Wednesday, April 01, 2015

ARKANSAS: Senate Approves Amended RFRA "Nearly Identical" To Fed Version

Via Arkansas Online:
The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday night approved transmitting two amended existing bills to the House that add language that mirrors the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Senate Bills 229 and 975 as amended serve as potential compromises to House Bill 1228, a bill opponents say could allow for discrimination against gay people while the bill's main sponsor has said it strengthens religious freedom protections. SB 229 passed with 26 voting for and six voting against, and SB975 passed with 25 voting for and no one voting against. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday morning that he had asked legislators to amend HB1228 or present a new bill with language more closely matching the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Several senators said they were upset of the "hostile" takeover of SB975, originally sponsored by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch to amend state law concerning government entities regulating free exercise of religion.
More from the Arkansas Times:
For those of you who may be wondering the significance of SB 229 and 975: There is none. They were bills that had failed previously in the session and therefore simply acted as empty vessels to be filled with new substance via an amendment. We've long since passed the filing deadline of the legislative session, which is the date after which no new bills can be filed. However, new amendments can be filed up until the end of the session, and an amendment can make any change to a bill that's already been filed previously. An amendment can, in fact, remove every bit of language from the original bill and rewrite it into something entirely different — which is what happened in this case. Whatever those bills contained beforehand is immaterial. However, it's still fun to mention that SB 229 was intended to protect Arkansas citizens from Sharia Law, sponsored by Sen. John Cooper (R-Jonesboro). That represents some deep level of irony that we can't quite grasp in our current fatigued state.
The AP recaps: "Unlike the version on Hutchinson's desk, the new proposal only addresses action by government, not individuals or businesses."

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Todd Starnes Has The Walmart Sadz

This one is definitely a boycott threat.

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ARKANSAS: Activists Rally For Changes To License To Discriminate Bill

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Tony Perkins Has The Walmart Sadz

That looks like a boycott threat! (Tipped by JMG reader TJ)

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Oakland A's Pitcher Offers To Buy Tickets From Fans Who Object To LGBT Night

Oakland A's star pitcher Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend have offered buy the tickets from fans that object to attending the team's upcoming first-ever LGBT Pride Night at the Oakland Coliseum. Doolittle's girlfriend has two moms and she writes:
If attending a baseball game on LGBT Pride Night makes you at all uncomfortable, it is probably a good idea to sell your tickets. And I have the perfect buyer. ME! If you'd like to sell your tickets to June 17th's LGBT Pride Night game, I will buy them from you at face value. As many as I can. No judgments. No questions asked. From there, I will donate any tickets I purchase to the Bay Area Youth Center's Our Space community for LGBTQ youth. That way you don't have to feel uncomfortable, and the seats don't go to waste. It's win-win. Please tweet at me (@EireannDolan) if you'd like to sell me your tickets. I'll purchase as many unwanted tickets as I can out of my own pocket. I also encourage other A's fans to do the same. Let's fill the stands that night! Love, Eireann and my hella gay moms.
The couple has also launched a GoFundMe account to fill the stadium. At this writing the fund has taken in over $16,000. According to an update at GoFundMe, the team has now dedicated three more sections of seating to LGBT Pride Night. Doolittle pitched for the American League in last year's All-Star Game. (Tipped by JMG reader Jim)

RELATED: Eirann writes amusingly about her moms.
My biological mom Kathy and her partner Elise (who grew up in the Bay Area) are both die-hard A’s fans as well as super gay. Like, they’re so gay for each other that they’ve fostered a long-term loving relationship likely no different from any heterosexual loving relationships you’ve seen or been a part of.

My moms are begrudgingly living in San Diego as transplants amongst all of the San Diego Padres fans. The team the Athletics will play (and beat) on Pride Night? The San Diego Padres. This night was made for them. In fact I’m starting to suspect that the Athletics focus-grouped this event idea with just my two moms and nobody else.

It couldn’t be any more perfectly tailored to my moms than if the team announced that NPR’s Terry Gross will also be throwing out the first pitch and there will be a free notepad giveaway on which my moms can write down all of the reasons I should have majored in something more practical in college.

