Tag Archives: Huffington Post

With Senate vote expected, president urges passage of ENDA

President Barack Obama, in an op-ed published on Nov. 4 on HuffingtonPost.com, encouraged Congress to send him legislation protecting LGBT people from employment discrimination.

The bill is the Employment Non-Discrimination, which could be voted on in the Senate this week.

In the op-ed, Obama said that “millions of LGBT Americans go to work every day fearing that, without any warning, they could lose their jobs — not because of anything they’ve done, but simply because of who they are.

“It’s offensive. It’s wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are and who you love should never be a fireable offense.”

He continued, “That’s why Congress needs to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, also known as ENDA, which would provide strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This bill has strong bipartisan support and the support of a vast majority of Americans. It ought to be the law of the land.”

ENDA has 54 co-sponsors in the Senate and at least 59 “yes” votes.

The president, in the op-ed, said, “I urge the Senate to vote yes on ENDA and the House of Representatives to do the same. Several Republican Senators have already voiced their support, as have a number of Republicans in the House. If more members of Congress step up, we can put an end to this form of discrimination once and for all.”

Hobby Lobby slammed over alleged anti-Semitism

The national craft store chain Hobby Lobby is not carrying merchandise related to the Jewish holiday of Hanukah. Employees of the company’s fundamentalist Christian owner reportedly said that do so would violate his religious values.

The company’s refusal to carry products related to Judaism was first reported by Ken Berwitz of Marlboro, N.J., who blogged about an experience that one of his friends had at the local Hobby Lobby.

“When one of our friends asked where the Chanukah goods were, (she) was told there wouldn’t be any, and asked why,” Berwitz wrote. “According to her, the answer was: ‘We don’t cater to you people.’ ”

Berwitz wrote that he called the Marlboro Hobby Lobby and asked why they don’t carry Hanukah-related merchandise.

“Because Mr. (David) Green is the owner of the company, he’s a Christian, and those are his values,” Berwitz wrote was the response that he received. According to him, roughly one-third of Marlboro’s population is Jewish.

Asbury Park Press said Hobby Lobby employees could not verify the incident.

Billionaire Steve Green owns the chain’s 550 stores, including three in southeastern Wisconsin. Huffington Post reported that Green is suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act, claiming that it tramples on his religious liberty by forcing him to insure employees for medical services that he objects to on religious grounds.

According to HuffPo, Green’s case has a good chance of making it to the Supreme Court.

Green has one of the country’s largest collections of ancient biblical artifacts, including what’s believed to be the oldest known copy of a Hebrew prayer book. 

Marketers slow to deploy ads featuring gay couples

Even as gay marriage becomes legal in more places, corporate America has been slower to feature gay couples in advertising plans.

While companies in Minnesota and elsewhere cater to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers, efforts to court their business are not as obvious to the general public. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that those marketing campaigns tend to be more over social media than a mass market medium such as television.

Some businesses are starting to change their approach. U Care, a nonprofit Minnesota health plan, recently started putting ads on city buses featuring a lesbian couple holding hands and a message that reads, “Health care that starts with: Kate and Louisa.”

“Our brand’s tagline is ‘Health care that starts with you.’ It’s not ‘Health care that starts with some of you,’” said Dan Ness, the company’s marketing director.

UCare, a nonprofit, community-based health plan, serves people in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its transit ad campaign, which started running in July, depicts a wide variety of people, Ness said. A television ad UCare has run since 2011 also features a lesbian couple.

Other Minnesota companies court gay customers in smaller ways. Target depicts gay couples in its wedding registry marketing. Cereal maker General Mills has a blog site promoting its Lucky Charms cereal brand abounds with gay-friendly rainbows and a photo gallery that includes photos of same sex couples.

Communications strategist Bob Witeck said companies are proceeding cautiously because of risks of offending those who don’t approve of gay relationships. When JC Penney and Urban Outfitters featured gay couples in catalogs, they faced boycotts from the group “One Million Moms.”

