Maddow On Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill
Maryland’s Gender Identity Bill Dies in Senate
The Advocate reports:
Maryland senators voted on Monday to recommit the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination to the judicial proceedings committee, effectively killing any prospects for the bill to pass this session, which ends at midnight.
Shortly before 1 p.m. on the last day of session, senators voted 27 to 20 to recommit the bill to the panel, which had advanced the measure by a 7 to 4 vote on Saturday. The move leaves no time to resurrect the bill in 2011.
The vote dealt a major setback to advocates, who just last week had rescued the bill from certain death in the rules committee, where it was unexpectedly assigned after passing the house last month by a vote of 86 to 52. The legislation would have prohibited discrimination against transngender Marylanders in housing, employment and credit, but not public accommodations, which became a rallying point for some transngender advocates who called the bill inadequate and urged lawmakers to defeat it.
However, advocates entered Monday feeling confident about the vote count for the measure, known as H.B. 235. The measure has failed in previous years, but Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk, the lead sponsor, had removed the controversial public accommodations protection with the intention of securing enough support.
“We believe we had the votes,” said Dana Beyer, a transgender advocate who supported the legislation, in a brief telephone interview from the state capital of Annapolis.“There was pressure from up top not to allow our side to move forward.”
The defeat reflects the shocking reversal of fortune encountered by the marriage equality bill this session. That bill passed the senate but last month the house voted to recommit it to committee, effectively pushing its hopes for passage to 2012.
Now, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act joins the marriage equality in being pushed to next year.
BRAZIL: The Deadliest Place In The World To Be Transgender
Reeling from the murders of numerous transgender people, Brazilian activists have launched a petition campaign to the nation’s president.
President Dilma Rousseff, You have said that human rights are at the “center of your politics.” In the face of a dramatic rise in attacks and murders of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Brazilians, we need your immediate support for the passage of the Anti-Homophobia law (PLC122) that will ensure that ALL Brazilians have equal protection under the law.Organizers of the international activist group All Out write us today to request your signatures on the petition. They hope to gather 100,000 names and generate media attention when delivering the petitions to the president.
Don’t Filter Me
Dan Savage reports:
Say you’re a gay kid and you get online at school—let’s say you’re looking for LGBT scholarships to help pay for your education because your parents cut you off when you came out—so you get online at school and start Googling around. You quickly discover that every LGBT organization’s website is blocked. HRC is blocked, NGLTF, GLSEN, Trevor, It Gets Better, all the gay blogs, every gay publication, and every gay organization that offers scholarships to LGBT students. All blocked. But no anti-gay websites are blocked. PFOX, American Family Association, Exodus International, reparative therapists—every last anti-gay website, the website of every last officially certified anti-gay hate organization, is unblocked.
That’s a very specific kind of cyberbullying. It’s also a discriminatory and unconstitutional. And if your school is blocking pro-gay websites, the ACLU wants to hear from you.
CANADA: Florist Refuses Gay Wedding
A florist in New Brunswick has refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding because she “must respect her conscience before God.”After agreeing to provide the flowers for a wedding, Kim Evans of Petals and Promises Wedding Flowers sent an email last month to the couple, saying she didn’t know it was a same-sex wedding and would have no part of the ceremony. “I am choosing to decline your business. As a born-again Christian, I must respect my conscience before God and have no part in this matter,” the email said. Evans has not returned calls from CBC News to explain her decision. Mario Bourgeois Leduc, wedding planner for the couple, who didn’t want their names released, said he was appalled by the florist’s email, especially since “you’re celebrating love and you’re going against all of the odds to celebrate what is important in your life.” “This is going to stay with them for years, because they were again told that their lives are not OK.”According to the New Brunswick Human Rights Act, businesses cannot refuse customers based on sexual orientation. This Saturday a group of LGBT activists will hold a protest at the shop.A group of gays and lesbians form New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are planning a protest at Petals and Promises florist shop, 39 Glen Pine Drive, in Riverview, New Brunswick. The demonstration will take place on Saturday, March 19, from 3 to 6 PM. Protesters are encouraged to bring flowers to lay at the doorstep of the florist shop to make the point that the LGBT community is aware of the illegal actions of the florist in refusing services for a same-sex wedding, yet they are not condemning them for their religious beliefs.
