Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

North Carolina’s HB2 Is Not Just a ‘Bathroom Bill’

May 16, 2016

North Carolina's HB2 Is Not Just a 'Bathroom Bill'
North Carolina has a new state law protectin’ the buddin’ flowah of Southron Womanhood from having to share public restrooms with transgender women. But the school bathroom hysteria disguises other aspects of the law, which is really a catchall of conservative peeves.

HB2 doesn’t just forbid the Tarheel State’s cities and counties from protecting LGBT rights, it also bars them from adopting minimum wages above the $7.25 level, except for government employees. Must be a lot of cousins on those county payrolls.

The law also limits how people pursue claims of discrimination in state courts, forcing these into the federal court system. Previously, employees wrongfully terminated due to  race, sex, national origin, religion, age, or disability could file tort claims in state court. Now, if your boss fires you just because of your age — too bad.

The anti-LGBT stalking horse is being used by NC business interests to clamp down on employees, by rural politicians to spite their state’s cities, and by Republican candidates as a political wedge issue. North Carolina’s underpaid workers should think about that when they get their next skimpy paychecks, or when they’re wrongfully terminated.


Pope in the USA: Punk’d by a Tea Party Saint, Hugged Gay Guys

October 3, 2015

Pope in the USA: Punk'd by a Tea Party Saint, Hugged Gay Guys

When Everybody’s favorite pontiff, Pope Francis, visited Washington DC in September he had a secret meeting with intolerant, oath-breaking Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her current husband. It was a secret to His Holiness, anyway, who had no earthly idea who Mrs. Davis is. She was apparently one of many people he greeted during his Vatican Embassy stay.

Pope Francis didn’t set up the meeting; it was arranged by papal nucio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s envoy to the US, who was sent to the States by former Pope Benedict XVI to keep him from meddling in Vatican City politics. Archbishop Viganò turns 75 in a few months and is expected to be “retired” by the current pontiff.

While in DC Pope Francis met with a same-sex couple, Washington caterer Yayo Grassi and his long-time partner Iwan Bagus. His Holiness had personally invited Mr. Grassi, his former student at Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción in Argentina, to a private audience, and there were hugs all around.

Lawyers for Kim Davis from the Falwell-affiliated Liberty Counsel claimed that the Pope’s off-the-cuff comments on conscientious objectors referred to their client, but the Vatican denied this, and many have observed that the county clerk is not a CO since she forced her beliefs on her deputies rather than letting them act on their own. Papal spokesmen have emphasized that the Papal greeting was not a show of support for the delinquent Rowan County clerk.


Saint Kim of Kentucky Rescued From the Dungeon!

September 10, 2015

Saint Kim of Kentucky Rescued From the Dungeon!

Free at last! Intolerant Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis was sprung from Kentucky’s Carter County Detention Center on Tuesday. U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning determined that her deputy clerks were doing the work she shirked, providing equal justice under the law by issuing civil marriage licenses to all couples. The judge enjoined Mrs. Davis from preventing her deputies from performing her office’s official duties in issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Mrs. Davis and her delusional lawyer claim that marriage licenses not issued by her are invalid. As Zack Ford points out, Kentucky statute 61.035 indicates otherwise: “Any duty enjoined by law or by the Rules of Civil Procedure upon a ministerial officer, and any act permitted to be done by him, may be performed by his lawful deputy.”


Martyr to the Cause of Intolerance

September 4, 2015

Martyr to the Cause of Intolerance
Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis was led off by federal marshals, fingerprinted and photographed, and locked behind bars in the Carter County Detention Center in Grayson, Kentucky. Federal District Court Judge David L. Bunning found her in contempt for refusing his order to comply with the 14th Amendment and perform her sworn duty, issuing civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “Ms. Davis took an oath,” he said. “Oaths mean things.” She can get out when she agrees to provide equal protection under the law.

The judge chose not to fine Mrs. Davis, since her equally intolerant supporters would raise the money for her and she would feel no sense of compulsion to obey the law. Some Davis fans tried to set up a fundraising website for her, but GoFundMe’s policy forbids campaigns that aid any criminal defense. That doesn’t keep them from thinking of Kim Davis as the homophobe Rosa Parks, though.


In Kentucky, They Really Believe in Marriage

September 3, 2015

In Kentucky, They Really Believe In Marriage

Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis believes in marriage so much, she’s had four of them. She’s making news right now for denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage, a violation of the U.S. Constitution she swore to uphold. Apparently God told Ms. Davis that it’s okay to violate her oath to Him as well as the 14th Amendment.

For Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk’s office must seem like the family business, since her Mom held it for 37 years. Like her daughter, she also swore not to “commit any malfeasance of office” and to “faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God.” The Deity will no doubt settle with Kim Davis later, but Federal District Court judge David L. Bunning will decide if she’ll be held in contempt of court.

As County Clerk, Ms. Davis is paid $80,000 a year to do her job; annual per capita income in Rowan County is $17,094. Unemployment is 6.3%, so there’s room for one more.


Supreme Court: Love Wins, 5 to 4.

