Today’s episode of Bigots Making Laws:

Let’s take a look at the latest news on discriminatory laws being passed by bigots in government:

In North Carolina — where the bigots got the ball rolling by enacting HB 2, which rolls back non-discrimination laws passed on the local level and prohibits passage of such local laws in the future AND which prohibits trans people from using appropriate public restrooms — they are watching more money go down the drain.

McCrory.Pat

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory backpedaled a little yesterday by issuing an executive order that seemingly mitigates a least a bit the discriminatory effects of HB 2. But equality advocates have claimed BS on the executive order, and businesses continue to turn their back on North Carolina and its hatefulness.

Despite McCrory’s executive order, Netflix and Viacom and several other media companies are saying it’s way too little, way too late.

Netflix, Viacom, Univision, CAA, SAG-AFTRA, CAA, the Art Directors Guild and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers have all signed on to an open letter issued by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), according to The Hollywood Reporter, intending to “demonstrate that the kind of discrimination being proposed — and in some cases enacted — is simply unacceptable.”

The letter goes on to note that more than 100 other bills “targeting LGBT people have been introduced in states and cities across the country,” and urges other businesses, organizations and individuals to “stand with us and reject any and all efforts to legalize discrimination. Send a strong and clear message to the rest of the world that America — and your communities — remain places where all people are respected.”

Mississippi is also feeling the heat after a discriminatory “religious freedom” bill was enacted there recently. For instance, the 37th Annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park — created as a promotional and networking event for Mississippians living in NYC — has been canceled, according to the Jackson Free Press. New York organizers made the decision to cancel saying that the Mississippi law is “not in accordance with New York values” and that one of Mississippi’s most famous sons — Tennessee Williams — could have been denied services under the law because he was gay.

(And Tennessee Williams isn’t the only famous Mississippian to be openly gay. As David Taffet noted, the state’s tourism guide features renowned journalist — and lesbian — Robin Roberts.)

Sonya Williams-Barnes

Mississippi state Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes

At least one of Mississippi’s lawmakers has a clue. State Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, a Democrat from Gulfport and chair of the state’s legislative black caucus, warned today (Wednesday, April 13), that “It’s time to wise up and roll back discriminatory legislation before hundreds of Mississippians lose their livelihoods. … We can’t afford this. It’s clear that we’re already losing jobs and business because of this misguided bill, and it’s only going to get worse.”

Referring to singer Bryan Adams who has cancelled a concert in Mississippi because of HB 1523, Williams-Barnes continued, “Perhaps it’s prophetic that Bryan Adams has a well-known song called ‘Cuts Like a Knife.’ This narrow-minded legislation is going to cut like a knife through our communities, pushing us backwards to the days when Mississippi was a national symbol of intolerance and bigotry. We will experience cuts in employment and suffer other economic consequences due to the way our state is being perceived by the business world.

“In a few short days we’ve set the clock back 50 years and made Mississippi the national symbol of discrimination under law. … This is an ugly piece of legislation that is terribly unfair to our LGBT citizens, who are taxpayers and citizens of this state and deserve the same rights as everyone else. And once you make it illegal to discriminate against one group of citizens, where does it stop? It wasn’t so long ago that many people claimed ‘sincere’ religious or moral reasons for refusing service to people of color. Are we going back to those days, when people like me had to go to the back of the bus? Is refusing service in a bakery that makes wedding cakes all that different from refusing to serve someone on a lunch counter?”

Even family members of some of the Republicans who helped pass the hateful bill are speaking out against it. The Clarion Ledger reports that John Fillingane, gay brother of Mississippi Sen. Joey Fillingane, said he is “so saddened by the bill the legislators passed in Mississippi. I have cried several times today due to the fact that my brother Joey Fillingane agreed with the ignorant governor. … I wished that they could see that discrimination is the same thing as hate.”

And Kate Cochran, daughter of Sen. Thad Cochran, issued a statement calling the law “acutely embarrassing,” and adding,”There is simply no need to continue defending the religious rights of people who already enjoy full rights under the law.”

Anthony Watson

Anthony Watson, CEO of Uphold

Then we move on to South Carolina, where just the possibility of legislation barring transgender people from using appropriate bathroom facilities has sent at least one company heading for the hills. Anthony Watson, openly gay CEO of British financial services company Uphold, is now headed to the West Coast to set up shop stateside instead of in South Carolina.

Watson wrote on Uphold’s website, “I have watched in shock and dismay as legislation has been abruptly proposed or enacted in several states across the union seeking to invalidate the basic protections and rights of LGBT U.S. citizens. As such, we feel compelled to take action to oppose the discrimination being proposed in South Carolina and protect our LGBT employees.”

Gov. Nikki Hayley has said she doesn’t believe the state needs such legislation. The bill was scheduled for its first hearing today (Wednesday, April 13.)

 

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: South Carolina’s continued fight against marriage equality may bite it in the ass

AttorneyGeneralAlanWilson

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson

CORRECTION:

Attorneys for the Kleckley/Condon case in Charleston, S.C. filed for reimbursement of $151,709 in legal fees. Those representing Bradacs and Goodwin have not yet filed for reimbursement of legal fees.

