Tuesday, March 31, 2015

International Transgender Day Of Visibility


International Transgender Day of Visibility is an annual holiday occurring on March 31st dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.

Folks took to social media all over the world to say "I'm here. And I count."





Viral Video Of The Day


From the clip poster:
Police abuse of Uber driver in New York City.

In an unmarked car, the policeman was allegedly attempting to park without using his blinker at a green light. (His reverse lights weren't on. Likely double parked without hazards on.) The Uber driver pulled around and gestured that he should use his blinker, casually and non-offensively, and kept driving us. The policeman aggressively pulls up behind us and this is what happens.

(This occurred just before 2pm on the West side of Manhattan, in police precinct 6, on March 30th, 2015. The officer did not identify himself, but he had a New York license plate: GSS 8891)

Note that the driver takes the advice of his riders and apologizes over and over to the police officer. Note the police officer's response.

What else could you do?

I post this knowing 99.9% of police are good people. The tiny minority - like this guy - makes life worse for his law enforcement brothers.

Walmart Asks Arkansas Governor To Veto "License To Discriminate" Bill


Walmart has sent a message to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson that HB1228, a bill similar to Indiana's "License To Discriminate" law, is a bad idea.

"Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve. It all starts with our core basic belief of respect for the individual.

"Today's passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold.

"For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation." - Doung McMillon, Walmart CEO

Gov. Hutchinson has said he plans to sign the legislation.

Does Arkansas want to be the next Indiana?

NIKE Denounces Indiana's "License To Discriminate"


NIKE's CEO issued this statement today denouncing Indiana's "license to discriminate" law and reiterates support for the LGBT community.

From NIKE President/CEO Mark Parker:

"NIKE proudly stands for inclusion for all. We believe laws should treat people equally and prevent discrimination. NIKE has led efforts alongside other businesses to defeat discriminatory laws in Oregon and opposes the new law in Indiana which is bad for our employees, bad for our consumers, bad for business and bad for society as a whole. We hope Indiana will quickly resolve this."
As one of the world's largest athletic apparel companies, NIKE is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community.

NIKE supported marriage equality in Oregon from the beginning, established LGBT protections for employees early on, and received a perfect 100 percent score on HRC's 2015 Corporate Equality Index.

Tom Hardy Covers Esquire


Randy Report favorite Tom Hardy covers Esquire Magazine for their May issue.

Among other things, Hardy addresses stories that he's "difficult:"
'I have a reputation for being difficult,' he says. 'And I am. I am actually. But I'm not unreasonable. It used to be that if somebody hurt me I'd lash out a bit, in order to get them to stop. It ultimately comes from fear. If I cause enough of a mess, then people will never ask me again to do something I don't want to do. But that sort of backfires after a while so you don't want to do that. You grow up.'
Check the latest trailer for the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road due out this summer.

Starbucks Opposes LGBT Discrimination


Starbucks would just like to remind you all:

"Everyone is welcome at Starbucks. Creating a culture of warmth and belonging is a core value of our company and we have been committed to diversity and inclusion since our earliest days.

"Starbucks joins with others opposing any state or federal legislation that permits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and encourages policymakers everywhere to embrace equality."

(via press release)

Arkansas Follows Indiana - Passes "License To Discriminate" Bill


Arkansas passed a religious freedom bill on Tuesday that is similar to an Indiana law that has faced national backlash for legalizing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The bill cleared the Arkansas Legislature and now heads to the governor's desk, where it is expected to be signed. Like the Indiana law, the Arkansas legislation allows a person who feels his or her exercise of religion has been “substantially burdened” to cite that argument as a claim or defense in a private lawsuit. The legislation also grants corporations the right to religious freedom. This language is not in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and critics say it could be used to override existing anti-discrimination protections.

"The Arkansas and Indiana bills are virtually identical in terms of language and intent,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director at the Human Rights Campaign. “They place LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and many more people at risk of discrimination.”

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola has already sent a letter to the governor asking him to veto the legislation.

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce issued a statement opposing HB1228, saying that the legislation is "bad for business and bad for Arkansas."

(from Huffington Post)

New York Governor Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana In Response To #SB101


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo missed an executive order today banning all non-essential state-funded travel to Indiana after the Hoosier state passed legislation that opens the door to LGBT discrimination.

