period on March 6, 2015. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.

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RSC calls on Congress to block D.C. anti-discrimination bills

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(Rep. Diane Black. Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 44) in the House to block D.C.'s Human Rights Amendment Act, which among other things repeals the anti-gay, congressionally imposed Armstrong Amendment that dates from the late 1980s. This is on the heels of Monday's introduction by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) of a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 43) against D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.

The House Oversight and Government Reform will hold a markup this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 am. In the event Hartzler's resolution is moved at the markup, it would be subject to a point of order for violating the three-day rule for markups; such a point of order could only be waved through unanimous consent.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton yesterday denounced the first disapproval resolution (on reproductive health) in no uncertain terms:

If Congress wants to try and strike down our local law, the very least the District of Columbia is entitled to is an open hearing. Instead, with little notice and no hearing, the disapproval resolution seeks not only to undermine the democratic will of D.C. voters, but also the constitutional rights of men and women to privacy concerning their most personal matters. An individual's decisions concerning reproductive choices are personal health care decisions, and are perhaps the most private of decisions protected by the Constitution. Personal reproductive matters certainly are not work related, and are no business of an employer.

The largest House Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, has called on Congress to pass the disapproval resolutions or attach riders to the D.C. Appropriations Bill to block implementation of the D.C. anti-discrimination bills. GLAA is working with a wide array of local and national allies to defend both bills.

Roll Call reports.

(Hat tip: Bradley Truding)

Update: The OGR markup has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

O'Reilly: 'Open season on Christians and white men' in U.S.

Really, Mr. O'Reilly?

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April 13, 2015

Marriage News Watch

Matt Baume at AFER gives us his latest update.

April 09, 2015

President Obama opposes youth 'conversion' therapies

Thank you, Mr. President.

April 08, 2015

Taking the Ball from the GOP

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(Washington Blade editorial cartoon by Ranslem)

My latest Blade column takes a look at how the GOP's overreach has exposed its weak game. Here is an excerpt:

Republicans had a bad week last week. When not failing in their effort to sabotage nuclear nonproliferation negotiations, they were denouncing the Indiana and Arkansas legislatures for undermining their so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts by adding clarifying language. Retail giant Walmart was instrumental in pressuring Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to demand a fix to that state's RFRA.

The only homophobes who had a good week were the owners of Memories Pizza, who received over $800,000 in donations in a right-wing media scam that hailed them as Christian martyrs for refusing to fill the previously unknown demand for pizza at gay weddings.

Read the whole thing here.

Springfield voters repeal LGBT rights protections

Tell me again why my rights should be subject to my neighbors' veto? The U.S. Constitution guarantees a republican form of government. It says nothing about plebiscites.

April 07, 2015

SC cop faces murder charge after shooting man in back

Without this video, the officer would likely have gotten away with it.

Evan Wolfson eats his Wheaties

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April 04, 2015

The #Indiana Memories Pizza fundraiser is a conservative media scam

Forward Progressives reports on "another publicity stunt designed to gin up the conservative base."

CO: shop not wrong for refusing anti-gay cake

In the minds of some on the right, a shop that discriminates out of bias against a gay customer is the same as one that refuses to participate in an expression of anti-gay bias. This Colorado ruling shows otherwise.

What the Indiana fix does and doesn't do

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The Human Rights Campaign reports:

Facing tremendous economic damage and mounting public pressure from fair-minded Americans and business leaders, today Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed legislation limiting the damage of the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) but falling far short of providing a full solution. The measure fails to explicitly ensure that the RFRA won’t be used to undermine the full scope of Indiana existing non-discrimination laws, and does not add LGBT non-discrimination protections to the state’s civil rights laws.

In response, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a graphic explaining the new law and the risks for LGBT Hoosiers that remain.

April 03, 2015

Cutting holes in the law

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Given the persistence of would-be discriminators in portraying themselves as victims, I reiterate what I wrote in December on faith-based exemptions: "To preserve civil society, we cannot permit ad hoc exclusions from equal protection."

IndyStar editorial: A historic step forward for Indiana

For the first time, [Indiana] elected leaders have inserted the phrases "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" into a state law that protects against discrimination. And there are promises — credible promises — to go farther in the future.

A note of caution:

NY Boy Scouts affiliate defies ban on hiring adult gays

An admirable development in New York.