UPDATE:

Attorneys in Wisconsin have filed for reimbursement of $1.2 million in legal fees after successfully challenging that state’s marriage ban. Plaintiffs claim the large fee is due to the state’s vigorous defense of the law that discriminates against gay and lesbian couples.

ORIGINAL POST:

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he will continue to fight marriage equality in the state, so the winning side is requesting the state pay its legal fees.

The case was filed by Katherine Bradacs and Tracie Goodwin, who were married in Washington, D.C. Bradacs is a South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper and Goodwin is an Air Force veteran. They have three children. They won their case by summary judgement and Wilson’s request for a stay was denied.

South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit where Wilson remains the only attorney general continuing to fight marriage equality. Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina — all also in the 4th Circuit — all became marriage equality states after the Supreme Court rejected a Virginia appeal in October.

Now, the attorneys for Bradacs and Goodwin have filed a petition in federal court seeking $152,709 in compensation for legal fees. The attorneys said that, if successful, the money will go to Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the South Carolina Equality Coalition.

Should the marriage equality attorneys prevail, defending discrimination could become expensive for Wilson and the defenders of bigotry because the attorney general continues to defend other marriage equality suits as well.

Federal law informally refers to lawyers acting in the public interest as private attorneys general. When defending basic constitutional rights, the law allows the winning plaintiffs to seek compensation from the losing defendant because citizens must hire their own attorneys to defend their basic rights.

No word on plaintiffs in other states also seeking compensation.

—  David Taffet

South Carolina marriage appeal turned down

Marriage_Equality_Map11-17The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has turned down a request to stay marriage equality in South Carolina.

Although the 4th Circuit has not issued any rulings directly regarding South Carolina’s marriage equality ban, the court has ruled that Virginia’s marriage equality ban is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to review that ruling means that the 4th Circuit’s decision in the Virginia case extends to all the other others under the 4th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

North Carolina and West Virginia had already complied. South Carolina balked and has been using a variety of delaying tactics.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts steps in, South Carolina will become marriage equality state No. 34 on Thursday, Nov. 20.

 

—  David Taffet

Marriage equality updates from around most of the country … but not Texas

Marriage_Equality_MapSouth Carolina

After the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles refused to allow Julie McEldowney to use her married name on her driver’s license, she filed suit against the state. She had already changed her name legally with the Social Security Administration.

Nebraska

Those wacky Catholics who are following the Pope and not a bunch of out-of-touch cardinals and bishops.

Omaha’s Creighton University, a Jesuit school, will offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees. The move comes after the local Catholic archbishop voiced objections to the decision. The archbishop objected but school president the Rev. Timothy Lannon said that Creighton must also meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities.

Arizona

Since marriage equality came to Arizona last week, county clerks in all 15 counties have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. An estimated 300 licenses have been issued, meaning that roughly $20,000 has been brought to the state’s economy.

Montana

The Great Falls Tribune in Montana has published an editorial in favor of marriage equality.

“It’s time for the state of Montana to quit wasting taxpayers’ money and to accept gay marriage in Montana, even if churches can go their own way on this matter,” the editorial board wrote. “Some people still want to make political points with this issue, but we say, it’s too late for that. It’s all over.”

v.vember 20.

Kansas

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has scheduled a hearing in the case challenging Kansas’ marriage ban for this Friday, Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

Wyoming

Now that Wyoming is a marriage equality state, Equality Wyoming is working on adding sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination law. While it’s legal to get married in the state, a marriage license can be followed by a pink slip.

Missouri

While Missouri is still not a marriage equality state, it does recognize out-of-state marriages. So the Missouri State Employee’s Retirement System decided to add equal benefits for same-sex spouses.

That contrasts to Dallas where the city’s Employee Retirement Fund and Police and Fire Retirement boards have put roadblocks in the way of treating its LGBT employees equally despite a Dallas City Council mandate. The head of the ERF even had the gall to claim the board was doing everything it could to change the regulations after voting against a policy change herself.

—  David Taffet

A look back at Rick Perry’s anti-gay presidential campaign, which will end this morning

Perry.Rick

Gov. Rick Perry

The Associated Press is reporting that Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to drop out of the Republican presidential race this morning and endorse former House Speaker Newt Gingrich:

That’s according to Republican officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the Republican presidential candidate’s announcement.

Perry plans a news conference at 11 a.m. in South Carolina, where he will announce his decision.

He has faced calls to drop out of the race in recent days as polls show him languishing while Gingrich gains steam.

Perry, who is arguably the most anti-gay governor in Texas history, ran a decidedly homophobic campaign.

Even before announcing his presidential bid, he organized a day of prayer in Houston funded by the American Family Association, which is considered an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The event, called The Response, drew a huge response from, among others, the LGBT community, with activists staging counterdemonstrations in H-Town during a sweltering first weekend of August. Perry insisted The Response wasn’t political, but a week later he announced his campaign for president.