The order comes after five openly gay in the state Legislature (Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Daniel O’Donnell, Harry Bronson and Matthew Titone) wrote a letter to the governor today urging him to boycott Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and ban state travel to the state.

From the official NY Governor's website:

"Today, I direct all agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the State of Indiana and to bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety. The ban on publicly funded travel shall take effect immediately.

"New York State has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring that all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights. With this action, we stand by our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues to ensure that their rights are respected."

Broadway's Sutton Foster Returns To Series TV Tonight: "Younger"


Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster returns to TV tonight with a new dramedy series 'Younger,' where she plays a 40-year-old woman pretending to be 26.

Series description:

Trying to start a new career gets more difficult as you age, which suddenly single-mom Liza realizes when she tries to re-enter the working world at 40.

After a young tattoo artist convinces her she looks younger, Liza decides to do something about it. Her solution: Try to pass herself off as 26, courtesy of a makeover by her best friend, Maggie.

The newfound confidence helps get her a job assisting temperamental Diana.

Teaming with 20-something co-worker Kelsey, Liza hopes to make it a dream career -- while no one discovers her secret.

Always great to see Broadway artists get a successful ride to television fame. Love Sutton's talent, so I hope this lands for her.

Premieres tonight at 10 p.m. EDT with two back-to-back episodes.

Tuesday Morning Brain Break: Bryan Hawn "Worth It"


Viral video star Bryan Hawn makes the perfect mid- morning "brain break" with his lip-sync video set to the Fifth Harmony track "Worth It."

The hunky fitness model gives you 3 minutes of silly fun dressed in only a bedazzled thong, baseball cap and sneakers, while working a wall of light.

I gotta get back to the gym...

GAP & LEVI STRAUS Issues Statement Against "License To Discriminate" Laws



The CEOs of GAP and LEVI STRAUS posted this joint statement last night on the GAP blog page opposing passage of legislation in states like Indiana and Arkansas that can legalize LGBT discrimination:

Today Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. are calling on retail and apparel companies, and other businesses, to join us in speaking out against legalized discrimination.

Both of our companies have a long history of standing up for equal rights and equal opportunity for all. We have consistently spoken out against discrimination and unequal treatment based on race, sex or sexual orientation.

As Indiana, Arkansas, and states around the country enact and consider legislation that perpetuates discrimination, we’re urging State Legislatures to stand up for equality by repealing and voting against these discriminatory laws.

These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance.

Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped.

At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone.

CNN's Chris Cuomo Takes Down Indiana Hater - "Own Who And What You Are"


CNN's Chris Cuomo does not suffer fools lightly. And he proved that once again this morning.

If you come on his show, you better know your stuff. Clearly, Ryan McCann was not prepared to be confronted with facts.

From Mediate:

New Day host Chris Cuomo, who’s become a one-man wrecking ball over Indiana’s just-passed “religious liberty” bill, confronted Ryan McCann, Policy Director of the Indiana Family Institute, Tuesday morning for his third contentious interview on the subject in the past 24 hours.

McCann argued that the bill only ensures protections for religious minorities, something Cuomo said was belied by the presence of anti-LGBT figures at the bill’s signing. McCann said that the statements Cuomo was alluding to had been passed around the internet “by the left.”

Things got personal when Cuomo demanded McCann account for the real motives behind the bill, which was supported by “groups like yours, that are Christian-based, with an animus toward the LGBT community. Own who and what you are. There’s nothing wrong with that you’re allowed to believe it but you’re not about native americans or people who want liver transplants, right?”

Indiana: Gov. Mike Pence Blames "Sloppy Reporting" on State's "Perception Problem"

Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana

At a Tuesday morning press conference, Gov. Pence announced plans to amend the law before the end of the week. He added the changes will clearly state that RFRA is about "religious liberty, not discrimination," adding the the law does not give anyone the right to turn away customers on religious grounds.

The odd take-away from the press conference was that the Governor plans to "fix" a law that he claims is not broken.

Blaming the national media for "sloppy reporting," a beleagured Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana admitted the state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" has caused a huge headache for the state and a terrible "perception problem."

Pence said he concluded that it is necessary to move legislation to amend the law to make it clear that it does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone.

