Monday, March 30, 2015

Indiana: The T-Shirt

Source.

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Fox Anchor Explains How Indiana's RFRA Is So Much Worse Than Other States

Carlos Maza writes for Media Matters:
Fox News anchor Bret Baier debunked the network's defense of Indiana's discriminatory "religious freedom" law, explaining that the law is broader than both federal law and similar measures in other states. Baier's comments echo what others have already noted: Indiana's RFRA is categorically different from other "religious freedom" laws, because it includes for-profit businesses under its definition of "persons" capable of religious expression. The Indiana law also allows private individuals and businesses to claim a religious exemption in court "regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding." Those differences -- which the ACLU has called "virtually without precedent" -- expand the scope of Indiana's RFRA and provide a legal defense for businesses and individuals who refuse service to LGBT residents.

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Wilco Cancels Indianapolis Concert

For those unaware, Wilco is a two-time Grammy-winning band whose last five albums reached the top ten of the Billboard chart. To date they've sold 2.5 million albums. Here they are performing a fan favorite on Letterman last year.

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Posted By Ben Shapiro

Apparently Ben Shapiro's Truth Revolt thinks that the horrific murders of 149 innocent people presents a hilarious opportunity to attack President Obama.

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INDIANA: GOP Indy Mayor Calls For LGBT Rights, GOP Reps Scamble To "Fix" Bill

GOP Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard today called for statewide LGBT anti-discrimination protections.
Ballard said Monday he is issuing an executive order that anyone who receives money from the city must abide by its human rights ordinance. The mayor called a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the city's responsde to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Pence last week. "Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity. And RFRA threatens what thousands have spent decades building," Ballard said. "Discrimination is wrong. And I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at our Statehouse." Ballard said that everyone will be welcome at the NCAA men's basketball Final Four this weekend. "Indianapolis will not be defined by this. Indianapolis welcomes everybody," he said. Later Monday, the City-County Council will introduce Proposition 120, a special resolution denouncing the law and urging the General Assembly to add protections for sexual orientation to state civil rights law. Failing that, the resolution says, the state should exempt local human rights ordinances from the statute.
Meanwhile Republican leaders of the Indiana Assembly are scrambling to cover their asses.

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Indiana Catholics Applaud RFRA Law

"Until recently, it was simply unthinkable that one person would attempt to force another to act contrary to that person’s religious conscience. While American law and culture reserved the right to act against religious practices when there was clear evidence that they directly endangered the public health and safety, it was simply not acceptable to force a person to choose between God and Government. Notwithstanding the Hobby Lobby decision, this has changed in many respects in many states’ laws and regulations. SB 101 Religious Freedom Restoration Act establishes a legal standard that protects state interests as well as individuals and religious institutions. When there is a compelling state interest in the law or regulation, it must be done in the least restrictive manner thus protecting both the common good while respecting the conscience and religious freedom of all affected. The Catholic Church supports SB 101 RFRA as a prudent way to ensure the religious freedom of Hoosier individuals and institutions." - The Indiana Catholic Conference, via press release. (Tipped by JMG reader Brandon)

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Randy Rainbow - A Song For Indiana


(Tipped by JMG reader Jay)

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TEXAS: GOP Rep Wants To Revoke Insurance Benefits For Same-Sex Partners Of Public School Employees

Only three Texas school districts offer plus-one insurance benefits that are inclusive of same-sex partners and even asshat Gov. Greg Abbott said that was legal back when he was the state's attorney general. But that isn't stopping state Rep Drew Springer.  John Wright reports at the Texas Observer:
Springer has introduced a budget amendment that would eliminate state funding for districts that violate the Texas Constitution, which prohibits recognition of same-sex partnerships. The amendment is similar to a bill Springer authored two years ago, which cleared committee but was never considered on the floor. Under Springer’s budget amendment, the education commissioner, in consultation with the attorney general, would decide whether districts have violated the Constitution. Districts would have 60 days to correct the problem. According to Equality Texas, Springer’s amendment is aimed at the Austin, Pflugerville and San Antonio school districts, which offer “plus-one” benefits that are inclusive of same-sex partners. But the group says those benefits are in line with a 2013 opinion from former Attorney General Greg Abbott, which found that such programs are only illegal if they create or recognize a status similar to marriage.
Before today Springer was most notorious for his Shopping Bag Freedom Act, which would have outlawed bans on plastic bags because, he claims, reusable fabric bags spread diseases.

