Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ARKANSAS: Walmart Tells Governor To Veto License To Discriminate Bill

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Brian Brown: Don't Let Bullies Intimidate Arkansas Like They Did With Indiana

From Brian Brown:
Dear Marriage Supporter, DON'T LET THEM DO TO ARKANSAS WHAT THEY DID TO INDIANA! Minutes ago Arkansas passed a religious freedom bill. We know the other side is going to try to bully and intimidate Governor Hutchinson out of signing this bill. The time to act is NOW! Support Governor Hutchinson and urge him to Not be Bullied and Sign the Law. Also tweet out #IStandWithArkansas and get onto Facebook and let everyone know your support! It's urgently needed that you forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to take action as well. We must stand up against this pernicious assault against religious liberty.
So far there are exactly two tweets with the #IStandWithArkansas hashtag. Maybe we can help them out with a little hijacking.

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FOTF On Indiana: Liberals Have Launched A War On The Freedom Of Religion

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ARKANSAS: State House Sends Anti-Gay License To Discriminate Bill To Desk Of GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson

Via Arkansas Online:
Arkansas's Religion Freedom Restoration Act was approved by the state's House of Representatives on Tuesday in a final vote before it heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk. Hutchinson has said repeatedly he will sign the measure into law despite opponents who have called it discriminatory and a backlash against similar legislation in Indiana that has that state's governor seeking to further clarify the law's scope. The Arkansas House passed amendments in three separate votes: 68-19, 67-18 and 67-21, to HB1228 on Tuesday. The chamber previously approved the bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville [PHOTO], but had to approve a new version with amendments added in the state Senate.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola is calling for the governor to veto the bill.
Stodola had a signed letter hand delivered to Hutchinson's office Monday that listed his reasons for being opposed to House Bill 1228, which would not allow the state to "substantially burden a person's right to exercise of religion" unless doing so is necessary "to further a compelling state interest." The capital city's mayor wrote that freedom of religion is already embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

"Indeed, before the introduction of HB1228, the people of Arkansas have always given a high priority to religious freedom and they will continue to give religious freedom a high priority if it is not enacted. This type of legislation is simply not necessary," Stodola wrote. Critics say the bill would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and others. Hundreds rallied against the bill at the state Capitol on Monday when a House committee approved Senate amendments to the bill.

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REVEALED: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's Ugly History Of Anti-LGBT Advocacy

This afternoon Buzzfeed used the evil Wayback Machine to uncover the anti-LGBT positions staked out by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence back when he was running for Congress in 2000.  Business Insider gives us the recap:
"Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual's as a 'discreet and insular minority' entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities," his website stated under the headline: "The Pence Agenda: A Guide To Renewing The America Dream." Pence's old campaign website contained several other controversial claims about the gay community. He apparently advocated ending the military's former "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that allowed gays to serve if they did not disclose their sexuality. The text on his site indicated the rule was problematic because gays should not be allowed in the armed forces under any circumstances. "In addition to defense spending, Congress should lead a national debate on reforming the military by bringing an end to the 'don't ask/don't tell' policy of permitting homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion," his agenda stated. He also seemed to advocate government funding for organizations that encourage gays to renounce their homosexuality.
And then there's the part where Pence calls for the federal government to stop funding any HIV/AIDS organization that doesn't also denounce homosexuality. But he totally opposes discrimination today, so it's all good, right?  See the old site here. (Tipped by JMG reader Colin)

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Starbucks Has Your Back

"Everyone is welcome at Starbucks. Creating a culture of warmth and belonging is a core value of our company and we have been committed to diversity and inclusion since our earliest days. Starbucks joins with others opposing any state or federal legislation that permits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and encourages policymakers everywhere to embrace equality." - Starbucks, via press release.

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Glenn Beck: The Furor Over Indiana's RFRA Will Lead To Concentration Camps

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NEW YORK: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's move came after pressure from gay New York state legislators.
The five gay lawmakers in the state Legislature wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today urging him to boycott Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and ban state travel to the state. The lawmakers—Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Daniel O’Donnell, Harry Bronson and Matthew Titone—joined the growing chorus of criticism over the law, saying Cuomo needs to sign an executive order to bar state-funded travel to Indiana because they said the law is discriminatory toward gays and same-sex couples. The bill makes “clear that Indiana businesses are permitted by law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in matters including housing, employment, and access to public accommodations,” the letter said.
Hit the link to read their letter.

