Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT. Show all posts

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Texas Supreme Court Addresses Major LGBT Ordinance Photo of Casey Harper

The Texas Supreme Court dealt Houston’s contentious LGBT ordinance a major blow Friday.
The court ruled that the city of Houston must repeal or allow a vote on the Equal Rights Ordinance, an ordinance that qualified for the ballot but was kept off by Houston’s mayor, who sparked outrage when she tried to subpoena sermons and communications of local pastors.
The Equal Rights Ordinance banned businesses that serve the public from discriminating against gay or transgender people.
Conservative activists say that the ordinances can be used to allow men who identify as women to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa for women who identify as men.
After the ordinance was passed in May of 2014, conservative activists fought to get a repeal vote on the issue, but the mayor and other city officials refused to allow the repeal vote, saying the activists did not obtain enough signatures.
The court disagreed, and told the city to either repeal the measure or allow the city to vote on the repeal. Houston has until Aug. 24 to decide.
“The legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored,” reads the court’s opinion.
It’s important to note that the court did not rule against anti-discrimination ordinance for LGBT people in general, only that the city was obligated to allow the measure to be put up for a vote or repealed outright.
Several large Texas cities, including Dallas and Austin, have some form of anti-discrimination protection in place for LGBT people.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Opinion: How long do LGBT youth have to wait before school 'gets better'?

I am still wondering when it gets better. People in the media, even in government, say it gets better. Just hang in there, they say, it gets better. But for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth still in school, how long do they have to wait — before it gets better?
Ten years ago, on July 20, 2005, same-sex marriage became legal across Canada. Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, and overnight, Canada became a tourism destination for same-sex weddings.
With that profound and historic change in legislation, Canadian lesbians and gay men finally attained rights equal to those of other Canadians. Since then, many same-sex couples have exercised their right to marry. Just like straight couples.
Many observers would say that gays and lesbians have now achieved equal rights in Canada. Like the struggle for equal rights for women, the fight for equal rights for lesbians and gay men is old news. But is this true for all LGB Canadians? What about teens still in school?
Catherine Taylor at the University of Winnipeg and Tracey Peter at the University of Manitoba have described schools as “the Land that Time Forgot” when it comes to LGB youth. They argue that while LGB adults may enjoy equal rights in Canada, younger cohorts do not.
A national survey of homophobia by Taylor and Peter under the auspices of Egale Canada, a human-rights organization, found that LGB youth were three times more likely than straight youth to report feeling depressed about school, and feeling like they didn’t belong at school.
Some would say that everyone gets bullied from time to time, and this is true. It is also true that the effects of being bullied are more severe for some. According to Egale Canada, while 7 per cent of youth attempt suicide annually, 33 per cent of LGB youth attempt suicide. The statistic is even higher for trans kids.
Has legalizing same-sex marriage made a difference in terms of discrimination based on sexual orientation? The McCreary Centre Society in Vancouver has been collecting data from British Columbia high school students since 1992, data that can begin to answer this question.
Over the last 15 years, discrimination of high school students based on sexual orientation has in fact increased, especially for those students identifying as bisexual. In other words, making same-sex marriage legal in Canada has not made things easier for LGB students.
Recent research, however, shows that having explicit anti-homophobia school policies and other measures such as gay-straight alliance clubs reduced reports of victimization and suicide attempts on the part of LGB youth.
Surprisingly, researcher Elizabeth Saewyc at the University of British Columbia’s Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC), found that explicit anti-homophobia measures also protected straight students from bullying.
Anti-homophobia school policies work. LGB youth in schools with explicit policies feel safer and more connected to school. Feeling safer and more connected means these young Canadians stay in school longer and get a better education. And that’s good for Canada.
We have heard that LGBTs are always asking for “special” rights, or rights that go beyond those of other Canadians. Having the right to a safe and supported education is not a “special” right. It is the constitutional right of every Canadian.
As we remember the 10-year anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada, we should consider that not all Canadian gays and lesbians have equal rights. The most vulnerable lesbians and gays — the youth — have not yet achieved equal rights in Canada.
Canadian schools shouldn’t have to be the land that time forgot. Not for LGBT youth. Not for anybody.
Hilary Rose is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University and a member of UBC’s SARAVYC research team. Her research focuses on sexual minority youth and Canadian family policy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Big Gay Lie

