Resource Center’s Cox calls Huffines on anti-trans statements, invites him to visit center


Cece Cox

Cece Cox, chief executive officer of Resource Center, today sent an open letter to Texas Sen. Don Huffines, taking the Republican to task for Tweets he sent out Tuesday, Nov. 10, condemning Dallas City Council’s vote to clarify language in the city’s equal rights ordinance regarding protections based on gender identity and gender expression.

The ordinance, first approved by the council in 2002, originally included gender identity and gender expression under the protected class of “sexual orientation,” although sexual orientation is not generally considered to include gender identity and expression. Tuesday’s vote was intended to clear up any confusion.

Huffines, however, pointed to a Nov. 3 referendum in which Houston voters defeated that city’s equal rights ordinance following a vitriolic campaign in which opponents mislabeled the ordinance as a “bathroom bill” and focused on scare tactics claiming it would allow sexually predatory men to dress in women’s clothing to harass and attack women and girls in public restrooms. He called the Dallas council’s vote a “sneak attack” taken without giving the public a chance to comment on the change, although the amendment has been in discussion and open to public comment for a year or more.

Huffines called for the ordinance to be repealed, telling Dallas Voice in a written statement that “Civic participation and public scrutiny have been lacking in this process.”

Huffines represents Senate District 16, which includes parts of Oak Lawn, Cox points out. Although Huffines’ district includes parts of Dallas, the senator himself actually lives in Highland Park, according to records Dallas Voice reporter James Russell found online.


Sen. Don Huffines

Here is Cox’s letter in its entirety:

Dear Senator Huffines:

I am Cece Cox, the chief executive officer of Resource Center. For over 32 years, the Center has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as all people affected by HIV/AIDS. Parts of the Senator’s district include the Oak Lawn neighborhood, the historic home of Dallas’ LGBT community.

I am writing your office regarding your recent comments about the revision of the city of Dallas’ nondiscrimination ordinance, which was slightly modified this week by the Dallas City Council. The Center is a member of Mayor Rawlings’ LGBT Task Force, and several Center employees serve on that body.

Many of your comments lack a factual basis, which is disturbing given that you are making them in public to a large audience.

Here are some statistics about the transgender community you may not be aware of, according to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Study, conducted by the National LGBTQ Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality:

1. 90% of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job.

2. 47% said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.

3. 26% reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming; and,

4. A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6% of the general population.

With that in mind, I would like to invite you to come to the Center and visit with me, as well as members of the transgender community. Words have meaning, and I think it is important that you have a chance to speak with community members affected by discrimination, and positively impacted by Tuesday’s City Council vote. I look forward to your reply.

Best regards
Cece Cox, JD
Chief Executive Officer, Resource Center

—  Tammye Nash

DOT offers clarification on nondiscrimination policy

Trans Awareness Logo. INSET sizeExisting nondiscrimination policies covering public transportation already include protections for transgender people, according to a statement issued Monday, Nov. 9, by the federal Department of Public Transportation, at the request of Dallas’ Trans Pride Initiative.

The policy “including a prohibition against discrimination based on sex can be interpreted as being inclusive of gender-identity discrimination,” the statement from the DOT’s Office of Civil Rights noted.


Trans Pride Initiative President Nell Gaither

The statement points out that the nondiscrimination policy is referenced in the Federal Transit Authority “Master Agreement,” and that, “We will clarify that gender-identity discrimination is included in the ban on sex discrimination in our fiscal year 2016 Master Agreement.”

Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, said DOT issued the statement after her organization and Resource Center submitted a joint inquiry seeking clarification in June, as part of their efforts to help a Dallas trans woman who had encountered discrimination from employees in the Dallas public transportation system.

The woman “had been harassed, being called ‘sir’ and ‘mister’ in order to publicly out her” after she showed her state identification, Gaither said. “That’s not only harassment, it can her safety and her life in danger.”

Gaither said that although the woman had tried to resolve the situation by talking with transit staff, but had been unable to have the problem resolved.

“On the contrary, staff were victim blaming,” Gaither said. “At one point, a manager reviewing the issue stated that the trans woman was ‘confusing [the person who harassed her] by not getting her ID changed.’ That’s not an appropriate response.”