RELATED: On Friday current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton won a preliminary injunction that bans LGBT state employees from the right to take medical leave when their partners are ill. That ruling currently also applies to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Nebraska.

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New Campaign Ad From Ted Cruz

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NORTH CAROLINA: GOP Governor Blasts Pending RFRA Bill, "Makes No Sense"

Via the Charlotte Observer:
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday called a GOP proposal to redistribute sales tax revenues “class warfare” that would raise taxes on “millions of people in North Carolina.” And the governor said another Republican bill designed to protect religious freedom “makes no sense.” “What is the problem they’re trying to solve?” McCrory said during a radio interview. “I haven’t seen it at this point in time.” McCrory’s comments on WFAE’s Mike Collins Show again put him at odds with General Assembly Republicans. McCrory compared the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” whose sponsors include two Charlotte lawmakers, to the effort to allow transgendered persons to use the bathroom of their choice. Both are not needed, he said. McCrory also said he opposes a Senate-passed bill to give magistrates the right not to perform same-sex marriages if they say that violates their religious beliefs. “I don’t think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold the constitution of North Carolina,” he said.
McCrory doesn't want to be another Mike Pence.

UPDATE: Equality North Carolina reacts.
Chris Sgro, exec. dir. of Equality NC, responded to the governor's comments by calling on North Carolinians to hold their electeds accountable and encourage more state leaders to vote against any and all legislation that would codify discrimination.

"It is heartening to see that our state's leaders are finally listening to the deafening calls from LGBT advocates, business leaders, faith communities, and North Carolina constituents, from Murphy to Manteo, all in opposition to this type of dangerous and discriminatory legislation." Sgro added, "These religious refusal bills are in no way similar to Charlotte's or any other state or local non-discrimination ordinance. Rather, RFRA essentially allows individuals to use their religious beliefs to harm others, paving the way for challenges to virtually any law designed to protect all of us from various forms of discrimination, in Charlotte and beyond.Therefore, Equality NC and our allies will do everything we can to make sure they never become law, from the committee rooms of our state legislature all the way to the governor's desk at the state capitol."

Equality NC is asking all North Carolinians to encourage their legislators to vote against this latest discriminatory RFRA legislation, as well as contact the governor to encourage him to stand by his comments, and veto any RFRA legislation that passes his desk. "Right now, we must not only protect the LGBT community but also North Carolina’s reputation as a place welcoming to all," said Sgro.

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Rafael Cruz: Defy SCOTUS On Marriage

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Freep This Indiana Poll

Right here. (Tipped by JMG reader Paul)

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Freedom Indiana: We Can Fix This Mess

Freedom Indiana today announced a legislative proposal to counter the hate bill signed last week by Gov. Mike Pence.
“Governor Pence can’t answer the question, but we can,” said Freedom Indiana campaign manager Katie Blair. “It’s clear the RFRA, which has attracted so much local and national attention, is doing considerable damage to our state. Freedom Indiana is ready with a proactive legislative solution that will demonstrate our commitment to fair treatment for all and send the message that we’re open for business. We urge the General Assembly to act quickly and pass this into law.”

The “Fairness for All Hoosiers Act” legislative proposal would: Update the state laws against discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations to provide protections for LGBT Hoosiers; Clarify that the recently enacted RFRA cannot be used to allow discrimination prohibited under state or local laws.

“If we don’t act now, we will continue to do irreparable harm to Indiana’s economy and our ability to attract top talent and jobs to our state,” Blair said. “We’re presenting this solution as a way to start rebuilding our reputation and to move on from this harmful legislation by ensuring protections for all Hoosiers.”

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HRC To Silicon Valley: Oppose The Arkansas License To Discriminate Bill

Published yesterday in the San Jose Mercury News. A digital version of the ad is also running on  tech websites and sites owned by the Wall Street Journal.

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CONNECTICUT: Gov. Dan Malloy To Ban State-Funded Travel To Indiana

Malloy's action follow similar orders from the mayors of San Francisco and Seattle. (Tipped by JMG reader Wayne)

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East Village Selfie Woman Apologizes

"It was inconsiderate to those hurt in the crash and to the city of New York. What happened last week in the East Village is not to be taken lightly and I regret my course of action." - Former Iowa Democratic Party Communications Director Christine Freundlich, apologizing for taking a cheerful  selfie in front of the gas explosion which destroyed the homes of over 100 New Yorkers, injured dozens, and killed two, whose bodies were recovered yesterday. (Tipped by JMG reader Ragnar)

CORRECTION: I posted the wrong photo in the first draft of this post. It's not clear that Freudlich was also part of the group whose selfie made the front page of the New York Post.