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Quote Of The Day - Seth Hutchinson

"I am happy that my Dad is now calling on legislators to rework HB 1228. I had communicated with him my opposition to the bill, along with thousands of other Arkansans and concerned citizens around the country. I'm proud to have made a small contribution to the overall effort to stop discrimination against the LGBT community in Arkansas, the state that I love (Go hogs!). I love and respect my father very much, but sometimes we have political disagreements, just as many families do. We must build a mass movement of Americans fighting for economic, environmental, and social justice if we want to see real progress." - Seth Hutchinson, in an email to Business Insider.  Learn more about Seth at this New York Times profile published today.

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California Imposes "Unprecedented" Mandatory Statewide Water Restrictions

Speaking from a water-parched perch in the Sierra Nevadas that would normally be covered with five feet or more of snow, today California Gov. Jerry Brown announced unprecedented mandatory water use restrictions. ABC News reports:
For the first time in the state's history, the governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions across California, in an effort to reduce water usage by 25 percent. The measures include replacing 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought-tolerant landscaping, banning the watering of grass on public street medians, requiring agricultural water users to report their water use to state regulators, and requiring large landscapes such as campuses, golf courses and cemeteries to make significant cuts in water use.

The last four years have been the driest in California’s recorded history. As of March 24, more than 98 percent of California is suffering from abnormally dry conditions, with 41.1 percent in an exceptional drought, according the U.S. Drought Monitor, which estimates that more than 37 million Californians have been affected by the drought. The state’s snowpack, which is largely responsible for feeding the state’s reservoirs, has been reduced to 8 percent of its historical average, and in some areas in the Central Valley the land is sinking a foot a year because of over-pumping of groundwater for agriculture.
The snowpack in neighboring Nevada's Lake Tahoe water basin is reported to be at 3% of its normal size. For now, neither state is restricting water usage by private homes, but experts have warned that that is surely coming. Yesterday the water provider to the Reno area asked customers to cut their use by 10%.

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American Family Association: Gays Don't Deserve Civil Rights Because AIDS

The American Family Association is going after Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly for suggesting that all this RFRA uproar would go away if LGBT Americans were simply added to state anti-discrimination laws. Here's their reason:
With all due respect Megyn Kelly, you are wrong. Homosexuals do not need to be a protected class along with blacks. In fact, you do African Americans and civil rights leaders an injustice by comparing homosexuals to blacks that weren’t allowed to vote and were deprived of certain God given rights prior and during the civil rights era. By classifying homosexuals as a “protected class” you are condoning the behavior that the World Health Organization concluded “men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to have HIV than the general population”. So Megyn, with all due respect, do you still think homosexuals should be a protected class? I would hope not.
The above post was written by Walker Wildmon, son of AFA president Tim Wildmon and grandson of AFA founder Don Wildmon. He concludes by declaring that he doesn't hate gay people. Of course. (Via Good As You)

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Porno Pete Has The RFRA Sadz

"Homosexual activists and their sycophants in the media (e.g., CNN's homosexual anchor - activist Don Lemon) are cunningly building upon their distortions of the RFRA to demand a pro-homosexual special-rights law in the Hoosier State. It would be the cruelest of ironies if the media-driven backlash against Indiana's religious freedom law were used to push through a statewide 'gay rights' law in Indiana. Such pro-homosexual laws and corporate policies have been the engine driving PRO-LGBT DISCRIMINATION against people of faith for decades - all in the sweet-sounding name of 'equality.' Politically speaking, it seems bigotry is OK as long as it advances the 'progressive' agenda to impose mandatory acceptance of homosexuality and gender confusion on everyone." - Peter LaBarbera, in a press release published today by Christian Newswire.

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Tech Giants Denounce RFRA Bills

Via press release:
The values of diversity, fairness and equality are central to our industry. These values fuel creativity and inspiration, and those in turn make the U.S. technology sector the most admired in the world today. We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk. The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.

Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws. No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love. However, right now those values are being called into question in states across the country. In more than twenty states, legislatures are considering legislation that could empower individuals or businesses to discriminate against LGBT people by denying them service if it they felt it violated their religious beliefs.

To ensure no one faces discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone. Anything less will only serve to place barriers between people, create hurdles to creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future. Discrimination is bad for business and that’s why we've taken the time to join this joint statement.
The statement is signed by top executives from eBay, Paypal, Zillow, Twitter, AirBnB, Cisco, SalesForce, Zynga, Yelp, Affirm, Square, Lyft, and many others.

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Pat Robertson Has The RFRA Sadz

“They’re not liberal, they’re totalitarian dictators!"

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Crazy Eyes: Obama = Germanwings Pilot

"With his Iran deal, Barack Obama is for the 300 million souls of the United States what Andreas Lubitz was for the 150 souls on the German Wings flight - a deranged pilot flying his entire nation into the rocks. After the fact, among the smoldering remains of American cities, the shocked survivors will ask, why did he do it?" - Crazy Eyes, posting to her Facebook page.

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Headline Of The Day

Details. It's really astounding that nobody has been able to get so much as an old photo of this guy. (Tipped by JMG reader Jeff)

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ARKANSAS: Gov. Asa Hutchinson Won't Sign RFRA Bill Unless There Are Changes

Hutchinson opened his press conference by noting that his own son had signed the petition asking him to issue a veto. The influence of Walmart in today's decision cannot be underestimated.

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LIVE VIDEO: Arkansas Governor Holds Press Conference On Anti-Gay RFRA Bill

At 10:30AM local time Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will hold a press conference on his state's license to discriminate bill, which was sent to his desk yesterday by the Arkansas House. Hutchinson has vowed to sign the bill, but that was before Walmart stomped into the issue yesterday wearing their trillion-dollar boots. Watch live here.

UPDATE: Here's the full video.

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INDIANA: GOP Legislators Propose RFRA Deal With Limited LGBT Protections

Indiana GOP leaders are vetting a proposed RFRA change that would clarify that private businesses may not discriminate against LGBT citizens on the basis of religious beliefs. Via the Indianapolis Star:
A copy of the language obtained by The Indianapolis Star was being presented to Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday morning. The measure would specify that the new religious freedom law cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against residents based on their sexual orientation. The measure goes much further than a "preamble" that was proposed earlier in the week, explaining exactly what the RFRA law does. But it doesn't go as far as establishing gays and lesbians as a protected class of citizens or repealing the law outright, both things that Republican leaders have said they could not support. The clarification would say that the new "religious freedom" law does not authorize a provider – including businesses or individuals -- to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, goods, or public accommodation to any member of the public based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Churches and non-profits would be exempted under the change. But the haters are still going to scream bloody murder.

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New Yelp Search Option

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A #BigGay Day With Bryan Fischer

As many of you know, quivering quackpot Bryan Fischer is fond of using the expression "Big Gay' to describe our beloved homofascist movement. For some reason Twitter took notice of that yesterday in a big gay way, sending the #BigGay hashtag onto the worldwide trending list. One of beneficiaries of the hashtag hailstorm was the Big Gay Ice Cream dessert chain, which won an avalanche of new followers just as pre-sales launched for their new book. Hit the hashtag stream and enjoy.

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Letterman Mocks Indiana Gov. Mike Pence


(Tipped by JMG reader Jay)

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Here's T-Mobile's April Fools Ad

Other corporate pranks include Google's backwards search page, the Google Maps Pac-Man takeover, and the Chrome selfie app.

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Facebook Moves Into New Office Building With Nine-Acre Park On Its Roof

From Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page:
Today we moved into our new Facebook building in Menlo Park, California. Our goal was to create the perfect engineering space for our teams to work together. We wanted our space to create the same sense of community and connection among our teams that we try to enable with our services across the world. To do this, we designed the largest open floor plan in the world — a single room that fits thousands of people. There are lots of small spaces where people can work together, and it’s easy for people to move around and collaborate with anyone here. On the roof is a 9-acre park with walking trails and many outdoor spaces to sit and work. The building itself is pretty simple and isn’t fancy. That’s on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world.
The main room reportedly houses cubicles for 2800 staffers. Which probably feels like working in an airport terminal. More photos here.

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INDIANA: Pizza Restaurant Vows To Refuse Service To Same-Sex Weddings

Via South Bend's ABC affiliate:
A small-town pizza shop is saying they agree with Governor Pence and the signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The O'Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza, says they have a right to believe in their religion and protect those ideals. “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” says Crystal O'Connor of Memories Pizza.

She and her family are standing firm in their beliefs. The O'Connor's have owned Memories Pizza in Walkerton for 9 years. It's a small-town business, with small-town ideals. “We are a Christian establishment,” says O'Connor. O'Connor says because she's a Christian, she and her family don't support a gay marriage and that is their right.

Kevin O'Connor, Crystal's father, says he believes the negative backlash the bill and its supporters are getting isn't fair. “That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?” says Kevin O'Connor.
What kind of wedding serves take-out pizza? (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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Hate Group Launches Campaign For ABC To Cancel Dan Savage Sitcom Pilot

From the Media Research Center:
If you didn’t know who Dan Savage is until today, it’s probably a good thing. But right now we need you to familiarize yourselves with one of the cruelest, most vile political activists in America. Why? Because ABC and Disney announced their plans to air a sitcom Dan Savage developed loosely based on his life. This is a complete disgrace. By filling out the form on the right, we will produce and mail postcards from you to executives and board members at ABC and Disney. The postcards will include your name, city, and state, as well as your personalized message. The back of the postcard will include one or more examples of Savage's unspeakably vile statements. Make your voice heard today!
RELATED: The MRC was founded by Brent Bozell, who is perhaps most infamous for calling President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead" during a 2011 appearance on Fox News. Bozell also founded the Parents Television Council, which lost a $3.5M defamation lawsuit to the World Wrestling Foundation (now the WWE) for Bozell's claims that children has been killed while copying wrestling moves seen on their shows. Bozell was forced to issue a public apology as part of that settlement. Last year some outlets dropped Bozell's syndicated column after former MRC employees alleged that the column and Bozell's books had been written by a ghostwriter. At the 2012 FRC Values Voter Summit, Bozell told the audience, "If you see any demonstrators, beat them up on the way out." Bozell sits on the board of directors for the Catholic League.

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Frothy Mix Weighs In On Indiana

"The only sensitivity training we need is to respect every person. Tolerance is the most misused word in the English language. Tolerance means you can say really horrible nasty things that I hate and offend me. That’s how we get along. You have a right to be mean -- a right to be nasty to people. That’s how this country works, because we have thick skins and we aren’t offended.  Should a gay or lesbian-owned printshop have to print signs for the Westboro Baptists that say ‘God hates fags’? Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my -- fill in the blank,’ then I’ve got a problem with that." - Rick Santorum, speaking to students at George Washington University.

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MSNBC: Ed Shultz Battles Hater Ryan Anderson, Cuts Off His Microphone

Ed Schultz smacked down Heritage Foundation hater Ryan Anderson last night. Here's the setup:
Schultz pointed to the hypothetical of a gay couple being turned away from a restaurant because of the owner’s beliefs, but Anderson shot back that conservatives don’t actually believe that and accused Schultz of “demagoguing.” They kept fighting after Schultz took a shot at Governor Mike Pence over his personal views on gay people. Anderson said, “You just kept slandering the governor!” Schultz fired back, “I’m not gonna let you filibuster.” When Anderson kept going, Schultz shouted, “Cut his mic off!… We’ll bring him back if he wants to be courteous!” Minutes later Schultz brought Anderson back into the conversation, and he maintained his belief that Pence is a homophobe. Anderson accused him of “name-calling” but Schultz brushed him aside. Schultz concluded by saying, “I apologize for the guy from The Heritage Foundation who can’t have a civil conversation.”

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FRC Joins Angie's List Boycott

Via press release:
Angie’s List, a company that lists crowd-sourced recommendations for local services, decided that religious freedom wasn’t good for business and has threatened to suspend plans to expand its Indianapolis headquarters because of the passage of the law. Bottom line: Angie’s List takes the position that religious freedom is bad for business. We, on the other hand, think freedom is the foundation for good business. Businesses that undermine freedom -- especially our First Freedom -- ultimately undermine their own business. If you have a membership to Angie’s List, I urge you to cancel your membership and show them that as a supporter of religious liberty, you won’t stand for paying dues to a company that disregards the freedom of people to live their daily lives according to what they believe. When you cancel, politely let them know the reason why.
The FRC's boycott announcement came hours after the same move yesterday by the AFA's One Million Moms.

REMINDER: When powerful national Christian groups with millions of members call for boycotts, that is a righteous use of the free market in order to preserve morality, marriage, family, and the American way. But when gay Americans call for a boycott, THAT is homofascist intimidation, intolerance, bullying, a stifling of religious liberty, and an attempt to deny the freedom of speech. And don't you forget it.

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Honey Maid Has Got Your Back

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Tony Perkins Turns On Mike Pence

"What the governor did today, and Mike's been a longtime friend of mine, but what he did is I think he emboldened his enemies and he enraged his friends. And there are people that are deeply concerned about the growing intolerance towards religious freedom in this country and they were very disappointed. There's no question about it. However this language, this fix, we've still not seen it yet and there's still an opportunity, I think, to salvage the heart and soul of what this religious freedom restoration act was intended to do."

