BREAKING: 11th Circuit refuses to extend stay on marriage equality in Florida

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 3:04pm

Screen shot 2014-12-03 at 3.02.46 PMEquality Florida has just announced that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the state of Florida’s request to extend the stay placed on a lower court’s ruling overturning the Sunshine State’s ban on marriage equality.

This clears the way for same-sex couples to begin applying for marriage licenses late on Jan. 5 when the current stay expires.

Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO, said, “We are thrilled … . Every day of delay is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples in Florida. Now it’s time to break out the wedding bells. Florida is ready for the freedom to marry.”

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle issued his ruling declaring Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Aug. 21 in two federal marriage cases that had been consolidated — Brenner v. Scott  and Grimsley and Albu v. Scott. The state, represented by Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, had asked the 11th Circuit Court to extend the stay until the appeals process is complete. Today, the 11th Circuit said no to that request.

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Arizona pastor says cure for AIDS is gay genocide

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 1:13pm
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So-called “pastor,” Steven Anderson

Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson celebrated World AIDS Day 2014 by sharing with his Tempe, Az. congregation the cure for AIDS: kill all the gays.

According to RawStory.com, in a sermon he titled “AIDS: The Judgement of God,” said that the we could have an “AIDS-free world by Christmas” simply by following Old Testament scripture.”Turn to Leviticus 20:13, because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS. ‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.’

“And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along. And they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and test. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson told his congregation Sunday, Nov. 30, the day before World AIDS Day,

In that same sermon, Anderson shouted out a furious denial of the idea that LGBT people can be Christian, declaring that “No homos will ever be allowed in this church as long as I am pastor here.”

But “the homos” aren’t the only folks Anderson hates. According to IfYouOnlyNews.com, he got in trouble with the Secret Service in 2009 after he posted a video online in which he openly prayed for President Obama to die (he did it again this year); he has preached that women have no purpose outside the kitchen and the bedroom and should certainly never speak in church; and he has preached that Jews are all vile liars.

If you have the stomach for it, here’s video of Anderson, first, calling for gay genocide, and second, declaring there will never be any homos in his church.
You can probably find more of his so-called sermons on YouTube; he seems to be quite proud of his ignorance, bigotry and hatefulness.

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DC Council bans conversion therapy

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:57pm
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Samantha Ames

The District of Columbia Council today (Tuesday, Dec. 2), unanimously approved a bill protecting LGBT youth from the practice of conversion therapy. When the statute is signed into law, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction, behind California and New Jersey, to ban conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, a discredited practice intended to turn gay people straight.

Samantha Ames, staff attorney for National Center for Lesbian Rights and coordinator of NCLR’s Born Perfect campaign, praised the council’s vote.

“The DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” Ames said. “The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The bill — the Youth Mental Health Protection Act — was authored by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh and supported by a broad coalition of organization that included NCLR, other LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, reproductive justice groups and civil rights organizations.

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First Texas LGBT gaming convention to be held in Austin in April 2015

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:30pm

Haven Con, the first LGBT geek and gaming convention of Texas, announced it will hold its inaugural convention Saturday, April 4-Sunday, April 5, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 3.31.23 PMMidtown in Austin.

According to a statement, this is the first LGBT geek and gaming convention held in Texas.

Shane Brown, founder of Haven Con, has been working to bring sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming enthusiasts of the LGBTQA community together since 2012 when he started the social networking group Gay Austin Geeks. Brown said, “Even within the gay community, we often exist within our smaller segmented groups. But comic and gaming conventions are all about the melding of geeks, gamers and nerds of every size, race, age and gender identity.”

Brown continued, “With Haven Con, we’re creating a safe, entertaining and diversity-welcoming environment for people that enjoy comic books, video games, science fiction and more. We’ll have a cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, industry panelists, local artists and writers—all of it while celebrating what makes us both different and special.”

Current sponsors and vendors include Nakatomi Incorporated, Finji Games, Weird Girls, Austin Books & Comics, Monkeys Need Love Too, Kitchen Overload, Outrageous Outfits, Sew Geek Austin, and Gamers Beard. For information on becoming a sponsor, panelist or vendor, visit HavenConTx.com or email Shane(at)HavenConTx(dot)com.