While gays are our siblings in Christ, the gay lifestyle is nothing like the straight lifestyle. That’s why we have to condemn the gay lifestyle because we love gays as people, just as we condemn smoking out of love for smokers.

One of the key reasons that gay “marriage” has won as much public support as it has is that few people understand how harmful the massively promiscuous gay lifestyle is. 
The Big Gay Lie (BGL) is that the gay lifestyle is the same as the straight lifestyle. The BGL has a number of facets including:
  • Lots of people are gay
  • Gay relationships are just like straight ones; they want long-term commitment
  • Being gay isn’t bad for your health
  • Gays are born that way
The BGL has made the debate over gay marriage like a debate about smoking where no one realizes that smoking causes lung cancer.

Before looking at what scientific studies tell us here’s some anecdotal evidence that people may already be familiar with:
  • When AIDS first struck gays fought tooth and nail to keep the bathhouses -- where gays go for anonymous sex with strangers -- open. Gays are so addicted to sex that even in the face of a fatal disease they didn’t want to curb their promiscuous lifestyle.
  • AIDS. While we’re constantly told that it’s not a gay disease the reality is that in the U.S. almost no one but gays get AIDS from sex. Yet even though condoms don’t stop the spread of AIDS gays continue to risk their lives to have sex with strangers
  • While everyone condemns crimes by priests and ministers against children, the fact is that 81% of the victims of priests have been young boys; the problem is a gay one.
  • NAMBLA -- which advocates sex with 3 year olds -- is an accepted part of the gay community. The organization marched in the SF Gay Pride parade for years before pressure from straights got the organization booted out due to bad optics.
Very few people are gay:
The debate about gay marriage has been skewed by a gross misrepresentation of the number of gays in America. While the average American thought 23% of Americans were gay the real number is 1.6% with only 3.8% of the population being LGBT.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Can Court Clerks Decline to Do Gay Marriages? How It’s Playing Out in the States

A few cases of public employees who cite their faith in declining to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples have grabbed media attention, but similar concerns exist in scores of courthouses across America, a lawyer for a prominent Christian legal organization says.
“In most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person,” @AllianceDefends’ Jeremy Tedesco
A  suit against a Kentucky court clerk was scheduled to be heard today by a federal judge, and county commissions were set to vote on the resignations of clerks in Tennessee and Texas.
The cases, the lawyer told The Daily Signal, are just three examples of difficult choices created by the Supreme Court’s5-4 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the nation.
“I think the bottom line is, in most instances the government can accommodate the religious beliefs of the objecting person,” said Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.
An ultimatum of “comply or lose your job” by some LGBT activists and their supporters, he said, runs counter to “our rich history of religious freedom and religious accommodation.”
Civil disobedience to the ruling, and to instructions issued by governors and other state authorities, initially occurred among clerks and other court employees in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
However, Tedesco said the offices of Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, have been “inundated” by calls and emails from courthouse employees and officials who aren’t sure what their office will do, want to understand their rights, or have asked for an accommodation for their faith but haven’t yet gotten one.
>>> For more on religious liberty and same-sex marriage, see Ryan T. Anderson’s new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.
In some cases, clerks and other court employees have resigned rather than issue licenses for same-sex nuptials.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

D.C Metro Murder Undermines Liberal Talking Points

The brutal killing of Kevin Sutherland in the Washington, D.C., subway on July 4, does much to undermine popular leftist tropes, in this case, race, crime, guns and drugs, just as the murder of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco challenges liberal immigration policies.  Sutherland was beaten and stabbed to death on a Metro train by a drug addled African-American teenager in the middle of the day in front of about a dozen other stunned passengers. 

