LGBT

A general view of the Butler Bulldogs playing against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

NCAA Fretting Over Indiana ‘Religious Liberty’ Law’s Effect Ahead Of Final Four Event

The NCAA is looking to head off a potential controversy involving its Final Four men’s basketball championship in Indianapolis next weekend following the passage of a new Indiana ‘religious freedom’ law that opponents say could allow businesses to refuse to serve gays and lesbians.

03/26/2015

Indiana Governor Mike Pence speaks during the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting Leadership Forum on April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (John Gress/Getty Images)

Indiana Enacts ‘Religious Liberty’ Law; Could Legalize Discrimination Against Gay People, Opponents Say

NDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence vigorously defended the state religious objections bill that he signed into law Thursday as businesses and organizations including the NCAA pressed concerns that it could open the door to legalizing discrimination against gay people.
The state became the first to enact such a change this year among about a dozen where such proposals have been introduced. Arkansas’ governor said Thursday he supported a similar bill that’s advancing in that state’s Legislature.
Pence, a Republican mulling a possible 2016 presidential campaign, signed the bill privately in his office with at least a couple dozen supporters on hand. He later met with reporters and refuted arguments from opponents that law would threaten civil rights laws by saying that hasn’t happened under the federal religious freedom law Congress passed in 1993 and similar laws in 19 other states.
“There has been a lot of misunderstanding about this bill,” Pence said. “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would’ve vetoed it.”
Those arguments didn’t satisfy opponents who worry the law, which will take effect in July, presents Indiana as unwelcoming and could give legal cover to businesses that don’t want to provide services to gays and lesbians.
National gay-rights consider the Indiana bill among the most sweeping of similar state proposals introduced as conservatives brace for a possible U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
The Washington-based Human Rights Campaign said Indiana lawmakers “have sent a dangerous and discriminatory message.”
“They’ve basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it’s OK to discriminate against people despite what the law says,” said Sarah Warbelow, the group’s legal director.
The Indianapolis-based NCAA, which is holding its men’s basketball Final Four in the city next weekend, said in a statement it was concerned about the legislation and was examining how it might affect future events and its workforce.
“We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in the statement. “Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”
Soon after Pence signed the bill, Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff announced on Twitter that he was canceling all programs that require its customers or employees “to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.”
The San Francisco-based company bought Indianapolis-based marketing software company ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013 and has kept hundreds of employees in the city. A company spokeswoman declined to elaborate on Benioff’s statement.
Conservative groups backing the bill have said it merely seeks to prevent the government from compelling people to provide such things as catering or photography for same-sex weddings or other activities they find objectionable on religious grounds.
Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter praised the new law, saying it would give abortion opponents legal recourse if they are pressured to support the procedure. The organization circulated an online petition to thank Pence for signing the bill.
At least two groups — the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and gamers’ convention organizer Gen Con — have said they would reconsider plans to events in Indianapolis because of the legislation.
Pence pointed out that President Barack Obama voted in favor of a similar state law while he was an Illinois legislator. But when Pence was asked whether he would support matching Illinois by adding sexual orientation to the state’s civil rights law, he responded: “That’s not on my agenda. I won’t be pursuing that.”

03/26/2015

Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Salesforce CEO Says Company Is ‘Canceling All Programs’ In Indiana Over LGBT Discrimination Fears

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says he doesn’t want his employees subjected to discrimination as part of their work for the San Francisco-Based company, and he is cancelling all required travel to the state of Indiana following the signing of a religious freedom law that some say allows business to exclude gay customers.

03/26/2015

(CBS)

Military Leaders Express Concerns Over Lifting Ban On Transgender People Serving In Armed Forces

U.S. military leaders have expressed reservations about any move to lift the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, an issue since Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s suggestion that he is open to the idea, officials say.

03/25/2015

(HBO)

HBO Cancels San Francisco-Based Series ‘Looking’

The show – which is based on gay friends living in San Francisco – was well-loved by critics, but ultimately, it’s viewership wavered too much to sustain itself. However, there’s a twist.

03/25/2015

A supporter of same-sex marriage holds American and gay pride flags.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Attorney General Reportedly Moving To Block ‘Death Penalty For Gays’ Ballot Initiative

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is reportedly moving to prevent a ballot proposal criminalizing sodomy and allowing the death penalty for anyone who “touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification” from ever appearing on the California ballot, according to Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times.

03/25/2015

Albus Dumbledore impersonator holds up a copy of the "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" book, the fifth in the Harry Potter series. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

JK Rowling Schools Fan About Dumbledore’s Sexuality …And It’s ‘Perfect’

Author JK Rowling has little patience for homophobia – real or implied. When she schooled one fan, hundreds of Twitter followers said her reply was ‘perfect.’

03/25/2015

“I look at myself in the mirror and I go, ‘I see a female body,’ ” said high school teacher Amanda Swager. (CBS LA)

SoCal Teacher Surprises Students With New Female Identity

Students at Chino High School returned to school this week to find that their chemistry teacher looked very different and had a new name: Amanda Swager.

03/23/2015

Same-sex couple Thom Watson (R) and Jeff Tabaco kiss as they hold paperwork for a marriage license while waiting to hear a decision on whether same-sex marriages will be allowed to resume in California August 12, 2010 in San Francisco.

‘Death Penalty For Gays’ Ballot Initiative May Be Allowed To Proceed Under California Law

A ballot proposal criminalizing sodomy and allowing the death penalty for anyone who “touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification” is moving forward because constitutionally, there is really no way to stop it, despite the neo-Nazi nature of the proposed law.

03/20/2015

(Getty Images)

Where Are All The Gay People In San Jose? Texas Ahead Of Silicon Valley In LGBT Population Survey

The San Francisco metropolitan area has the highest percentage of adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) in the U.S., according to a new Gallup poll survey.

03/20/2015

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