Gaither said that in the process of researching options to get the matter resolved, she learned about the DOT’s nationwide Master Agreement. Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center, was at the same time looking into an incident in which a gay man had been harassed by public transit staff, and McDonnell suggested TPI and the Resource Center submit a joint request to FTA officials asking for clarification.

The joint request, submitted June 12, also asked that the Federal Transit Authority modify the Master Agreement to include specific protections based on sexual orientation as well as gender identity.

The statement issued Monday only addresses gender identity, possibly because case law around sex discrimination as it applies to sexual orientation is less clear, Gaither said. Federal policy makers may see tying these to well-established sex discrimination coverage as a better solution than adding enumerated protected classes to the policy.

“We will continue to advocate for sexual orientation protections to be specifically added, but we certainly think [the] announcement is worth celebrating,” she said.

Gaither said that anti-trans discrimination has long been a problem in public transportation, and that such discrimination has a disproportionately large impact on low-income people who often depend on public transportation to get where they need to go.

“We are certainly happy to see this clarification, and we call on our communities and advocates around the nation to make sure public transit systems are held accountable for similar discriminatory actions moving forward,” she said.

—  Tammye Nash

Keller ISD nondiscrimination ordinance up for vote on Thursday

Jo Lynn Haussmann

Keller ISD Trustee Jo Lynn Haussmann opposes the ordinance

The Keller Independent School District school board will vote Thursday on whether to amend the district’s nondiscrimination policy to protect students and employees from bullying, discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.

Administrators with the district in northeast Tarrant County crafted it after a lesbian student alleged discrimination based on her sexual orientation by school administrators earlier this year.

Two trustees, Jo Lynn Haussmann and Brad Schofield — backed by anti-LGBT activists — oppose the measure.

In a Facebook post, Haussman wrote the ordinance would “take away [students’] rights and morality.” She then linked to a radio post from the fundamentalist Christian group WallBuilders.

On a radio show this morning, Brad Schofield slammed his fellow trustees for being “too liberal.”

Conservative groups opposed to the ordinance urged members to attend the meeting and voice opposition to the measure, even those who don’t live in the school district and would not be impacted by it.

In an email, the conservative Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party called the ordinance part of the LGBT “agenda” which is “spreading like cancer” and suggests the policy would “fundamentally change America.”

It also warns against “unintended consequences, requiring mixed gender bathroom and locker room use as well as explicit sexual orientation education at all school age groups from K–12.”

Proponents of the ordinance request attendees wear blue and green; bring flags or signs of support to wave at the entrance or silently in back of the room.

“Be respectful at all times,” reads a notice from Fairness Fort Worth. “We aren’t the circus act in the room; they are.”

The board meeting takes place 6:30 p.m. at the Keller ISD Education Center, 350 Keller Parkway, Keller.

—  James Russell

Comprehensive LGBT protection bill to be introduced in Congress on Thursday

Providence Mayor David Cicilline

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

A comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination bill will be introduced in Congress on Thursday, according to BuzzFeed.

Out gay Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., will introduce the bills.

“No one in our community should be at risk of being fired, evicted from their home, or denied services because of who they are or whom they love,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement.

He said the bill is necessary because the “unacceptable patchwork of state-level protections for LGBT people, and more than half of LGBT Americans live in a state that lacks fully-inclusive non-discrimination laws.”

Texas is one of 28 states without a statewide policy protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. It is one of 29 states without laws protecting LGBT individuals in public accommodations.

The bill would “provide explicit, consistent protections for sexual orientation and gender identity,” Cicilline wrote in a letter circulated among his colleagues. Those protections include areas often overlooked by many LGBT activists covering seven key federal laws: housing, public accommodations, employment, credit, juries and federal funds, public education, and renting and home ownership.

“The time has come in this country for full, federal equality, and nothing less. A federal non-discrimination bill would create permanent and clear protections to ensure that all employees are hired, fired or promoted based on their performance,” Griffin said. “All LGBT Americans deserve a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families.”

