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03/28/2015

Indiana Governor Mike Pence to Seek Legislative Clarification That 'Religious Liberty' Law Won't Allow Discrimination

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has put Governor Mike Pence, who signed it into law this week after several statements that he was "looking forward" to doing so, is today searching for answers after the bill created "the worst crisis of his political career," according to the Indy Star.

PenceThe paper reports that he'll seek to "clarify" that the law does not allow for discrimination against gay people:

“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Pence said in an exclusive interview. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”

The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week.

Asked if that legislation might include making gay and lesbian Hoosiers a protected legal class, Pence said, “That’s not on my agenda.”

Among those who have come out publicly against the bill: the White House, the NCAA, global cloud computing company Salesforce, Yelp, George Takei, Audra McDonald, and many, many more....

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Indiana statehouse on Saturday to protest the new law.

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 8:35 PM EST by in Indiana, Mike Pence, News | Permalink | Comments (35)


Broadway Star Audra McDonald Tears Indiana Gov. Mike Pence a New One for Signing Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bill

Audra mcdonald

Add six time Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald to the list of big names who are pissed off at Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for singing a bill allowing businesses to discriminate against people on religious grounds.

 You tell him Audra!

[photo via NOH8]

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 5:30 PM EST by in Discrimination, Indiana, News | Permalink | Comments (9)


Gay Iconography: Kristin Chenoweth Is A Good Christian Belle

Glee - Maybe This Time

They say good things comes in small packages, and that’s certainly the case with pint-sized star of stage and screen Kristin Chenoweth.

The blonde Broadway belter has been bringing down the house since her first show on the New York Stage, Animal Crackers, in 1993. Since that time, she’s racked up a Tony Award, an Emmy Award and a Grammy, among other accolades, charming audiences with her big voice and bigger personality.

Since growing up in Dallas, Texas, Chenoweth has considered herself a Christian. She was initially raised Southern Baptist, but has become what she described to The New York Times as a “nonjudgmental, liberal Christian.” In 2012, she further reiterated her commitment to her gay fans in an interview with ABC News:

“Even as a young child, I thought, 'Why is being gay bad?,'" she said. "I didn't understand it. So I asked my grandma, who is the best Christian I ever knew. I'd say, 'What about my friend Denny, he's gay, is he going to hell?' She told me, 'I read the Bible like I eat fish. I take the meat that serves me well but I don't choke on the bone.’”

At times her faith and her gay fans have clashed. To promote her 2005 album, As I Am, she appeared on The 700 Club, hosted by the notoriously bigoted Pat Robertson. She later admitted that she regretted doing the show and clarified her personal beliefs to The Sioux City Journal in 2006:

"I'm a very controversial figure in the Christian world. I don't believe if you're gay or you have a drink or you dance you're going to hell. I don't think that's the kind of God we have. The Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world are scary. I want to be a Christian like Christ -- loving and accepting of other people."

Perhaps her most vocal support for the gay community came in support of her Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes. After a writer for Newsweek made the assertion that gay actors can’t convincingly place straight roles, Chenoweth responded with her own take: “Audiences aren’t giving a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or The Lion King.” Her support earned her a Vanguard Award at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2011.

Check out some clips of Chenoweth’s performances, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "Gay Iconography: Kristin Chenoweth Is A Good Christian Belle"

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 4:29 PM EST by in Gay Iconography, Kristin Chenoweth | Permalink | Comments (7)


Sean Hayes and His Husband Scott Knew You Were 'Trouble': VIDEO

Hayes

Sean Hayes and his husband Scott Icenogle channeled their inner Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson in a bit of lip-dubbing this week on Facebook.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Sean Hayes and His Husband Scott Knew You Were 'Trouble': VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 3:30 PM EST by in Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Hudson, Lip Dub, Music, Music Video, News, Sean Hayes | Permalink | Comments (4)


Rand Paul: Same-sex Marriage Debate is the Result of a 'Moral Crisis' in America - VIDEO

Paul

Speaking before a group of religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Rand Paul suggested that the marriage equality debate was taking place because the country is facing a "moral crisis."

Said Paul:

“Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything. In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.” 

Paul, who is expected to announce his presidential bid early next month, went on to suggest that America is in need of "another Great Awakening" complete with "tent revivals."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

[via Right Wing Watch]

Continue reading "Rand Paul: Same-sex Marriage Debate is the Result of a 'Moral Crisis' in America - VIDEO"

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 2:30 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Rand Paul | Permalink | Comments (23)


Could Repealing LGBT Protections Cost Houston The 2016 Final Four, 2017 Super Bowl?

FinalFour

Since Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an anti-LGBT religious freedom bill this week, the backlash has been enormous. 

Celebrities, corporationschurches and even the White House have come out against the discriminatory law — with some announcing boycotts of the Hoosier State. They include the NCAA, which issued a statement saying it's concerned about how the law will affect its student-athletes and employees during the men's basketball Final Four in Indianapolis next weekend. There's also a petition calling for the Big 10 Conference to move its football championship out of Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, in Houston — which is scheduled to host the 2016 Final Four and the 2017 Super Bowl — anti-LGBT groups continue their efforts repeal an Equal Rights Ordinance passed by the City Council last year. 

Super-Bowl-Houston-BannerAfter Houston became the last major city in the US to add LGBT protections in May, opponents launched a petition drive to repeal them. The city eventually rejected the petition, saying it didn't have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.  

Anti-LGBT groups filed a lawsuit, and last month a jury determined that among other things, the petition contains widespread forgery. Based on the jury's determinations about which signatures should be considered valid, Judge Robert Schaffer began a final count. More than a month later, Schaffer revealed this week that opponents of the ordinance are roughly 3,000 signatures short of the 17,269 needed to qualify for the ballot. However, approximately 8,500 signatures remain in question because they appear on pages circulated by people whose names aren't legible. 

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

The plaintiffs argue that legibility should not be a factor.

"We can't empower the government with the right to be the judge, jury and executioner on whether somebody has a right to vote based on penmanship," said Andy Taylor, attorney for the plaintiffs.

The city, however, contends that if they can't determine who a circulator is based on their signature or printed name, all the other signatures collected on that page should be discarded, per city charter and the judge's ruling.

"The plaintiffs are mounting every desperate challenge they possibly can to try to overcome the effect of the jury's verdict and the effect of the judge's post-verdict rulings," said Geoffrey Harrison, lead attorney for the city. "The plaintiffs lost at trial. They lose on the law. They lose on the facts. But they are prolonging this process by refusing to accept reality."

Judge Schaffer is expected to rule in early April on the final signature count. If he determines the petition has enough valid signatures, the ordinance likely would appear on the November ballot. If he determines the petition doesn't have enough valid signatures, the plaintiffs are expected to appeal.  

Either way, perhaps opponents of the ordinance and other citizens of Houston should take note of what's happening in Indiana. If Houston repeals LGBT protections and again becomes the only major US city without them, it's hard to imagine there wouldn't be a push to get the NCAA to move the 2016 Final Four and to get the NFL to move the 2017 Super Bowl — among other things. 

Texas lawmakers might also want to take note, as several measures similar to the Indiana bill have been introduced in the current session of the state Legislature.

Houston and Texas have a reputation as business-friendly places, but judging by what's happened in Indiana, that could easily and very quickly change. 

Posted Mar. 28,2015 at 1:30 PM EST by in Discrimination, Gay Rights, Houston, Indiana, LGBT Rights, NCAA, NFL, Super Bowl, Texas | Permalink | Comments (5)


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