Should the couple pursue a complaint, you can bet this incident will be heralded by the Christianist right as yet another example of the legalized homofacism coming to America.
Since when florists are homophobic? That’s one of the most flaming jobs ever!
Irish Minister Criticizes NYC St. Pat’s Parade
The Advocate reports:
Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore criticized the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade for its ban on LGBT groups, saying, “Exclusion is not an Irish thing.”
Gilmore, who assumed his new post in the last week, made the remarks Wednesday during a historic meeting with Irish LGBT leaders at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan. In addition to the gay boycott, many allied political leaders avoid the St. Patrick’s Day in New York City because its sponsoring organization prohibits LGBT participants from marching under the own banners.
The Irish Voice reported on the meeting with Gilmore.
"What these parades are about is a celebration of Ireland and Irishness,” he said. “I think they need to celebrate Ireland as it is, not as people imagine it. Equality is very much the center of who we are in our identity in Ireland."
"This issue of exclusion is not Irish, let’s be clear about it. Exclusion is not an Irish thing….. I think that’s the message that needs to be driven home,” he said.
Gilmore said that as the government prepares to draft a new constitution for Ireland in 2016, it planned to introduce a mandate to hold a discussion at the constitutional convention about including marriage equality.
According to the Voice, “Attendees at the meeting included Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Fay, Co-Chair’s of the inclusive Saint Pats For All parade in Queens; Council Member Daniel Dromm Chair of the Immigration Committee; journalist and New York Times contributor Michael Meenan; Father James J. Morris, priest and social worker and Sean Cahill, Managing Director of GMHC.”
KANSAS: Lawmakers Call For Continued Criminalization Of LGBT Residents
Even though in 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all anti-sodomy laws in its landmark Lawrence vs. Texas ruling, two state legislators in Kansas are fighting to keep their now unconstitutional laws on the books. The Kansas Equality Coalition reports:
State Representatives Jan Pauls (D, Hutchinson), and Lance Kinzer (R, Olathe) said yesterday that being gay or lesbian should remain a crime in Kansas. Pauls made, with Kinzer’s support, the successful motion in the Kansas Legislature’s Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee to keep the criminalization of gay and lesbian relationships on the books. Their action removed key language from HB2321, proposed by the Kansas Judicial Council, which would have resolved inconsistencies in Kansas criminal code, as well as remove unconstitutional laws. “Jan Pauls was trusted to be a judge before becoming a state representative, and should know better than to support unconstitutional laws, breaking her oath to defend the Constitution,” said Jon Powell, Chair of the Hutchinson Area chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition. “We are fed up with her obvious support of harassment of gays and lesbians. We will not be bullied.”
Equality-minded Kansans are encourage to join a March 17th demonstration calling for Rep. Paul’s removal as chairwoman of the Kansas House Judiciary Committee.
Wyoming Senate Kills Antigay Bill
The Advocate reports:
The Wyoming senate rejected a bill Wednesday that would have prevented the state from recognizing marriages for same-sex couples performed outside of the state with a 16-14 vote.
Without going through a debate process, the senate rejected the bill, which had previously been pared down by excluding language that said gay and lesbian couples in marriages or civil unions from other states would be allowed to resolve disputes in their relationships (like divorce) in the courts.
Hours earlier, the house approved the compromised measure with a 31-28 vote. During those heated debates, Republican Rep. Owen Peterson made the argument that the law was needed to close loopholes in Wyoming’s laws, which does not specify whether the state will recognize the marriages of all couples from outside of the state. However, fellow Rep. Pete Illoway said the existing law doesn’t need to be changed.
"People are equal, whether you agree with their lifestyle or not," he said according to the article. "People that you may not agree with are still people."
The legislation, according to Wyoming News, is now dead after rounds of negotiations and compromise between the house and senate, but can be sent back to a difference conference committee by the president of the senate.
MONTANA: Bill To Ban All Local LGBT Rights Passes House 60-39
Montana’s House yesterday voted 60-39 to approve Rep. Kristin Hansen’s bill to ban all local LGBT rights ordinances in the state.