—  James Russell

UPDATE: Gates tells Boy Scouts to change policy


Boy Scouts President Robert Gates

Robert Gates, president of the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America, has called on the organization to change its policy on gay scout leaders.

“I remind you of the recent debates we have seen in places like Indiana and Arkansas over discrimination based on sexual orientation, not to mention the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer on gay marriage,” he said.

He said he wasn’t asking the board to make any changes at this meeting, but said he was speaking to them as bluntly as he did when he headed the CIA and Defense Department.

“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” he said.

Gates said more councils will contest the gay ban and the BSA could revoke their memberships. As states implement nondiscrimination policies, he said, the Boy Scouts could simply be ordered to change its employment policies.

“We must all understand that this probably will happen sooner rather than later,” he said.

Gates said it was better to act sooner and create policies that would allow church-chartered troops to set standards consistent with their religious beliefs and allow others to follow their beliefs.

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox released the following statement:

“The Center supports President Gates’ call for the Boy Scouts of America to end the ban that has forced LGBT Scout leaders to lie about who they are. It is a common-sense reflection of where the nation is on LGBT issues and involvement in everyday life.

“We urge Scouting leadership to take formal action and repeal the ban. Qualified LGBT Scout leaders should be able to participate in and contribute to an iconic American institution where honesty and trustworthiness are bedrock principles, without a dated and arcane policy standing in the way.

“The announcement from President Gates is yet another step toward comprehensive change that the Center first called for in February 2013. We would like to see the Scouts ensure open participation in all its activities by adopting a comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination policy. The Center is hopeful that Scouting will make this positive change.”

—  David Taffet

Politics can sometimes hit too close to home

Russell.JamesI received a campaign solicitation this morning from a fellow prep school graduate whose husband is running for office. The generic donation solicitation e-mail, titled “Why Our Family is Running,” espoused the virtue and wisdom of her husband, Bo French, a candidate running to the right of incumbent Republican Charlie Geren of Fort Worth. (Geren’s family attended the school as well.)

Sheridan French, who graduated from high school a few years before me, describes in her e-mail how a combination of courage and faith has prepared them to enter the “difficult arena” otherwise known as politics. In a bold font indicating a clear sense of urgency, Sheridan writes, “Both Bo and I are deeply concerned about the direction of our country and strongly believe Texas is the light that can lead the way to a better America.”

I’ve been casually following French’s and other right-wing challengers’ campaigns against perceived moderate Republicans like Geren since their April announcements. French has so far remained mum on social issues, largely denouncing “radical Islam” and “burdensome taxes.” But Sheridan’s e-mail, with references to faith and family and freedom, gave me a sense of things to come. Given its veiled language, if his campaign unfolds as I expect, he’ll soon garner the support of hard-right groups, including the anti-LGBT Texas Values PAC, Texas Eagle Forum PAC and Empower Texans. He’ll pursue traditional values, extolling marriage as an institution between a man and a woman that should be kept that way by the state. Maybe he’ll oppose extending protections based on gender identity and expression and sexual orientation. (It’s part of a formula I’ve documented here and here.)

I don’t want to speculate. But I don’t want to be silent either.

Having shared teachers and hallways and classrooms and textbooks and the struggles of senior year with Mrs. French, her e-mail felt like a punch in the gut.

Even before landing my gig at the Voice, I regularly heard about and experienced suicides, bullying and hate crimes. While rarely on the receiving end of the bullying anymore, I am still reminded of high school. I remember being called a “fag,” cornered in the men’s bathroom and picked on more often than not. That type of vitriol was not representative of the student body as a whole, much less the amazing faculty and staff. And to them I am grateful.

In the ongoing struggle for acceptance, I also learned we must have courage and strength. I thank my privileged life for helping me develop enough strength to stick up for myself in even the most adverse situations. Yet I recognize not all LGBT Texans share that privilege. Not all Texans have the ability to fight back after being called a “fag” or the option of going to counseling when on the verge of suicide or, even, the confidence that comes from being out.

We all know the facts because we’ve likely all experienced them first hand. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study of LGBT youth in grades 7–12 found that LGBT youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their straight peers. According to a 2011 National Center for Transgender Equality, 82 percent of transgender youth feel unsafe at school while 44 percent of them had been abused physically.