And Witeck said if marketers really want to speak to gay couples, they can get a better payoff by spending advertising dollars in places where gay and lesbian people are the main audience, such as the “gay voices” section of the Huffington Post.

“When same-sex couples are incorporated into a strategy, they’re almost invariably focused in channels where there’s a higher proportion of gay people seeing them,” he said.

Gay veteran who lost leg in Iraq booed by right-wing Christians

About 300 Christian-right equality opponents staged a prayer vigil in downtown San Antonio to protest a proposal that would expand the city’s anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

Fundamentalist Christian pastors led the throng in Spanish and English prayers in front of City Hall and then walked to City Council chambers, where citizens were invited to speak for or against the proposal. Among those who spoke was Eric Alva, a gay Marine veteran who lost a leg in Iraq War. The hostile response me met after testifying for the ordinance left him nearly in tears.

“Well I just left city council chambers and I feel like crying,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I have never seen a city so divided and hateful towards each other. All of mankind should be ashamed. I already spoke and even some of the religious groups even booed me as I spoke. Such disrespect as they preach the word of God.”

While Mayor Julian Castro supports the changes to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, some council members vehemently oppose it. Councilwoman Elisa Chan went on an anti-gay tirade while discussing the ordinance privately in her office on May 21. James Stevens, a 28-year-old aide to Chan, secretly recorded her hateful remarks and released the audio to the San Antonio Express-News.

“My decision to record in the first place was that, during the staff meetings, we weren’t really discussing the ordinance itself,” Stevens told Express journalist Brian Chasnoff. “We were really just talking about ways to appeal to the (voting) base and to get them fired up as opposed to analyzing the ordinance. . . . (Chan’s) not focused on the policy itself and how it’s going to really affect the city. We spent 80 percent of that meeting talking about how disgusting homosexuality is.”

In the recording, the group discusses things like how the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to the legalization of incest or bestiality, Chasnoff reported. Chan can purportedly be heard calling homosexuality “disgusting to even thing about.”

“I don’t think homosexual people should do adoption,” she says on the audio. “They should be banned by adoption. You’re gonna confuse those kids. They should be banned. If you wanted to choose that lifestyle, we don’t want to discriminate you, but it shouldn’t affect the young people. How terrible that we actually allow them to adopt?”

Stevens gave Chan notice that he’s resigning earlier this week.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro called Chan’s remarks “hurtful and ignorant.”

“No one (should) believe for one second that they represent the views of San Antonians,” he told The Huffington Post during a phone interview yesterday. “Ours is a city that welcomes everyone and appreciates diversity.”

Anti-gay leader Bryan Fischer hints that he’s felt attraction for other men

As head of the anti-gay hate group American Family Association, Bryan Fischer has built his professional life around fighting laws discouraging discrimination against LGBT people and legitimizing same-sex relationships.

But, as reported by the Huffington Post, Fischer became tongue-tied with Fox News radio host Alan Colmes when he asked whether Fischer has ever experienced same-sex urges.

“Alan, I am not going to talk about that. We’re not going to talk about that,” Fischer said.

“If you’ve been able to overcome your gay impulses and you’ve been successful in doing it, you could be a model for other people you’d like to see act the same way,” Colmes prodded.

“The focus here, Alan,” Fischer said, “is that everybody experiences sexual impulses that, if they acted on those impulses, it would destroy them. You’ve experienced them. I’ve experienced them. Every man, every woman has experienced certain sexual impulses that, if they acted on them, if they conducted themselves by yielding to those impulses, would destroy them. Ask Tiger Woods about that.”

Several months ago, Julaine Appling, director of Wisconsin Family Action, acknowledged to a Madison reported that she’d felt attraction for other women. WFA, the state’s leading anti-gay organization, spearheaded a 2006 effort to add an amendment to the state Constitution banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Appling, who has never married, has lived for decades with another never-married woman. The two own a home together in Watertown.

