3438 posts categorized "Human Rights"

February 24, 2015

Trigger Warnings and Twitter Wars

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My column this week looks at clashes over gender politics that are testing the civil rights community. Here is an excerpt:

For years, some radical feminists have vociferously opposed transgender people. An example is Janice Raymond, a lesbian ex-nun who wrote in her 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, that trans women, whom she regarded as male predators, were the "avant garde of the patriarchy invading women's spaces." As a liberal feminist and a supporter of trans equality, I very much disagree with Dr. Raymond. Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, explains, "[G]ender identity (the sex of one's brain) drives trans persons to transition, regardless of genital anatomy."

For the LGBT advocates with whom I work in Washington, D.C., that ship has sailed. We do not sit around discussing gender theory. We take it as a given that trans people are citizens entitled to equal protection. We work in coalition to ensure that the "T" is included in legislation, data gathering, and public services (and D.C. is among the top states in the Human Rights Campaign's State Equality Index). Science is on our side: the American Psychiatric Association declassified transgender identity as a disorder in 2012, as it did homosexuality in 1973.

For some, this is not enough. There is a movement to "no-platform" trans-excluding radical feminists (TERFs), that is to bar them from campuses and deny them a platform for their views. This is part of a broader and distinctly illiberal trend whereby universities are seen not as centers for the robust exchange of ideas, but as frightening places full of triggers and micro aggressions....

Read the whole thing here.

National Review executive editor Reihan Salam signs marriage equality statement

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(Photo by Kris Krug)

Reihan Salam, executive editor at the conservative National Review, has signed a statement drafted by David Blankenhorn that makes the conservative case for marriage equality.

I first encountered Salam when he worked for Andrew Sullivan's blog, so I sent Andrew a congratulatory note. He replies, "Reihan was my first intern. love the guy."

The ground has certainly shifted. Hooray for us.

Not OK: bill to protect parents' right to torture gay children advances in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern's bill to prohibit the state from regulating dangerous and discredited "ex-gay" therapy was approved by an Oklahoma House committee.

GLAA's testimony against conversion therapy is here.

Discriminatory Washington state florist chooses martyrdom over $2001 settlement

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(Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom)

The Blaze reports.

If the discriminators are the victims here, then erase my life.

'Glory' sales surge after Oscar win

Billboard reports:

Common and John Legend's "Glory" is basking in the glow of its Academy Award win for best original song on Feb. 22, and is on course for big sales gains in the wake of the Oscars.

A small comfort for a film unjustly snubbed.

February 23, 2015

Anti-gay #SB202 becomes law in Arkansas

SecDef Carter supports openly trans servicemembers

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael K. Lavers at the Blade reports. President Obama has endorsed Secretary Carter's statement.

U.S. names new LGBT rights envoy

February 22, 2015

Celebrities defend gay rights in Ghana

February 20, 2015

Texas Supreme Court: no more gay weddings

Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir stated:

The Texas Supreme Court order on the Motion for Temporary Relief has stayed further proceedings in the trial court, and is not directed at the County Clerk. I have every reason to believe that the actions I took this morning were legally correct based on the trial court's order, and that the license my office issued was then and is now valid. There is no further action for me to take at this time.

Matt Baume explains the bakery wars

AFER's Matt Baume explains it all for you.

February 19, 2015

BAR: U.S. Protection of LGBT Iraqis Questioned

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(Bodies of dead gay Iraqis lie in a Baghdad street. AP Photo)

Our friend Michael Petrelis blogs about a Bay Area Reporter story on the plight of gay Iraqis and the responses of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Mike includes links to the referenced British and American government files obtained through FOIA requests. Thanks, Mike.

First same-sex couple marries in Texas

Pussy Riot: I can't breathe

Pussy Riot expresses solidarity with Eric Garner and other victims of police brutality.

EEOC says Wal-Mart discriminated against lesbian

AP reports:

A federal agency says Wal-Mart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her ailing wife and has ordered "a just resolution" for violating her civil rights.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the retail giant to work with Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who hopes the determination will help her pay off $100,000 in medical bills.

