National News: July 2016
Congress’ Response To Orlando Shooting Is To Try To Legalize Discrimination
[Think Progress] One month ago on Tuesday, a gunman shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. House Republicans plan to mark this milestone with a hearing on a bill that would enable widespread discrimination against LGBT people. The legislation, ironically named the “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA) rests on the idea that discrimination should be excused when it is justified by religion.
Under, the core provision of FADA “the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with” a religious objection to marriage equality or a faith-based belief that sexual relations must be reserved to a marriage between people of the opposite sex. Subsequent provisions define the term “discriminatory action” to include a broad range of sanctions against religious objectors who themselves engage in discrimination. The government cannot deny tax subsidies to religious objectors who discriminate against LGBT people, or deny them a grant or benefit, or, under a catch-all provision, “otherwise discriminate against such person.”
Massachusetts, the Gay- Rights State Took Years to Protect trans Citizens
[The Atlantic] Massachusetts was the first state in America to issue wedding licenses to same-sex couples. Gay marriage has been legal there for more than 12 years—much longer than in most other places. In 1989, it became the second state, after Wisconsin, to pass discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual citizens.
Massachusetts’s new law has advanced transgender rights, but the long struggle to get it passed presages tough times ahead for the rest of the country’s legislatures.
Massachusetts is an outlier. It was an outlier in 2004 when its courts kicked off same-sex marriage. It’s still an outlier in 2016: Although its transgender-right reforms are coming late, in other states, it’s unclear that they’re coming at all.
Anti-Gay Airbnb Host Cancels Gay Man’s Booking, Says LGBT People Are “Against Humanity”
Air BnB terminates anti-gay hosts room for rent.
A company policy against discrimination didn’t keep an Airbnb host from canceling a gay customer’s reservation, claiming LGBT people are “against humanity” — in a city with a progressive reputation, at that, reports the Advocate.
“Buddy Fisher of Houston was using Airbnb to find a place to stay in Austin during the Texas capital’s Pride observance in late August, Houston TV station KHOU reports. He booked a room Wednesday that had an ideal location and great views of the city, and in response to a query about the purpose of his trip, he said he was going to Austin for the Pride festivities.
About an hour later, he got a notice that his reservation was canceled, plus this message from his prospective host: “No LGBT people, please. I do not support people who are against humanity. Sorry.”
Republicans to consider warming up to the LGBT community
With the Republican National Convention less than two weeks away, moderate Republicans are drafting an amendment that would soften the GOP’s official position on gays and lesbians, according to CBS News.
“The party’s official stance on LGBT issues will be debated during next week’s meeting of the RNC’s platform committee, a 112-member group of Republican activists from around the country.”
Mississippi’s Extreme ‘HB2 law’ nixed
No great shock seemed to follow a federal judge’s ruling that stopped implementation of a Mississippi law considered the most extreme form of anti-lgbt legislation.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves found the law – which allowed people to refuse services to people citing their personal religious beliefs, meaning a baker could refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, or counselors could deny services to a same-sex couple – “does not honor the tradition of religious freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens.”
Reeves stopped the law from going into effect on schedule last week that sanctioned discrimination under the guise of “protecting religious freedom.”
Jigglypuff recruited by Westboro Baptist Church, LGBT community Readies for Battle Pokémon style
Pokémon GO, a new digital app, allows users to tell the infamous Westboro Baptist Church where to go. With love, of course.
According to reports, the “Westboro Baptist Church is marked as a ‘gym’ in Pokémon Go. This in turn means that players can park their Pokémon at that location IRL to defend a digital title. In this case, someone thought it would be funny to put in a fairy type Pokémon as the defender of a place known for being very hateful and intolerant.
“Since then, it is unclear on whether or not the Clefairy has remained in the Westboro Baptist Church gym — the initial “combat power” was low enough that anyone could easily knock it out. Regardless, it seems that the trolling news has reached Westboro itself, and they’ve taken to social media to issue a response.”
The church struck back via social media as well
To Go Where No Man Has Gone Before: Sulu Is Gay in Star Trek Beyond
The latest Star Trek film, “Star Trek Beyond,” will confirm that one of its main characters — Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho — is gay. And not only is he gay, but he is married and has a child.
Sulu’s sexuality is said to be revealed in the film without a fuss. “Star Trek Beyond” hits theaters July 22, 2016.
Amanda Nunes becomes first openly gayUFC champion
The first ever openly gay champion was crowned at UFC 200 when Amanda Nunes defeated Miesha Tate.
The Brazilian MMA fighter said that she is happy to be out and proud as the new titleholder.
‘It’s amazing,’ she told the press, ‘The most important thing is I’m happy with my life. That’s the most important thing.’
Trans rights highlighted at Paris Pride parade
The annual Pride parade in Paris, known as Marche des Fiertés, which took place in the French capital in July attracted thousands of LGBT denizens including a plethora of usual characters: Street performers in PVC cat suits, demented nuns, dancing cowboys and sailors and belly-dancing transsexuals.
But for the first time ever, Inter-LGBT, the group that organized the annual event, allotted the most prominent spot in the parade, which is usually reserved for politicians and celebrities, to emphasize trans rights.
The Gay and Trans Collective Association for Equality, an LGBT group known by the French acronym ACTHE, marched front and center. The move case a light on the issues facing the transgender community with this year’s motto: “The rights of trans people are in a state of emergency: Stop forced sterilizations! Stop violence! Stop insecurity!”
Bermuda Bill To Block Same Sex Marriage Passes In House
The Human Rights Amendment 2016 — which seeks to maintain marriage as being defined as between a man and a woman passed in Bermuda’s lower house despite vocal opposition.
A total of 20 Members of Parliament voted in favor of the amended Bill with ten voting against it in the British Island territory.
First LGBT Monument in Puerto Rico Honors Orlando Victims
The monument — which is located in Third Millennium Park in the Puerto Rican capital — features seven columns with rainbow-colored mosaics.
“We are celebrating life,” said Yulín, according to Noticel.com. “We must work together to eradicate discrimination and homophobia. We must raise our voice for justice and equity for each human being.”
Yulín dedicated the monument to the 49 people who died inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12. Nearly half of the massacre victims were LGBT Puerto Ricans.