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Wingnuts Turn On Mike Pence

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ARKANSAS: Walmart Tells Governor To Veto License To Discriminate Bill

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Brian Brown: Don't Let Bullies Intimidate Arkansas Like They Did With Indiana

From Brian Brown:
Dear Marriage Supporter, DON'T LET THEM DO TO ARKANSAS WHAT THEY DID TO INDIANA! Minutes ago Arkansas passed a religious freedom bill. We know the other side is going to try to bully and intimidate Governor Hutchinson out of signing this bill. The time to act is NOW! Support Governor Hutchinson and urge him to Not be Bullied and Sign the Law. Also tweet out #IStandWithArkansas and get onto Facebook and let everyone know your support! It's urgently needed that you forward this message to your friends and family and ask them to take action as well. We must stand up against this pernicious assault against religious liberty.
So far there are exactly two tweets with the #IStandWithArkansas hashtag. Maybe we can help them out with a little hijacking.

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FOTF On Indiana: Liberals Have Launched A War On The Freedom Of Religion

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ARKANSAS: State House Sends Anti-Gay License To Discriminate Bill To Desk Of GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson

Via Arkansas Online:
Arkansas's Religion Freedom Restoration Act was approved by the state's House of Representatives on Tuesday in a final vote before it heads to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk. Hutchinson has said repeatedly he will sign the measure into law despite opponents who have called it discriminatory and a backlash against similar legislation in Indiana that has that state's governor seeking to further clarify the law's scope. The Arkansas House passed amendments in three separate votes: 68-19, 67-18 and 67-21, to HB1228 on Tuesday. The chamber previously approved the bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville [PHOTO], but had to approve a new version with amendments added in the state Senate.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola is calling for the governor to veto the bill.
Stodola had a signed letter hand delivered to Hutchinson's office Monday that listed his reasons for being opposed to House Bill 1228, which would not allow the state to "substantially burden a person's right to exercise of religion" unless doing so is necessary "to further a compelling state interest." The capital city's mayor wrote that freedom of religion is already embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

"Indeed, before the introduction of HB1228, the people of Arkansas have always given a high priority to religious freedom and they will continue to give religious freedom a high priority if it is not enacted. This type of legislation is simply not necessary," Stodola wrote. Critics say the bill would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and others. Hundreds rallied against the bill at the state Capitol on Monday when a House committee approved Senate amendments to the bill.

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REVEALED: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's Ugly History Of Anti-LGBT Advocacy

This afternoon Buzzfeed used the evil Wayback Machine to uncover the anti-LGBT positions staked out by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence back when he was running for Congress in 2000.  Business Insider gives us the recap:
"Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual's as a 'discreet and insular minority' entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities," his website stated under the headline: "The Pence Agenda: A Guide To Renewing The America Dream." Pence's old campaign website contained several other controversial claims about the gay community. He apparently advocated ending the military's former "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that allowed gays to serve if they did not disclose their sexuality. The text on his site indicated the rule was problematic because gays should not be allowed in the armed forces under any circumstances. "In addition to defense spending, Congress should lead a national debate on reforming the military by bringing an end to the 'don't ask/don't tell' policy of permitting homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion," his agenda stated. He also seemed to advocate government funding for organizations that encourage gays to renounce their homosexuality.
And then there's the part where Pence calls for the federal government to stop funding any HIV/AIDS organization that doesn't also denounce homosexuality. But he totally opposes discrimination today, so it's all good, right?  See the old site here. (Tipped by JMG reader Colin)

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Starbucks Has Your Back

"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." - Starbucks, via press release.

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Glenn Beck: The Furor Over Indiana's RFRA Will Lead To Concentration Camps

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NEW YORK: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Bans State-Funded Travel To Indiana

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's move came after pressure from gay New York state legislators.
The five gay lawmakers in the state Legislature wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today urging him to boycott Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and ban state travel to the state. The lawmakers—Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Daniel O’Donnell, Harry Bronson and Matthew Titone—joined the growing chorus of criticism over the law, saying Cuomo needs to sign an executive order to bar state-funded travel to Indiana because they said the law is discriminatory toward gays and same-sex couples. The bill makes “clear that Indiana businesses are permitted by law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in matters including housing, employment, and access to public accommodations,” the letter said.
Hit the link to read their letter.

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Todd Starnes Turns On Mike Pence

Could this be any more delicious?