Bullying and discrimination are not confined to youth though: lesbian, gay and bisexual adults can still be fired from their jobs in 31 states. Trans people can be fired from their jobs in 39 states, and 14 percent all of reported hate crimes are LGBT-related. We still live in fear of the police, of losing our friends to self-loathing suicides, of winding up on the streets.

Which brings me to my point.

Legislation is not an end, but a means to an end. Discrimination and hate do not have to be ways of life. There are opportunities for aspiring and incumbent state lawmakers to help inch Texas toward creating an equal working environment, where you’re fired based on performance; where you feel safe enough to report a crime without fear of retribution; where you’re free to hold your girlfriend’s hand in the hallway.

But is that the way Texas can be a light to the country, as Mrs. French suggests?

Our alma mater has, since its humble beginnings, regularly pumped out leaders. We in fact were all taught to use our knowledge to change the world. Its logo, per aspera ad astra or through difficulty reach for the stars couldn’t make that any more clear.

At the end of her e-mail, before the links to the various social media accounts, she requests  prayers for resilience and strength as they go on the campaign trail. I briefly felt a sense of pride that may not be familiar to someone outside our cloistered alma mater. Hopefully in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination, she’ll remember the courage of her LGBT classmates, who overcame enormous obstacles to become leaders. And hopefully, should her husband be elected, he will not make it any more difficult for any of us to reach for the stars.

—  James Russell

Federal workplace discrimination rules go into effect today


President Barack Obama signed executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination on Monday, July 21. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A new federal rule barring discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors and subcontractors went into effect today (Wednesday, April 8), a little less than a year after President Obama announced the historic move.

In a blog post, Labor Secretary Tom Perez called the move a civil rights victory.

“It will mean a more dynamic and inclusive workforce that captures the talents of more of our people. It advances the principle that we should be leaving no one on the sidelines, that America is strongest when it fields a full team,” Perez wrote.

Until today, Perez wrote, neither sexual orientation nor gender identity were considered protected classes under federal contracting ordinances. This is the first time the rule has been changed since 1974.

“Today is an important mile marker on the path to workplace equality, but our efforts are far from finished. We will move with all haste, bringing to bear the full resources of this department to implement and enforce these new protections on behalf of the LGBT Americans who work for federal contractors,” wrote Perez.

—  James Russell

To RFRA or not

Religious liberty bills promise freedom, but for whom?


JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

In a 1989 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, involving two men who were fired for smoking peyote as part of a sacred Native American ritual and then denied state unemployment benefits, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling declaring that the two were not fired out of religious bias but because they violated state drug laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court returned the case to the Oregon Supreme Court to decide if a state could deny unemployment benefits to a worker fired for using illegal drugs for religious purposes? The Oregon Supreme Court ultimately sided, in a 6-3 decision, with Oregon’s Employment Division.

That ruling concerned both secular civil libertarians and those with deeply held religious beliefs, said Elizabeth Oldmixon, an associate professor of political science at the University of North Texas in Denton. A broad coalition then worked with Congress to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and President Bill Clinton signed it into law.

That bill, said Oldmixon, told the Supreme Court that in such cases, to give the benefit of the doubt to the plaintiffs, not the government.

Among the groups in that earlier coalition was Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a nonpartisan educational organization that preserves church-state separation.

Today that group is actively involved in debate over state versions of religious freedom restoration bills popping up in legislatures across the country, primarily in response to court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage and an upcoming decision from the U.S. Supreme Court expected to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

The first RFRA to pass and be signed into law this year came in Indiana. Gov. Mike Pence signed that bill on Thursday, March 26.

Sarah Jones, AU’s communications associate, said the federal RFRA “passed as a shield to protect religious minorities, such as non-theists, Muslims and Jews. It strikes a balance between religious expression and the federal government’s interest in enforcing laws.”

But the federal law soon fell under scrutiny again, when the Supreme Court again struck down a portion of the 1997 Boerne v Flores ruling, said Chicago Kent College of Law Professor Sheldon H. Nahmod. That case asked whether or not the city of Boerne, Texas could prevent a Catholic church from expanding because of historical landmark and preservation laws. The court ruled for the church.