"This law does not give anyone the right to discriminate. This law does not give anyone the right to deny services," said the governor.

"I don't support discrimination against gays and lesbians or anyone else. I abhor discrimination."

That being said, the governor indicated that adding sexual orientation to the state's civil rights laws was not on the table right now.

Pence said he will work with the Indiana legislature this week to make the changes he is seeking to the RFRA law.

"We will fix this and we will move forward," he said.

(source)

David Beckham And James Corden - New Underwear Line


Clip description: Fashion icon and soccer legend David Beckham shares an exclusive sneak peek of the advertisement launching his new underwear line with James Corden. Just don't look for it on shelves any time, ever.



(h/t JMG)

Dan Savage Shuts Down Ryan Anderson Over Indiana's "License To Discriminate"

Dan Savage and Michael Steele school Ryan Anderson over the ongoing firestorm surrounding Indiana's "License To Discriminate" SB101.

Megyn Kelly Gives Anti-Gay Tony Perkins A Soapbox To Support Indiana's "License To Discriminate"


Lots of panels discussing the Indiana debacle going on yesterday.

I have recently been impressed with Megyn Kelly for being fair-minded in a few interviews lately. But here she digresses to clearly biased in her position on the SB101 issue. Over and over she tells Mark Hannah to let anti-gay Tony Perkins finish, but when Perkins continually interrupts Hannah, she says nothing.

And then when she chimes in to reiterate that Indiana's law is "the same" as other state's RFRA laws... Not sure why I'm surprised.

Of course, Tony has to bring up the ever famous "ham sandwich" scenario in a jewish deli... Tired.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Indianapolis Star To State Legislature: "Fix This Now"


Excerpts from the Indy Star's op-ed:

The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created.

Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage.

Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.

Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere.

[snip]

We urge Gov. Pence and lawmakers to stop clinging to arguments about whether RFRA really does what critics fear; to stop clinging to ideology or personal preferences; to focus instead on fixing this.

Governor, Indiana is in a state of crisis. It is worse than you seem to understand.

The op-ed points to the fact that Indianapolis passed LGBT protections nearly a decade ago. To no negative results.

And the state could base passage of LGBT protections on that ordinance and get it done before the legislative session ends.

Will the leaders of Indiana's legislative bodies hear this call for equality?

A Song For Indiana By Randy Rainbow


Indiana Lawmakers Scramble As "License To Discriminate" Debacle Continues to Spiral


I know I've been writing a lot about the debacle in Indiana regarding the passage of SB101 - the so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act."

As an interested party, it's fascinating to see how government will/will not or can/cannot react to situations like this.

I'm captivated watching this press conference today with Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long where said they are prepared to urge legislative colleagues to adapt the RFRA's language to "clarify" the law.

That sounds good. At first.  But all indications seem to be that they aren't really proposing any real changes to the anti-gay legislation. The word "clarify" is all they seem to come up with here.

Don't let the 30 minute time length intimidate you. Just watch the first two minutes. Really incredible to see the two lawmakers scramble to try and get this under control.

It's of interest to me that they pretend that they didn't see this backlash coming. At one point, one of the two says that they never heard strong objections over the bill during it's passage. And yet, I know voices were raised.

Perhaps they thought it would just be a couple of LGBT advocacy groups and some bloggers? Wrong.

Trust and believe they knew EXACTLY what this law was and is. They knew it was born of anti-gay animus.

Over and over they proclaim the law does not discriminate; that it's a "mischaracterization" and a "misconception" about the law.

Asked if they would consider adding sexual orientation to the state's protected classes, they rear back saying that would be too difficult for now.

Just... watch the video. Very interesting political theater.

Anonymous Bisexual NFL Player "Offended" Michael Sam Said Others Don't Have Courage To Come Out


TMZ Sports is reporting that they have spoken to a "bisexual NFL player" who's "offended" because out NFL-er Michael Sam said other gay men in the league are less courageous because they don't want to come out.

The player -- who didn't want to be identified by name -- has played in the league for several seasons and says he's open about his sexuality with close friends.

But when the player read Sam's recent comments about gay men in the league -- he was offended.

Specifically, the player was upset when Sam said ... "I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL."

The player's response -- "As a bisexual man, I just feel like Michael Sam does not speak for all gay men."

