AZ Lawmakers Totally Harshing On Westboro Baptist’s Protest Of 9-Year-Old’s Funeral

Hoping to beat the Supreme Court in screwing with the Westboro Baptist Church's travel plans, lawmakers in Arizona are rushing through a bill that would prevent protests within 300 feet of a funeral or burial service, from an hour before to an hour after the event, effectively barring the Phelps clan from demonstrating at 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green's service on Monday. Green was among those killed during Saturday's Safeway shooting, and Westboro quickly announced plans to escort her body into the ground. That said, the bill will only make it a misdemeanor to show up within the safety zone, and I think Shirley Phelps would be willing to become a semi-martyr for a community service conviction.


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Queerty

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What’s Brewing: Chick-fil-A update; Anti-gay lawmakers to have majority in U.S. House

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. After reports surfaced Tuesday that Chick-Fil-A planned to sponsor two conferences hosted by a rabidly anti-gay group in Pennsylvania, the company’s name was abruptly removed from a website promoting the events. Chick-Fil-A also said this on Twitter: “For those seeing reports of a CFA sponsorship w/ the Penn Family Inst, we are looking into the issue and will provide a response ASAP.” Of course, this isn’t the first time Chick-Fil-A has backed an anti-gay group, but the good news is the company still treats us slightly better than chickens.

2. Republicans will take over the U.S. House when it convenes at noon Eastern time today, and the Human Rights Campaign says anti-gay lawmakers will also now have a majority in the chamber. According to a report released by HRC this morning (screen grab above), anti-LGBT lawmakers now hold 225 seats, a gain of 53 from the last Congress. (Read more here.) On the bright side, the House will gain its fourth openly gay member — David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

3. Speaking of Rhode Island, the new governor there, Lincoln Chafee, is calling for marriage equality.

—  John Wright

Is Garland-raised country star LeAnn Rimes an LGBT ally or a phony hypocritical sellout whore?

From the ones we missed file, above is touching video footage of North Texas’ own LeAnn Rimes performing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles — led by guest conductor Tim Seelig — at a holiday concert last month. Rimes, who grew up in Garland, is overcome with tears as she talks about the gay youth suicide crisis before teaming with the chorus for a beautiful performance of “The Rose.”

Fast forward to tonight, when Rimes is performing again – this time at a fundraiser for (gasp!) House GOP freshmen. As Queerty notes, the fundraiser is being hosted by California Rep. Jeff Denham, who, while a state senator, repeatedly voted against recognition of marriages from other states. And the $2,500-a-plate fundraiser is designed to re-elect lawmakers who undoubtedly will help block consideration of any pro-LGBT legislation — including a federal law to protect gay kids from bullying in public schools — for the next two years.

So, to rephrase the question from the headline, should the LGBT community have learned something about Rimes from her extramarital affair with Eddie Cibrian?

—  John Wright

Wyoming Lawmakers to Introduce Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

Wyoming lawmakers plan to introduce legislation to bar the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, the Torrington Telegram reports:

Petersen State Rep. Owen Petersen of (R-Mountain View) and State Sen. Curt Meier (R-LaGrange) are taking the initiative to reevaluate the state’s definition of marriage. The two lawmakers plan to co-sponsor a resolution at the 2011 General Session that would allow voters to decide whether or not the state should give constitutional authority to same-sex marriage. 

Currently, state law defines marriage as “the legal union between a man and woman,” but Wyoming still accepts marriages performed in other states. This puts out-of-state gay marriage licenses into question. 

A resolution would clarify the outcome when gay couples enter Wyoming with marriage licenses obtained elsewhere. Ultimately, it would also reaffirm that the state—not the federal court system—has the last word on the constitutional authority of gay marriage.

Regarding the validity of a same-sex marriage carrying into Wyoming, Meier says, “there is a conflict in the state statute.” He continued, “On one hand, it says that it is not valid. On the other hand, there’s a statutory fix and not a constitutional fix. The resolution would take care of that loophole.”

Wyoming In 2010, a Cheyenne, Wyoming couple filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Wyoming's marriage law, but after "the lawsuit came under fire from some gay-rights activists who worried about its legal arguments and Shupe-Roderick’s history of litigation and criminal activities," it was dropped.


Towleroad News #gay

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Meet The Wyoming Lawmakers Who Want Voters To Constitutionally Ban Gay Marriage

Wyoming lawmakers, led by State Rep. Owen Petersen of (R-Mountain View) and State Sen. Curt Meier (R-LaGrange), plan to propose legislation next year that would let voters enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Under state law, Wyoming currently recognizes only man-woman marriages, but by accepting other states' unions it technically accepts gay marriages too. Petersen and Meier want to put a stop to that.


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Queerty

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Buffalo Symbol currently marks WY; two lawmakers hope to mark it with new B.S.

Wy Flag LComing soon to a Wyoming near you:

State Rep. Owen Petersen of (R-Mountain View) and State Sen. Curt Meier (R-LaGrange) are taking the initiative to reevaluate the state’s definition of marriage. The two lawmakers plan to co-sponsor a resolution at the 2011 General Session that would allow voters to decide whether or not the state should give constitutional authority to same-sex marriage.



In order for Petersen and Meier’s proposal to go on Wyoming’s next election ballot, as Prop. 8 did in California, it would require a two-thirds-majority vote and no government vetoes.