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Chris Cuomo Takes Down Indiana Hater

Mediaite sets up the clip:
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?”
Note that Cuomo has been well-informed on the identities of the haters who stood behind Pence during the bill's signing. As someone said on one of my listservs yesterday, "Chris Cuomo for grand marshal of all the gay pride parades everywhere!"

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NASCAR Denounces Indiana

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One Million Moms Vs Angie's List

Just in via email:
Angie's List, the online service that provides consumer reviews of service professionals, publicly endorsed anti-Christian bigotry by opposing an Indiana law designed to protect religious liberties and freedoms. Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) after the state legislature overwhelmingly supported it. Twenty states now have passed the law, with Arkansas and Georgia currently considering it.

The Indiana law is identical in all fundamental respects to the 1993 federal RFRA signed into law by President Bill Clinton after it passed the U.S. House unanimously and the Senate 97-3. Unfortunately, Angie's List has joined with thousands of homosexual activists (including lesbian Ellen DeGeneres) in opposing religious freedom for all people in Indiana.

Angie's List is a bully, plain and simple. They have chosen to bully the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and Christians everywhere by financial intimidation and threats. TAKE ACTION: If you have an account with Angie's List, we urge you to cancel it right away in defense of religious liberty in America. Be sure to let them know why you’re leaving. Even if you don't have an account, send an email to Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle. Let him know that his company's support for religious discrimination is an affront to Christians.
Use their contact page to send a message to Angie's List.

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LIVE VIDEO: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Holds Press Conference On "Clarification"

Starting any minute. Watch it here.

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Levi Strauss & Gap Denounce Indiana

From a joint statement posted last night to the corporate blog of the Gap:
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.
(Tipped by JMG reader Dan)

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Ted Cruz: I Stand With Gov. Mike Pence

“I want to commend Governor Mike Pence for his support of religious freedom, especially in the face of fierce opposition. There was a time, not too long ago, when defending religious liberty enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Alas, today we are facing a concerted assault on the First Amendment, on the right of every American to seek out and worship God according to the dictates of his or her conscience. Governor Pence is holding the line to protect religious liberty in the Hoosier State. Indiana is giving voice to millions of courageous conservatives across this country who are deeply concerned about the ongoing attacks upon our personal liberties. I’m proud to stand with Mike, and I urge Americans to do the same.” - Sen. Ted Cruz, posting last night to his campaign website.

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Viral Video Of The Day

Nearly 2M views in one day.

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INDIANA: Major Corporations Tell Pence To Fix RFRA And Protect LGBTs

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Nick Offerman To Mike Pence: #Usuck

Parks And Recreation star Nick Offerman is married to Megan Mullally of Will & Grace fame. Last year I saw them in an odd two-person Off Broadway play called Annapuma. Offerman was nearly nude for the first fifteen minutes.

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MSNBC: Dan Savage Argues Indiana With Hater Ryan Anderson And Michael Steele

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BRITAIN: Killers Of Gay Men Marry Each Other In Federal Prison Ceremony

Last month I reported that two British men convicted for murdering other gay men were to get married in a first for the prison system there. That ceremony took place on Saturday in a maximum security prison in Yorkshire.
Mikhail Gallatinov, 40, and Marc Goodwin, 31, are serving life sentences in the same prison, both for violent and fatal hate crimes against gay men. Their vows stated they were "soul partners" and included promises to be "forever together". The couple were given a plastic knife to cut their small wedding cake, according to the Manchester Evening News. Several convict friends attended the small ceremony along with a few relatives and Gallatinov’s parents. Four prison officers were invited as guests. The ceremony was policed by six on-duty prison officers.

Goodwin is serving an 18-year sentence for what was labelled "a gay-bashing spree", in which he beat a 57-year-old man named Malcolm Benfold to death. He has ten years left to serve, the Guardian reports. Gallatinov - who is also a convicted child molester - is serving a twenty-year sentence for the murder of Adrian Kaminsky(28). He met the man on a gay hotline and was convicted of strangling him. Having served almost eighteen years, he will be eligible to be considered for parole next year. Gallatinov’s parents, who attended the wedding, told the Manchester Evening News that they are "proud" of their son "being a small part of history".
The men do not share a cell and conjugal visits are not permitted. (Tipped by JMG reader Mike)

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Who Will Argue At SCOTUS?