"He has his own opinion ... but DON'T say that we don't have the courage to come out. It's totally wrong. Just speak for yourself. No one else."

I think it goes without saying that if you're accused of not having the courage to come out, and then you don't while giving a news outlet an interview, you've basically proven Michael Sam right.

The unnamed player added that "the NFL isn't ready for people to be open about it. Or the General Managers for that matter."

Mr. Anonymous also threw out a final swipe at Sam, saying that he had his chance, but, "I just don't think he performed well."

Portland Mayor Suspends City-Funded Travel To Indiana Over "License To Discriminate"


Portland Mayor Charlie Hales follows other mayors across the country in suspending city-funded travel to the state of Indiana.

"Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana Legislature have to understand that such blatant discrimination against their own citizens cannot stand. We, as a country, have moved so far from those shameful practices of the past," Hales said.

"It is regrettable that the great city of Indianapolis, led by its very effective mayor, Greg Ballard, is being dragged down by the reactionary efforts of the State Legislature and the governor."

“Indiana isn’t the first state to adopt this backward, discriminatory policy, but most states have sexual-orientation language in their civil rights statutes to protect LGBT residents,” Hales said.

“Indiana doesn’t offer these same protections. All states have to realize that government-sponsored discrimination against LGBT residents in the United States of America has to stop.”

NBC Announces THE WIZ For Live TV Telecast, Then Major Broadway Revival


NBC announced today that The Wiz (winner of 7 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 1975) will be the next Live musical production on the network with an airdate of December 3rd.

That will be followed by a major Broadway revival to be co-produced with Cirque du Soleil for the 2016-17 season.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced the previous "The Sound of Music Live" and "Peter Pan Live" telecasts, are back at the helm for this third live, musical presentation.

Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon will stage both the television production and Broadway revival of "The Wiz" in collaboration with Tony winner and Broadway icon Harvey Fierstein, who will contribute new material to the original Broadway book by William F. Brown.

"We love this yearly tradition and we're more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America's living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well," said Greenblatt. "It's a natural next step for our live musical events and we're so pleased to be in business with this award-winning creative team and Scott Zeiger, President and Managing Director of Cirque du Soleil's new theatrical division. Cirque's incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love."

"We are delighted that NBC and Cirque du Soleil will present 'The Wiz,'" said Zeiger. "It's a musical I have wanted to produce for years and it's the perfect show to present under the new Cirque du Soleil Theatrical banner."

Additional creative staff and casting are to be announced at a later date.

I've had mixed feelings about the first two Live musical telecasts, but love the idea of Cirque being involved here.

The Wiz is a terrific score, but as a book musical it remains a bit dated today. With both Cirque and Harvey Fierstein onboard, it sounds promising that the contemporary musical can be brought current again, with new magic added.

The musical made a star out of Stephanie Mills, who went on to a successful recording career after the run of The Wiz on Broadway.

In 1989 she revisited the song "Home," that made her famous. Watch below.

Georgia: House Judiciary Committee Cancels Meeting For "Religious Liberty" Bill


A Georgia state House Judiciary committee meeting scheduled for Monday morning to further consider a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) was abruptly cancelled last night.

With only two more days left in Georgia's legislative session, it's possible the cancellation was due, in part, to a disastrous appearance by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on ABC's This Week.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The back-and-forth on the bill comes as Indiana deals with the backlash from adopting a similar law that has led to calls of boycotts and the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in tourism and economic development. Indiana Gov. Mike Spence on Sunday told ABC News the law is not about discrimination but refused to say whether it would permit a business owner to refuse service to someone with whom they disagree.

In Georgia this past Thursday, in a surprise 9-8 vote, the Judiciary Committee voted to amend Senate Bill 129 to add language making clear the bill could not be used to discriminate against anyone already protected by any local, state or federal law. It was quickly tabled by supporters who said adding anti-discrimination language “gutted” the bill.
The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, who said at the time, "I take at face value the statements of the proponents that they do not intend discrimination with this bill but I also believe that if that is the case, we should state that expressly in the bill itself. That is what the amendment does."

Perhaps Georgia doesn't want to be the next Indiana.

RFRA legislation has become the new means to attack the LGBT community by conservatives who see the writing on the wall with the impending decision coming soon from SCOTUS on marriage equality.