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Todd Starnes Turns On Mike Pence

Could this be any more delicious?

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Chris Cuomo Takes Down Indiana Hater

Mediaite sets up the clip:
New Day host Chris Cuomo, who’s become a one-man wrecking ball over Indiana’s just-passed “religious liberty” bill, confronted Ryan McCann, Policy Director of the Indiana Family Institute, Tuesday morning for his third contentious interview on the subject in the past 24 hours. McCann argued that the bill only ensures protections for religious minorities, something Cuomo said was belied by the presence of anti-LGBT figures at the bill’s signing. McCann said that the statements Cuomo was alluding to had been passed around the internet “by the left.” Things got personal when Cuomo demanded McCann account for the real motives behind the bill, which was supported by “groups like yours, that are Christian-based, with an animus toward the LGBT community. Own who and what you are. There’s nothing wrong with that you’re allowed to believe it but you’re not about Native Americans or people who want liver transplants, right?”
Note that Cuomo has been well-informed on the identities of the haters who stood behind Pence during the bill's signing. As someone said on one of my listservs yesterday, "Chris Cuomo for grand marshal of all the gay pride parades everywhere!"

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NASCAR Denounces Indiana

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One Million Moms Vs Angie's List

Just in via email:
Angie's List, the online service that provides consumer reviews of service professionals, publicly endorsed anti-Christian bigotry by opposing an Indiana law designed to protect religious liberties and freedoms. Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) after the state legislature overwhelmingly supported it. Twenty states now have passed the law, with Arkansas and Georgia currently considering it.

The Indiana law is identical in all fundamental respects to the 1993 federal RFRA signed into law by President Bill Clinton after it passed the U.S. House unanimously and the Senate 97-3. Unfortunately, Angie's List has joined with thousands of homosexual activists (including lesbian Ellen DeGeneres) in opposing religious freedom for all people in Indiana.

Angie's List is a bully, plain and simple. They have chosen to bully the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and Christians everywhere by financial intimidation and threats. TAKE ACTION: If you have an account with Angie's List, we urge you to cancel it right away in defense of religious liberty in America. Be sure to let them know why you’re leaving. Even if you don't have an account, send an email to Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle. Let him know that his company's support for religious discrimination is an affront to Christians.
Use their contact page to send a message to Angie's List.

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LIVE VIDEO: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Holds Press Conference On "Clarification"

Starting any minute. Watch it here.

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Levi Strauss & Gap Denounce Indiana

From a joint statement posted last night to the corporate blog of the Gap:
Today Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. are calling on retail and apparel companies, and other businesses, to join us in speaking out against legalized discrimination. Both of our companies have a long history of standing up for equal rights and equal opportunity for all. We have consistently spoken out against discrimination and unequal treatment based on race, sex or sexual orientation. As Indiana, Arkansas, and states around the country enact and consider legislation that perpetuates discrimination, we’re urging State Legislatures to stand up for equality by repealing and voting against these discriminatory laws. These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance. Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped. At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone.
(Tipped by JMG reader Dan)

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Ted Cruz: I Stand With Gov. Mike Pence

“I want to commend Governor Mike Pence for his support of religious freedom, especially in the face of fierce opposition. There was a time, not too long ago, when defending religious liberty enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Alas, today we are facing a concerted assault on the First Amendment, on the right of every American to seek out and worship God according to the dictates of his or her conscience. Governor Pence is holding the line to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier State. Indiana is giving voice to millions of courageous conservatives across this country who are deeply concerned about the ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties. I’m proud to stand with Mike, and I urge Americans to do the same.” - Sen. Ted Cruz, posting last night to his campaign website.

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Viral Video Of The Day

Nearly 2M views in one day.

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INDIANA: Major Corporations Tell Pence To Fix RFRA And Protect LGBTs

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Nick Offerman To Mike Pence: #Usuck

Parks And Recreation star Nick Offerman is married to Megan Mullally of Will & Grace fame. Last year I saw them in an odd two-person Off Broadway play called Annapuma. Offerman was nearly nude for the first fifteen minutes.