Sutherland’s killer, 18 year old Jasper Spires, shares many characteristics with more famous and lionized Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, except that while the latter two were shot to death by armed men in the midst of physical assaults, Spires took full advantage of his unarmed victim (and other passengers) to complete his crime and survive, and is now in custody.  The mainstream media and leftist politicians have mostly downplayed the incident, since Spires cannot be caricatured as a victim of white racism.  Indeed, the problem for the media is that in almost every respect, this encounter shows the utter inanity and hypocrisy of many of their favored talking points and positions. 

Of course, D.C.’s only major newspaper, the Washington Post, could hardly overlook the killing, but has done its level best to downplay things.  The Post first reported the murder in its local Metro section, though such a brutal public killing on Independence Day would probably been front-page news had circumstances been more to the news editors’ liking.  That article noted that Sutherland was a vibrant, well-liked recent transplant to the city, but did not include a picture or indicate that he was white and probably gay (it did suggest he was an LGBT activist), but it did show a photo of Spires.  A follow-up article made the front page, but the tone of reportage has been of the “that’s too bad” variety, not outrage.   The online version of that article shows photos of both the perp and victim.

The killing undercuts a half-dozen leftist talking points, and shows the hypocrisy redolent in the outrage expressed by politicians (like President Obama), race baiters like Al Sharpton, and countless media elites. 

Two days before murdering Sutherland, Spires was arrested by D.C. cops for violently attempting to rob another man, and assaulted police as they tried to take him in.  Had he been killed by police in that incident, the recent high school grad, who also briefly attended a private college in North Carolina, would no doubt been treated by the press and the President like Martin, Brown or Freddy Gray up the road in Baltimore, as a promising young man who became a tragic victim of the police war against young black men.  But Spires appears to have been uninjured by police despite his combativeness and small (5’5”) stature.  Local prosecutors then reduced charges and the police released him.  Spires stopped by a D.C. police station and picked up his personal belongings from that arrest shortly before killing Sutherland.  Not only does this demolish the idea that police are out to get guys like Spires, it demonstrates just how lax the justice system is about dealing with violent criminals, whatever their race. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

[COMMENTARY] Clerks are bound to follow law

FRANKFORT  – A Republican attorney I know sees the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage and the reaction in Kentucky – where some county clerks refuse to issue marriage licenses – through the lens of history.
“It’s this generation’s Brown v. Board of Education,” he said, referring to the landmark court ruling that school segregation was unconstitutional.
“You don’t have to like it, but it’s the law,” my attorney friend continued.
The attorney is no Democrat. He’s not urban and he’s certainly not liberal. I have no idea how he feels about the morality of same-sex marriage. But he understands the law and how our system works.
There are similarities between the same-sex ruling, Obergefell v. Hodges, and the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that threw out the “separate but equal” justification for school desegregation.
Even the phrase “separate but equal” resonates in some Kentucky county clerks’ explanation of why their religious beliefs should allow them to refuse to grant marriage licenses. After all, they say, a couple can obtain the desired license simply by driving to a neighboring county – but they didn’t ask opposite-sex couples to do that until the court ruling.
The court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. But it was 1964 before the Glasgow schools I attended integrated. Significant social change sometimes doesn’t happen overnight.
There are likely to be others who resist the ruling of the court. Just like some did in the civil rights era, some are now calling for changes to our court system and decrying a decision by “five liberal, unelected lawyers” (never mind a majority of the court is conservative and was appointed by Republican presidents).

Like civil rights and abortion, there will probably be more court battles as some resist the ruling. But supporters of same-sex marriage can probably draw hope from the history of the civil rights battles and from the general trend of American history to enlarge and expand individual minority rights rather than restrict them.