Gingrich says GOP should embrace civil marriage equality

Newt Gingrich, who was House Speaker when Congress passed the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, has told the Huffington Post that the Republican Party must find a way to support civil marriage equality.

Gingrich, in an interview with the online news site, said the Republican Party has been on the wrong side of history on opposing civil marriages for gays and that the party should distinguish between “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state.”

Gingrich, whose half-sister is gay, told the Huffington Post, “The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states – and it will be more after 2014 – gay relationships will be legal, period.”

Responding, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, said, “Newt Gingrich reflects the experience that has changed the minds of so many Americans in understanding that LGBT people are a part of every family and community – including his own. His evolution resonates with people on a very personal level and is a quintessential example of why momentum is on the side of equality.”

Other Republcian leaders to support marriage equality include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former first Lady Laura Bush, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, attorney Ted Olson and former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman.

Griffin said, “Gingrich’s comments give other Republican leaders the room to do the right thing and embrace marriage equality – which is reflective of the fundamental conservative principles of freedom and individual liberty. The six million LGBT people who voted this election cycle, along with the decisive victories we secured across the board, make clear the direction in which our country is heading.”

Log Cabin Republicans also responded. “Log Cabin Republicans welcome former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s remarks calling for a Republican reality check on marriage. Gingrich speaks for many Republicans who are concerned about our party’s future, and who are ready to accept the freedom to marry matters to many Americans, gay and straight,” said R. Clarke Cooper, LCR’s executive director. “As Gingrich noted, LGBT people are part of every family and every community, and the time has come for greater inclusion. It is particularly important and welcome to hear that Gingrich now understands the difference between church ceremonies and a civil marriage license, and that equality is no threat to religious freedom.”

Candace Gingrich blogs on Newt Gingrich’s “evolution” on marriage: 

http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/my-brother-newt-evolves-on-marriage-finally-something-on-which-we-can-agree

Campus Pride ranks best colleges for LGBT students

Campus Pride and Huffington Post on Aug. 21 released a list of the 2012 “Top 25 List of LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities.”

The list is based on date from the Campus Pride Index, which rates colleges and universities based on LGBT-friendly policies, programs, and practices.

The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

Carleton College.

Cornell University.

Emory University.

Indiana University.

Ithaca College.

Oberlin College.

Portland State University.

Stanford University.

Ohio State University.

Pennsylvania State University.

University of California-Berkeley.

University of California-Los Angeles.

University of California-Riverside.

University of California-Santa Barbara.

University of Chicago.

University of Illinois – Chicago.

University of Maryland.

College Park.

University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

University of Michigan.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

University of Oregon.

University of Pennsylvania.

University of Utah.

University of Vermont.

University of Washington.

“Praise and accolades are deserved for these ‘Top 25’ colleges and universities. Each has demonstrated in policy, program and practice inclusion and safety for LGBT and ally student populations,” said Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer. “It is also important to recognize the 300 plus additional colleges that have ‘come out’ as LGBT-friendly on the Campus Pride Index, regardless of their star-rating. Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus.”

The Campus Pride Index lists nearly 350 publicly available campus climate reports online at www.campusprideindex.org.

In addition to the partnership with Huffington Post for the “Top 25 LGBT-friendly List,” Campus Pride recently partnered with The Advocate to release the first list of the top 10 transgender-friendly colleges and universities across the country.

Jimmy Carter: ‘It is very fine’ for gays to marry

Former President Jimmy Carter says its fine for gays to marry in civil ceremonies in an interview focused on his newest book, “NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter.”

The Democrat from Georgia tells the Huffington Post’s senior religion editor, “I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.”

The editor had asked Carter – Nobel Peace Prize winner, Sunday school teacher and Christian – about homosexuality and the Bible, saying, “A lot of people point to the Bible for reasons why gay people should not be in the church, or accepted in any way.”

