Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Monday voted to keep the word “homosexuality” included in the state’s public indecency and obscenity laws, angering top-ranking Democrats including those who introduced legislation to remove the classification from the books.
Currently, for example, Pennsylvania law on prostitution characterizes “homosexual” sex among “deviate sexual relations.”
“Sexual conduct means acts of masturbation, homosexuality, sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality or physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or, if such person be a female, breast.”
SB 609 would have removed the word “homosexual” or “homosexuality” from obscenity laws.
But on a party line vote every Republican, led by Speaker Brian Cutler (photo), elected to abuse, attack, demean, mock, and marginalize the state’s LGBTQ community by voting against the bill.
Democratic Rep. Brian Sims, the state’s first openly gay elected lawmaker who is running for Lieutenant Governor in the 2022 election, blasted his GOP colleagues:
“Compounding the rampant homophobia of the Republican caucus with this type of aggressive cowardice is so painfully on brand. May you never have to see your colleagues vote to keep the ways you love a ‘crime,'” Sims also tweeted.
It was December 9, 2010. Joe Manchin, the former Democratic Governor of West Virginia, cast his first vote as a newly-sworn-in U.S. Senator. He voted against repealing the discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
“As a Senator of just three weeks, I have not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia.”
That’s the same Joe Manchin who in 1982 had begun his political career as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.
After nearly three decades of serving as a lawmaker, Secretary of State, and a governor, Senator Manchin felt he wasn’t sufficiently well-enough informed to do the right thing and vote to protect America’s LGBTQ service men and women.
Fast forward to today, when Joe Manchin has now been in public service for almost 40 years.
On the campaign trail Joe Biden indicated his top priority was passing the LGBTQ Equality Act, legislation that has been introduced into Congress in various forms since the 1970’s, even longer than the 73-year old Senator from West Virginia has been in politics. Biden said he wanted to sign the Equality Act into law in his first 100 days.
There are three things getting in the way of legislation that seven out of 10 Americans not only support, but think is already federal law: the filibuster, Republicans, and Joe Manchin. Ironically, Manchin, like Republicans, opposes killing the filibuster and opposes passing the Equality Act.
“A little more than two months into Biden’s term,” The Daily Beast reports, “Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has taken on the role of perpetual fly in the ointment of progressive legislation. The Equality Act is no exception.”
Make no mistake, Manchin is anti-LGBTQ. He opposes same-sex marriage (although agrees it is settled law) and echoing the massive conservative campaign against transgender people, opposes the Equality Act (in part) because, he claims, it does not provide “sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it, particularly with respect to students transitioning between genders in public schools.”
That is not the function of legislation, that is the function of the Dept. of Education, something Manchin certainly must know.
“In private, according to those familiar, Manchin has been equally skeptical this time around, citing a massive call-in campaign organized by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation intended to sink the bill. Manchin told one co-sponsor of the Equality Act that the calls to his office were opposed to the legislation ‘a thousand to one.'”
The Beast calls getting 60 votes to pass the Equality Act without one of them being Manchin’s “functionally impossible, given the Senate’s current makeup.”
A far right anti-LGBTQ “pro-family” lawmaker responsible for drafting Hungary’s pro-Christian constitution that bans same-sex marriage was arrested fleeing an all-gay sex party in Belgium that violated Brussels’ coronavirus lockdown.
Hungarian politician József Szájer, 59, resigned as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Sunday, after his arrest Friday, The Daily Beast reports. According to reports he was carrying a backpack with narcotics – ecstasy – which he denies.
Officers burst into the ground floor of a bar on Rue des Pierres in the Belgian capital on Friday night to discover alcohol, drugs and what has been described as “a party of legs in the air,” Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure (DH) reported, with a source claiming: “We interrupted a gang bang!”
Reports say about 20 people or more were involved at the event, held above the gay bar and near a police station. Neighbors had called to complain about the noise.
