Thursday, March 26, 2015

CALIFORNIA: Former NOM Staffer Files For State To Secede From United States

JMG reader Ben points out yet another crackpot 2016 ballot measure for California. This one calls for the state to become an independent nation.
Sovereign California is challenging the bankrupt and dysfunctional American political system with a new hope for California. Our new hope lies in greater autonomy so we can do what is right for California. For the past three decades, the United States has used us as a donor state – reinvesting a quarter of our tax dollars every year to bankroll infrastructure and education in other states while roads in California remain neglected – now 3rd worst in the nation – and our children attend substandard schools – now 5th worst in the nation. Is this ever going to stop? Not unless we change the status quo – and that means a new relationship with the United States. We will define that new relationship by establishing a state panel that puts ideology aside and puts California first. This panel represents a new hope for California.
If the name on the below referendum filing seems familiar to you, that's because he is the very same NOM tour bus driver that later came out in support of same-sex marriage. In blog posts after his April 2011 defection, Louis Marinelli claimed that Brian Brown had instructed him to take photos of counter-protesters that made them appear to be "crazy." Brown then dismissed Marinelli as "nothing more than a volunteer bus driver," but Good As You then proved that Marinelli was the administrator of NOM's Facebook page and had actually come up with the idea of the bus tour in the first place.

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Massive Explosion Rocks East Village

Multiple fatalities are feared after a massive explosion rocked the East Village this afternoon and caused the collapse of at least one apartment building. Dozens of apartments are reportedly engulfed in flames and the FDNY has declared a seven-alarm emergency. All local television stations are covering the scene live and reporters there say there is a strong smell of gas. The fire started in a building at Second Avenue and East Seventh Street and hundreds of first responders are on the scene. I'll update this post when more is known.

UPDATE: Some video is coming in.

UPDATE II: From the Wall Street Journal.
An explosion in New York City’s East Village on Thursday afternoon led to a building collapse and multiple injuries, a law-enforcement official said, with hundreds of emergency workers on the scene fighting the fire and searching the rubble for trapped people. A preliminary investigation indicated the fire and building collapse was due to a gas explosion, the official said. Two other buildings were in flames, the official said. The explosion, which sent flames into the sky near the corner of Second Avenue and St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, happened shortly after 3 p.m., according to police officials. A ground-floor store was blasted out, a law-enforcement official said. The scene created chaos in the East Village, a neighborhood filled with apartment buildings, restaurants and bars. Perry Kroll, who lives a block away, said he felt his whole building shake, and all of his neighbors spilled out into the street. “There’s an epic smoke column rising from the block,” he said. “I can see really big flames everywhere and chunks of ash falling from the sky. It looks like a building just blew out into the street. It’s just absolute chaos.”

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Alma Mater Of Sodomite Suppression Act Author Declines To Condemn Referendum

Christian activist Matt McLaughlin, author of the Sodomite Suppression Act, graduated from law school at Virginia's George Mason University. Today the Washington Post published their reaction:
Emails to various members of the Mason community have informed us that Matthew McLaughlin, a 1998 graduate of this law school, has filed a ballot initiative in California where he has apparently lived for the past seventeen years. The effect of this initiative, if it were enacted by voters, would be to amend the state’s Constitution by enacting a bill of attainder (the “Sodomite Suppression Act”). Among other things, this act would impose the condition of outlawry on gay and lesbian people in California, thus withdrawing from them the protection of law and allowing them to be killed out of hand, by anyone at any time, with legal impunity.

Some correspondents have called upon the law school to repudiate this initiative – and Mr. McLaughlin. With respect, we must decline, as it is not the function of schools or other institutions to denounce things with which they have nothing to do. Law schools are not guarantors of the views or acts of their former students. No one ever suggested that Harvard Law School should repudiate the treason of Alger Hiss, or that the University of Puget Sound law school should disclaim murders committed by Ted Bundy. Responsibility for those crimes belongs to the criminals, not to the schools they attended. The same principle applies here. Mr. McLaughlin must answer for himself, and not we answer for him, concerning what he says or does. Of course individuals, speaking for themselves, remain free to express their own opinions if they so choose.

Another consideration contributes to the conclusion that we should stand to one side. Mr. McLaughlin’s filing suggests views that undeniably are out of keeping with the normal civilities of life. But so far as appears, they are also lawful and constitutionally protected expressions. Mr. McLaughlin has a right to say what he wants and to petition the government for redress of his grievances – and it is up to him to determine what aggrieves him. Other people have the same rights and are free to use them in a different way – including to criticize Mr. McLaughlin. And still others are free, for a variety of possible reasons, to refuse to be conscripted into a contretemps that has nothing to do with them.

There is real advantage, apart from the principles of constitutional law, in limiting how much one should discourage people from expressing even very revolting ideas if that is what is on their mind. Tolerance of this kind facilitates self-disclosure by those whose hearts are septic with senseless rage. So disclosed, respectable people can see who they are and simply avoid them. But if suppressed, they may nurture their loathing in afflicted silence, even as they continue to mingle freely in the world with less-stricken and unsuspecting souls.
Yesterday California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a court request to quash the proposed ballot measure before it can proceed to the petition-gathering stage.

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FOTF: Something, Something, Gays, Marriage, Tourism, Shitty Weather, Jesus

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SLOVENIA: Legislature Rejects Bid For Referendum To Repeal Same-Sex Marriage

The Slovene National Assembly today approved a bill that bans the proposed referendum on repealing same-sex marriage. Today's action cites the 2013 constitutional amendment that forbids popular votes on human rights issues. Anti-gay factions are now expected to appeal to the Slovene Constitutional Court with the claim that marriage is not a human right. Early this month Slovenia became the 12th European nation to legalize same-sex marriage. (Via JMG reader Robin)

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Pope Francis To Visit White House

Via White House press release:
The President and the First Lady will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the White House on Wednesday, September 23. During the visit, the President and the Pope will continue the dialogue, which they began during the President’s visit to the Vatican in March 2014, on their shared values and commitments on a wide range of issues, including caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities. The President looks forward to continuing this conversation with the Holy Father during his first visit to the United States as Pope.
Something seems to be missing from that list of topics.

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Aaron Schock Says Goodbye To Empty House, Compares Himself To Lincoln

Well, both ARE rumored to have slept with men, so...

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WASHINGTON: Catholic Archdiocese Joins Fight To Block DC Gay Rights Measure

Via the Washington Blade:
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington signed on to a letter to members of the U.S. Senate on March 20 calling for Congress to block a D.C. bill that would protect LGBT students from discrimination at religious schools operating in the city. The letter, which was signed, among others, by Cardinal Donald Wuerl calls the Human Rights Amendment Act approved by the D.C. Council last year an attack on religious freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of association in the nation’s capital.

The letter also calls on Congress to kill another bill approved by the Council and signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. That measure would prohibit D.C. employers from discriminating against employees based on their personal reproductive health choices, including a decision to have an abortion. D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton joined city officials in strongly disputing claims that the two bills would infringe on religious freedoms or freedom of speech. The Archdiocese of Washington oversees 139 Catholic parishes and 95 Catholic schools in D.C. and five counties in Maryland.
The campaign is being led by Ted Cruz. His "disapproval resolution" would require passage from both chambers of Congress and the signature of President Obama. Ain't gonna happen.

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From The CEO Of Salesforce

David Badash has the story. (Tipped by JMG reader Scott)

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AFA Dares Us To Freep Their Poll

As longtime readers know, we have freeped the fuck out of American Family Association polls many times, sometimes forcing them to zero-out the results and start over or take the poll down entirely. But most AFA polls are completely laughable with options that all say the same thing in different ways. As in "Choose one: A) Gay people are going to hell. B) There is a hell and gays are going there. C) Hell is totally full of gays." Today's poll is just like that. Don't freep, just giggle.

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A Note From Neil Tennant

Killers frontman Brandon Flowers is probably the most famous Mormon in pop music and he and his family are featured in a video on the LDS website. While he's known to be gay-friendly, Flowers said little during the Prop 8 fracas. It will be interesting to hear his take on what is arguably the most famous gay anthem of all time.

UPDATE: Here's the first single from the coming album.

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ITALY: Civil Unions Bill Advances

By a vote of 14-8 Italy's Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced a civil unions bill that would also allow gay couples to adopt each others' children and visit each other in the hospital. Outside adoptions by same-sex couples would remain banned. Same-sex marriages conducted legally in foreign countries would be recognized domestically as civil unions. The bill is opposed by Forza Italia, the party headed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is currently banned from holding public office following his conviction on corruption charges. Forza Italia holds 66 out of 315 seats in the full Senate. (Tipped by JMG reader Andrea)

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INDIANA: Governor Mike Pence Signs Anti-Gay License To Discriminate Bill

Pence has issued a press release:
Today I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier of every faith. The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action. One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views. [snip]

This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it. In fact, it does not even apply to disputes between private parties unless government action is involved. For more than twenty years, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has never undermined our nation’s anti-discrimination laws, and it will not in Indiana. Indiana is rightly celebrated for the hospitality, generosity, tolerance, and values of our people, and that will never change. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Hoosiers and with the passage of this legislation, we ensure that Indiana will continue to be a place where we respect freedom of religion and make certain that government action will always be subject to the highest level of scrutiny that respects the religious beliefs of every Hoosier of every faith.”
Pence does not identify the nuns and monks seen flanking him in today's "private signing ceremony."

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Ted Cruz: The Media Is Playing "Gotcha" About My Signing Up For Obamacare

Yesterday Ted Cruz used his lackeys at the Heritage Foundation to whine that the media is playing "gotcha" over his announcement that he will sign up for Obamacare. Mediaite breaks it down:
As Cruz explained, the reason why he has to buy his employer-based health insurance through the federal exchange is because of the Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) amendment that said the only plans made to available to members of Congress with employer contributions must be through those exchanges. He accused President Barack Obama of creating an “illegal exemption” for Congress, which he has no intention of using. Cruz rejected the suggest that following the law is “somehow less than principled.”

However, purchasing health insurance through Obamacare is not Cruz’s only option now that his wife has gone on unpaid leave. For one, he and his family could use the COBRA system to extend her health insurance for up to 18 months, though it would likely cost far more than his employer-based option and has a number of restrictions. And if Cruz doesn’t want to go through the exchange, he has the option to purchase a plan directly from an insurance company. But in that case, he would receive no contribution from his employer — the U.S. government — and would end up paying a higher premium. So, ultimately, Obamacare may be the easiest and cheapest easiest health insurance option for Cruz.

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Matt Baume On Religious Liberty

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NORTHERN IRELAND: Trial Begins For Baker In Marriage Cake Case

Via the Belfast Telegraph:
A legal case involving a Christian baker who refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan cannot be determined on which side shouts loudest, a court in Belfast has been told. Northern Ireland's Equality Commission is bringing the case against family-run Ashers Bakery on behalf of gay rights activist Gareth Lee, whose order was declined. Belfast-based Ashers, which is owned by the McArthur family, refused to make a cake with an image of Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie below the motto "Support Gay Marriage". Opening the case, Robin Allen QC, representing Mr Lee, noted the publicity around the case and highlighted that politicians, church figures, bloggers and others had expressed opinions on the matter. But the barrister insisted the case must be judged on the facts alone. "Law must not be determined by those who shout loudest," he said. Mr. Allen said he was not in court to challenge the McArthur family's faith. "This is a case about commerce and discrimination," he said.
Outside the courthouse, the baker (photo above) told the press: "We just didn't want to be forced to use our creative skills to help endorse and promote a campaign message that went against our sincerely held religious beliefs. We are just trying to be faithful to the Bible." (I wonder where they came up with "sincerely held religious beliefs.") The cake flap has prompted the Democratic Unionists party to propose a "conscience clause" bill that would allow businesses to reject LGBT customers. Sinn Fein has vowed to block that bill. The anti-gay Christian Institute is pushing a similar bill in England. The BBC is tweeting from the courthouse and live updates are being added to the above-linked story.

RELATED: Northern Ireland remains the United Kingdom's holdout on same-sex marriage and observers believe this case may further slow the cause.

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TEXAS: Bill To Ban Same-Sex Marriage Sees Resistance From House Committee

Late last night a committee of the Texas House took public comments about  Rep Cecil Bell's bill that would forbid county clerks from issuing any marriage licenses, putting that duty in the sole hands of the secretary of state. The bill further bans the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses by any state employee, no matter how the Supreme Court might rule. As those of you here witnessed via the live-stream, there were some beautiful, moving testimonies from the parents of gay children as well as the usual illogical bleating from representatives of hate groups.

Members of the committee grilled Bell at some length about the financial aspects of the bill, which would cost the state an estimated $1.6M in the first year and $1M annually thereafter. Via the Texas Tribune:
The bill’s pricey fiscal note, prepared by the Legislative Budget Board, includes salaries for 18 full-time employees who would be required to issue marriage licenses. Texas counties issued 185,510 marriage license applications and declarations of informal marriage in 2013. No vote on the bill was taken, and Bell told the committee he intended to present a revised version that will address the fiscal impact. Geren said he would also like Bell to address the local impact on individual counties. "The fiscal note says there's no local impact. My [county clerk] disagrees with that, and I think the testimony here shows several clerks disagree with that," Geren told Bell. "I think there is a local impact in the millions of dollars, and I don't know how we address that, but I hope that you will in the substitute that you're working on. Turner seemed less interested in considering Bell’s bill substitute, saying the measure would create “chaos and confusion.” When Bell reiterated he would present a bill substitute, Turner responded, “I don’t care how much lipstick you put on it.”
Bell has introduced three other anti-gay bills and those have not yet been heard. Only four Democrats sit on the 12-member House State Affairs Committee. Same-sex marriage is already banned by Texas statute and by the state constitution, so Bell's action represents a triple ban.

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FRANCE: Prosecutor Says Airliner Was Crashed Deliberately By Co-Pilot

Via ABC News:
A Marseille prosecutor says the co-pilot of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps appeared to have crashed the plane deliberately. Prosecutor Brice Robin said the action of manipulating "what is called the flight monitoring system in order to embark on the descent of the plane", could "only be deliberate". "I repeat, when he was alone, in charge of the Airbus, the co-pilot started the flight monitoring system to get the plane to descend," he said. "The action on this altitude selector can only be voluntary, I repeat action on this altitude selector can only be deliberate."

The German citizen, left in sole control of the Airbus A320 after the captain left the cockpit, refused to re-open the door and pressed a button that sent the jet into its fatal descent, Mr Robin said. He said that "one can then hear several calls from the commander asking to be allowed into the cockpit", but there was no answer. "He knocked on the door and there was no answer from the co-pilot either," he said. "One can then hear the noise of human breathing within the cockpit, and that human breathing noise can be heard until the final impact which means that theoretically the co-pilot was alive.

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This Is An Ad For Something

Appearing last week at SXSW was New York performance artist QT, whose single below was rated by Spin as the #4 best song of 2014. That track has now been turned into a music video-length product placement-laden commercial for her soft drink, about which she says: "DrinkQT is a 5-calorie, sugar-free, 250ml drink, manufactured to contribute to upward shine, vertical connectivity and personal growth." OK! To me this sounds like a 21st century Barbie Girl as performed by the Chipmunks. Oddly, I don't hate it. My favorite comment on YouTube calls this "Shelley Duvall-core."

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Heinz To Merge With Kraft

Via USA Today:
In a jolt touching pantries across the globe, H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) will merge into the world's fifth-largest food and beverage company — bent on cutting costs, growing internationally and evolving into a more consumer-focused company. The massive merger, valued at about $36 billion, will allow Kraft "to move and grow faster than we could on our own," Kraft CEO John Cahill said. He would become vice-chairman of the newly-formed Kraft Heinz. The companies had been unanimously approved by their boards of directors. The new firm will be headquartered in Pittsburgh, home of Heinz, and in the Chicago area (Kraft). There are no plans to close either operation. The new company will have revenue of approximately $28 billion and will hold a portfolio of brands, including Heinz, Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Ore-Ida and Philadelphia.
RELATED: In recent years Kraft has been the target of anti-gay groups due to its rainbow Oreo campaign in recognition of gay pride. In 2013 One Million Moms went after them for their "disgusting" ads for Zesty salad dressing. In 2008 Heinz was criticized by British gay activists after they caved to complaints and pulled a lighthearted mayonnaise campaign that featured a deli counter clerk kissing a male customer.

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NIN Frontman Trent Reznor Is Helping Shape Apple's Coming Music Service

Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning musician Trent Reznor is helping Apple with the launch of their streaming music service.
The new music app, which is a collaborative effort between Mr. Reznor and other Apple and Beats employees, including Jimmy Iovine — who founded Beats with the hip-hop star Dr. Dre — will feature the streaming music service with many of the same characteristics as the Beats Music streaming service, one Apple employee said. Those may include curated playlists and a more vivid visual appeal, while conforming to Apple’s sleek and minimal design aesthetic, one person said. The name Beats Music will most likely be shed. According to an Apple employee, the service is being tested as part of a new version of the company’s mobile software system, iOS, which has been given the code name “Copper” and is expected for public release this year.
The service is expected to launch at $10/month and will not include an ad-supported free option like Spotify.

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Phyllis Schlafly: Governors Should Defy SCOTUS Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Saudi Arabia Has Begun Bombing Yemen

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LIVE VIDEO: Texas House Committee Hears Bill To Outlaw Same-Sex Marriage UPDATE: Meeting Is About To Start

The scheduled morning meeting never happened. The House State Affairs Committee is now meeting after adjournment of the full House. Watch it live here. You can see Rep. Cecil Bell above in his cowboy hat. The order of the bills is not known, so the marriage bill may not come up right away.

NOTE: This is the original post from this morning and I've moved it up to keep your earlier comments on this thread.

UPDATE: The 13-member committee consists of five Democrats and eight Republicans (including the chair). The Democrats are Giddings, Farrar, Menendez, Oliveira, and Turner. It appears that two or three committee members are not present.

UPDATE II: HB 1745 has 24 House cosponsors. None are on this committee. Follow along on Twitter at #HB1745.

UPDATE III: Things have finally started.

UPDATE IV: After some damn wonderful testimonies from the good guys and the usual crackpot assholery from Texas Values and Concernstipated Women, the bill has been left pending for now. Rep. Cecil Bell, the bill's author, says he will make some "fixes" regarding financial aspects of the bill that were brought up. All in all, things went better than expected.

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INDIANA: Governor Mike Pence To Sign License To Discriminate Bill Tomorrow

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BREAKING: California AG Asks Court To Quash Gay Death Penalty Referendum

"As Attorney General of California, it is my sworn duty to uphold the California and United States Constitutions and to protect the rights of all Californians. This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society. Today, I am filing an action for declaratory relief with the Court seeking judicial authorization for relief from the duty to prepare and issue the title and summary for the 'Sodomite Suppression Act.' If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism." - California Attorney General Kamala Harris, via press release.

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Gay Univision Host Demands Reinstatment After Firing For Remarks About First Lady

Via the Wrap:
Rodner Figueroa, the fashion reporter for Univision’s “El Gordo y La Flaca,” who was fired for allegedly making disparaging comments about First Lady Michelle Obama on the air, is taking aim at his former employer. Or at least his famed Hollywood attorney, Marty Singer, is. In a scathing letter to Univision executives, Singer accuses the network of lying about the First Lady complaining about Figueroa’s comments, and says that Univision “falsely painted [Figueroa] as a racist.” The letter also demands that Univision reinstate Figueroa, who was fired earlier this month, and issue a public apology to him.

“I am writing regarding the outrageous tortious conduct of Univision Networks (‘Univision’), in which Univision defamed my client and falsely painted him as a racist, and publicly lied that the termination of his employment was at the request of the Office of the First Lady, Michelle Obama,” the letter, addressed to Univision Communications president and CEO Randy Falco, Univision Networks vice president Fabrizio Alcobe and others, reads. “Univision’s ignominious actions have caused irreparable injury to his reputation and career, for which the network will be held fully accountable.”
During a live segment about a make-up artist, Rodner had appeared to say that the First Lady looked like a character from Planet Of The Apes. Later that same day after his firing, he issued open letter to the First Lady in which he apologized for poorly chosen words which were "misunderstood."

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Viral Video Of The Day

Three million views since yesterday.

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INDIANA: Christian Church Threatens To Pull Convention Over Anti-Gay Bill

Via the Indianapolis Star:
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has sent a letter to Gov. Mike Pence threatening to cancel its 2017 convention in Indianapolis if he signs controversial legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples. "Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry," Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star. Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is "hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees." The letter stated the church is inclusive of different races, ethnicities, ages, genders and sexual orientations. "As a Christian church," it read, "we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow – one who sat at (the) table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lord's Table."
The 2017 convention is expected to draw 8000 attendees with an economic impact to the city of about $6M.

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Pat Robertson Gives Up On Gay Marriage

"Marriage is between a man and a woman and they’ve now brought cases to the Supreme Court saying, well, the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and so forth. So what should you do? You better get on your knees and pray and let the Lord take care of it because there isn’t a whole lot else you can do."

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BRITAIN: National Students Union Passes Motion That White Gay Men Need To Stop Acting Like Black Women

Via Gay Star News:
UK's National Union of Students has passed a policy to stop gay men appropriating black female culture. Delegates at the Women's Conference today, many of them self-identified feminists, have passed plenty of motions. Just one of them was ensuring everyone at the conference understood that some behaviors were damaging. On Twitter, they announced: "Some delegates are requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping as it's triggering anxiety. Please be mindful!" A later motion passed was 503: "Dear White Gay Men: Stop Appropriating Black Women." Put forward by the NUS LGBT Committee, they believe the appropriation of black women by white gay men is prevalent within the LGBTI scene and community.
Also approved was a motion against drag because it's supposedly offensive to trans women.
"To issue a statement condemning the use of crossdressing as a mode of fancy dress. To encourage unions to ban clubs and societies from holding events which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use cross-dressing as a mode of fancy dress." This [motion] was given an exclusion to queer students who want to use cross-dressing in their everyday lives as a mode of expression and to those who want to cross-play by flipping the gender of a fictional character in fancy dress.
There is lots of mocking on Twitter.

RELATED: The "Dear White Gays" meme, you surely recall, dominated US social media for a few days last summer.

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J.K. Rowling On Dumbledore Being Gay

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ASAP Science: What If The Bees Die?

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HBO Cancels Looking

Via TV Line:
Looking Season 3 is out of HBO’s sight: The cabler has cancelled on the underdog gay dramedy, although we haven’t seen the last of Patrick & Co. TVLine has confirmed. “After two years of following Patrick and his tight-knit group of friends as they explored San Francisco in search of love and lasting relationships, HBO will present the final chapter of their journey as a special,” the network said in a statement Wednesday. “We look forward to sharing this adventure with the shows loyal fans.”
The air date of the finale has not been announced.

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Wingnuts: The First Lady Is Bald

An episode of Jeopardy has aired in which the First Lady participated in a video category about health eating. While she clearly had her hair pulled tightly and clasped at the back, wingnut sites are today calling her "bald." Because Benghazi, probably.

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Today's Ridiculous Lie From Matt Barber

That "gay porn outlet" is the Huffington Post. Seriously.

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TEXAS: House Committee Will Today Hear Bill To Outlaw Same-Sex Marriage Even After SCOTUS Votes To Approve

Via the Associated Press:
A contentious debate is expected as a Texas House committee hears a bill barring state and local employees from licensing or recognizing same-sex marriages — even if the U.S. Supreme Court authorizes them. The “Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act” by Magnolia Republican Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. will be heard Wednesday. It says no state or local funds could be used to “license, register, certify or support” gay marriage. It would also prohibit officials from recognizing, granting or enforcing gay marriage licenses. Justices will hear same-sex marriage arguments this summer. Bell’s bill aims to ensure that, regardless of their ruling, gay marriage would remain illegal in Texas.
Bell was among the speakers at Monday's hate rally at the Texas Capitol Building. The House State Affairs Committee convenes at 10:30AM local time and the live-stream will be here.

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Tweet Of The Day

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NORTHERN IRELAND: Thousands Rally In Support Of Anti-Gay Bakery

Via the Belfast Telegraph:
Hundreds of people including three senior DUP politicians had to be refused entry to a full-to-capacity Waterfront Hall in Belfast last night as thousands of Christians turned up for a rally in support of the Newtownabbey bakery firm which is going to court to defend their refusal to bake a cake for a gay activist. Former ministers Sammy Wilson and Edwin Poots joined the current Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey in a crowd which sang hymns outside the Waterfront as inside, Daniel McArthur, the manager of the Ashers Baking Company, vowed that he and his family would not back down in the dispute over his family's decision to cancel an order for a cake because of a request for it to be decorated with a slogan supporting gay marriage. Officials from the Christian Institute, who are supporting the McArthur family's legal action at Belfast County Court, had to close the hall before the rally was due to start because all seats were taken. Deputy director Simon Calvert apologised to the hundreds of people who were refused admission and there were cheers as he explained that the support had overwhelmed the hall's limits.
The bakery had been asked to make a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie with the message "Support Gay Marriage." The court case opens today and the bakery is being represented by the anti-gay Christian Institute, which has been pushing for a "conscience clause" bill similar to the the "license to discriminate" bills seen in the United States. Among last night's speakers was British bed and breakfast owner Hazelmary Bull, who fought and lost a years-long court battle after being fined for turning away a gay couple. Television cameras were not permitted inside the hall.

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Sweden Adds Gender-Neutral Pronoun

Via the Guardian:
The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced. “Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL. The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because it is unknown, because the person is transgender, or the speaker or writer deems the gender to be superfluous information. “For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary,” one of the editors, Sture Berg, told AFP on Tuesday. The word “hen” was coined in the 1960s when the ubiquitous use of “han” (he) became politically incorrect, and was aimed at simplifying the language and avoiding the clumsy “han/hon” (s/he) construction. But the word never really took hold. It resurfaced around 2000, when the country’s small transgender community latched on to it, and its use has taken off in the past few years.
Many gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed for English, but none have gained wide usage.

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Megyn Kelly To Ted Cruz: What Have You Actually Accomplished In The Senate?

"I've stopped bad things from happening."

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A Letter To An Australian Senator

Last week I reported that Sen. David Leyonhjelm was pushing for a debate on marriage equality and that will happen tomorrow. The apparently unsigned letter was posted on Facebook today by his chief advisor.

RELATED: This also happened today in Australia.
The head of the leading Australian Catholic-based lobby group campaigning against same-sex marriage in Australia has attended and blessed his daughter's wedding to another woman in New Zealand. Peter Westmore is the successor to the high-profile B. A. Santamaria as president of the National Civic Council (NCC), a conservative group that for decades has sought to shape Australian public opinion and policy on key social and political issues, including on same sex marriage. The NCC is one of the religious groups opposed to Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm's "freedom to marry" bill, scheduled for debate in Federal Parliament on Thursday. It is encouraging supporters to use their email accounts to lobby MPs against the bill. An important political influence on Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the NCC also organised the "Save Tony (Abbott) " email campaign during last month's spill motion. A core NCC policy is that it "rejects lifestyles which undermine family values". Asked if he still supported the NCC's opposition on same sex marriage he said: "Of course I do."

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INDIANA: Massive Gaming Convention Threatens To Leave The State

Via the Indianapolis Star:
The organizers of Gen Con, the city's largest convention in attendance and economic impact, are threatening to move the event elsewhere if Gov. Mike Pence signs controversial religious freedom legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples.

"Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years," said Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con LLC, in a letter sent to Pence just hours after lawmakers sent the measure to his desk.

Gen Con's website describes the convention as "the original, longest-running, best-attended gaming convention in the world!" The conference attracted 56,000 people last year to the Indiana Convention Center and has an annual economic impact of more than $50 million, Swartout said in the letter.

"Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds," she wrote. "We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention."
The Indianapolis tourism agency is opposed to the bill.

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First Ladies Of Disco - Show Some Love

First Ladies Of Disco are Martha Wash, Linda Clifford, and Evelyn "Champagne" King. This is the remix of their first single, which I posted last month. Both versions are now available on iTunes.

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George Takei Threatens Indiana Boycott

George Takei writes on his Facebook page:
The Governor of Indiana has indicated that he will sign SB101—a law that allows businesses to discriminate against customers based on the proprietors’ religious beliefs. This bill is strikingly similar to one proposed—and vetoed due to public outcry—in Arizona. Such laws harken back to a time where our society was divided, and people of color were banned from white establishments. That is not our nation any longer, and those are not our values.

To the governor and to the legislators in Indiana who support this backward-looking and divisive bill, I say to you this: If it goes into effect, Indiana will be marked as a state where certain people are not welcome, and so we will not visit. We will not spend. And we will not attend events, including GenCon, the world’s largest gaming convention, held in Indianapolis each year. Many fans here are gamers, Governor Pence, and we will demand the convention move out of your state.

Fans, friends and especially you gamers, let Governor Pence know how you feel about this bill. Give him a call: 317-232-4567.
His post has already been shared 11,000 times. Takei has millions of followers on social media.

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Fran Lebowitz On Drag Queens & Fashion

"The extreme, exaggerated femininity is, for most people, not so great a look. Except for drag queens, because that's what drag queens do. I mean, I always thought it would be much wittier for drag queens to dress in this very drab way. You know, the yoga pants? Well, what if drag queens just really let themselves go, pretending not to try, like most women? But there are no drag queens like that, because drag queens know how to wear clothes. Can you imagine if women tried as hard as drag queens? We'd be a much more attractive culture. I wouldn't have to give out so many yoga pants citations." - Fran Lebowitz, talking fashion with Elle Magazine.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NOM Unveils Hate March III Details

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Ted Cruz: I'm Signing Up For Obamacare Because My Wife Lost Her Insurance

Via the Des Moines Register:
Ted Cruz, one of the loudest critics of Obamacare, will soon be using it for health insurance coverage. "We will presumably go on the exchange and sign up for health care and we're in the process of transitioning over to do that," Cruz, a Republican candidate for president, told The Des Moines Register Tuesday. Cruz's wife, Heidi, is going on an unpaid leave of absence from her job at Goldman Sachs to join Cruz full time on the campaign trail, Cruz told the Register. Asked if it chafes at all to have to rely on Obamacare, Cruz told the Register: "Well, it is written in the law that members will be on the exchanges without subsidies just like millions of Americans so that's – I think the same rules should apply to all of us. Members of Congress should not be exempt." But, Cruz added, he'd still like to see Obamacare repealed in its entirety.
Later today Cruz continued to refuse to acknowledge the irony of his need for Obamacare, telling CNN, "It’s one of the real differences - if you look at President Obama and his lawlessness - if he disagrees with a law he simply refuses to follow it or claims the authority to unilaterally change.”

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Quote Of The Day - Madonna

"The person I most want to meet is President Obama. When the heck am I going to meet him? He just needs to invite me to the White House already. He probably thinks I'm too shocking to be there. I'm serious. If I was a little bit more demure or if I was just married to Jay Z. Hey, if Jay would only take me as his second wife, then I'd score an invitation.' - Madonna, in an US Weekly piece titled "25 Things You Don't Know About Me." Other things include that she hates Material Girl and suffers from "major" claustrophobia.

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FKA Twigs - Glass & Patron

Via Pitchfork:
FKA twigs has shared the video for "Glass & Patron", which she directed herself as part of the YouTube Music Awards. It begins with Twigs giving birth to a bunch of dancers, which gives way to "the most epic vogue battle of all time," according to a press release. "Glass & Patron", co-written and co-produced by Boots, was previously featured in FKA twigs' Google Glass ad. It's going to be included on a new FKA twigs EP to be released later this year.
600K views in one day.

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Phil Robertson's Advice To Gay Men:
Find You A Woman And Marry Her

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Harlem Hate Pastor James David Manning: The Sodomites Sent Me A Bucket Of Poop

PREVIOUSLY ON JMG: In the last few months Manning has declared that Starbucks laces their lattes with "sodomite semen" (which can get women pregnant), that former President George H.W. Bush has had "anal sex with 100 men," that all gay Americans will "become cannibals" by next year, that Islamists are justified to execute homosexuals, that Justin Bieber is a transgender man, and that Christian preachers should call gay men "faggots" as often as possible. High-profile anti-gay figures regularly appear on Manning's YouTube show, including Peter LaBarbera.

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CALIFORNIA: Activist Charlotte Laws Files "Jackass Initiative" Ballot Measure

In response to the proposed Sodomite Suppression Act, activist Charlotte Laws has filed her own California ballot measure titled the "Jackass Initiative."
Any person, herein known as an "Intolerant Jackass," who brings forth a ballot measure that suggests the killing of gays and/or lesbians, whether this measure is called the Sodomite Suppression Act or is known by some other name, shall be required to attend sensitivity training for at least three (3) hours per month for twelve (12) consecutive months. In addition, the offender or "Intolerant Jackass" must donate $5000 to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization.
Laws has been interviewed by Slate:
I’m fighting fire with fire,” she told me. “The only way to counter [the Sodomite Suppression Act] is … to let people know that most people in California don’t agree with something as incendiary and hateful as what this one attorney proposed.” Laws recognizes the merit of having a content-neutral initiative system, but she believes “we have a very open-minded state and country. This is one guy, and there are millions of us who do not agree with this.” Laws, a former Los Angeles politician and community activist, has devoted the last few years to battling revenge porn, especially kingpin of the genre Hunter Moore. Her new campaign is much more lighthearted—and, of course, a bit quixotic.
According to her Wikipedia page, Laws is former two-term member of the Greater Valley Glen Council and is the first politician to run on the platform of representing all "beings" in her district, not merely humans. Yesterday she spoke about the Jackass Initiative on a California radio show.

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Ben Carson: Obama Is A Psychopath

GQ Magazine today published a profile of Ben Carson. Here's the bit making gleeful headlines across Teabagistan:
On the night earlier this year that Barack Obama stepped before the nation to deliver his sixth State of the Union address, Ben Carson—a political newcomer who harbors dreams of soon giving his first—settled into a sofa just a few blocks away. He was eager to hate everything the president was about to say. Carson had come to the Capitol Hill home of Armstrong Williams, a conservative media impresario who officially serves as Carson's business manager and who lately has functioned as Carson's unofficial image-maker and political adviser as well. As the two men turned to the TV, they began dissecting Obama's performance.

"He looks good," Williams said. "He looks clean. Shirt's white. The tie. He looks elegant." "Like most psychopaths," Carson grumbled. "That's why they're successful. That's the way they look. They all look great." For those unfamiliar with the mood of America's far right, casually branding the president a psychopath is exactly the sort of talk that strikes a chord—and just the thing that has made Carson a sensation in the GOP. Today the former pediatric neurosurgeon—who's never run for elected office—is suddenly besting candidates like Jeb, Marco, and Rand in some 2016 polls and preparing to announce his campaign for the White House.
Later the above-linked piece notes that Carson doesn't grasp the "complex" Israeli political system and actually asks, "What is the role of the Knesset?" After a brief tutorial on Israel's various factions, a frustrated Carson sputters, "Why don’t they just adopt the system we have?"

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