Carter replied, “Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things – he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.

“I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I’m a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs. So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to.”

Last year, Carter helped campaign for marriage equality in New York state.

The former president also tells the Huff Post that he separated from the Southern Baptists “when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women.”

Earlier this month, Carter’s vice president, Walter Mondale, co-founded a group of lawyers and others in the legal profession to battle an anti-gay ballot initiative in Minnesota. The measure would amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Carter’s newest book contains lessons from his career as a Sunday school teacher at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., and the text of the NIV Bible.

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Tennessee pol ousted from restaurant over AIDS comment

A Tennessee Republican lawmaker was ousted from a Knoxville restaurant over comments he made on a satellite radio show about the origins of AIDS and how it’s transmitted.

Tennessee Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville was interviewed late last week by Michelangelo Signorile, editor-at-large of Huffington Gay Voices, on Signorile’s radio show on SiriusXM’s LGBT channel, OutQ, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.

Campfield told the newspaper that some of his comments were taken “out of context” in the story.

He added: “I’m not a historian on AIDS … but I’ve read and seen what other people have read and seen and those facts are out there.”

The subject of the radio interview was a proposal by Campfield, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would ban public schools from teaching about gay issues.

During the discussion, Campfield said HIV and AIDS originated from a man having sex with a monkey and that “it is virtually … impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.”

In a Huffington Post story on the interview, Signorile describes Campfield as “comparing homosexuality to bestiality and making what public health officials would characterize as recklessly false assertions about AIDS.”

This afternoon HP reported that the owner of The Bistro at the Bijou in Knoxville asked Campfield to leave the restaurant over the weekend. “I hope that Stacy (sic) Campfield now knows what it feels like to be unfairly discriminated against,” restaurant owner Martha Boggs wrote on her Facebook page.

Later she said, “I didn’t want his hate in my restaurant.”

The Senate version of Campfield’s legislation passed last year. The companion has been delayed in a House subcommittee.

The measure limits all sexually related instruction to “natural human reproduction science” in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Campfield said it’s needed in part because homosexuality is more dangerous than heterosexuality and “there are people who want to glorify risky behavior in schools.”

Opponents of the legislation fear it would prevent teachers and others from speaking out against the bullying of gay teens.

Hysterical Michele Bachmann flees teenage gay activist

After arriving 30 minutes late to speak at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann spoke only three minutes then fled the event after being heckled by a gay-rights advocate, the Huffington Post reported.

Gabe Aderhold, a 17-year-old from Edina, Minn., yelled, “Shame on you,” several times at Bachmann. Aderhold had confronted other Republican candidates earlier in the day about their opposition to LGBT equality.

“I’m a second class citizen because of you, Michele! Second class citizen! What about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for every American, Michele?” Aderhold yelled at Bachmann.

HuffPo reported that just moments after Aderhold began to heckle her, Bachmann and her entourage, which included bodyguards, moved quickly from the stage and through the crowd, at a pace rapid enough that some spectators appeared to get lightly shoved out of the way. She jumped on a golf cart with her aides and fled.

Bachmann, who made demonization of gay people the focal point of her early political career, won today’s Ames Straw Poll, which is decided mostly by fundamentalist Christian GOP activists. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, placed a close second. The poll is considered an early test of the GOP’s crowded presidential field. No Republican can win the party’s presidential nomination without a stamp of approval from the party’s anti-gay fringe voters.

Bachmann and her husband Marcus Bachmann own unlicensed “Christian counseling” centers that attempt to turn gay people straight. Bachmann stresses her experience as co-owner of the clinic as one of her greatest qualifications for leading the world’s largest economy.

Although Bachmann does not believe in federal government spending to support the economy, her clinics accept Medicaid funding.

Marcus Bachmann has come under widespread ridicule for his effeminate appearance and mannerisms at the same time he sells “pray-away-the gay” therapy to others.