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CNN's Chris Cuomo Eviscerates FRC Hater Peter Sprigg Over Indiana's New Law

Mediaite recaps this morning's epic takedown:
"There is a picture that’s circulating around of the governor as he signed [the bill],” Cuomo said. “Several of the people in the picture are outspoken critics of gay existence. Now, that’s not a coincidence. It’s not a coincidence why you’re against it. Let me ask you, why do so many Christians these days believe that the exercise of their faith requires exclusion and judgment of others?” “Some people have a sincere, conscientious belief that marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman,” Sprigg replied. “In fact the majority of Americans believe that.”

“Popularity is not the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong if protecting rights under the Constitution,” Cuomo said. “The question then goes to: why do you need this? What is it about someone being gay or someone wanting to marry someone of the same sex — what is there in that that is keeping you from being the Christian you want to be?…If I said, Mr. Sprigg, you must go marry a man right now, you can say, no, that’s a violation of my faith. Maybe that, you would be able clear this burden. But how is wanting to judge others somehow stopping you from practicing your faith?”
Watch every minute of this and enjoy!

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From The Former Chairman Of NOM

(Via JMG reader Bryan)

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Lambda Legal Calls Out Pence's Lies

Via press release from Lambda Legal:
Governor Pence continues to deceive the public about this deeply flawed law. Let's clarify a few things.

Gov. Pence myth: SB 101 is just like Illinois law that then-State Senator Obama voted to support.

Truth: Gov. Pence fails to point out that Illinois has robust nondiscrimination clauses in its state Human Rights Act that specifically protect LGBT people. Indiana does not. This matters because those seeking to discriminate in Indiana may claim that the lack of a statewide law barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination means that there is no compelling state interest in enforcing local ordinances providing such protections.

Gov. Pence myth: This law only reinforces established law in Indiana.

Truth: The language in SB 101 is so broadly written that someone can sue even without their religious beliefs having actually been burdened simply by claiming that is 'likely' to happen.

Gov. Pence myth: SB101 is just like federal law that President Clinton signed 20 years ago.

Truth: SB 101 is substantially broader than the federal law. The federal RFRA can only be invoked against government action. SB 101 goes much further, inviting discrimination by allowing religious beliefs to be raised as a defense in lawsuits and administrative proceedings brought by workers, tenants and customers who have suffered discrimination. In addition, SB 101 makes it easier to claim a burden on religious freedom than the federal RFRA by defining the 'exercise of religion' as 'any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.'

"If Governor Pence meant it when he said that SB101 isn't intended to allow discrimination against LGBT people, then why were amendments designed to make that explicit repeatedly rejected during the legislative process? If he truly means what he says, then he and the legislature should work together to add this language: 'This chapter does not establish or eliminate a defense to a claim under any federal, state or local law protecting civil rights or preventing discrimination.' And the Indiana government should include gay and transgender people within Indiana's protections from discrimination."
BOOM.

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South African Comedian Trevor Noah Named As Jon Stewart's Replacement

Via the New York Times:
In December, Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old comedian, made his debut as an on-air contributor on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” offering his outsider’s perspective, as a biracial South African, on the United States. “I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa,” he said with a smile. “It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home.” Now, after only three appearances on that Comedy Central show, Mr. Noah has gotten a huge and unexpected promotion. On Monday, Comedy Central will announce that Mr. Noah has been chosen as the new host of “The Daily Show,” succeeding Mr. Stewart after he steps down later this year. The network’s selection of Mr. Noah comes less than two months after Mr. Stewart, 52, revealed on Feb. 10 that he was leaving “The Daily Show” after a highly successful 16-year run that transformed the show into authoritative, satirical comedy on current events.
Here is Noah's Daily Show debut from last year.