Fox News' Bret Baier Debunks Indiana's "Religious Freedom" Law


When even Fox News anchors can see a law doesn't work, you know the jig is up.

Bret Baier, appearing on Happening Now today, told host Eric Shawn that the law is NOT like the federal version, and that it will "have to be tweaked, if not changed."

Check this transcript from the segment:

ERIC SHAWN: You know, the law was intended to protect personal religious liberties against government overreach and intrusion. So what happened?

BAIER: Well, Indiana's law is written a little differently. It is more broad. It is different than the federal law that it's close to, but different than, and also different than 19 other states and how the law is written. In specific terms, Indiana's law deals with a person who can claim religious persecution but that includes corporations, for profit entities and it could also be used as a defense in a civil suit that does not involve the government. That is broader than the other laws. This is where it's a little different in Indiana's case. You saw governor Mike Pence try to defend the law and say it's just like the 1993 federal law where it's just like 19 other states, but as you look in the fine print, it's not really, and it may be something that Indiana deals with in specifics to line up with the others.

[snip]

SHAWN: Obviously, it had good intentions. What do you think happened to make it kind of go off the rails this way?

BAIER: Well, how it was structured, Eric. And I think that, you know, there may be good intentions behind it but how it's being interpreted is being a little bit more forward leaning than any other Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books. What this does politically, obviously Mike Pence has been talked about as a governor thinking about a 2016 run. We don't know if he's going to do it or not. But that interview with Stephanopoulos over the weekend was obviously not a great back and forth in defense of this law that likely is going to have to be at least tweaked, if not changed. [emphasis added]

Further discussions about SB101 continue to circle back to the federal law with conservative Hoosier lawmakers saying their law is "exactly" like.

But as Bret Baier and many others can now attest to upon closer evaluation, there is a major difference between Indiana's version of the law and the federal government's version.

From Media Matters:

Indiana's RFRA is categorically different from other "religious freedom" laws, because it includes for-profit businesses under its definition of "persons" capable of religious expression.

The Indiana law also allows private individuals and businesses to claim a religious exemption in court "regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding."

Those differences -- which the ACLU has called "virtually without precedent" -- expand the scope of Indiana's RFRA and provide a legal defense for businesses and individuals who refuse service to LGBT residents.

North Carolina: Gov. McCrory Speaks Out Against "Religious Freedom" Legislation


Speaking on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R) spoke out against a bill in his state's legislature that would mimic the controversial "Religious Freedom" laws in Indiana, which could allow for legalized discrimination against LGBT folks.

“What is the problem they’re trying to solve?” McCrory said during a radio interview. “I haven’t seen it at this point in time.”

McCrory also denounced a bill approved in the state Senate that would allow magistrates to "opt-out" of performing same-sex marriages if they were so inclined.

“I don’t think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold … the constitution of North Carolina,” he said.

(via Charlotte Observer)

Connecticut: Governor Dan Malloy Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana



First, San Francisco's mayor issued a ban on city-funded travel to the state of Indiana over the recently passed (and highly controversial) "license to discriminate" legislation SB101.

Then, Seattle's mayor followed suit.

Today, the governor of Connecticut has now issued his own executive order banning state-funded travel to the Hoosier state.

Malloy's communications director, Mark Bergman, followed up with tweets pointing out that Connecticut's religious freedom laws only pertain to religious institutions - not private organizations.

And, unlike other states Connecticut doesn't permit discrimination on sexual orientation in any private establishment or institution.

FRC's Peter Sprigg Gets Schooled By CNN's Chris Cuomo On Indiana "License To Discriminate"


CNN's Chris Cuomo delivers an epic take-down of virulently anti-gay Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council over Indiana's "License To Discriminate" legislation - SB101.

Excerpt via Mediaite:

“There is a picture that’s circulating around of the governor as he signed [the bill],” Cuomo said. “Several of the people in the picture are outspoken critics of gay existence. Now, that’s not a coincidence. It’s not a coincidence why you’re against it. Let me ask you, why do so many Christians these days believe that the exercise of their faith requires exclusion and judgment of others?”

“Some people have a sincere, conscientious belief that marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman,” Sprigg replied. “In fact the majority of Americans believe that.”