The good guys from all four states headed for SCOTUS gathered in Michigan this weekend where they participated in a mock courtroom hearing to work out who will make oral arguments in the two issues before the court. We might get their decision today. Via Reuters:
Intense negotiations peaked in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Sunday when contenders involved met for the legal equivalent of a bakeoff, and sources close to the talks said an announcement was likely to come on Tuesday. Front-runners for the two spots appeared to be Mary Bonauto, a prominent gay advocate who has worked for the cause for decades, and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, a former assistant U.S. solicitor general who is now an appellate specialist in private practice.

At issue before the nine justices on April 28 will be two questions: whether the U.S. Constitution protects a right to same-sex marriage, and if it does not, whether states that ban it must recognize marriages performed in states permitting such unions. It has been difficult to fully assess the tenor of negotiations, since key leaders have declined to talk about the selection process of the two lawyers, one to argue each legal question. Skirmishes often occur in consolidated cases, when multiple parties are on a side but only one lawyer gets a spot at the lectern.
Mary Bonauto is with GLAD and would argue the constitutional issue. Per the above-linked report, Hallward-Driemeier has already been chosen and will argue the recognition issue.

UPDATE: The word is official and both of the above have been selected.
Lawyers for Michigan nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who seek to marry in their home state of Michigan, today announced Mary L. Bonauto will represent the team making the case’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28. Bonauto will present arguments for question 1, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?”

“I’m humbled to be standing up for the petitioners from Kentucky and Michigan who seek the freedom to marry, along with the Michigan team of Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel, Ken Mogill, and Robert Sedler, and with support from the other legal teams,” said Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. “The road that we’ve all travelled to get here has been built by so many people who believe that marriage is a fundamental right. Same-sex couples should not be excluded from the joy, the security, and the full citizenship signified by that institution. I believe the Court will give us a fair hearing, and I look forward to the day when all LGBT Americans will be able to marry the person they love.”

“April and Jayne’s family, and tens of thousands of families like theirs in Michigan, will be represented by a dynamic litigator who has a history of fighting and winning LGBT rights cases in states and districts across the country,” said Nessel. “We are very pleased that an attorney representing the DeBoer-Rowse family will be addressing the issue of marriage equality for what we hope will be the last time in our nation’s history.”

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier will present oral arguments on behalf of plaintiffs in Ohio and Tennessee for question 2, “Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?”
UPDATE II: Here's their notice to SCOTUS.

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Maggie Gallagher Begs GOP Presidential Candidates To Speak Out On Indiana

"Something very important is happening right now in Indiana. Pay attention: The Democrats are attempting to use their power in the mainstream media to get Republicans to retreat and mute the GOP on religious liberty or face being labelled anti-gay. Last year, the Left succeeded so well with this tactic on a similar RFRA bill in Arizona, they even got Mitt Romney and John McCain to denounce the bill. [snip] But this is a seminal moment for GOP presidential candidates: Will they have the courage to speak truth to power and support protections for religious people from government punishment? Or will they bow to the mainstream media narrative and commit the cardinal sin of declaring unilateral truce? Speak now, Bush, Walker, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Huckabee, Jindal, etc., because the future of religious liberty in America will depend in part on whether there is at least one political party willing to defend it. Courage is not optional." - Maggie Gallagher, writing for her new site, The Pulse. (Tipped by JMG reader Christopher)

Gallagher is totally right about the importance of Indiana. The way this battle shakes out will surely lay the groundwork for for the next stage of our movement in a post-marriage equality nation.

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Tony Perkins Raises The Tired Ham Sandwich In Kosher Deli Meme On Fox

"In a civil society we would say, 'Oh, you don't want to service me? Fine. I'll go next door, I'll go down the street.' Who would fathom the idea of going into a kosher deli and demanding a ham sandwich? We wouldn't tolerate that!"

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Remember Three Weeks Ago When Ben Carson Said That He Would No Longer Talk About LGBT Rights?

"It is absolutely vital that we do all we can to allow Americans to practice their religious ways, while simultaneously ensuring that no one’s beliefs infringe upon those of others. We should also serve as champions of freedom of religion throughout the world. As Americans, we have an obligation to denounce these acts of persecution. For when we stand up to such intolerance, we are defending the root of our freedom, both at home and abroad." - Ben Carson, in a Breitbart "exclusive" about Indiana's anti-LGBT law. Three weeks ago Carson declared that he would no longer speak on LGBT issues after he suffered national ridicule for claiming that prison turns men gay.

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