A beer by any other name…

On the long list of ridiculous Texas laws the alcoholic beverage code would have to take up about half the space (although that whole “no marriage equality” thing is pretty far up there), but it seems like at least a part of our antiquated system of booze laws is getting an update. Under current state law “beer” can contain no more than 4% alcohol by volume, anything greater and it must be labeled as “ale” or “malt liquor.” If a recent ruling by US District Court Judge Sam Sparks holds that’s about to change.

A group of brewers sued the state arguing that the current restrictions violated their free speech. The judge agreed, and in a hilarious ruling poked fun at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for thinking they can redefine words by legislative fiat, and gave a shout-out to Austin’s annual bat festival.  From Austin360.com:

“TABC’s argument, combined with artful legislative drafting, could be used to justify any restrictions on commercial speech. For instance, Texas would likely face no (legal) obstacle if it wished to pass a law defining the word ‘milk’ to mean ‘a nocturnal flying mammal that eats insects and employs echolocation.’ Under TABC’s logic, Texas would then be authorized to prohibit use of the word ‘milk’ by producers of a certain liquid dairy product, but also to require Austin promoters to advertise the famous annual ‘Milk Festival’ on the Congress Avenue Bridge.”

 

—  admin

LGBT Activists Hold First Authorized Rally in Minsk

Minsk

Authorities in Minsk, Belarus approved an LGBT rally in the city for the first time ever. KyivPost reports that authorities directed demonstrators not to use the rainbow flag.

UK Gay News supplies the above photo, and writes:

The rally was seen to have created history in the country where events organised by the gay community up to now have always been banned.

And the result was that there were twice as many journalists on hand to cover the event than those taking part.

“For the first time the only thing that we feared was neither the police nor the homophobe hooligans but the cold,” said Sergey Praded, organiser of the event and co-chair of IDAHO Belarus.

“In the last six months, we have submitted dozens of applications to hold a rally.  We appealed to the court. But it seems that the dialogue that we also started to initiate with the authorities paid off.

“This is a very good first step for all of us and I hope that it will help us collect more participants to future actions.”

In addition to condemning homophobia, activists also called for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

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Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet