LGBTQ Nation reports:
Two Detroit-area nurses walked hand-in-hand through a line of protesters Tuesday for a trial that could overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage, the latest in a series of marriage-equality challenges across the country… Two weeks have been set aside for testimony. The case began in 2012 when nurses Rowse, 49, and DeBoer, 42, of Hazel Park sued to try to upset a Michigan law that bars them from adopting each other’s children. But the case became even more significant when Friedman invited them to add the same-sex marriage ban to their lawsuit. They argue that Michigan’s constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2004, violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, which forbids states from treating people differently under the law.
I’ve been alive now for almost 45 years, and I’ve never seen such a rush of lawsuits and rulings on LGBT rights. Truly amazing.
After he signed the draconian anti-gay bill, President Museveni called gays “disgusting and “abnormal”,
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Zain Verjee, Ugandan President Museveni stated that he found homosexuality ‘disgusting’ and ‘abnormal’. Museveni told Verjee that his message to human rights groups and US President Obama was that they should ‘respect African societies and their values, just the way we don’t interfere with yours. If you don’t agree you just keep quiet. Let us manage our society if we are wrong we will find out by ourselves, just the way we don’t interfere with yours.’ When asked if he personally disliked homosexuals, he commented that ’they are disgusting. What sort of people are they?’ He added: ‘I never knew what they were doing I was told recently. It’s terrible, disgusting but I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that that’s he’s been born abnormal but now the proof is not there.’
A Uganda tabloid immediately publish a list of “Uganda’s Top 200 Homos”.
Emboldened by President Museveni’s signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Uganda’s Red Pepper tabloid on Tuesday published a list of ‘Uganda’s 200 Top Homos’. It is not the first time the tabloid has done it. Back in October 2010, another tabloid published a similar list and called for death to those listed, inspiring documented attacks on many of those named in the article. It sent many others into hiding. The consequences for those named in the current list could be far worse given the provisions of the draconian bill Museveni signed this week into law.
The UK Government is cutting off aid to the country’s government.
Pink News reports:
The Department for International Development confirmed to PinkNews that the only aid money spent by Britain in Uganda goes to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organisations, rather than the Ugandan Government. This means the aid money is spent on helping the people of Uganda without funding the country’s legal and political system.
Three other countries have also cut off aid.
Pink News reports:
Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have become the first three countries to cut their aid to Uganda following the decision to sign the bill by Museveni. The Netherlands has stopped around £6 million in aid money which was intended for Uganda’s legal system, as the country did not want to contribute to the persecution of gay people. Norway and Denmark have also said they will redirect aid directly to human rights groups, rather than the government. This is the same policy which the British Department for International Development, which provides aid directly to organisations such as the UN, World Bank and Amnesty International.
Sweden’s Finance Minister met with LGBT activists in Uganda.
Edge Boston reports:
Sweden’s finance minister has visited a group of gay activists in Uganda, lending his support to their plight after the country’s president signed an anti-gay bill that punishes gay sex with up to life in prison. Anders Borg, who is in Uganda to discuss economic growth in east Africa, told Radio Sweden on Tuesday he met with the activists immediately upon arriving in the country.
The Obama Administration will review the US relationship with Uganda in the wake of the anti gay bill being signed.
The Washington Blade reports:
The Obama administration on Monday said it is reviewing its relationship with Uganda after the country’s president signed a bill into law that would impose a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts. “The United States will undertake a review of its relationship with Uganda,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing. “I don’t have any outcomes to predict to you because we’re undertaking a review now.”
In DC, LGBT activists served the Ugandan embassy with an “eviction notice.”
Today in Washington D.C. and Springfield, MA – and many other locales worldwide we hope! – activists reacted to this morning’s signing of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, better known as Kill The Gays, by President Museveni with action. An eviction notice was served in D.C. suggesting useful re-purposing of Ambassador Wonekha and her Embassy staff as follows: “To go home to Uganda and work tirelessly for human rights for all Ugandans, including the kuchu community, to mitigate any violence and persecution resulting from this new unjust law, and to work for the law’s repeal.”
And US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke out forcefully against the new laew.
This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law. The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution. Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.
It’s a dark day for LGBT rights, but especially so for Uganda’s LGBT community. We must all stand in solidarity with them. No more aid to the Ugandan Government.
Apple computer suggested there would be consequences if Arizona presses ahead with the bill.
Earlier today we reported that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce was leading a call for Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB 1062, the heinous bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs. Companies have been signing on all day and now Apple has joined the 83 other companies calling for a veto of the bill, the Arizona Capitol Times reports:
Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said the governor spoke on the phone with the company. The request comes as Apple prepares to open a new sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Mesa. The plant, which Brewer and other political leaders have touted as economic development coup for Arizona, will employ about 700 full-time employees.
Marriot is also against the bill:
“…our Arizona properties have seen a slow and steady recovery in both leisure and business stays since the end of the recession. We have serious concerns that passage of SB 1062 would undermine – or worsen counteract – that progress. This legislation has the potential to subject our state to travel boycotts by both individual leisure travelers and groups looking to hold meetings here.”
American Airlines is against it, too:
Few states suffered as greatly during the recession as Arizona. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the business and civic communities, we have been able to generate an economic comeback that is beginning to show great signs of success. There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far. Wholly apart from the stated intent of this legislation, the reality is that it has the very real potential of slowing down the momentum we have achieved by reducing the desire of businesses to locate in Arizona and depressing the travel and tourism component of the economy if both convention traffic and individual tourists decide to go elsewhere. Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all. This bill sends the wrong message.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell is suggesting the NFL move the Super Bowl out of Arizona if the Governor signs the bill.
If they pass this law and if she signs it, it would seem to me that the NFL may be looking, or should be looking, to move the Super Bowl out of that state. Because, you know, there’s so many places around the country that are welcoming to everybody. I’ll put it this way; I want to make it clear that Delaware is a very welcoming place; Four years ago, five years ago, we actually passed a law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It’s puzzling to me other states would be looking at it differently.
Even some of the folks who voted for it are having second thoughts.
This morning I reported that Arizona GOP state Sen. Mike Pierce has flip-flopped and is now calling for a veto of the hate bill that he voted for last week. Add two more GOP state senators to the list. Via LGBTQ Nation: Sen. Bob Worsley says he and Sens. Adam Driggs and Steve Pierce sent a letter to Brewer Monday asking her to strike down the legislation allowing business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays. Worsley says he was uncomfortable when he voted for the bill. Both he and Pierce called their votes a mistake. The legislation passed last week. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is requesting a veto because of fears it will hurt tourism.
And Representative John Kavanagh, who was basically destroyed on Anderson Cooper’s show last week as he clung to his talking points, thinks Brewer will likely veto the bill.
Michelangelo Signorile has tipped me that GOP Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh, who was destroyed by Anderson Cooper on Friday, has refused to appear on Signorile’s SiriusXM show today, saying that he believes the hate bill will be vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. SiriusXM producer Sean Bertollo recaps the conversation for us: I reached out to his office and spoke with Mary. She was to call me back to confirm whether or not he’d join us on the show. She called back and said to me, paraphrasing here, “Rep. Kavanagh is declining the interview.” I said, “Oh, that’s too bad, why…” She said “The bill has been vetoed.” I asked, “Ooh, the Religious Liberty bill was vetoed already?” She said, “No, but he feels as though it will be vetoed and they will have to take it up next session.” I finished, said that was too bad we couldn’t get him on the show, and then thanked her for the time.
US Senator John McCain joined the other Arizona Senator, Jeff Flake, in calling for a veto via twitter:
“I hope Governor Brewer will veto #SB1062″
On the other side, the Alliance Defending Freedom defended the bill.
Opponents of the proposed amendment to Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act are putting the people of Arizona in a high-risk disaster zone when it comes to their First Amendment freedoms. In America, we live by the basic principle that you don’t forfeit your religious freedom just because you step outside the four walls of your home. Congress passed the federal RFRA, the legislation after which the Arizona RFRA is modeled, for that very purpose. But the federal RFRA only applies to the federal government, and thus, a number of states, including Arizona, enacted their own versions to ensure this religious protection for their citizens.
Arizona’s RFRA, as it currently stands, does not contain the necessary specificity regarding who can use RFRA for protection if the government discriminates against them because of their religious faith. Contrary to the voices that oppose protecting religious freedom for all Arizonans, Senate Bill 1062 and House Bill 2153, which were approved last week, will not allow people to do “whatever they want” in the name of religion. The use of the amended RFRA will only come into play when the government’s law inhibits someone from freely acting in accordance with his or her faith, as has always been the case. And even then, sincerely held religious beliefs will continue to be balanced against state interests. So, Arizona will always be able to make certain things — like murder — crimes even if someone says that his religious beliefs require him to kill someone.
So that’s where they’re claiming this bill draws the line? At murder? Seriously?
And Tony Perkins basically conforms that the bill could be used for just about anything, claiming the left is trying to make it all about gay marriage.
Work isn’t a ‘faith-free zone’ — but try telling that to Arizona liberals. There, the Left’s propaganda machine is in full force, cranking out one distortion after the next in what should be a non-controversial debate over religious liberty. The hysteria started late last week, when the state’s legislature gave the green light to a bill that protects business owners and other for-profit entities from being forced to provide a service that violates their beliefs. Unfortunately, the Left is looking at the bill through the skewed lens of same-sex ‘marriage,’ instead of the many ways it could be applied to shield Americans of all faiths from religious censorship or coercion. They claim the measure would be used to deny homosexuals service of any kind — which is a selective reading meant to scare people into opposing a reasonable bill. But real equality — the kind the Left insists it wants — demands that everyone, not just a vocal few, have the ability to live and work according to their conscience. If you’re against the Arizona bill, then you’re really against First Amendment rights. Arizonans will find out in the next day or two which side Governor Jan Brewer (R) is on. The state’s leader has until Friday to decide if Arizona will push back on the oppression of religious liberty — or join it.
When in fact, what we’ve been saying is that it’s not about gay marriage – it’s i fact much broader than that, and there lies the real danger.
Meanwhile, Anderson Cooper took down another anti gay Arizona representative, who claimed that there is no discrimination in Arizona.
On AC360 tonight, Anderson Cooper confronted Arizona State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Al Melvin about SB 1062, the bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs. Constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino joined the debate and spent the segment rebutting Melvin’s arguments. Melvin either didn’t appear to know or didn’t want to admit that his state can already fire someone for being gay because sexual orientation is not included in the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. Melvin also coiuldn’t give an incredulous Anderson Cooper a single instance in which someone has been discriminated against based on their religious beliefs.
Go, Anderson, go!
Governor Brewer is still holding her cards close to the vest.
Dana Bash interviewed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in Washington DC today about what she planned to do with SB 1062, the bill awaiting herat home that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs.
Said Brewer: “I’m going to go home, and when I receive the bill, I’m going to read it and I’m going to be briefed on it. We have been following it. And I will make my decision in the near future.” Bash also brought up the fact that nearly 100 businesses were now publicly urging her to veto but would not show her hand:
“I have a history of deliberating and having an open dialogue on bills that are controversial, to listen to both sides of those issues, and I welcome the input, and information that they can provide to me. And certainly I am pro-business, and that is what’s turning our economy around, so I appreciate their input, as I appreciate the other side.”
Again, the question. Will she or won’t she?
This is late breaking news out of California, but it appears that, following a final hand-count of signatures submitted by a coalition of anti-trans groups seeking to force an initiative to repeal of the State of California’s Student Success and Opportunity Act, the drive to place the Act on the ballot has FAILED by more than 17,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot!
The Advocate reports:
An attempt to repeal California’s recently implemented transgender student law has been shot down after conservative organizations failed to turn in the necessary 504,760 valid signatures to qualify the issue for a referendum.
Proponents of the repeal, who had formed a coalition deceptively named Privacy for All Students,came up short, only collecting 487,760 valid signatures, leaving the repeal effort 17,276 short of the required 504,760 to qualify the issue to appear before voters in the November election.
As a result, California’s Student Success and Opportunity Act will remain in force. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of a student’s gender identity and guarantees that trans students can participate in the gender-segregated sports and have access to facilities that correspond with their gender identity. The law, also known as Assembly Bill 1266, cleared the State Assembly by a vote of 46-25 and passed through the Senate by a vote of 21-9 before being signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in August of last year. The law went into effect January 1.
The group behind the petition drive, Privacy for All Students, however, is not giving up:
“[Privacy for All Students] is anxious to challenge any signature that has been unfairly thrown out,” reads the message. “We are prepared to [challenge the signatures thrown out] again, as many times as we need to, until every valid signature is counted and the referendum qualifies for the ballot.”
HRC President Chad Griffin is ecstatic.
“The forces of discrimination tried to go after California’s LGBT young people, and it’s a sign of our progress that they fell short of their goal,” said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin in a statement. “Yet unfortunately there are groups out there that are actively working to make the lives of LGBT youth harder. This law does nothing more than safeguard transgender students from being excluded and ensures all students are provided the same opportunities — regardless of gender identity.”
As mentioned earlier, the law has been in effect since January 1st of this year.
GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman (yes, that Jack Burkman) announced Monday that he is preparing a piece of legislation which, if enacted would ban openly gay players from joining the National Football League.
In a statement, Burkman said,
”We are losing our decency as a nation. Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
He also added, ”if the NFL has no morals and no values, then Congress must find values for it.”
Burkman alleges that up to five Republican Representatives and one Senator are “interested” in co-sponsoring the proposed bill, according to his words. Even more ridiculously, he claims that the number of co-sponsoring Representatives and Senators once the bill is introduced could rise to as high as 36 and five, respectively.
If introduced, the bill stands no chance whatsoever of passing either chamber, and would almost assuredly be laughed out of the building by President Obama should it somehow manage to reach his desk.
P.S. Hey, guys! My name is Tyler and I am ecstatic to be joining the Gay Marriage Watch crew, having answered Scott’s “Help Wanted” post earlier. I look forward to hearing from you all!
Don’t Make Me Bake a Sin Cake
Right-wing pundit Erick Erickson thinks baking a cake or taking photos at a wedding aids and abets sin. A least, if it’s for a same sex couple. I’d argue that working for Fox does a helluva lot more damage than a wedding cake ever could.
Being Anti Gay Doesn’t Make Us Anti Gay
That’s the basic argument of Idaho Governor Butch Otter, who says that the state’s decision not to protect its LGBT citizens in no way means it does’t like them. hey, with friends like these…
Why Not Marry Your Own Son for Benefits?
“Chuck” actor Adam Baldwin things gay marriage will lead to father son marriage for financial benefit. Just one question – where in the history of all time has a man married his daughter or a woman married her son for the same reason? One example, please?
The Columbus Dispatch reports:
For the first time, support for gay marriage in Ohio has reached the 50 percent threshold in the Quinnipiac Poll, a new survey released today shows. Led by support among young voters, exactly half of Ohioans back same-sex marriage, compared to 44 percent who oppose it. The new findings, which mirror public opinion shifts across the nation, represent a reversal since December of 2012, when 47 percent of Ohioans opposed gay marriage and 45 percent supported it. The change comes almost entirely from independent voters; Democrats support and Republicans oppose gay marriage by about the same percentages as before.
The new polling comes as activists work to get the issue on the ballot in 2014 or 2016. 50% is still a mighty thin margin, but I’ll bet this year’s 50% is a lot stinger than the same percentage in 2008 – voters are less easily swayed against it now, I think. Do y’all agree?
Go Pride reports:
“The federal court’s ruling responded to a lawsuit filed in Cook County and applies initially only to the Cook Couty Clerk’s office, but clerks in the other 101 counties can take official notice of the decision and its reasoning,” Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said. “We will be reaching out to county clerks all around the state hoping that they will also be persuaded by the judge’s rationale. After all, the federal court said that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses.”
Cherkasov added that the new marriage bill adequately provides county clerks with the guidance they need to move forward. “With the passage of the marriage equality bill, the legislature has already set forth procedures for the clerks to follow and strong protections for religious freedom, so there is no reason to delay the benefits and recognition of marriage to loving, committed couples and their families,” he said.
In related news, a lone GOP lawmaker has given up his fight against the law.
On Top Magazine reports:
Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter, a Republican, has ended an effort to repeal Illinois’ gay marriage law approved by lawmakers last year. Following a federal judge’s ruling handed down Friday that there is no need for gay couples to wait for the law to take effect in June, McCarter announced that he was withdrawing his bill (SB 2637), which was scheduled for debate in the Illinois Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday.
Will the county clerks listen? Or do we have to wait until June for marriage equality to reach the entire state?
Here’s our daily quick round-up of the marriage equality and LGBT rights stories that don’t warrant a full posting on the blog, or that we just didn’t have time to add. We’re able to get more news and analysis to you this way every day – enjoy!
India: LGBT activists protested the decriminalization of homosexuality in Hyderabad. full story
India: It may be years before the government gets around to repealing the re-instated anti-homosexuality law. full story
Russia: Canadian athletes wore rainbow patches at the closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics. full story
USA: A New ESPN poll shows that every state thinks the NFL is ready for a gay player. full story
USA, Florida: Queer as Folk and Cagney & Lacey actress Sharon Gless filmed a video for marriage equality in Florida. full story
USA, Illinois: A state lawmaker has introduced a bill to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth. full story
USA, Kansas: A tea party group is trying to resurrect the failed Right to Discriminate bill, but the effort is complicated by a previously passed law from 2013. full story
USA, New York: Gay activists held one final NYC protest against Russia’s anti gay laws before the Olympics drew to a close. full story
Gay Star News reports:
‘You know, the bill is in transmittal and I don’t have to make a decision until next Friday so I’ve got plenty of time,’ Jan Brewer said, on 22 February, as reported by ABC News…. Brewer, also a Republican, told reporters she needed to study the bill first. ‘I need to explore it,’ she said.
More and more public figures are lining up against the bill. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (D) draws a parallel to the whites-only laws in the South.
Discrimination by private businesses led to some of the most noteworthy moments of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was targeted at the Montgomery Bus Lines, sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to move to the back of the bus. Civil rights activists who claimed white-only lunch counters as their own were subject to arrest, beatings and worse. I have spent a great deal of time in Mexico working to undo damage done by SB 1070 to our state’s ability to benefit from trade with one of the world’s emerging economies. I remember the fallout from Arizona’s long delay in passing a Martin Luther King Holiday. SB 1062 and HB 2153 are not only offensive, but if signed into law, will cause our state and our region significant economic harm. I ask our governor in the strongest possible terms to veto this legislation, and I urge Tucsonans to contact her with that request as well.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) also spoke out.
On Top Magazine reports:
“It would put a national and international spotlight on Arizona in a way that’s uphelpful to our economy,” Stanton told gay glossy The Advocate. “It’s the wrong direction to go. The city I lead is a very open city, and we love our diversity,” Stanton said of Phoenix, which has an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Even some in the GOP are questioning the bill. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith (R), also a gubernatorial candidate, things SB 1062 is bigotry, pure and simple.
“As a Christian conservative, I am very troubled that religious rights are being trampled as part of the current debate on changes in our society. But I am also a member of a church that has experienced severe persecution because of its beliefs. I firmly believe that discrimination or bigotry in any form is unacceptable. I am concerned that SB1062 carries real potential for unintended legal consequences that could negatively impact our most basic rights, including the freedom of religion. This bill could have a detrimental impact on Arizona’s business environment at a time when our economy is still fragile. Our state must keep focused on creating jobs and building a strong future for our children.”
Even one GOP Senator, state Sen. Steve Pierce, who voted for the bill is now backtracking.
“I don’t like the negative picture of Arizona, and I’m on board asking the governor to veto the bill. To say (the bill is) anti-gay is following the feeding frenzy. I have friends that are gay and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. This is blown way out of proportion and it’s too bad.”
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce also opposes the bill.
The Chamber tweeted: “We join with @phxchamber Greater Phx Leadership and S. Ariz. leadership in requesting veto of SB1062. Official statement tomorrow.”
Star Trek actor (and openly gay) George Takei released his own statement on the bill.
LGBTQ Nation reports:
“The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear. So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.”
And gay actor Harvey Fierstein chimes in.
“Sometimes I am left dumbfounded by the stupidity of politicians and their citizens. One would have thought that Arizona learned its lesson years ago when they passed horrific laws discriminating against their Hispanic community. They lost tourism, and population and the respect of the nation… Well, they are at it again with what they are calling a “Religious Freedom” law that is actually a law that would make discriminating against the gay community lawful. A policeman could say that his religion bans contact with homosexuals and just leave a victim to die. Doctors could refuse service to the LGBT community. A bus driver could throw you off the bus because his bible doesn’t accept homosexuality…It’s the MOST ABSURD AND HATEFUL LAW that anyone has crafted since… I don’t know… maybe the DOM laws? I hope their Governor turns her back on this hatred. If not… oh, my children, if not… We are going to have a lot of fun suing them down to bankruptcy!!!! I’m already looking up flights.”
The bill should hit Brewer’s desk today.
Edge Boston reports:
The Arizona Senate is expected to send a bill allowing business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays to Gov. Jan Brewer as early as Monday. That action will start a five-day clock for the Republican governor to act on a proposed law she herself calls controversial.
And former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd puts his money on Brewer vetoing the bill.
“I think, in the end, Gov. Brewer is probably going to veto this because it seems like an easy veto for her to do because of everything that’s going in the business economy there. This is one of those problems when people use religion as a way to sort of enforce discriminatory practices. People used religion back in the 1860s when they defended slavery. They used religion to defend slavery. We’ve used religion to go to war. People have criticized Islam because they use religion to fight people and kill people. This is the problem with that. In the end I think she vetoes it because there’s no way this can survive.”
So will she or won’t she?
Think Progress reports:
Last week, it seemed like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was delaying taking action on the infamous anti-homosexuality bill, suggesting he was interested in hearing from more U.S. scientists about the nature of homosexuality. On Monday, though, he signed the bill into law. The law, often referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill because previous versions of it included the death penalty, allows for a lifetime jail sentence for people found guilty of being gay.
Some more recent versions of the bill have still included reference to a different law that did allow for the death penalty. First-time offenders can be punished with 14 years in jail. Those who promote LGBT issues would also be in violation of the law, as would anybody who officiates a same-sex marriage. Museveni explained that he signed the bill because he was concerned that gay people were “recruiting normal people” into homosexuality, using them as prostitutes, and exhibiting themselves.
In its lawsuit against Scott Lively, the Center for Constitutional Rights calls him directly responsible for the new law.
In addition to putting the lives of LGBTI Ugandans at serious risk, in signing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, President Museveni has criminalized the existence and work of our client, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and other advocacy organizations in violation of the Ugandan constitution and international law. The Center for Constitutional Rights holds right-wing U.S. evangelical Scott Lively directly responsible: he has been working in Uganda since 2002 to outlaw the speech and assembly of LGBTI people and effectively silence and erase the community from political life.
Desmond Tutu spoke out against the law. Pink News reports:
Archbishop Tutu said that the was “very disheartened” that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is intending to sign a bill into law that could see gay people facing lifetime prison sentence. “In South Africa, Apartheid police used to rush into bedrooms where whites were suspected of making love to blacks,” Archbishop Tutu said in a statement. “It was demeaning to those whose ‘crime’ was to love each other, it was demeaning to the policemen ? and it was a blot on our entire society.”
“The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love… There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.”
It’s time to shun Uganda and Nigeria in the international community. No more aid for countries that treat their LGBT citizens as criminals.
Just got this from my Aunt in Tucson who is following the whole Right to Discriminate law with great interest and disgust. It was written by Rabbi Stephen Kahn, of Scottsdale’s Congregation Beth Israel.
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Governor Brewer:
I am the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel, founded in 1920. I write this with a heavy heart on behalf of our 750 families (roughly 2,000 members). Today, I respectfully implore you to act with bold and courageous leadership by vetoing House Bill 2153 and Senate Bill 1062 without delay.
Simply put, these bills are beyond “controversial”. Among many things, the final version of the legislation enables a business owner to refuse services to any patron based on their own personal religious proclivities, or even worse, a very loose definition of religious freedom. I cannot help but recall the spirit of the Third Reich’s laws established in 1935 at Nuremberg which legally permitted discrimination and anti-Semitism under the same implicit legislative construct as the bills passed earlier this week. As a Jew, I cannot help but feel that if a business owner, who is “informed” by their interpretation of “scripture” that a Jewish person cannot eat at their restaurant because I do not accept Christ as “Savior” that they would indeed have the legally supported permission to deny me service in their place of business.
As an American, I will always fully support the constitutionally protected rights of every citizen; the right of free expression of their own religious beliefs and convictions whether or not I personally/theologically agree with their beliefs or practices. However, as an American, a Jew and a Rabbi, I know that religious freedom does not permit me the right to oppress or discriminate against others because I think their theology or way of life is wrong. This is the antithesis of constitutional freedoms and the foundation of our country. The potential – both implicitly and explicitly – of legalizing a person or person’s right to persecute and discriminate against others under the guise of religious freedom is both intellectually objectionable and theologically corrupt of any scriptural justification I know of, especially in a free society.
Please do no sign this legislation which – based on historic precedent for our people in 1930’s Nazi Germany – could become THE seminal moment which will lead to horrifying consequences for the People of Arizona.
Rabbi Stephen Kahn
Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Elizabeth Schwartz, Miami-based LGBT Family and Estate Planning Attorney
Vanessa & Melanie Alenier, Jorge Diaz & Don Johnston – Two of the six couples who are joining Equality Florida Institute as plaintiffs in in the lawsuit to overturn Florida’s ban on marriage equality.
Monday, February 24 @ 6:30 PM
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Register at http://www.eqfl.org/event/teletownhall. Just prior the town hall, you will receive a call providing the phone number to join the conversation. Participants will also have a chance to ask questions.
Last month, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed a lawsuit in Florida state court in Miami on behalf of six same-sex couples and the Equality Florida Institute, seeking the freedom to marry. The lawsuit argues that Florida’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violate the United States Constitution by denying them the legal protections and equal dignity that having the freedom to marry provides.
Oregon won’t defend its marriage ban in court, and a marriage lawsuit in Virginia might have reached a premature end. Plus polling from Louisiana shows progress, but it’s been slow.