Bozell & Graham Column: Unasked Questions in the LGBT Wars

For decades now, the liberal “news” media have demonstrated a dramatic tilt toward the gay agenda, beginning with their notion that there is no such thing as a “gay agenda.” But now as the Supreme Court mandated gay “marriage” on all 50 states the liberal world is celebrating the agenda it has been pushing for decades. 

Television coverage has been the usual appalling agitprop, but in this case it was also a victory lap. News segments have been either unanimous in their "analysis" or, if "balance" is presented, stacked by about five to one. Simply put, a debate is not allowed, just as it is not allowed on global warming, gun rights, abortion and a host of other liberal imperatives. So much for free speech.

 Former Good Morning America weather man Sam Champion is a gay activist on air and off, and he recently told CNN that this liberal bias is terrific. “I think TV always eases the path for change. I think what people watch in their homes, what they're comfortable with in their homes leads the way for acceptance in this country.” 

Champion and his champions are never, ever asked serious questions challenging their views. What kinds of questions are appropriate? 

Enter Kevin DeYoung. Mr. DeYoung has taken to the Gospel Coalition website to pose over forty questions to Christians who consider themselves supporters of gay "marriage." These are precisely the kinds of questions a disinterested press would ask if it were disinterested. 

Gays have suggested – and now  aggressively insist – that it’s not “Christian” to oppose the gay agenda. The secular media know nothing about Christianity, or if they do, they don’t really care to discuss it.  Imagine them dropping these questions to a gay-Left advocate:

 “How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?” 

Or: “Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship? If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?” 

Then there’s the fidelity question: 

“Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?” Gay rabble-rouser Dan Savage insists monogamy is for suckers. Why is he wrong?  

 DeYoung poses questions about the politics of this issue. Wouldn't it be fascinating if one, just one reporter would ask: 

“Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?”

 Or: “Do you think children do best with a mother and a father? If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?” 

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Gov. Sam Brownback (R) of Kansas is acting to protect clergy and religious organizations from punishment for refusing to recognize or provide services for same-sex marriages.

He’s issued an executive order, titled “Preservation and Protection of Religious Freedom,” that states:
[T]he protection of religious liberty from government infringement is a constitutional and fundamental state interest, and government is obligated to take measures that advance this interest by preventing government interference with religious exercise in a way that complements the protections mandated by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution…
The order, which also complements protections offered in the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution, prohibits the state from taking any discriminatory action against “individual clergy or religious leader,” or any “religious organization” that objects to a marriage that conflicts with its religious beliefs or moral conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
“We have a duty to govern and to govern in accordance with the Constitution as it has been determined by the Supreme Court decision,” said Brownback in a statement. “We also recognize that religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans, and should be protected.”
“The Kansas Bill of Rights affirms the right to worship according to ‘dictates of conscience’ and further protects against any infringement of that right,” he added. “Today’s Executive Order protects Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs.”
“While we disagree with the decision of the Supreme Court, it is important that all Kansans be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” the governor said.
According to the Washington Post, militant LGBT groups have condemned Brownback’s executive order.
“Having nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with enabling discrimination, this executive order is divisive, unnecessary, and sends the wrong message,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign.
She reportedly referred to the idea that clergy could be forced to participate in same-sex marriages as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized them nationwide as false rumors.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), however, announced in an op-ed in the WaPothat it “can no longer support” the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) because “it is now often used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people…”
“Religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others,” wrote Louise Melling of the ACLU.
Melling views situations in which those who invoke the federal RFRA to protect their free exercise of faith as “abuses” if it means same-sex marriage and abortion are not accepted.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

CA’s Remarkable and Powerful Gay and Lesbian Political Leadership – What is Next From Them?

