National

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: brucerauner.com

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.

Right ramps up push for religious refusal bills

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:45

A florist who refused service to a same-sex couple planning a wedding broke the law in Washington state. That’s the ruling of a circuit court judge in a case closely watched by marriage equality advocates and opponents across the country.

Benton County Superior Judge Alex Ekstrom, in a 60-page ruling issued on Feb. 18 in Richland, Washington, said the religious beliefs of the owner of Arlene’s Flowers are protected by the First Amendment, but actions based on those beliefs may not be protected.

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.

Defense secretary comments on transgender military service

Written by Wisconsin Gazette Monday, 23 February 2015 11:07

Department of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter addressed the issue of military service by transgender people — who are currently prohibited from serving openly — in a town hall in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

When asked about transgender service members serving in “austere environments” such as Afghanistan, Carter replied, in part, “And I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.”

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.

Hundreds mark 50 years since Malcolm X’s assassination

Written by FRANK ELTMAN,
Associated Press writer
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:46

Activists, actors and politicians gathered on Feb. 20 in New York City to honor civil rights leader Malcolm X with a ceremony at the Harlem site where he was killed 50 years ago.

About 300 people gathered to hear remarks from one of Malcolm X’s six daughters, Ilyasah Shabazz, as well as elected officials. The ceremony was held at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, formerly known as the Audubon Ballroom.