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NEW YORK: Prison Guard Suspended After Facebook Threat To Shoot Gay Neighbors

A part-time corrections officer in a Buffalo suburb has resigned after his superiors were notified that he had posted a Facebook message in which he threatened to shoot his gay neighbors. He has also been suspended from his full-time job at the infamous Attica state prison. Via the Buffalo News:
Richard “Rick” Pilarski Jr. resigned Saturday as a cell block attendant for the Cheektowaga Police Department after he acknowledged the Facebook exchange with family and friends in which he threatened to shoot gays. The exchange was spurred by a news account about a proposed ballot initiative in California known as the “Sodomite Suppression Act,” which calls for imposing the death penalty on gay men and women who are sexually active.

“We brought him in today and he decided to resign from the position,” Assistant Police Chief James J. Speyer said Saturday. “He was remorseful and apologetic. It is one of those situations where he never intended it to be something that would come out.” Speyer said the department received a complaint late last week and immediately suspended Pilarski without pay while beginning an investigation. Pilarski, 33, also was placed on administrative leave Friday from his job as full-time state corrections officer at Attica Correctional Facility, as the state investigates the complaint.

“Wouldn’t this be the greatest thing in the world??? The guys around the corner would be the first 2 faggots in my sights. What you do in your house is one thing but when you fly flags of equal rights and the rainbow flag in a small quiet neighborhood is another,” Pilarski posted Monday on Facebook. Pilarski acknowledged the Facebook posts were his but explained that he thought he was having a private conversation, Speyer said. After admitting the Facebook exchanges, Pilarski resigned from his part-time job, Speyer said. He worked five shifts a month in the cell block.
Prison officials and Pilarski's corrections officers union have declined to comment. His Facebook account has been deleted.

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GEORGIA: House Committee Cancels Meeting On License To Discriminate Bill

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
A specially called meeting of the House Judiciary Committee set for Monday was cancelled, leaving the future of the ‘religious liberty’ bill in doubt. The committee was to meet at 10 a.m., to likely decide the fate of a controversial bill for this year. But a member of the committee, who asked not to be identified for fear of angering leadership, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the meeting was off. The committee member did not know if it would be rescheduled, but with lawmakers only meeting in session Tuesday and Thursday before ending their 2015 session, time is rapidly expiring on Senate Bill 129.

In Georgia this past Thursday, in a surprise 9-8 vote, the Judiciary Committee voted to amend Senate Bill 129 to add language making clear the bill could not be used to discriminate against anyone already protected by any local, state or federal law. It was quickly tabled by supporters who said adding anti-discrimination language “gutted” the bill. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, and the deciding vote cast by Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta. Beskin, just a day before in subcommittee, had voted the other way — to deny the same protections against discrimination. Jacobs and Beskin, along with Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, the other Republican to vote for Jacobs’ amendment, were vilified by conservatives.
Dozens of Georgia municipalities currently have local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances.

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Matt Baume: Marriage News Watch

Clip recap: "Texas has won the right to have gays and lesbians fired for taking medical leave. The state's also working on a sneaky work-around to stop marriage equality, just in case the Supreme Court overturns the state's ban. And Alabama officials says that maybe gays and lesbians don't want to get married after all."

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NEW YORK CITY: Gay Activists Disrupt Speech By Jamaican Prime Minister

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller was delivering the keynote speech at the Sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in New York City on Thursday when she was interrupted by LGBT activists. Via the Washington Blade:
The advocates challenged the Jamaican prime minister over what they perceive as her government’s insufficient response to rampant anti-LGBT violence on the island that continues to make headlines around the world. This includes the release of a video earlier this month that reportedly shows a gay teenager being stoned to death in a street. The Jamaica-Gleaner, a Jamaican newspaper, reported that Simpson-Miller challenged the protesters from the podium. “Nobody ever hears the government of Jamaica beating up gays; not one,” she said. “Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman came here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere. And I will speak the truth everywhere.” Members of the advocacy group also confronted her outside the church. They chanted “Gay rights Portia. Protect Jamaica’s gays” as she entered the building.
Several months ago US-based hate group leaders including Mat Staver and Judith Reisman traveled to Jamaica where they spoke against the repeal of the country's anti-sodomy laws. Also recently appearing in Jamaica in support of anti-LGBT laws was Peter LaBarbera. Watch Simpson-Miller's furious reaction below.

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Carly Fiorina: There's A 90% Chance I'm Running For President In 2016

Suggested campaign slogan: "I've never held public office but check out my track record of wrecking billion-dollar corporations!"