 For some years Californian’s have given gay and lesbian politicians extraordinary leadership opportunities and power in the state. The power these politicians possess in state government is from stronger positions and relatively larger numbers than that of many other minority groups, including Asian elected officials, in a state where Asians comprise 14% of the population, and they arguably possess more political power than African-American politicians, whose affinity group represents close to 7% of the state population. California’s gay and lesbian elected officials have wielded this power even as those same California voters disapproved gay marriage at the ballot, as in 2008, when just over 52% of voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage.  (The same voters gave Barack Obama over 61% of their votes in the same election.) But times are changing, and California’s highly influential gay and lesbian elected officials, who have been so successful on civil rights issues for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and have worked so hard on issues like same-sex marriage, have surely played a role in the remarkable changes in California public opinion since 2008.  According to a September 2013 Public Policy Institute of California poll (taken well before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision approving same sex marriage as a Constitutional right), a record high 61% of Californians and 64% of likely voters favored allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, and in apparent remorse for the 2008 vote on Proposition 8, solid majorities of Californians (59%) and likely voters (63%) approved of the U.S. Supreme Court’s earlier decision to let stand a lower court ruling that put a “stay” on Proposition 8′s ban on same-sex marriage in California. One might guess that public opinion in California in favor of same-sex marriage is even more popular today than in PPIC’s last survey.

Who are these notably powerful gay and lesbian leaders? They are almost all liberal Democrats, and have served in responsible leadership positions (some retired only because of term limits) in the last decade and include current Assembly Speaker (the state assembly’s most important position) Toni Atkins of San Diego, the state’s first out lesbian Speaker, and her immediate predecessor John Perez of Los Angeles, the state’s first out gay Assembly Speaker.  Included also are former State Senator Sheila Kuehl from Santa Monica, now serving in the significant position of Los Angeles County Supervisor, current State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, the State Senate’s first out gay State Senator and a possible successor for Nancy Pelosi’s Congressional seat,  former State Senator Carole Migden of San Francisco, along with retired State Senator Christine Kehoe of San Diego and retired Assembly member Jackie Goldberg of Los Angeles. Congressman Mark Takano of Riverside is an out gay, as is San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts. They are all Democrats and are joined by many more gay and lesbian elected officials throughout the state in other state and local offices.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

[FLASHBACK 2012] What percentage of the U.S. population is gay, lesbian or bisexual?

A survey released Tuesday by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports:
Based on the 2013 NHIS data [collected in 2013 from 34,557 adults aged 18 and over], 96.6% of adults identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. The remaining 1.1% of adults identified as “something else[]” [0.2%,] stated “I don’t know the answer[]” [0.4%] or refused to provide an answer [0.6%].
More specifically, 1.8 percent of men self-identify as gay and 0.4 percent as bisexual, and 1.5 percent of women self-identify as lesbian and 0.9 percent as bisexual.
The results are generally in the same ballpark as past estimates — and far below the long-debunked 10 percent estimate. But past data that I’ve seen had suggested that there were about twice as many gay or bisexual men as lesbian or bisexual women; this data suggests that there is no such gender gap.

Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Bring Us Peace

For decades, a growing narrative from LGBT activists has convinced a great portion of the U.S. public that cultural peace would reign if social conservatives could just get with the times on marriage.
This narrative has recently gained new legs with rulings by federal judges that say marriage laws are based in animus against people with same-sex attractions. Likewise, states and localities regularly pass so-called “non-discrimination laws” that restrict freedom of speech, religion, property ownership, and more.
Despite today’s ruling, however, social conservatives should reject this flawed thinking—not just because of their love for people with same-sex attractions, or because of the Supreme Court’s abuse of the U.S. Constitution, but to protect the American values of free speech and religious liberty.
Indeed, a simple look at the last 10 years of same-sex “marriage” laws in Canada and other nations shows that rather than bring a new utopia to America, changing the legal definition of marriage would lead to further restrictions of religious liberty, undermine parental rights, and lead to worse formative years for children.

