National gaze
April 9, 2015

Written by WiG
and AP reports
Friday, 10 April 2015 04:18

Forced sterilization proposed in Tennessee plea deals

Prosecutors in Nashville, Tennessee, made sterilization of women part of plea negotiations at least four times in the past five years. The district attorney banned his staff from using the invasive surgery as a bargaining chip after the latest case.

Indiana success emboldens gay right advocates

Written by Tom Davies
and Andrew DeMillo DeMILLO,
Associated Press writers
Monday, 06 April 2015 05:58

Gay rights advocates are hoping to parlay the momentum from their big legislative victories in Indiana and Arkansas into further expanding legal protections for gays and lesbians in states around the U.S.

2016 Ticker: Are the early primary states losing clout?

Written by Steve Peoples,
AP writer
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 05:04

Few states have shaped presidential politics like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

By hosting the nation's first presidential primaries and caucuses, the states have heaped political and financial rewards for decades on successful candidates and hastened the end for underachievers. Yet their clout may be declining in 2016.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. -PHOTO:

Putting election-year hostilities behind them, gay rights advocates said they emerged from a meeting with Gov. Bruce Rauner with a pledge the Republican will strictly enforce anti-discrimination laws and hope that he’ll also support their top legislative priority: a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors.

Indiana’s religious freedom law inspires pro-pot advocate to create a temple to weed

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Tuesday, 07 April 2015 18:14

Bill Levin, founder of Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis. —PHOTO: Courtesy

The same day that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, Bill Levin filed paperwork with the Indiana Secretary of State to open a new church — The First Church of Cannabis. His application was approved, and thanks to the state’s new religious freedom law and a flurry of publicity that brought in thousands of dollars in donations, practitioners of his faith soon should be lighting up with the same impunity as a nun saying her rosary.

Religious freedom fights are not going away

Written by Rachel Zoll,
AP Religion writer
Sunday, 05 April 2015 18:15

Conservative faith leaders who have made religious liberty a rallying cry as gay marriage spread throughout the U.S. have been stunned by Indiana’s abrupt retreat from a law some advocates said would protect objectors from recognizing same-sex unions.

Major companies threaten to end relationships with Indiana over 'license to discriminate' law

Written by Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer
Sunday, 29 March 2015 17:46

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman is among the business leaders who are threatening to boycott Indiana and other states that pass bills protecting anti-gay discrimination. -PHOTO:Wikicommons

Hundreds of people, some carrying signs reading "no hate in our state," gathered March 29 outside the Indiana Statehouse for a boisterous rally against a new state law that allows discrimination against LGBT people for religious purposes.

Obama administration: No quick fix if court kills health subsidies

Written by ALAN FRAM,
Associated Press
Saturday, 28 February 2015 06:21

President Barack Obama’s health secretary told Congress this week that she has no administrative actions available to fix the “massive damage to our health care system” that would result should the Supreme Court invalidate federal subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health care coverage.

The letter from Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell continued the administration’s tough stance in its building confrontation with Republican lawmakers in advance of an expected Supreme Court decision in June.

Indiana faces long road to restore its image — and its tourism

Associated Press writer
Monday, 06 April 2015 18:50

Downtown Indianapolis.

Indiana tourism agencies are rolling out campaigns emphasizing that everyone is welcome, but it might not be enough to quickly restore the state’s battered image after a backlash over its religious objections law.

Nevada Republicans drop 'religious freedom' bills

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 05 April 2015 06:13

Nevada Republicans are dropping two proposed bills that would have added religious freedom protections to state law that critics have hounded as legalizing discrimination against LGBT people.

National gaze
March 26, 2015

Written by WiG
and AP reports
Thursday, 26 March 2015 23:51

Utah gov. signs LGBT rights law

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert earlier this month signed into law an anti-discrimination measure that has the support of the Mormon Church.

Alabama marriage equality battle echoes epic fights

Written by From WiG
and AP reports
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:47

Olanda Smith, left, and Dinah McCaryer show off their certificate at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama.
— PHOTO: Hal Yeager/AP

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s office overlooks Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue, a history-soaked thoroughfare topped by the Alabama Capitol, where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederacy and where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ended the 1965 march for voting rights.