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Tim Cook: Americans Need To Stand Up Against License To Discriminate Laws

"Men and women have fought and died fighting to protect our country’s founding principles of freedom and equality. We owe it to them, to each other and to our future to continue to fight with our words and our actions to make sure we protect those ideals. The days of segregation and discrimination marked by 'Whites Only' signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone. This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous." - Apple CEO Tim Cook, writing for the Washington Post.

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Today In Tired Wingnut Memes

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Look Who Lined Up With Gov. Mike Pence To Sign License To Discriminate Bill

As you may recall, the official photo released by Pence's office showed him surrounded by nuns and monks. But look who else was also there.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence: The Supercut

Watch this.

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Today's New York Post

Via Gothamist:
The photo of 7 women cheerfully taking a selfie on 2nd Avenue—as buildings crumble and burn behind them, and victims of the explosion remain missing—was almost unbelievable. The selfie stick, the beaming smiles... surely this was Photoshopped. It wasn't. The very real photo quickly spread online yesterday, and this morning the NY Post has put the young women on their cover, with the words: VILLAGE IDIOTS. Things are not going so good if the NY Post is, quite rightfully, calling you "tasteless" and "heartless." The explosion, which took place at 2nd Avenue near 7th Street, took down three buildings (119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue), injured dozens, and displaced residents and commercial businesses; Nicholas Figueroa, 23, and Moises Ismael Locón Yac, 27, remain missing.
The three destroyed buildings contained about 70 apartments and a dozen street-level businesses. As you can see, many other apartments were destroyed in the adjacent buildings still standing.

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Tony Perkins: Stop Bullying Indiana

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Won't Admit Truth About License To Discriminate Law

Mediaite reports:
This Week host George Stephanopoulos absolutely grilled Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) over the newly-signed “religious freedom” bill, which critics maintain would allow businesses to refuse services to LGBT customers. Pence argued that the bill’s intentions had been misrepresented in media coverage, and insisted he would not change the bill, though he did continue to say he would “clarify” it.

However, Pence refused to answer two “yes or no” questions posed to him by Stephanopoulos over the potentially discriminatory ramifications of the bill, including whether it would allow a florist to deny services to a gay couple, as its supporters maintain. “There’s been shameless rhetoric about my state and this law and its intention all over the internet,” Pence said. “People are trying to make it about one particular issue, and now you’re doing that as well.”

Stephanopoulos asked the question several more times. “It’s a simple yes or no question,” Stephanopoulos said. Pence reiterated that he will not make LGBT citizens a protected class. “It doesn’t have anything to do with this law,” he objected. “This isn’t about individual rights or preferential rights for anyone.”
If Pence thought he'd be doing damage control today, he was dreaming. Over and over he refused to give a straight answer.

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Indiana, A Great Place To Be A Bigot

"Paid for by the Indiana Board of Terrible People."

(Tipped by JMG reader Michael)

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BRITAIN: It's The First Anniversary Of Marriage Equality In England And Wales

Via Pink News:
The Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act received Royal Assent on 17 July 2013, paving the way for couples to marry in England and Wales from March 29, 2014. Today, the first couples to marry celebrate their first wedding anniversaries, and campaigners are also marking the day. Though England, Wales and subsequently Scotland have all enacted same-sex marriage, it is still banned in Northern Ireland, as well as in Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
The couple seen above were among the first to marry at midnight one year ago. They used their moment in the national press to comment upon the plight of LGBT people in Nigeria, Russia, and Uganda.

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MONTANA: License To Discriminate Ballot Measure Tabled After Deadlocked Vote

Politics USA reports:
After a heated floor debate, the Montana House failed to pass a “religious freedom” bill, deadlocking on a 50-50 vote, effectively defeating House Bill 615 on Friday. H.B. 615, sponsored by Rep. Karl Glimm (R-Kila), would have placed a legislative referendum on the November 2016 ballot that, if approved by voters, would have legalized discrimination, if it was based on a person’s religious beliefs. The vote fell mostly on party lines, with all 41 Democrats voting NAY, compared to 50 Republicans who voted YEA, with 9 Republicans joining the Democrats, in voting against the measure. The debate on the House Floor was impassioned, with Democrats raising a number of objections to the legislation. Rep. Margie MacDonald (D-Billings) hoisted up a copy of The White Man’s Bible, a White Nationalist religious text, for the racist Church of the Creator (COTC), arguing that the language in the bill would essentially legalize anything done in the name of a religious belief system.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: "What's happening in Indiana is something that shouldn't be happening in Montana. We don't need laws like that imported into our state." (Tipped by JMG reader Bison)

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IRELAND: #RingYourGranny For Marriage

"I decided to call my Grandmother and ask her to vote yes for Marriage Equality in Ireland this May."