June 27, 2015

Supreme Court: Love Wins, 5 to 4.
On Friday the Supreme Court of the United States announced its ruling in Obergefell v. HodgesThe majority (Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan) held that the Due Process Clause of the 5th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment guarantee marriage equality for same-sex couples in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of the United States. The USA is now one of 21 countries with nationwide marriage equality.


The Phase

April 11, 2015

The Phase

Cosmic balance returned to Barracks Row two weeks ago when the Phase 1 Bar and Nightclub was reopened after three months of  renovation. Founded in 1970, “The Phase” is said to be the oldest continually operating lesbian bar in the USA and the oldest LGBT bar in the Nation’s Capital. That’s pretty amazing, since America’s lesbian bars are an endangered species.


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Hoosier Hospitality

March 30, 2015

Hoosier Hospitality

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a formerly prominent Republican, is flabbergasted by the uproar about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. After all, it has the same name as a Federal law and laws in 19 other states.

There are three main differences:

1.  Indiana’s law explicitly allows for-profit businesses to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.”

2. Indiana’s law allows businesses to assert such rights as a defense against lawsuits by private individuals, not just against actions brought by government.

“So, let’s review the evidence: … there’s ‘nothing significant’ about this law that differs from the federal one, and other state ones—except that it has been carefully written to make clear that 1) businesses can use it against 2) civil-rights suits brought by individuals.”

— “What Makes Indiana’s Religious-Freedom Law Different?” Garrett Epps, The Atlantic

3. Timing. Public opinion in America has swung in favor of same-sex marriage, and Indiana Republicans are out of step with their “freedom to discriminate” legislation.


“Indiana’s Mike Pence is starting to look like Lester Maddox — without the spine,” Joan Walsh, Salon

Legal types can see a letter by 30 law school professors here.


“When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia,” Ian Millhiser, Think Progress

“Disciples Of Christ Cancels 2017 Convention In Protest Of Religious Freedom Law,” Daniel Strauss, TPM Livewire


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Indiana Welcomes … Some of You!

March 28, 2015

Indiana Welcomes ... Some of You!

The Indiana legislature passed a law, and Republican Governor Mike Pence is so proud of it that he boldly signed it when no one was looking. The so-called ‘Religious Freedom Restoraction Act‘ grants individuals and businesses the right to discriminate against people unlike them and claim their religion mandates their bigotry.

Wholesome, honest-to-goodness Hoosier intolerance. Who could be against that?

Everyone. The ACLU. The Disciples of Christ. The NCAA. The Indianapolis Chamber of CommerceUSA Track & Field. NASCAR. Corporations like YelpSalesforce, Ennis Communications, Cummins, Angie’s List, Twitter, Subaru, General Electric and Indianapolis-based pharma giant Eli Lilly & Company. The mayors of Indianapolis, South Bend, Evansville, Washington DC, Seattle and San Francisco. The governors of Connecticut, New York, and Washington. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL). Annual conventions like the AFSCME Conference and the $50 million Gen Con. The editors of the Indianapolis StarTim Cook. Audra McDonaldMiley Cyrus. Larry KingCharles BarkleyNick Offerman. David LettermanWilcoAshton Kutcher. Arnold Schwarzenegger. And many more.

There’s a petition, a boycott movement, and this:


Alabama Supreme Court Secedes From Union Over Same-Sex Marriage

March 5, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Secedes From Union Over Same-Sex Marriage

On Tuesday the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, adding yet another wrinkle to a messy situation. The story so far:

On January 23rd Federal District Judge Callie Granade struck down two Alabama state laws banning same-sex marriage.

On February 8th Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered state probate judges to ignore the Federal court ruling.

On February 9th the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the District Court’s decision, and on February 12th Judge Granade ordered the Mobile County Probate Judge to issue licenses to same-sex couples, and he and most Alabama judges complied.

On March 3rd, on a 7-1 ruling, with Chief Justice Roy Moore recusing himself, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a 138-page order for probate judges to cease granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

So why are Alabama judges standing in the courthouse door to prevent same-sex marriage, in defiance of a Federal court order? Is it … Jesus? Is it the Klan? Is this an echo of Alabama’s 33-year refusal to allow interracial marriage or some kind of nostalgia for the Confederacy?

Maybe. Mostly, it’s just politics. Alabama Supreme Court Judges are elected partisans, and their election depends on symbolic appeals to the state’s Republican Party base.


“Alabama Supreme Court Throws Tantrum, Defies Federal Judge, Halts Gay Marriages,” Mark Joseph Stern, Slate


“I Was Alabama’s Top Judge. I’m Ashamed by What I Had to Do to Get There.” Sue Bell Cobb, Politico Magazine

“John Oliver digs into the ‘horrifying spectacle’ of judicial elections,” Sarah Gray, Salon


“Alabama GOP proposes bill to let judges opt out of marrying gay couples — and Jews and Muslims too!” Jenny Kutner, Salon

“Ala. Bill Would Let Judges Opt Out Of Performing Gay Marriages,” Caitlin MacNeal, TPM Livewire


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