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MSNBC: Dan Savage Argues Indiana With Hater Ryan Anderson And Michael Steele

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BRITAIN: Killers Of Gay Men Marry Each Other In Federal Prison Ceremony

Last month I reported that two British men convicted for murdering other gay men were to get married in a first for the prison system there. That ceremony took place on Saturday in a maximum security prison in Yorkshire.
Mikhail Gallatinov, 40, and Marc Goodwin, 31, are serving life sentences in the same prison, both for violent and fatal hate crimes against gay men. Their vows stated they were "soul partners" and included promises to be "forever together". The couple were given a plastic knife to cut their small wedding cake, according to the Manchester Evening News. Several convict friends attended the small ceremony along with a few relatives and Gallatinov’s parents. Four prison officers were invited as guests. The ceremony was policed by six on-duty prison officers.

Goodwin is serving an 18-year sentence for what was labelled "a gay-bashing spree", in which he beat a 57-year-old man named Malcolm Benfold to death. He has ten years left to serve, the Guardian reports. Gallatinov - who is also a convicted child molester - is serving a twenty-year sentence for the murder of Adrian Kaminsky(28). He met the man on a gay hotline and was convicted of strangling him. Having served almost eighteen years, he will be eligible to be considered for parole next year. Gallatinov’s parents, who attended the wedding, told the Manchester Evening News that they are "proud" of their son "being a small part of history".
The men do not share a cell and conjugal visits are not permitted. (Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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Who Will Argue At SCOTUS?

The good guys from all four states headed for SCOTUS gathered in Michigan this weekend where they participated in a mock courtroom hearing to work out who will make oral arguments in the two issues before the court. We might get their decision today. Via Reuters:
Intense negotiations peaked in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Sunday when contenders involved met for the legal equivalent of a bakeoff, and sources close to the talks said an announcement was likely to come on Tuesday. Front-runners for the two spots appeared to be Mary Bonauto, a prominent gay advocate who has worked for the cause for decades, and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, a former assistant U.S. solicitor general who is now an appellate specialist in private practice.

At issue before the nine justices on April 28 will be two questions: whether the U.S. Constitution protects a right to same-sex marriage, and if it does not, whether states that ban it must recognize marriages performed in states permitting such unions. It has been difficult to fully assess the tenor of negotiations, since key leaders have declined to talk about the selection process of the two lawyers, one to argue each legal question. Skirmishes often occur in consolidated cases, when multiple parties are on a side but only one lawyer gets a spot at the lectern.
Mary Bonauto is with GLAD and would argue the constitutional issue. Per the above-linked report, Hallward-Driemeier has already been chosen and will argue the recognition issue.

UPDATE: The word is official and both of the above have been selected.
Lawyers for Michigan nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who seek to marry in their home state of Michigan, today announced Mary L. Bonauto will represent the team making the case’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28. Bonauto will present arguments for question 1, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?”

“I’m humbled to be standing up for the petitioners from Kentucky and Michigan who seek the freedom to marry, along with the Michigan team of Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel, Ken Mogill, and Robert Sedler, and with support from the other legal teams,” said Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. “The road that we’ve all travelled to get here has been built by so many people who believe that marriage is a fundamental right. Same-sex couples should not be excluded from the joy, the security, and the full citizenship signified by that institution. I believe the Court will give us a fair hearing, and I look forward to the day when all LGBT Americans will be able to marry the person they love.”

“April and Jayne’s family, and tens of thousands of families like theirs in Michigan, will be represented by a dynamic litigator who has a history of fighting and winning LGBT rights cases in states and districts across the country,” said Nessel. “We are very pleased that an attorney representing the DeBoer-Rowse family will be addressing the issue of marriage equality for what we hope will be the last time in our nation’s history.”

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier will present oral arguments on behalf of plaintiffs in Ohio and Tennessee for question 2, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”
UPDATE II: Here's their notice to SCOTUS.