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

INDIANA: Gov. Mike Pence Promises New Bill To "Clarify Intent" Of Anti-LGBT License To Discriminate Law

Via the Indianapolis Star:
Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians. “I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Pence said in an exclusive interview. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.” The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week. Asked if that legislation might include making gay and lesbian Hoosiers a protected legal class, Pence said, “That’s not on my agenda.” Amid the deepest crisis of his political career, Pence said repeatedly that the intense blowback against the new law is the result of a “misunderstanding driven by misinformation.” He adamantly insisted that RFRA will not open the door to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. But he did acknowledge that Indiana’s image — and potentially its economic health — has been hurt badly by the controversy.
Chad Griffin is calling bullshit.
UPDATE: Freedom Indiana reacts in similar fashion.
Governor Pence didn't listen last week when he signed this discriminatory law into effect, and he's still not listening to the growing chorus of criticism locally and nationally. While we appreciate his recognition that he's placed our state in peril, he's obviously trying to have it both ways. You can't 'clarify' discrimination. Indiana now has billions of dollars and thousands of jobs on the line, all because the Governor wouldn't stop this dangerous bill. He has a second chance to save our reputation for Hoosier hospitality, but he has to stand up and protect LGBT Hoosiers. Discrimination is not a core Hoosier value, and we can't afford to let our state continue to suffer. Please, Governor, listen to the voices of common sense and reason trying to get through to you. Fix the bill to protect all Hoosiers, and make it clear our state is open for business again.

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INDIANA: Thousands Protest Against State's License To Discriminate Law

Via the Indianapolis Star:
When Annette Gross made plans for a rally in Indianapolis against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, she had only hoped for 100 people to show up. "I'm a superstitious person," said the Carmel mom, who started a Facebook page about the rally only a few days earlier. "I don't like to say we're going to do this or that. But we got 'em." Instead, several thousand attended the rally. Gross, an advocate for the LGBT community, couldn't believe her eyes when she looked out onto the crowd in Downtown Indianapolis on Saturday. The number of protesters quickly grew as the crowd marched from Monument Circle to the Indiana Statehouse to express their displeasure with Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who signed the legislation Thursday. "No hate in our state," they shouted. Call and response chants continued on the Statehouse lawn, while speakers used a megaphone to address the crowd.
RELATED: Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle announced today that he has canceled plans for a $40M expansion of his company's Indiana headquarters. A backlash against Angie's List is already underway from Twitter's haters.

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ITALY: Activists Counter Neo-Nazis With Public Reading Of LGBT Children's Books

Yesterday I reported that Italy's neo-Nazi New Front Party planned to hold a burning of LGBT children's books in a central plaza in Milan. Local activists had demanded that city authorities stop the event and that may have happened. Not stopped, however, was a large counter-protest by LGBT activists and allies, who this afternoon staged a public reading of numerous LGBT children's titles.  Bravo Milano! Meanwhile the neo-Nazis are mocking the counter-protest on their Facebook page.

