Monday, June 25, 2018

Trump Attacks Restaurant That Asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders To Leave

Donald Trump used his Twitter account to attack a restaurant that booted White House press secretary out
Donald Trump

President Trump told the Twitterverse Monday morning that the Virginia restaurant that refused to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is “dirty” and “needs a paint job.”

Over the weekend, Sanders confirmed (via her official White House press secretary Twitter account) that the owner of The Red Hen in Lexington, Va. asked her to leave while she dined out with a group of people.

Speaking to The Washington Post after the incident, the owner of the restaurant, Stephanie Wilkinson, shared that she asked Sanders to leave, in part, because of the Trump administration's proposed ban on transgender military service members.

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said. “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”

This followed a spate of confrontations of Trump administration officials including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Washington, D.C. restaurant over the administration’s immigration policy and White House policy adviser Stephen Miller at a Mexican restaurant.

Folks were quick to point out to the Trumpster that his own Mar-a-Lago resort has had its share of health code violations.

Out Athletes Cover 10th Annual ESPN Magazine's 'Body Issue'

Adam Rippon for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue
Click image to enlarge

ESPN Magazine's 10th Annual 'Body Issue' is online today!

Begun in 2008, the issue highlights the physiques of 16 world-class athletes.

Alison Overholt, editor in chief of ESPN Magazine said in a statement,“The goal has always been for us to celebrate the athletic form—in every shape and size—and to allow people to stop and marvel at the works of art these bodies truly are.”

This year’s edition is more LGBTQ-inclusive than ever featuring Olympic bronze medalist Adam Rippon as well as lesbian soccer forward Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign) together with her girlfriend, 10-time WNBA All-Star point guard for the Seattle Storm, Sue Bird.

The couple’s print cover is the first time a queer couple has covered the Body Issue.

“It's pretty amazing to think about [being on the cover of the Body Issue], especially in the times we're in,” Rapinoe shared in her interview. “Just think of how far we've come, but also the current climate. Not only are we female athletes, but we're dating as well. It's kind of bad-ass.”

(Courtesy ESPN The Magazine/Photo by Radka Leitmeritz)

Coming off of this year’s Winter Olympics as well as a grueling tour for ‘Stars On Ice’ while competing (and winning) Dancing with the Stars, Rippon told ESPN Magazine, “I couldn't have done this [shoot] while I was in the closet.”

“I think that, with my experience of coming out, I felt so liberated in so many ways,” the 28-year-old added.

Also included in the Body Issue are Saquon Barkley (running back for New York Giants), sprinter Tori Bowie, cross-country skier and Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins, National Women's Soccer League MVP Crystal Dunn, Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, as well as totally fit seniors Jerry Rice of the NFL and pro-golfing legend, Greg Norman.

The print edition of the Body Issue hits news stands on June 29, but you can check out the online versions over at ESPN Magazine here.

New York Giants' Saquon Barkley (courtesy ESPN The Magazine/Photo by Sophy Holland)

Pride Month: Ellen's Favorite LGBTQ TV Moments

In observing Pride Month, Ellen DeGeneres shared a video montage of her favorite inspiring LGBTQ+ Pride moments on her show.
Ellen DeGeneres

In observing Pride Month, Ellen DeGeneres shared a video montage of her favorite inspiring LGBTQ+ Pride moments on her show.

The three-minute video includes Ellen's announcement of her wedding, Laverne Cox's appearance on TIME Magazine and Sam Smith saying he wants to be a spokesman for the LGBTQ community.

Also in the highlight reel are transgender military veterans sharing their stories as Donald Trump proposed banning their service as well as touching coming-out stories.

Hit the play button below and feel good.

SCOTUS Dodges Anti-LGBT Florist Case, Orders Lower Court To Revisit Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the case of anti-gay florist Barronelle Stutzman who refused to sell a gay couple flowers
Barronelle Stutzman
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to rule on the case of Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman who refused to create flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding in 2013.

Although SCOTUS didn’t take the case, the justices instead vacated the 2017 ruling against Stutzman by the Washington state Supreme Court and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the case and consider the SCOTUS ruling earlier this month regarding Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

In that case, SCOTUS didn’t decide the central dispute which is: do anti-discrimination laws in 22 states bar “creative artist” business owners from legally discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or do “deeply held religious beliefs” trump the rights of LGBTs?

Instead, 7 Supreme Court justices found that the Colorado state commission on civil rights appeared to show hostility towards religion in reaching its decision against the baker. In doing so, SCOTUS reversed the fine ordered on Phillips.