Hungary protects the institution of marriage between man and woman, a matrimonial relationship voluntarily established, as well as the family as the basis for the survival of the nation,” reads the 2011 constitution he co-wrote. It is subtitled, “God Bless Hungarians.”
Szájer has been an elected official for three decades, since 1990. He also once served as party leader of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s far right populist Christian nationalism Fidesz party.
Just one day after 2020’s historic Election Day, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a landmark case seeking to revoke non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, along with minority religious groups like Jews and Muslims. The case could hand Christians special rights to discriminate. It relies on overturning a 30-year precedent, something Justice Amy Coney Barrett has said she is not opposed to doing.
The City of Philadelphia notified Catholic Social Services in 2018 that it would no longer send children to them to be fostered or adopted because of the religious group’s refusal to place children in homes headed by same-sex couples or LGBTQ people.
With the loss of placements comes a loss of taxpayer funds. CSS isn’t banned from continuing to adhere to its policies or religious beliefs, it just won’t be able to use children the City of Philadelphia was sending them as tools to continue its discriminatory practices.
“In court papers, the group has argued that Philadelphia’s moves unlawfully targeted its right to exercise its religion, which is protected under the First Amendment,” CNBC reports. “Philadelphia, on the other hand, has said it is entitled to enforce anti-discrimination policies in order to protect LGBT residents. The city says it is not hostile to religion, noting that its policies apply evenly to religious and secular government contractors.”
“I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man.”
A three-year NFL veteran, now a free agent, says in a revealing and personal 2300 word ESPN interview he is bisexual. Ryan Russell, who played for the Dallas Cowboys for one season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons says he just interviewed with an NFL team but he knows that “truth is survival,” and he can no longer live his life in separate worlds – a word he uses 16 times.
“My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man,” Russell tells ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz.
“Have I lied to teammates, coaches, trainers, front-office executives and fans about who I am? Not exactly,” Russell adds. “But withholding information is a form of deceit. And I want the next part of my career — and life — steeped in trust and honesty. During the season you spend more time with your team than with your own family; truth and honesty are the cornerstones of a winning culture.”
He adds that he has “two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly. I want to live my dream of playing the game I’ve worked my whole life to play, and being open about the person I’ve always been.”
“Those two objectives shouldn’t be in conflict. But judging from the fact that there isn’t a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL, brings me pause. I want to change that — for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”00:3500:44
Russell tells Outsports he “has comfortably settled into the bisexual identity he feels is his true self, as he lives openly for the first time. Now he’s preparing to move in with his boyfriend, Corey O’Brien, as they launch a new YouTube channel together.”
And he adds, “I’ve been able to live this genuine existence and hold my boyfriend’s hand in public. For me now, there’s no going back.”
Brief falsely suggests LGBTQ people do not exist, but rather are choosing “actions, behaviors, or inclinations.”
53 members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are urging the nation’s highest court to rule against LGBTQ people when it hears three landmark cases October 8. The lawmakers, all Republicans (list below), say the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not – and should not be interpreted to – protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, including their own constituents.
In a grotesque and ignorant reading of a key portion of the 55-year old legislation the Republican lawmakers suggest LGBTQ people do not exist, but rather are choosing “actions, behaviors, or inclinations,” which is false.
“Title VII’s sex discrimination provision prohibits discrimination because of an individual’s sex; it does not prohibit discrimination because of an individual’s actions, behaviors, or inclinations,” the lawmakers say in the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court.
“What the statute actually prohibits is discrimination ‘because of [an] individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,’” the Republicans insist.
The Advocate notes the brief “demeans the plaintiffs bringing actions forward to the court,” including claiming one of the plaintiffs only claimed he was gay so he could sue for wrongful termination. It also repeatedly misgenders a funeral director who is a woman and transgender, referring to her as “he.”00:0000:44
The brief also wrongly claims a correct interpretation of the Civil Rights Act to include LGBTQ people would “adversely” affect “the protection of women’s rights.”
And in a nod to the Hobby Lobby case, the brief proclaims that the “funeral home is a closely held corporation whose principal is a Christian,” strongly suggesting it is his First Amendment right to fire someone because they are LGBT.