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You Knew This Was Coming

British and German tabloids are claiming that the Germanwings pilot was "tormented" about being gay. From Britain's Daily Star, which has more than twice the circulation of the Guardian:
Lubitz’ relationship with his girlfriend is said to have broken down and it has been claimed that he was secretly homosexual. He was even taunted by pilot pals for previously being a “trolley dolly” airline steward and dubbed Tomato Andy – a derogatory gay slur. It also emerged the David Guetta fan enjoyed partying at a German nightclub which holds boozy, circus-themed events involving drag queens and dwarves. The lively Agostea club in Koblenz lies 20 minutes from the home he shared with his parents in the German town of Montabaur. The revelations came as German airline Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, announced it would pay up to e50,000 “immediate financial assistance” to relatives of every victim of the horror crash.
From The Mirror tabloid:
Former colleagues told how Lubitz was mercilessly taunted over his cabin crew past. He was nicknamed “Tomato Andy” because they believed he didn’t know if he was a “fruit or veg” – a reference to his sexuality. One ex-workmate said it was slang term for a “straight who was really gay”. Another added: “Everyone thought it strange that he kept on going back home to his mum and dad at weekends. "He had a nice car, a good job, and good prospects, but he seemed to spend all his time by himself.” Lubitz bought two top-of-the-range Audi cars earlier this month. One was said to be a present for himself and the other for his girlfriend. Habibalah Hassani, 53, who runs a pizza restaurant near the killer pilot’s Dusseldorf home, said he had often seen him with his lover. But neighbours in Montabaur claimed she had not been seen there recently.
Rumors about the pilot's sexuality have even been picked up by the reputable Independent:
Mass-murdering Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had had a “serious relationship crisis” with his girlfriend, investigators told Germany’s Bild newspaper yesterday, and according to one report last night he split with her the day before the crash. An ex-girlfriend told Bild that Lubitz had once told her he wanted his name remembered and that he planned to go down in history by doing something to “change the whole system”. "People all over the world will know my name." Other theories concerned his sexuality. There was speculation yesterday that he may have been gay and felt forced to keep it secret, after it emerged that a male friend had sent a message to Lubitz’s personal website after the crash. It read: “We were only talking yesterday about what we would do together when you came back. You always made me smile.” It was suggested to The Independent that “Tomato Andi” was a joke gay term used to describe someone who repressed their homosexuality, a tomato being commonly referred to as a vegetable despite being a fruit. In any case, it now seems certain that Lubitz had serious psychological problems which he kept secret.
Meanwhile American crackpots like Pam Geller and Jim Hoft are predictably claiming that the pilot was a recent convert to Islam.

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States File Their Briefs To SCOTUS

Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio all filed their marriage ban defense briefs with the Supreme Court yesterday afternoon. Chris Geidner reports at Buzzfeed:
In Michigan, where a same-sex couple wishes to marry and has sued the state, the state filed its brief with the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon, arguing that the Constitution does not require that states allow same-sex couples to marry. “This case is not about the best definition of marriage or any stereotypes about families. Families come in all types, and parents of all types—married or single, gay or straight—love their children,” lawyers for the state write. “This case is about whether the Fourteenth Amendment imposes a single marriage view on all states such that the people have no right to decide. It does not.”

Former Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch has been brought back on board as the counsel of record for the state and will be arguing before the justices in defense of such bans for Michigan and Kentucky on April 28. Tennessee Associate Solicitor General Joseph Whalen will be arguing in defense of recognition bans for Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.  In Ohio, where the state’s law and amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages granted elsewhere are being challenged, Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office filed a brief arguing that the marriage issue is best left to the “democratic process” — an argument that formed a significant portion of the appeals court decision upholding the four states’ bans.
Here are all four briefs: Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio. Dig in and excerpt the parts that jump out at you.

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Bryan Fischer On Indiana

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Brian Brown Applauds Indiana

"The state of Indiana has stepped up to the plate in defending marriage and religious freedom. If you remember, a federal judge recently struck down Indiana's state marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That decision will be subject to whatever Supreme Court ruling is issued this summer. But the marriage champions in the Hoosier state wouldn't sit back and wait. They acted to defend marriage and religious liberty by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act this week by overwhelming majorities in the state House and Senate. Governor Pence just signed the bill yesterday. The new legislation protects individuals who wish to live their lives and run their businesses in keeping with their sincere and deeply held religious beliefs. I'd like to thank Governor Pence and the brave legislators of the state of Indiana for being pro-active in defending marriage and religious liberty, and urge every state in the union to follow their lead in passing similar legislation." - Brian Brown, in yesterday's money beg for Hate March III.

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Satan Crashed That German Airliner

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Tony Perkins Has The RINO Sadz

"Almost a dozen Republicans -- some who visibly campaigned on natural marriage -- sided with Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) in tearing down the last two federal holdouts that respect state marriage laws: the social security and veterans' administrations. Unlike other departments, these agencies have consistently recognized marriage for couples based on the state where they live -- not the state where they 'married.' In a stunning betrayal of voters and the GOP platform, 11 RINOs decided the federal government should trump state laws on marriage and force states to bow to the Left's definition. In other words, the question was not just about what marriage is, but who gets to decide. Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Ron Johnson (Wisc), and Bob Corker (Tenn.) made it clear that they were quite comfortable undermining state marriage laws -- even when many of these same Republicans (Tillis in particular) -- were fighting last year to defend them!" - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, via email.

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