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Maggie Gallagher Begs GOP Presidential Candidates To Speak Out On Indiana

"Something very important is happening right now in Indiana. Pay attention: The Democrats are attempting to use their power in the mainstream media to get Republicans to retreat and mute the GOP on religious liberty or face being labelled anti-gay. Last year, the Left succeeded so well with this tactic on a similar RFRA bill in Arizona, they even got Mitt Romney and John McCain to denounce the bill. [snip] But this is a seminal moment for GOP presidential candidates: Will they have the courage to speak truth to power and support protections for religious people from government punishment? Or will they bow to the mainstream media narrative and commit the cardinal sin of declaring unilateral truce? Speak now, Bush, Walker, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Huckabee, Jindal, etc., because the future of religious liberty in America will depend in part on whether there is at least one political party willing to defend it. Courage is not optional." - Maggie Gallagher, writing for her new site, The Pulse. (Tipped by JMG reader Christopher)

Gallagher is totally right about the importance of Indiana. The way this battle shakes out will surely lay the groundwork for for the next stage of our movement in a post-marriage equality nation.

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Tony Perkins Raises The Tired Ham Sandwich In Kosher Deli Meme On Fox

"In a civil society we would say, 'Oh, you don't want to service me? Fine. I'll go next door, I'll go down the street.' Who would fathom the idea of going into a kosher deli and demanding a ham sandwich? We wouldn't tolerate that!"

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Remember Three Weeks Ago When Ben Carson Said That He Would No Longer Talk About LGBT Rights?

"It is absolutely vital that we do all we can to allow Americans to practice their religious ways, while simultaneously ensuring that no one’s beliefs infringe upon those of others. We should also serve as champions of freedom of religion throughout the world. As Americans, we have an obligation to denounce these acts of persecution. For when we stand up to such intolerance, we are defending the root of our freedom, both at home and abroad." - Ben Carson, in a Breitbart "exclusive" about Indiana's anti-LGBT law. Three weeks ago Carson declared that he would no longer speak on LGBT issues after he suffered national ridicule for claiming that prison turns men gay.

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AFA's Micah Clark: Don't Let GOP "Clarify" That Indiana's RFRA Doesn't Target Gays

AFA of Indiana head Micah Clark was at Gov. Mike Pence's side when the RFRA bill was signed. Jeremy Hooper reminds us that Clark once suggested that it might be better for children to be drowned than led into a life of "treatable, changeable" homosexuality.

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WASHINGTON: Governor Jay Inslee Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana

The Seattle Stranger reports:
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee followed the lead of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and others today, banning any state administrators from spending state money to travel to Indiana after that state passed a controversial "religious freedom" law that could make it easier for businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers. “I find Indiana’s new law disturbing, particularly at a time when more and more states and people in America are embracing civil rights for everyone," Inslee said in a statement today. "Washington will join other states and cities in opposing this law and I will impose an administration-wide ban on state funded travel to Indiana. We in Washington stand for equality. I applaud those companies and organizations that have spoken out against the law and said they would not locate or expand operations in Indiana. I want to invite all those organizations, and anyone interested in a state that promotes equality and opportunity, to come visit Washington. We are open for business, and open to all people.”
The governor of Connecticut and mayor of San Francisco are among those others.

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Stephen King On Indiana

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Tomorrow's Indianapolis Star

UPDATE: Here is some of the editorial.
Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage. Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere.

Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity are not foreign to Indiana. Indianapolis, for example, has had those legal protections in place for nearly a decade. Indy's law applies to businesses with more than six employees, and exempts religious organizations and non-profit groups.

The city's human rights ordinance provides strong legal protection — and peace of mind —for LGBT citizens; yet, it has not placed an undue burden on businesses. Importantly, passage of a state human rights law would send a clear message that Indiana will not tolerate discrimination. It's crucial for that message to be communicated widely.

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Tony Perkins Money Begs On Indiana

"A leftist-driven movement has spread misinformation about the law, threatened boycotts and fomented false rhetoric in the media and online. Even in our day, the price of freedom is steep, and Governor Pence is standing strong for freedom despite the cost. Efforts are about to pressure Governor Pence to support changing or amending the law to weaken it. All Americans who live according to their religious beliefs should be free from fear of government punishment. I stand with Governor Pence in his support of religious freedom as stated in the Indiana RFRA, and urge him to oppose all efforts to change the law." - Hate group leader Tony Perkins, in an email that links to a Family Research Council donation page.

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Indiana: The T-Shirt


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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."

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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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