In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the agency said Cote "was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex."

Our colleague Craig Howell writes, "Now that Wal-Mart has entered the 21st century [See this and this], I hope they can settle this case promptly."

February 12, 2015

Jon Stewart on 'Wedding Crushers'

Jon Stewart takes on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Federal judge orders Mobile County probate judge to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Campbell Robertson at NYT reports from Mobile:

A federal judge here on Thursday ordered that a county probate judge must comply with her earlier ruling and cannot refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The federal judge, Callie V. S. Granade of Federal District Court here, wrote that the county judge, Don Davis, of Probate Court in Mobile County, cannot deny a marriage license “on the ground that plaintiffs constitute same-sex couples or because it is prohibited by the sanctity of marriage.”

The decision was an effort to clarify that Judge Davis should follow Judge Granade's earlier ruling striking down a state ban on same-sex marriage, rather than a conflicting order from the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy S. Moore.

Read Judge Granade's ruling here.

The People's Brief for marriage equality

I have signed the people's brief. Will you?

Getting Off Our High Horse

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My latest column, now online at the Washington Blade, looks at the controversy over President Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Here's an excerpt:

At its best, faith challenges us to reflect on how far our actions have strayed from the standards we profess. The Christian Right, by contrast, uses faith as a weapon against its political opponents. Its standard bearers cannot acknowledge crimes even nine centuries in the past. So forget the anti-Semitic Rhineland Massacres of 1096; the sack of Constantinople in 1204; the destruction of ancient libraries and art treasures; the hundreds of thousands who died from slaughter, famine, and disease before the Crusaders even reached the Holy Land. Do not mention the estimated 1.7 million deaths from the Crusades, or that the savagery was launched by Pope Urban II in 1095.

The denial is not only about the Middle Ages. Millions were caught up in the Middle Passage that brought slaves to the western hemisphere, and black men in America were being burned alive in public lynching festivals well into the twentieth century. People cut off parts of the victims for souvenirs. Innumerable photos of these horrors are a few clicks away.

We can talk about this. At bottom, that is the president's message. He does our country a service by raising it, though he knows his opponents are waiting to pounce on whatever he says. He can speak less guardedly with his last race and last midterm election behind him.

Read the whole thing.

February 11, 2015

Obama: critical mass reached, time for marriage equality nationwide

Whether he evolved or revolved on marriage, the president has it exactly right now.

Obama responds to Axelrod

Justin Sink at The Hill reports:

President Obama is denying a former top political adviser's contention that he intentionally deceived voters about his position on gay marriage in an interview published Wednesday.

The president said David Axelrod, his former senior adviser, was “mixing up my personal feelings with my position on the issue” when he said Obama publicly backed civil unions rather than gay marriage because it was more politically palatable.

“I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there,” Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed....

“I think the notion that somehow I was always in favor of marriage per se isn’t quite accurate,” Obama said.

Unfortunately, Mr. President, we have this evidence from 1996.

It's a good thing the president isn't a news anchor.

February 10, 2015

American sins: history of lynchings in the South

A critical mass

May it be so.

Obama comments on the freedom to marry in Alabama

February 09, 2015

Same-sex couples get marriage licenses in Alabama

Alan Blinder at NYT reports:

The United States Supreme Court said early Monday that it would not stop same-sex marriages in Alabama, as gay couples gathered outside courthouses across the state.

Justices on Monday morning denied a request by the Alabama attorney general to extend a hold on a judge’s ruling overturning the state’s ban on gay marriage. The attorney general, Luther Strange, had asked the United States Supreme Court to halt the weddings until the justices settle the issue nationwide when they take it up this year.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore defies federal courts

Alan Blinder at NYT reports on Roy Moore's latest lawlessness:

In a dramatic show of defiance toward the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Roy S. Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court on Sunday night ordered the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Monday, the day same-sex marriages were expected to begin here.

“Effective immediately, no probate judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with the Alabama Constitution or state law, the chief justice wrote in his order.