The friend of the court brief was co-authored by Ken Starr, the former head of Baylor University who resigned in disgrace. Starr is also known for having defended Jeffrey Epstein, for being an attorney representing supporters of California’s anti-gay Prop 8, and the infamous special prosecutor whose work led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
It is unknown if taxpayer funds were used to pay for the brief.
Republican Senators who have signed the amicus brief include Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, Mike Braun, John Cornyn, Kevin Cramer, James Inhofe, James Lankford, and Mike Lee.
Republican Representatives include: Robert B. Aderholt (AL-04), Rick W. Allen (GA-12), Brian Babin (TX-36), Jim Banks (IN-03), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Ted Budd (NC-13), Michael C. Burgess (TX-26), Doug Collins (GA-09), Warren Davidson (OH-08), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Bill Flores (TX-17), Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Paul A. Gosar, (AZ-04), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Michael Guest (MS-03), Andy Harris (MD-01), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Jody Hice (GA-10), George Holding (NC-02), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Jim Jordan (OH-04), Steve King (IA-04), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Thomas Massie (KY-04), Mark Meadows (NC-11), Alex X. Mooney (WV-02), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Pete Olson (TX-22), Gary Palmer (AL-06), John Ratcliffe (TX-04), David Rouzer (NC-07), Van Taylor (TX-03), Tim Walberg (MI-07), Mark Walker (NC-06), Randy K. Weber (TX-14), Ron Wright (TX-06), and Ted S. Yoho (FL-03).
In the years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same rights and responsibilities to marriage that different-sex couples do, the National Organization For Marriage, known to many simply as “NOM,” was a recognized leader in the fight against equality.
The religious right poured millions of dollars into the tiny organization, despite its ludicrous efforts to battle equality. Some said it was the Catholic Church. Others said it was the Mormon Church. At one point, investigations into NOM’s taxes revealed the vast majority of its funding came from a tiny handful of anonymous donors sinking a few million into the group’s coffers.
Despite ever-increasing and ever-desperate fundraising emails, their funding was drying up even before the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision. Their leaders found jobs elsewhere, and today it’s unclear if NOM really even exists anymore – and if so, to what degree.
Visitors to the once-infamous NOMblog.com are now greeted with a GoDaddy screen declaring: “NOTICE: This domain name expired on 7/25/2019 and is pending renewal or deletion.”
Domain owners are sometimes given a few weeks to renew in case of an accidental lapse, but at some point the owners lose any rights to the domain and someone else can snatch it up, via auction or just trying to register it once it goes dead.
And someone has.
“I’ve put in the required whopping $12 bid to snap up the domain,” Jervis announces, noting he’ll forward any traffic from visitors to NOMblog to his own site.
In a stunning move the Trump Dept. of Justice is trying to get the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC) to reverse years of findings and rulings, and declare that discrimination against LGBT workers is legal. The EEOC does not make law but its findings are highly-regarded and taken into account by the courts.
Now, the DOJ is “urging,” as Bloomberg Law reports, the EEOC to “flip” its position, and tell the U.S. Supreme Court discriminating against LGBT workers is not a form of sex bias and therefore is totally legal.
“Political leadership in the Solicitor General’s office wants the EEOC on board to show the high court that the Trump administration is now unified in the belief that Congress didn’t have lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers in mind when it passed a federal workplace discrimination law more than five decades ago,” Bloomberg Law states.
The government has until Friday to decide how it will proceed – united or not.00:1100:44
The EEOC successfully sued on behalf of a transgender woman who worked as a funeral home director in Michigan, but was fired when she said she would be transitioning. The Justice Dept. would like the case reversed by the Supreme Court.
Bloomberg says it’s “unlikely” the EEOC will reverse course, but it also reports the DOJ could just roll over the EEOC. Given its history under the Trump administration, it seems that is more likely to happen than Bloomberg suggests.
