National News: April 2016

Cuomo Announces Ban on Government Travel to North Carolina

Cuomo1New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has joined three major cities to ban government-sponsored travel to North Carolina over its recently enacted anti-LGBT law that undoes all pro-LGBT city non-discrimination ordinances in the state and prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms in schools or government buildings consistent with their gender identity. “In New York, we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the law,” Cuomo said. “From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state.

Virginia Says No Way to Religious Freedom Bill

LO_v4i3_PG6Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a religious freedom bill that would have allowed discrimination of LGBT people. In a statement McAuliffe said, “This legislation is also bad for business and creates roadblocks as we try to build the new Virginia economy,” he said. “Legislation that immunizes the discriminatory actions of certain people and institutions at the expense of same-sex couples would damage Virginia’s reputation for commonsense, pro-business government,” added McAuliffe. “We need only look at the damage these types of laws are doing in other states to understand the harm this bill could bring to our Commonwealth and its economy.”

North Carolina Attorney General Refuses To Defend Against LGBT Rights Lawsuit

LO_v4i3_PG6North Carolina’s Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper will not defend the state against lawsuits related to HB2.“Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back if we don’t repeal it,” Cooper said. “We know that businesses here and all over the country have taken a strong stance in opposition to this law.”



Major Businesses Demand Repeal of North Carolina Anti-LGBT Law

LO_v4i3_PG6More than 80 leading CEOs including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other big business leaders and entertainers penned a letter to Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina legislature urging a repeal of the anti-lgbt provisions in the deeply discriminatory House Bill 2 (HB2) that was forced through the House and quickly signed into law overnight. PayPal, Time Warner, Netflix, CBS, NBC, AMC, Discovery, And Steven Spielberg have also joined the Pro-LGBT Coalition. HB-2 undoes all pro-LGBT city non-discrimination ordinances in the state and also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.

Mississippi Passes Sweeping LGBT Discrimination Bill

LO_v4i3_PG6 Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a controversial religious freedom bill that allows religious groups and private businesses to refuse service to LGBT people including taxpayer-funded institutions like medical services and adoption. The bill specifically targets the transgender community requiring all transgender men, women and children to use the bathroom aligned with their assigned sex from their birth certificate. The explicit discrimination is rationalized by sincerely held religious beliefs. The ACLU of Mississippi promptly responded, tweeting that Bryant “just made discrimination a part of state law.


New York College Just Took off Gender Markings From All Bathrooms

LO_v4i3_PG6Reportedly making history for the first time at a U.S college, Cooper Union in New York made the decision to combat “gender conformity” by not only allowing sex-unassigned access to bathrooms, but by removing the gender designations from all the bathrooms on campus and converting them to “gender neutral restrooms” as well as equipping all bathrooms with protective sex gear.



 Compromise Reached On Kentucky Marriage Licenses

LO_v4i3_PG6The Kentucky GOP’s plan for a separate marriage license for LGBT couples has been shot down. Under the new proposal not yet approved, Kentucky would have a single marriage license for straight and LGBT couples under a compromise plan backed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee. The proposed form would allow applicants to identify themselves as bride, groom or spouse and would not require the county clerk’s signature, which could be done by a deputy clerk. The compromise bill has the support of Kim Davis and the Liberty Counsel – as long as clerks can still keep their name off the forms for LGBT couples looking to get married.

 Federal Court Awards $2 Million In Legal Fees To Plaintiffs in Tennessee Gay Marriage Case

LO_v4i3_PG6The ‘Volunteer’ state must pay over $2 million in legal fees to three couples who successfully challenged Tennessee’s same-sex marriage ban, according to the ruling by a federal judge in Nashville. The final fees were set at $1.98 million in attorneys’ fees and $59,916 in expenses to the plaintiffs, allowable under federal law.



Under Attack: Democrats Launch #ImWithWally Tweetstorm In Support Of Openly Gay US Ambassador

LO_v4i3_PG7US Ambassador Wally Brewster, who is openly gay, is under attack in the Dominican Republic where anti-LGBT proponents and the Catholic Church have embarked on a joint campaign demanding his resignation for spreading “homosexual indoctrination.” In response to the attacks, US House Democrats launched a tweetstorm in support of Brewster using the hashtag #ImWithWally. Brewster stands accused in part because he dares to include his spouse at official State Department events.


 Gay Dads Fight With Thai Surrogate for Custody of Their Daughter

*Picture depicts staged re-enactment.
*Picture depicts staged re-enactment.

An American-Spanish same-sex couple have begun an international custody battle for a baby girl born to a surrogate mother, who decided she wanted to keep the child when she found out they were gay. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Thailand and a new law banning commercial surrogacy, which took effect after baby Carmen’s birth” has further complicated the international dispute. The couple’s lawyer, Rachapol Sirikulchit, says he is confident they will be awarded custody.




 Sanctity Of Marriage Defender Alabama Governor Busted For Sexual Conversation With Employee

LO_v4i3_PG7Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized to the people of Alabama for explicit comments he made to Rebekah Mason, his top political counselor. During the recording Bentley described how he liked to come up behind the woman and touch her breasts – though he clarified that it was not a “sexual relationship.” The affair ended his marriage. Court records show that the now-former Mrs. Bentley declared that the marriage had been irreversibly broken by the affair with his assistant, the 30-year-younger Rebekah Mason.


 Illinois B&B To Pay Huge Fine For Turning Away And Harassing A Gay Couple

LO_v4i3_PG7 The Timber Creek,a bed and breakfast hotel will have to pay $80,000 in fines for refusing service to a gay couple that wanted to hold a civil union ceremony at the location. In Illinois, sexual orientation is covered by the state’s nondiscrimination policy.




 Georgia Governor Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill

LO_v4i3_PG7In less than a week following Disney’s threat to take their business outside of Georgia and with Hollywood stars urging Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to veto, the religious liberty bill is now dead in the water and will not become law.

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