Meier to co-sponsor marriage resolution [Torrington Tellegram]

(H/t: Towle)

A threat to gays who are simply living their lives. Though also a threat to tourism officials with the Belle Fourche River, whose main selling point revolves around that aquatic body’s role as the state’s lowest point.




Good As You

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Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t ever forget the anti-gay bigots who voted against repealing DADT

The impending end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” doesn’t change the fact that Texas’ two anti-gay senators, Republicans John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, voted against repealing the policy. The beauty of the standalone bill to repeal DADT, aside from the fact it had enough votes, was that it forced lawmakers to take a position on the policy itself. On Saturday, Cornyn, Hutchison and 29 others went on record as supporting injustice, dishonesty and discrimination.

It’s truly sad that both our senators would vote to harm our national security during a time of war by continuing to discharge valuable servicemembers for no good reason. Indeed, those who voted against DADT repeal will go down in history as being on the wrong side of it, and we should never, ever forget that.

Which is apparently why GetEQUAL Texas is moving forward with plans for protests/celebrations outside Hutchison’s offices around Texas on Tuesday. From Facebook:

GetEQUAL Texas will go forward with their planned protest of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison scheduled for Tuesday, December 22 at noon in front of the Senator’s offices in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. The group is celebrating Saturday’s repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, but recognizes the importance of highlighting the oppressive vote of Ms. Hutchison on a measure which had the support of over 70% of Americans in several major polls.

Please join GetEQUAL Texas and other community members and allies to celebrate this victory by telling Kay Bailey Hutchison that “Enough is Enough.”

“We will no longer sit by and allow votes like that of Sen. Hutchison on the repeal measure to go unnoticed. Although the repeal measure passed the Senate with a filibuster proof majority, Senator Hutchison attempted to silence those willing to defend the rights and freedoms of the United States with their lives by voting against the repeal. We will not be silenced. The freedom of speech is guaranteed to all Americans, not just those who the Senator prefers.” stated Michael Diviesti an Army veteran and state coordinator for GetEQUAL Texas.

Both Texas Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn voted against repeal, which passed with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

—  John Wright

Why Did Rep. Louie Gohmert Make It So Easy To Name Him To America’s Most Bigoted Lawmakers List?

Letting gays to serve openly in the military will bring America "toward the end of [its] existence as a great nation," Rep. Louie Gohmert claimed on the House floor yesterday. He might have a point: Letting gays serve openly in Congress has, evidently, opened the doors to guys like Gohmert also holding office and being constitutionally permitted to speak on the House floor. Barney Frank's been serving since 1981; Gohmert got there in 2003. INEVITABLE COURSE OF EVENTS, PEOPLE.


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Ill. House OKs civil unions; Senate vote today

The Illinois House voted 61-52 on Tuesday to grant gay couples some of the same rights as married heterosexual spouses, including hospital visitation, health-care decision-making and the disposal of a loved one’s remains. From Fox Illinois:

House sponsor Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, likened Senate Bill 1716 to past landmark fights for equality in granting women the right to vote and allowing interracial couples to marry.

We have a chance today to make Illinois a more fair state, a more just state and a state which treats all of its citizens equally under the law,” he said.

Harris and state Rep. Deb Mell, D-Chicago, are the only two openly gay lawmakers in the legislature. Earlier this year, Mell announced her engagement to her partner while on the House floor.

“After six years of building a life together, committing our lives to each other – we have a strong faith in God and family – and after all that we are still not considered family,” Mell said. “And I assure you we are a family, and we deserve the same rights that you enjoy.”

The bill is expected to win approval from the Senate today before being signed by Gov. Pat Quinn. It would take effect July 1, and Illinois would become the sixth state to offer civil unions or domestic partnerships.

—  John Wright

Reax to Pentagon report on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

Here are some reactions to the Pentagon study on “don’t ask don’t tell” released this afternoon. We’ve posted the full text of the study below.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese:

“This issue has been studied for fifty years, including by the military itself, and the results from over twenty-two studies are uniform: open service does not harm effectiveness. The small handful of Senators blocking repeal no longer have any fig leaves behind which to hide. The time for repeal is now. …

“America’s men and women in uniform are professionals who already serve with gays and lesbians and repeal will do nothing to change their dedication to protecting our nation,” said Solmonese. “Senators who said they want to hear from military leaders and troops now have their answers.  Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will allow every qualified man and woman to serve without sacrificing the high standards that have made our military great.”

Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson:

“This thorough and comprehensive report makes clear to lawmakers and the American people once and for all that the U.S. military is capable of handling the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The questions are now answered and the debate is now settled. It’s now up to the Senate to bring the defense authorization bill back to the floor, allow 10 to 20 amendments to be debated on each side, and get this bill passed. We have the votes now if the process is fair.”

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“This exhaustive report is overwhelmingly positive and constructive. The Pentagon validated what repeal advocates and social scientists have been saying about open service for over a decade. Still, some initial resistance may come from one or more of the service chiefs — the very leaders who will be charged with  implementing this change. Those chiefs will need to salute and lead in bringing about this needed change. Fortunately, the chiefs have already made it clear they will do precisely that if Congress acts. Now, it’s up to the Senate to make repeal happen this year.”

—  John Wright