“Popularity is not the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong if protecting rights under the Constitution,” Cuomo said. “The question then goes to: why do you need this? What is it about someone being gay or someone wanting to marry someone of the same sex — what is there in that that is keeping you from being the Christian you want to be?…If I said, Mr. Sprigg, you must go marry a man right now, you can say, no, that’s a violation of my faith. Maybe that, you would be able clear this burden. But how is wanting to judge others somehow stopping you from practicing your faith?”

The upshot? We're not crazy here, kids. Everyone sees this. The haters just don't want to say it out loud.

Forward.

Madonna & Taylor Swift Perform "Ghosttown" At IHeartRadio Awards


Hottest pop star of the moment Taylor Swift accompanied biggest pop star of all time Madonna at the 2015 iHeartRadio Awards last night on Madge's current single "Ghosttown" from Rebel Heart.

Madonna returned the favor by presenting Taylor with "Song of the Year" honors for "Shake It Off."



Marriage News Watch - March 30, 2015


From the American Foundation for Equal Rights:

Texas has won the right to have gays and lesbians fired for taking medical leave.

The state's also working on a sneaky work-around to stop marriage equality, just in case the Supreme Court overturns the state's ban.

And Alabama officials says that maybe gays and lesbians don't want to get married after all.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Music Video: Steve Grand "Time"


Singer-songwriter Steve Grand's new music video explores the arc of a gay relationship in the video for his new single “Time.”

The piano-driven pop ballad is from his brand new album All-American Boy available now.


GLAAD Names Names And Points Fingers At Indiana SB101 Signing

(Click pic to enlarge)
Life is funny. Folks may think they can hate, and then get away without being identified.

Until, they can't.

Boom.

It's cool guys. If you wanna hate, go for it. My only request - be proud of what you stand for.

Graphic via GLAAD.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Unable To Say Discriminating Against Gays Should Be Illegal


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made a disasterous appearance on ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopoulos to "clarify" his state's new bill which has been called a "license to discriminate" against LGBT folks.

It's almost painful to watch as George repeatedly asks for a yes or no answer to the question: does this new law make it legal for a florist to refuse to serve a gay couple? At least three times, Pence pivoted away from the question and refused to address it.

George asked if adding LGBT folks to the state's civil rights protected classes might be an avenue the state could take to "prove" the law isn't about discriminating against gays? Pence said that wasn't on his agenda.

Finally, at the 9:52 mark, George asks flat-out (easy answer here, kids): "Governor, do you think it should be legal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in Indiana?"

Pence takes a long pause - that was where he should have said "No, of course not!" - and pivoted away from the question one last time.

Pence simply couldn't bring himself to answer the question. Over and over and over again.

This appearance didn't help his cause in any way. Watch the supercut of his appearance showing the 8 times he refused to say whether the law discriminated against gays and lesbians. You can watch the full interview here.

Texas Sportscaster Dale Hansen's Take Down Of Some Teenaged Racists

I think Dale Hansen should have his own national TV show. He completely rocks.

"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." - Albert Einstein. In case you missed it, this is why everyone is talking about Dale Hansen.

Posted by WFAA-TV on Friday, February 27, 2015

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Will Seek To "Clarify" Newly Passed "License To Discriminate" Law

Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana

After a week of scorching backlash over the passage of Indiana's "license to discriminate" law - SB101 - Gov Mike Pence has announced he intends to file new legislation to "clarify" the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Pence says he didn't anticipate the "hostility" that has been leveled at the state over the anti-gay legislation. He declined to provide details about the upcoming "clarification" but said that making LGBT Indiana residents a protected legal class is “not on my agenda.”

Pence said repeatedly that the intense blowback against the new law is the result of a “misunderstanding driven by misinformation,” and disputes the law allows state-sanctioned anti-LGBT discrimination.

Freedom Indiana finds Pence's response a bit on the disingenuous side, as campaign manager Katie Blair issued the following statement:

“You can’t ‘clarify’ discrimination. Indiana now has billions of dollars and thousands of jobs on the line, all because the Governor wouldn’t stop this dangerous bill. He has a second chance to save our reputation for Hoosier hospitality, but he has to stand up and protect LGBT Hoosiers.