Haven Con is currently running a fundraiser to assist with equipment, event and production costs. For more information or to donate, visit the Haven Con fundraiser on Indiegogo.

Proceeds of Haven Con will go to OutYouth, which is a non-profit organization providing services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth ages 12 to 19 in Austin and central Texas.

Voice contributing writer Chaka Cumberbatch has written about LGBT geeks and gamers extensively, most recently for our Sept. 19 issue.

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Mike Rawlings will run for re-election as mayor in 2015

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:28pm
Rawlings

Mayor Mike Rawlings

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings confirmed today (Tuesday, Dec. 2) that he will run for re-election next May, telling Dallas Morning News that he still has some “big bold goals” left to accomplish.

In the campaign leading up to his first election as Dallas mayor in 2011, Rawlings courted the LGBT vote. But he drew the community’s ire, beginning in early 2012, when he repeatedly refused to sign a pledge in support of marriage equality and in 2013 refused to support a council resolution supporting marriage equality. At the time, he called the resolution a misuse of the council’s time and blocked it from being placed on the council agenda.

But Rawlings reversed that stance this year, voting in May, along with 12 other council members, to pass a resolution that was “a comprehensive statement of support” that directs city staff to evaluate and fix the inequities for LGBT employees in city employment.

Rawlings, 60, is also the former CEO of Pizza Hut and a former chief executive of the Tracy-Locke ad agency, and a vocal supporter of efforts to end domestic violence.

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Today’s the third annual Giving Tuesday. Where’s your money going?

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 1:52pm

282013_362013350544044_1638905795_nToday is Giving Tuesday, an international effort encouraging individuals and corporations to donate money to their favorites causes.

The premise is simple. According to the official website: “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.”

Giving Tuesday began in 2012 in partnership between the United Nations Foundation and 92nd Street Y in New York City. Not only are people encouraged to give but organizations are encouraged to utilize the Internet, social media and other creative means to encourage donations.

In 2013, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports, organizations raised somewhere between $21-32 million. Analysts anticipate, based on a sampling of current campaigns, organizations could raise “$40 million or more based on the goals of participants and promises of matching gifts.”

According to Funders for LGBTQ Issues, 70 percent of all LGBT nonprofits have a budget of $500,000 or less. Many rely on skeletal staff and volunteers to do their work. “As such, they don’t always have the resources to employ dedicated development staff.” Giving Tuesday also has an outsized impact for these groups:

By mobilizing social media to encourage people to give, efforts like #GivingTuesday can give an important platform to even the smallest of nonprofits to educate a wider audience, one they might not otherwise reach, about the critical work they are doing. So how can you get involved with #GivingTuesday?

I’ve reached to a handful of local LGBT organizations about their progress. While I wait, check out some of the creative partnerships. For instance, shop at the Amon Carter Museum’s store and receive a 20 percent discount when you mention you are with the AIDS Outreach Center. (By the way, the store and museum are open until 5 p.m.)

Not sure where you wanna give? If you’re on Twitter, follow #GivingTuesday to see who’s giving and where.

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Mom ‘corrects’ birth announcement for trans son

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 12:23pm
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Kai Bogert, center, with his mom, Yolanda Bogert, and Guy Kershaw

Some 19 years ago, Yolanda Bogert of Jimboomba in Australia had a birth announcement for her daughter, Elizabeth Anne, published in her local newspaper.

But when her “daughter” came out to her recently as transgender, Yolanda Bogert published a new birth announcement in Australia’s Courier-Mail for her son:Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 12.15.38 PM

“In 1995, we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that were were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present our wonderful son — Kai Bogert.”

Yolanda Bogert told the Courier-Mail that publishing the “birth” announcement was a “no-brainer” because “I needed to show my son I support him 100 per cent and wanted to let the world know that.”

We could stop right there and the story would be perfect. But as the parent of two teenage boys — ages 18 and 15 — I have to say it was the rest of the ad that really really made me smile. After the “present our wonderful son” line, Yolanda Bogert added: “Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room.”

 

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Austin shooter apparently hated immigrants, gays

Posted on 01 Dec 2014 at 5:55pm
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Larry Steve McQuilliams

Larry Steve McQuilliams, the 49-year-old man who opened fire on a number of buildings in downtown Austin — including the Mexican Consulate — early on Friday, Nov. 28, was part of an ultra-conservative Christian group that hated homosexuality and bi-racial families, according to Austin police.