Today, SCOTUS told the Washington state Supreme Court to revisit the Stutzman case to see if similar anti-religious bias existed in coming to its decision regarding the florist.

In 2013, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before. But when they approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs. Washington state’s public accommodation laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.

Although she’s cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, its important to remember that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman.

GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.

Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in response to today's decision saying their work for LGBT equality will continue:

“The Supreme Court today asked the Washington courts to re-examine our clients’ case in light of the recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop,” said James Esseks, director of ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “To be clear, the court made no indication the lower courts ruled incorrectly and made no decision on the case’s merits. We are confident that the Washington State Supreme Court will rule once again in favor of the same-sex couple, and reaffirm its decision that no business has a right to discriminate. Our work to ensure LGBT equality is the law and the norm in all 50 states will continue.”

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Podcast: Jury Awards $18.4 Million Over Cancelled HIV Test; Web Series Imagines A World Where AIDS Never Happened

In this week's podcast:

• A gay man is awarded $18.4 million over a cancelled HIV test

• New web series Fathers wonders “Who would we be if AIDS hadn’t happened?"

• Tan France, fashion guru for Queer Eye, says his family thought the 'make better' series converted straight men to gay

• There’s new music from out indie recording artist Aiden James "Colorblind"

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Las Vegas: New Production Of "Tony N' Tina's Wedding"

The bride and groom - "Tina" and "Tony"

It's hard to believe that after all my years living in New York City, I somehow never saw Tony n' Tina's Wedding, the longest running Off-Broadway comedy in history.

The "environmental/immersive theatre" piece puts audience members in the middle of a traditional Italian-American wedding and reception.

The new cast of "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" at Ballys Las Vegas

Fortunately, the play has just opened in Las Vegas at Ballys Las Vegas performing at real-life Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo Fridays through Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

I definitely recommend checking out the new production - the interactive theater experience is absolutely hilarious.

Audience members are treated as guests at the wedding by the interactive, improvisational comedy cast which includes over-the-top stereotypes like the hunky/built new husband, the self-absorbed bride, the totally-not-gay gay brother of the bride, a drunk ex-boyfriend, a pregnant matron of honor and more.

With its original director Larry Pellegrini at the helm and an ensemble cast featuring Breon Jenay as Tina and Joseph Ben Shimon as Tony, the production incorporates today’s popular culture into the show’s repertoire.

In addition to the comedy, the cast's terrific actor/singers serenade you with current and classic pop hits.

And yes, you are at a wedding reception, so included in the ticket price is full on Italian dinner with Caesar Salad, Chicken Parmesan, Bake Ziti, Wedding Cake and Drinks. And if you buy the VIP package ($129), in addition to dinner, you also get a two-hour open bar and a post-show meet and greet. Whoo-hoo!

Check out pics from opening night below and you can get more info about the production here.

The 'totally-no-gay' gay brother of the bride

'Tina' chows down as her new hubby 'Tony' watches

Today Marks Trump's 118th Trip To Golf Course

President Trump is at his Virginia golf club today, marking his 118th day at a Trump golf property and his 161st day at a Trump property since taking office.

President Trump is at his Virginia golf club today, marking his 118th day at a Trump golf property and his 161st day at a Trump property since taking office.

Irony: Fox News' Jeanine Pirro "Leftists Are Normalizing Outrageous Behavior"

Irony is officially dead.

On her Fox News show last night, Jeanine Pirro railed about "unhinged leftists" who are "normalizing outrageous behavior" regarding the story of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant due to the owner's deeply held moral convictions.

“Political debate at the very heart of the founding of this country has devolved into political harassment and outright political abuse. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, one of the most of prestigious jobs in Washington, D.C., out to dinner, places her order and is then told to leave by the owner because she works for the president of the United States. Sarah quietly leaves.

“The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen this week was literally screamed and heckled out of a restaurant while eating her dinner. Trump supporters are being harassed all across this country by a hysterical left unwilling to accept the decision and the will of the American people who put Donald Trump in office. These unhinged leftists are normalizing outrageous behavior which is only getting worse.”

Of course, what's hysterical is Pirro is one of the most fervent supporters of the king of 'normalizing outrageous behavior,' Donald Trump.

Pirro being offended by a restaurant owner quietly asking Sanders to leave when the Trumpster has spent years saying every kind of offensive thing he can think of about his political opponents is truly laughable.

I thought Republicans had decided that businesses are allowed to discriminate and don’t have to serve people they don’t want to serve. Or is that just for gay couples who want wedding cakes baked for them?

Watch the opening rant below.