Striking RFRA’s application to state and local governments left only the federal application intact, Nahmod explained. Then another act of Congress resulted in the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, signed by President Clinton in 2000.

That ruling set a precedent for another Supreme Court ruling, however.

In 2012, Hobby Lobby, the national arts and crafts chain, sued the federal government over a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable  Care Act requiring employers to provide contraception coverage. Hobby Lobby v Burwell claimed covering contraception was a violation of the chain’s owners’ religious beliefs under the RFRA.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.

What conservative groups praised about the ruling, others panned.

At the state level
If one term could sum up the dispute between the two factions in the battle over state religious freedom laws, it’s “broad.” In the Burwell case, the term means either an unconstitutional overreach or a victory for religious liberty.

Supporters of current religious liberty bills, said Jones, “claim they just reaffirm what the federal bill already says. That isn’t true. These state level bills are written much more broadly and contain discriminatory provisions that aren’t present in the federal bills.”

She said additionally the Hobby Lobby decision ultimately “granted special privileges. One of the most common ‘special privileges’ is allowing small businesses the right to discriminate against customers, such as same-sex couples.”

But Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, author of the Texas bill — HJR 125 — disagreed. Krause, a lawyer, interprets the federal RFRA much like Oldmixon or Jones. In written answers emailed to him, Krause said the federal RFRA “walks that fine line by asserting that the federal government can only burden the free exercise of religion (or conscience) if it has a compelling interest in doing so and it’s done in the least restrictive means possible. It gives citizens a cause of action to challenge the actions of government in these certain contexts.”

The bill, if enacted, he wrote, would codify in the state Constitution the state’s current religious freedom act, which passed in 1999.

In its current state, according to the Texas Freedom Network, the Texas RFRA bars measures that “substantially burden” the free exercise of religion. In addition, it includes other carefully crafted language that has helped avoid unnecessary lawsuits while providing various remedies and ensuring that the law is not abused. It currently mirrors the federal RFRA.

Passage of HJR 125 would change nothing, according to Krause.

“All I am trying to do is give our Texas RFRA constitutional protection,” he wrote. “There were efforts to make Texas’ RFRA language constitutional as far back as two sessions ago. It’s important to remember this is not a reaction to recent events … before we had any instances of bakers, florists or photographers. The intent was by no means an ‘intent to discriminate’ or ‘license to discriminate’ but rather good policy that has served Texas well for over a decade and it deserved constitutional protection.”

Selisse Berry, founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, is convinced that bills like Krause’s and its Senate companion, HJR 10 by Sen. Donna Campbell, are discriminatory.

“It reminds me of people of color not being served. It’s an overall sad state of affairs, especially given the advances of LGBT workplace equality,” she said by phone.

After signing Indiana’s religious freedom bill into law amidst backlash from a wide variety of groups, Gov. Mike Pence asked that state’s legislature to assure discrimination against LGBT people will not be allowed. But, if Krause and others said discrimination is not their intention, are activists wrong about the RFRAs?

Chicago Kent’s Nahmod said it’s difficult to tell if these pieces of legislation are motivated by anti-LGBT animus.

“Indiana doesn’t have a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance,” he said, and while it could be argued signing the RFRA was a last-ditch push to prevent passage of a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance, that can’t be proven.

“But if discrimination is the intention, then they may be seriously unconstitutional,” Nahmod said.

But Berry disagreed.

“It’s naïve to say Pence’s decision to sign the bill was not motivated by discrimination,” she said. “Whether [these bills are] intentionally meant to discriminate or not, it’s clear the LGBT community needs a federal nondiscrimination ordinance,” she said. “We have state and city nondiscrimination ordinances [but] we still need a federal law to protect LGBT people.”


Religious liberty bills currently under consideration in the Texas Legislature include:

• HB 3567 by Rep. Scott Sanford. Would prevent the government from punishing a clergy member  or person of faith who does not perform same-sex marriages.

• HB 3864, also by Rep. Sanford. Would allow child welfare organizations to deny care to children of LGBT parents based on religious beliefs. Sen. Donna Campbell filed its Senate companion, SB 1935.