The House took the first steps Tuesday toward striking down Missoula’s 2010 ordinance that bans discrimination against city residents based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Missoula’s Democratic legislators were infuriated by the passage of House Bill 516, by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre. Her bill passed 60-39 and faces a final House vote before heading to the Senate. Sixty Republicans voted for it. All 32 Democrats voted opposed it, joined by seven Republicans. One Republican was absent.
Rep. Sue Malek (D-Missoula) denounced the bill: “Leave us alone. Leave us alone. For heaven’s sake. We’re one little town in a corner of Montana that has nothing to do with you. You know, I mean, why can’t you let people live like they need to live their lives. Why can’t they love who they want to love? Why? I don’t understand it.”
That’s the issue. Everybody cares too much about other people’s business. A great contradiction of those pseudo-conservatives that want less government but can’t wait to take other people’s rights away. Sons of bitches. There, I’ve said it!
NORTH CAROLINA: 23 GOP State Pols Sponsor Ballot Ban On LGBT Unions
North Carolina GOP state Sen. James Forrester has introduced a ballot measure that would constitutionally ban the state from recognizing all LGBT unions. North Carolina already bans same-sex marriage by state statute.
Three-fifths of both the House and Senate must approve the amendment before it can appear on the ballot; the governor has no veto authority on amendments. Forrester, a Republican who has been the primary lead on the amendment for the past seven years, was joined in sponsoring the legislation by Jerry W. Tillman (R-Montgomery, Randolph) and Dan Soucek (R-Alexander, Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes). Twenty other senators, all Republican, are co-sponsoring the bill.
If approved, the measure will appear on the 2012 ballot.
UK: Turnabout For Gay Hotels
After a British court fined the owners of a bed-and-breakfast for turning away gay couples, attention has turned to gay hotels and guesthouses who may similarly discourage the patronage of heterosexuals.The Equality and Human Rights Commission is examining whether “gay-only” guesthouses breach new laws designed to prevent people being treated unfairly in the provision of goods or services. Last month, Christian owners of a guesthouse in Cornwall became the first to be found guilty of discrimination under equality laws after they refused to let a homosexual couple stay in a double room, in a legal action supported by the EHRC. Now, the watchdog says it must establish an “objective balance” by considering if gays-only accommodation also defies the legislation. Its lawyers are now investigating the issue and the EHRC says it has not ruled out taking legal action against “gay-only” hotels if they are deemed to be discriminating against heterosexuals.Owners of gay guesthouses quoted in the above-linked story say they would likely go out of business if forced to abandon their “exclusively gay” policies. No member of the public has yet to file a complaint against any of the gay businesses.
Montana Considers LGBT Antidiscrimination Bill
The Advocate reports:
Montana’s House Judiciary Committee is considering whether to include LGBT people in the state’s antidiscrimination law, KFBB.com reports.
“These are our sons, daughters and neighbors and constitutes and they are entitled to live a free life from discrimination,” said Democratic state representative Edie McClafferty, who has introduced legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Montana Human Rights Act.
But McClafferty’s bill was also met with opposition from some antigay groups during a Friday hearing in Helena: “This bill actually discriminates against me and those who believe as I do that homosexuality and transgender and all of these things is an abomination to God,” said Harold Himes, a pastor and a member of Montana Eagle Forum.
Read the full story here.
Gay Couple Wins U.K. Discrimination Suit
The Advocate reports:
A British gay couple have prevailed in a lawsuit against a Cornwall hotel whose owners denied them a room.
Martyn Hall and Steve Preddy, who have a civil partnership in the U.K., were awarded the equivalent of $2,800 by the court, USA Today reports.
The owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel had argued that they do not allow unmarried couples to rent rooms, regardless of sexual orientation.
Read more here.
I can’t believe that politicians like her are still voted for in America.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer couldn’t seem to get it together Wednesday night in the opening statement of her televised debate last night. Whether it was stage fright or a lack of preparation, the governor behind the state’s controversial new immigration law couldn’t seem to find the words to say… well, much of anything.