Republicans were smitten, and Perry skyrocketed to the top of GOP presidential polls — positioning himself as a highly-sought-after, more conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Just before he formally launched his presidential bid, Perry stated at an event in Colorado that he believed marriage is a state’s rights issue and New York’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage was “fine with me.” Under intense pressure from social conservatives, he quickly retracted the statement and came out firmly in support of a federal marriage amendment.

But that didn’t stop Rob Schlein, then president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, from writing a controversial column in which he said he would vote for Perry over President Barack Obama, despite the governor’s anti-gay record. The column was one of several factors that led National Log Cabin to de-charter the Dallas chapter, which is now known as Metroplex Republicans.

Perry would go on to sign a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and come out against the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” But in the end, it appears his right-wing credentials weren’t enough to overcome major, repeated gaffes during nationally televised debates this fall. In the most memorable one, Perry forgot the third federal department he would eliminate as president in what has become known as his “oops” moment.

Desperate to recover from the gaffes, Perry’s campaign lurched even further to the right — releasing a campaign ad called “Strong” in which he declared: “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

“Strong” spawned many parodies, with some harping on the fact that Perry’s jacket in the ad resembled the one worn by Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. “Strong” also garnered the second-most dislikes of any video on YouTube. Above all, though, where it really counts among Republican voters, the ad didn’t work.

Perry finished fifth in Iowa and last in New Hampshire. He was polling last in South Carolina, which holds its primary Saturday, prior to his decision to drop out.

—  John Wright

Republicans at debate boo the Golden Rule

No matter what you think of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, you have to admire the way he sticks to what he believes no matter what reaction he gets from the audience. And you have to wonder what the Republicans who attend these debates are thinking.

Rep. Ron Paul

In Monday night’s debate in South Carolina sponsored by Fox News, Paul said the U.S. should use the Golden Rule in its foreign policy.

“Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want them to do to us,” Paul said. “We endlessly bomb these countries and we wonder why they get upset with us.”

The audience did cheer, however, when Paul said we don’t need another war. He said we need to quit the ones we’re in and bring home the troops.

Audience reaction has at times been just as interesting in the debates as anything the GOP candidates have said. Audiences have booed a gay Iraq war veteran, cheered Gov. Rick Perry’s execution record, etc.

Below is video of last night’s audience booing Paul as he talks about using the Golden Rule to guide foreign policy:

—  David Taffet

Karger beat Bachmann by 138 votes in NH

Fred Karger

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office corrected vote totals in the New Hampshire primary and openly gay candidate Fred Karger received 485 votes to Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s 347. The original vote tally had Karger trailing Bachmann, who dropped out of the race after her last-place finish in Iowa, by three votes. Karger received votes in every New Hampshire county.

“Congresswoman Bachmann was in 12 national debates, raised $10 to $12 million, received massive news coverage, has huge name ID and we beat her in New Hampshire,” Karger wrote in an email blast to supporters today. “She and I had been tied in several recent New Hampshire polls. Early last month I said that I wanted to beat Santorum or Bachmann in New Hampshire. It’s a big win for me.”

Karger is skipping the South Carolina and Florida primaries. From New Hampshire he headed to Michigan, which holds its primary on Feb. 28.

“There are only seven Republicans still in the running on that ballot and [I] am sure there will be a few less after South Carolina and Florida,” he said. “I will be competing in [the] Michigan Primary no matter what.”

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Perry’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’ encore

Below is Rick Perry’s latest ad from South Carolina, entitled “President of Honor,” which is apparently designed to pander appeal to the state’s large military population. We noticed that Perry appears several times during the ad in the same jacket he wore in his infamous anti-gay ad “Strong” — which, as we all know, is quite similar to the jacket Heath Ledger wore in Brokeback Mountain. It’s interesting that despite all the parodies featuring the jacket, Perry hasn’t abandoned the tan Carharrt. Maybe the governor and his campaign are just completely oblivious, as would be suggested by this tidbit out of South Carolina from Politico:

As if Rick Perry didn’t have enough problems.

The Texas governor was greeted at a restaurant in Anderson, S.C., by a young woman who posed for a photo with the Texas governor while saying it is “good to see someone as homophobic and racist as you.”

He smiled, took the photo and moved on.

—  John Wright

Does this mean Perry is staying in the race?

Over on the main page we’ve posted Lisa Keen’s report on last night’s Iowa caucus results, in which she noted that Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was returning to Texas to decide whether to continue his campaign after finishing a disappointing fifth. Communications Director Ray Sullivan later added that it’s unlikely Perry will announce a decision before Thursday, but then moments ago came the below tweet from the governor’s verified Twitter account, along with the above photo of Perry in jogging gear. “And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!” reads the tweet from Perry’s account. Is this the official announcement that Perry will continue his campaign until the Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina? If so, we’d say he should have at least combed his hair for the photo. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: A Perry campaign source reportedly told Peter Hamby of CNN that, “We’re back on.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Gov. Perry’s full announcement speech


Watch live video from texastribune2 on Justin.tv

Via The Texas Tribune, above is video of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s full speech today in South Carolina announcing that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for president. God help us.

—  John Wright