February 04, 2015

Gay man condemned by ISIS is stoned to death after surviving fall

February 03, 2015

Freedom to Marry runs marriage equality ad in Alabama

11th Circuit denies stay in Alabama marriage case

Also this:

February 02, 2015

Gay Pride Mumbai

Alexander Stevenson at NewNowNext reports:

Saturday was the eighth annual Mumbai Pride parade, when more than 5,000 celebrants marched from August Kranti Maidan down Grant Road and Nana Chowk.

According to DNA India, parents and family members comprised a sizable contingent of Queer Azaadi Mumbai, as the event is officially known. That’s a stark contrast from only a few years ago, when most paradegoers wore masks to hide their identities (some still do).

Marriage Equality Watch

Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on the state of marriage equality efforts. Here's AFER's description:

Marriage could be starting next week in Alabama. Anti-gay officials are saying that they don’t have to let gay couples get married, but their reasoning isn’t exactly what you would call true. Oklahoma’s marriage equality backlash is getting dangerous, with a proposed law that would hand new victims to ex-gay predators. And the National Organization for Marriage thinks they’ll have an impact on the 2016 presidential election.

February 01, 2015

Cumberbatch's Alan Turing gay-rights campaign snubbed by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

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The Independent reports:

Benedict Cumberbatch's plea for Prince William and Kate Middleton to support a gay-rights campaign has been rejected.

Cumberbatch played pioneering World War 2 codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Turing was prosecuted for being gay, but he was given a posthumous pardon in 2013.

The actor has signed an open letter calling for some 49,000 other men similarly convicted under the old law to have the same treatment as Turing. The petition has already been signed by almost 90,000 supporters.

On the positive side, the snub has gotten attention for Cumberbatch's effort. Good on him.

Huckabee on drinking, swearing, and being gay

Mike Huckabee again.

January 30, 2015

HRC releases 2014 State Equality Index

I am pleased to note that the District of Columbia has most of the boxes checked. More to come.

January 29, 2015

AFA's Bryan Fischer not really fired

RWW reports:

Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio program today by refuting reports that he had been fired by the American Family Association, explaining that he has simply given up his role as an official AFA spokesman while retaining his role as a daily radio host for AFA's radio outlet, American Family Radio.

Fischer said that his designation as an AFA spokesman while he also served as a radio host was creating confusion and resulting in the personal opinions he expressed on the radio being unfairly attributed to the AFA. As such, Fischer will no longer serve as an official voice for AFA but will continue to spew his bigotry from the AFA's radio stations.

So apparently Rachel Maddow was misled.

Heritage Action urges Hill action against pro-gay D.C. legislation

GLAA anticipated this sort of thing. Follow the link to the new Home Rule section of our policy brief, out this week. We have briefed Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and the Human Rights Campaign, and they are on the case.

January 28, 2015

Oh I don't know, could it be ... Satan?!

AFA's Bryan Fischer has a great deal of chutzpah to call other people vicious when he does nothing else but vilify and attack. But he says gay people are of Satan simply because we demand our birthright of equality. His fever-pitched rhetoric could inflame someone to violence. But people of his ilk never take responsibility for the poison they put out.

January 27, 2015

Mormon church offers gay people some rights, with a condition

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

WaPo reports:

After years of behind-the-scenes meetings between LGBT advocates and top Mormon leaders, church officials Tuesday announced for the first time general support for legislation to protect LGBT people in areas such as housing and employment – as long as accommodations are made to protect the freedom of religious people who oppose such measures.

Experience teaches us not to trust vague "religious freedom exemptions." This article does not specify what that means in this case. I know what it meant to the Archdiocese of Washington in 2009--a sweeping exemption to the DC Human Rights Act. No. We are not demanding "all or nothing," we are demanding equality, and we keep pressing until we win. Partial steps are one thing, poison pills another. I don't want marriage with an asterisk.

January 25, 2015

Judge issues 14-day stay of order striking down Alabama marriage ban

January 23, 2015

Federal judge strikes down Alabama marriage ban

Marriage equality comes to the heart of Dixie.