• HB 3602 by Rep. Cecil Bell. Would bar retaliation against “conscientious objectors” who refuse to perform same-sex marriages. SB 1799 by Sen. Larry Taylor contains similar language.

• HB 55 by Rep. Jason Villalba and SJR 10 by Sen. Campbell. Would allow Texas’ businesses to refuse service or deny employment to LGBT people based on individual’s or religious organization’s beliefs. Villalba has since said he would reconsider his resolution, but Rep. Matt Krause filed the identical HJR 125 late on March 12.

• HB 2553 by Rep. Molly White. Would allow business owners to decide whom they serve or conduct business with based on religious convictions.

• HB 1355 by Rep. Matt Shaheen. Would make it a criminal offense for an elected official to threaten, punish or intimidate a person based on the person’s religious beliefs.

— James Russell


—  James Russell

Former Arkansas AG condemns ‘religious freedom’ bill, current AG moves nondiscrimination forward

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge

A proposal to add sexual orientation to a list of categories protected from discrimination by state law may go to Arkansas voters if enough signatures are collected, after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge approved the potential measure, according to Little Rock’s ABC affiliate KATV.

The ballot initiative would be in response to a so-called “religious freedom” bill that would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians if someone claims a deeply held religious belief.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wrote an op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette condemning the “religious freedom” bill passed this week by the legislature but that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has refused to sign.

“Arkansas is a state where discrimination has no place,” McDaniel wrote. “Our true values are based on compassion and respect and lifting up one another.”

McDaniel believes the law would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The truth about HB1228 is that it would allow individuals and businesses across this state to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arkansans, to women, to religious minorities — and to any other Arkansan who may face regular discrimination.”

—  David Taffet

Indiana Repubs admit anti-LGBT discrimination is legal

Despite Gov. Mike Pence’s insistence that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is all about protecting religious freedom and not about discriminating against folks, two Indiana lawmakers have admitted that even without the RFRA, businesses in their state can legally post “no gays allowed” signs.

Raw Story reports that Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, acknowledged that because the state has no law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, such discrimination is legal in most parts of the state.

The admission came during the two lawmakers’ press conference  during which they said they plan to “clarify” that the RFRA doesn’t allow businesses and individuals to deny service to LGBT people on religious grounds. But one reporter pointed out glaring lack of protections:

“You guys have said repeatedly that we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against anyone, but if you just ignore the existence of this law, can’t we already do that now? Can’t so-and-so in Richmond put a sign up and say ‘No Gays Allowed?’” the reporter asked. “That’s not against the law, correct?”

Bosma admitted that unless the local community has a local ordinance protecting LGBTs such discrimination would, indeed, be allowed, and when pressed further by the reporter, he admitted that most areas of the state have no such ordinances.

The fact of the matter is, the same is true in Texas. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a town or county that has passed a non-discrimination ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, if you are LGBT, you have no protections because there is no statewide nondiscrimination law that includes LGBTs. AND, even worse, Republicans have introduced bills in this current legislative session to negate such local ordinances that already exist and prohibit the passage of any such local ordinances in the future.

Maybe folks need to boycott our state, too. Maybe then the Republicans will pull their heads out of their asses.

Watch the Raw Story video above.

And in more Indiana RFRA news, Duke University — whose men’s basketball team is headed to Indianapolis for the Final Four — has joined the NCAA in speaking out against the law, according to Human Rights Campaign.

Duke, the University of Kentucky, Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin are headed to Indianapolis this weekend for the final three March Madness tournament games, including the championship game. Wisconsin and Michigan State both released statements relating to the passage of the bill but Duke is the only Final Four contender to publicly come out against RFRA.

Michael Schoenfeld , Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations said in a statement issued Monday (March 30), that “Duke University continues to stand alongside the LGBT community in seeking a more equal and inclusive world, and we deplore any effort to legislate bias and discrimination. We share the NCAA’s concern about the potential impact of the new law, and will be vigilant to ensure that our student-athletes, supporters, and indeed all citizens and visitors are treated fairly and with respect.”


—  Tammye Nash