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) has no problem pretending to be pro-LGBT when he’s at a fundraiser hosted by a conservative LGBT organization, but he can’t hide his record from voters or from his challenger, a gay Democrat.
Dan Baer, a former U.S. Ambassador under President Barack Obama, announced in April he is running for the U.S. Senate, hoping to win the Democratic nomination and the Senate seat currently held by Gardner. As The Advocate reports, Baer “just received the endorsement of the LGBTQ Victory Fund,” which works to help elect out LGBTQ candidates.
Baer, if elected, would be the first openly gay man to serve in the U.S. Senate. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who is a lesbian, was the first out LGBT person elected to serve in the Senate.
As the Colorado Times Recorder reported in May, Sen. Gardner “was one of three swing-state Republican senators to receive money from a fundraiser hosted by American Unity Fund (AUF), a conservative LGBT rights group.”
Here he is posing with “AUF supporter Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers,” who “posted a picture of Gardner and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) posing with Timmons and his husband at the event.”00:0100:45
Senator Gardner’s anti-LGBT history is well-known. He has been rated extremely low (12% and 16%) by HRC.
Gardner has a troubling relationship with marriage equality. He has stated very publicly his opposition, but in his tough race against Democrat Tom Udall, the incumbent, Gardner massaged his position, saying it was a matter for the courts.
In June of 2014 HRC called Gardner’s views on equality “incredibly antiquated,” noting he “voted against allowing unmarried same-sex partners to adopt children and to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.” Gardner, HRC said, “is determined to discriminate against and exclude LGBT people.”
Later that year, less than one month before he would be elected to the U.S. Senate, Gardner “issued a statement … that he isn’t budging from his position that marriage should only be between a man and a woman but also emphasizing his respect for the law and for all couples,” Colorado’s Fox 31 reported.
“My views on marriage have long been clear,” Gardner told the Denver-based station. “I believe we must treat each other with dignity and respect. This issue is in the hands of the courts and we must honor their legal decisions.”
His press secretary in that same article is quoted saying Gardener is “a strong supporter of marriage equality.”
Marriage equality seems to be a marriage of convenience for Sen. Gardner.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced the formation of a new commission that will take a “fresh look” at human rights through the lens of “natural law,” and civil and human rights advocates are outraged. In preliminary filings the State Dept. noted the Commission will explore “our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.”
“Natural law,” is religious right wing extremist code for anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights, especially marriage for same-sex couples.
“I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to claim something is, in fact, a human right?” Pompeo told reporters Monday, adding, as Yahoo News notes, that “words like rights can be used for good or evil.”
Glendon should understand Pompeo’s remarks. She penned a 2004 op-ed supporting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In a unique twist of language she claimed the amendment “should be welcomed by all Americans who are concerned about equality and preserving democratic decision-making.”
And in a shocking move Glendon chastised the awarding of a Pulitzer Prize to the Boston Globe for its work exposing pedophile priests. She reportedly said; “If fairness & accuracy have anything to do with it, awarding the Pulitzer to the Boston Globe would be like giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Osama bin Laden.”
Anti-gay hate group leader Tony Perkins was briefed on the Commission before it was officially announced, CBS News reports.
A State Dept. official says the Commission is a “personal project” of Secretary Pompeo’s, and Politico reports the Commission “was conceived with almost no input from the State Department’s human rights bureau, people familiar with the matter say, effectively sidelining career government experts who have focused on human rights policy and history across numerous administrations.”
“This administration has actively worked to deny and take away long-standing human rights protections since Trump’s inauguration. If this administration truly wanted to support people’s rights, it would use the global framework that’s already in place. Instead, it wants to undermine rights for individuals, as well as the responsibilities of governments.”
“This approach only encourages other countries to adopt a disregard for basic human rights standards and risks weakening international, as well as regional frameworks, placing the rights of millions of people around the world in jeopardy.”
“International agreements, like the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, have been upheld by prior administrations over the last 71 years, regardless of their party. This politicization of human rights in order to, what appears to be an attempt to further hateful policies aimed at women and LGBTQ people, is shameful.”