“Discrimination is not a core Hoosier value, and we can’t afford to let our state continue to suffer. Please, Governor, listen to the voices of common sense and reason trying to get through to you. Fix the bill to protect all Hoosiers, and make it clear our state is open for business again.”

HRC's Chad Griffin chimed in via Twitter:



And Lambda Legal offered this bit of free advice:





Saturday, March 28, 2015

Video: "Indiana - It's A Great Place To Be A Bigot"


And so, it begins...

I always wondered what it must feel like to get what you want.

Congratulations Gov. Mike Pence and state legislators. You're doing it!

Indiana: NBA Legend Charles Barkley Calls Foul On SB101


Indiana's SB101, signed into law Thursday by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), has former NBA legend Charles Barkley calling for the NCAA to move the NCAA Final Four tournament out of Indiana.

The newly enacted law “prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion,” according to The Indianapolis Star.

In essence, the law gives businesses a legal foundation to refuse service to LGBT individuals in the name of religious freedom.

“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable to me,” Barkley said in a statement Friday afternoon. “As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.”

In addition, another former NBA star - Reggie Miller - tweeted his disappointment over "legalized" discrimination in his adopted home state.

Tweet Of The Day: Bette Midler On Indiana's "License To Discriminate"

Bad News Just Keeps Coming For Indiana Over "License To Discriminate" Law

Indiana: Angie's List Rethinks $40 Million Expansion Due To SB101

The popular business review website, Angie's List, has been based in Indianapolis, Indiana, since 1995.

The $315 million corporation has had a $40 million renovation on it's schedule, which would include moving the main offices across town and adding 1000 new jobs over five years.

Now, however, it seems that the state lawmakers and Republican Governor Mike Pence's new Indiana "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" have put those renovations (and the $40 million in economic impact to the city) on hold.

"Angie's List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents," CEO Bill Oesterle said in a statement today, adding, the expansion is "on hold until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees, both current and future."

The company announcement added it "will begin reviewing alternatives for the expansion of its headquarters immediately."

Good job, Gov. Mike Pence and legislators.

You're really doing a heck of a job.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray Bans City-Funded Travel To Indiana

Mayor Ed Murray with George Takei

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a ban on travel to Indiana by city officials today, in light of the passage of Indiana's anti-gay "license to discriminate" legislation - S.B. 101.

"Seattleites know that discrimination has no place in our City – that's just equality 101." - Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

Via press release:

Indiana's S.B. 101 doesn't reflect the values of our City. Seattle has been a leader in the fight to protect civil rights and ensure equality for all people - no matter who you are, or who you love. This is why I am ordering that none of our taxpayer dollars should go toward supporting this discriminatory law. To those in Indiana today who are working hard in the fight for equality - know that Seattle stands with you as you continue your efforts to end discrimination and protect civil rights for everyone.

The executive action will ban all work-related and city-funded travel to the state of Indiana.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has issued a similar executive order for his city, and more are lining up.

According to King5 News, Mayor Murray made his announcement after meeting with actor and LGBT activists George Takei and his husband Brad Altman last evening.

Uncle Of The Day

(h/t Wicked Gay Blog)

Ricky Martin Gets Hung Up

M.A.S. Tour Video intro. Produced and Directed by @elasticpeople #freedom

A photo posted by Ricky (@ricky_martin) on

Washington State Florist Fined $1,000 For Refusing Service To Gays

Baronelle Stutzman

Remember the florist in Washington state who refused to sell a gay couple flowers for their wedding?

Remember how the haters screamed that the gays were going to ruin the florist by taking her home and livelihood away?

Yeah. It ended up a whopping $1,001 fine.

From the AP:

Benton County Superior Judge Alexander Ekstrom's ruling gives Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts in Richland, Washington, 60 days to pay the state for her refusal to serve Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed when they sought to buy wedding flowers in 2013.

Stutzman, who had sold flowers to Robert Ingersoll for years, knew he was gay and said when he sought to buy wedding flowers that the marriage went against her beliefs as a Southern Baptist. After they were refused flowers, Ingersoll and Freed went ahead with a smaller wedding than they had planned. They got married in their home with 11 guests and flowers from another florist.

In a February ruling, Ekstrom found that Stutzman's refusal to provide flowers because of sexual orientation violated Washington's anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws.