McQuilliams was unable to find work and believed immigrants were offered more community services than he was, police indicated.

According to a report by International Business Times, McQuilliams’ shooting spree began around 2:20 a.m. He fired more than 100 rounds of ammunition at several buildings close to Sixth Street and the Austin Police Department headquarters, and tried to set fire to the Mexican Consulate.

No one except McQuilliams was hurt in the incident. A report on Austin TV station KXAN noted that McQuilliams was killed by a single shot from 312 feet away by mounted patrol Sgt. Adam Johnson who was also holding the reigns of two horses.

Austin Police Chief said that McQuilliams was heavily armed with two long guns — a .22-caliber rifle and an “AK-47-style weapon.” He said that McQuilliams used a rented van in the attack and after he was killed police found in the van a book titled Vigilantes of Christendom, numerous propane cans turned into explosive devices and a map with 34 targets including two downtown churches.

Acevedo said that during the attack, McQuilliams was wearing a tactical vest and a backpack hydration unit, indicating he intended to continue the assault. He had written “let me die” on his chest and later at his apartments, police found clothes laid out on his bed that he wanted to be buried in.

The KXAN report also notes that Austin police had arrested McQuilliams in 1992 in connection with an armed robbery of an armored car at First State Bank, and that he was later convicted on federal armed robbery charges. He was in federal prison on that conviction until June 2000.

McQuilliams lived in Wichita, Kansas until he moved to Austin in 2013. He told neighbors he left Wichita because his employer there did not appreciate him, according to reports by the Statesman.

The newspaper also reported that McQuilliams also told neighbors he was a Renaissance Fair enthusiast and martial artist who liked drum circles. He took care of neighbors’ pets when they were away and would help clean up the hike-and-bike trail at Barton Springs when heavy rains washed through it.

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Overlooking the obvious cause of the Irving earthquakes

Posted on 26 Nov 2014 at 9:16am

IrvingSince Saturday, five earthquakes have hit Irving. Most people are blaming fracking and are overlooking the obvious cause.

When Human Rights Campaign released the latest Municipal Equality Index earlier this month, five cities received a score of zero. Irving was among them.

So Irving receives a zero MEI rating and then is hit by five earthquakes.

As we all know, gays cause tornadoes, hurricanes and terrorist attacks. Well, we also cause earthquakes and until Irving adds some nondiscrimination protections, the earthquakes in that city will continue.

This is not the first time the gays have warned that city about its refusal to include the LGBT community in its policies. The Cowboys didn’t move to Arlington because Irving wouldn’t build Jerry Jones a new stadium. The Cowboys moved because of da  gays.

Look Irving. We know you don’t have many gays working for your city government. That’s obvious when you drive down Airport Freeway, the ugliest expanse of highway in Texas. No gay person would have ever allowed that abomination in his city. But you do have LGBT residents and it’s time to stop being a bunch of blathering bigots and pass some protections.

Hell, you were named after Washington Irving, a gay man, so let’s get with it.

And when it comes to those earthquakes, let’s stop trying to use science to point fingers at the innocent fracking industry and put the blame where it belongs — on the gays — and yes, we’re that powerful. Or, to paraphrase Joan Crawford: Don’t fuck with us fellas.

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UPDATE: Mississippi and Arkansas marriage bans overturned

Posted on 26 Nov 2014 at 7:17am

Marriage_Equality_Map11-26A federal judge in Mississippi who heard a marriage ban case last week declared the law unconstitutional on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

In Arkansas, a federal judge also threw out the state’s marriage ban. In June, another judge ruled discrimination unconstitutional and about 500 couples married before the ruling was stayed.

“The Fourteenth Amendment operates to remove the blinders of inequality from our eyes,” U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in the Mississippi decision. “Though we cherish our traditional values, they must give way to constitutional wisdom. Mississippi’s traditional beliefs about gay and lesbian citizens led it to defy that wisdom by taking away fundamental rights owed to every citizen. It is time to restore those rights.”

Both the Arkansas and Mississippi rulings were put on hold allowing the states to appeal. The Mississippi ruling is stayed just two weeks.

Mississippi is part of the 5th Circuit, which will hear appeals of the Louisiana and Texas rulings on Jan. 9.

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