"My primary goal has always been to end illegal discrimination," Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. "I'm pleased that today's ruling clearly prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Indiana Restaurant Owner Is Happy To Turn Gay Customers Away


Kids, this is the honest face of discrimination. Ryan is proud that he doesn't want gay dollars at his place of business.

I'm a little heartbroken to hear this, but I feel I have to post it because it's real. This is what gay folks face.

Interesting that "Ryan" believes in his position but is afraid to say the name of his establishment on the air... Just saying. Courage in profile.

Radio hosts Kyle & Rachel were discussing the ‘Religious Freedom’ bill today when they received a call from a local business owner, Ryan, who not only supports the bill 100% but refused service to a gay couple before.

"Ryan" was so honest with his answers that he mentioned he once blamed a mechanical failure in the kitchen in order to refuse service to a gay couple!

What If Your College Math Lecturer Turned Out To Be Hunky Model?


Students at London were surprised to learn (or maybe not) that their hunky math lecturer was an international model, Pietro Boselli.

Guess no one's missing those classes, huh?




(via Gaily Grind)

Arkansas Moves Closer To Legalizing "License To Discriminate"


Arkansas moved closer to becoming the next state to adopt an anti-LGBT "license to discriminate" law today.

Passed by a vote of 24-7 in the state Senate, the legislation would block state and local government from taking any action that substantially burdens someone’s religious beliefs unless a “compelling” interest is proven.

The bill has already been passed in the state House, but returns there for another vote due to minor changes.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has already indicated he plans on signing the bill into law.

Opponents say the mean-spirited legislation is a thinly-veiled effort to endorse bias against LGBT folks.

Civil rights leader Dr. Julian Bond issued this statement: "H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion--and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens. Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."

And Apple CEO Tim Cook offered this via Twitter:



White House Comments On Anti-Gay "License To Discriminate" Law In Indiana


White House press secretary Josh Earnest addressed the recent anti-gay "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" in Indiana to reporters today.

Via MetroWeekly:

"I have seen that there are a number of private businesses and nonprofit organizations that have said that the signing of this law prompts them to reconsider doing business in the state of Indiana,” Earnest said. “All those business and some of those who are considering having conventions in Indiana have raised concerns about whether all of their employees can count on being treated fairly in Indiana.

“I think that is a testament to the kind of reaction I think a lot of people all across the country had, which is that the signing of the bill doesn’t seem like it’s a step in the direction of equality and justice and liberty for all Americans. Again, that’s not just the view of the administration, I know that’s the view of the Republican mayor of Indianapolis and a whole host of nonprofit and private sector companies who have legitimate concerns about the impact of this legislation.”

Country Music: "Girl Crush" Gets Dropped From Radio, Erroneously Labelled Lesbian Song


Earlier today, I was reading about a new country song - "Girl Crush" by Little Big Town that is now facing some opposition on it's way to becoming a huge hit because some listeners are misinterpreting the lyrics as promoting a "gay agenda."

The song lyrics deal with an ex-girlfriend who wishes she was like her ex's new girlfriend. However, as the lyrics praise the new girlfriend, it's been interpreted as a "lesbian love song."

“I want to taste her lips, yeah ‘cause they taste like you / I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume / I want her long blond hair, I want her magic touch / Yeah cause maybe then, you’d want me just as much… I got a girl crush.”

Due to the somewhat dim-mindedness of some radio listeners, country radio is beginning to drop the song from playlists.

Now, Country superstar Dierks Bentley has chimed in on the issue:

"When I heard that song, I never even thought about it being about a girl crush or a lesbian [romance]. And when I thought about it that way, I liked it even more," Bentley said. "It’s just so silly, but, it’s always been that way. Look at Miranda Lambert’s career: She’s always cutting songs that are a little edgier, like 'Gunpowder & Lead,' about shooting down this guy who’s getting out of jail for beating you up, you know? You keep pushing down that wall and eventually the fans will demand it and push for those changes."

"I have so much respect for Little Big Town and [producer] Jay Joyce ... to take chances like that and keep the genre going and moving, it requires bold artists. The song being pulled is probably one of the best things that could happen to them," he added. "Like when Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls" got banned from CMT for being too edgy. It just makes fans want to hear it more and go out there and find it."

"Girl Crush" is currently the #1 country single on iTunes.

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