Repressing Free Speech and Religious Practice

In Canada, redefining marriage has led straight to the persecution of Christians. Just a decade ago, Canada made same-sex marriage legal, leading to fines for a Catholic-owned Knights of Columbus hall for refusing to host a homosexual wedding reception. Likewise, in 2005, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry was called before a Human Rights Tribunal for writing a public letter defending Catholic doctrine on marriage. The complaint was withdrawn, but the message was clear: Dissent is not tolerable under the new regime.
In America, religious freedom includes religious expression, but not so in Canada, it appears. A Catholic church at which two cohabiting homosexual men were altar servers came to the attention of the local bishop due to a letter signed by 12 parishioners.
When Bishop Nicola de Angelis went to the priest, citing Catholic doctrine, one of the servers launched a human-rights case. The case sought $25,000 from the bishop and $20,000 from each of the 12 parishioners who signed the letter. It was also dropped, but not until the bishop, like Henry, had spent considerable money in his legal defense.
Canada was one of the first nations to legally redefine marriage, but other nations are seeing similar consequences of trying to undermine what God has created. Mayors in France have been told they could not refuse to preside over same-sex ceremonies and a British marriage registrar was denied freedom for her religious beliefs, though just months earlier a demoted government employee’s right to criticize marriage redefinition was protected by courts. Of course, the same thing has already been happening in North Carolina, where civil magistrates whose consciences prevent them from performing gay marriage ceremonies must quit their job or face fines.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ignoring Terrorism but Celebrating Gay Pride

President Obama and his administration apparently haven’t had enough time—though it’s been more than a year—to develop a strategy to combat the anti-American terrorist group known as the Islamic State. But the Department of Defense has certainly found enough time and money to celebrate June as “Pride Month” at the Pentagon and highlight the “husbands” of top male generals

The celebrations include events inside the Pentagon, posters and PowerPoint presentations, and even a special video from the news agency of the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense also conveyed its approval by “rainbow-ing” its website.

DoD News quotes Defense Secretary Ash Carter as saying that diversity and inclusion are critical to recruiting and retaining the force of the future. He made the comments at Tuesday’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) “Pride Month” event held at the Pentagon.

Surveys show about one or two percent of the population is homosexual, and the percentage in the military is probably even lower. Yet, considerable Pentagon resources are now being devoted to highlighting their involvement in the Armed Forces and getting more of the LGBT community to join.

This month’s rainbow-colored Pentagon “pride” poster celebrates “victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness,” to quote President Obama, except for the more important but elusive “victory” over the Islamic State.

Obama’s embarrassing disclosure about having an incomplete strategy to win over global Islamic terrorism has certainly received its share of media attention. “We don’t have, yet, a complete strategy,” he said. “The details are not worked out.”

The comments were followed by a report that the Islamic State is more of a tough fighting force than previously believed because the wives of the leading terrorist figures in the group “may play a greater role in operations and communications,” and the U.S. has been ignoring them, according to CNN.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

7 Homosexual U.S. Ambassadors: Trade Deals Should Advance LGBTI Rights

Six openly gay U.S. ambassadors meet in Washington in March 2015. They are, from left, Ambassador to Australia John Berry, Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James Brewster, Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford, Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Daniel Baer, Ambassador to Spain James Costos, and Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius (Photo: Blake Bergen/Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies)
( – International free-trade agreements like those being negotiated with countries in the Pacific and Europe should help to export American values such as human rights, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, according to seven openly homosexual U.S. ambassadors.
The seven, joined by the State Department’s first “special envoy for LGBTI persons,” Randy Berry, signed a joint letter published Tuesday in the national gay and lesbian newsmagazine The Advocate, and re-posted by the White House.
“Through the President’s trade agenda, we will not only support more American jobs, but we can also promote greater justice beyond our borders,” they wrote.
“We are committed to working closely with the White House to ensure that any trade arrangement approved by Congress is a force for progress on human rights for everyone, including for LGBTI persons.”
The letter comes as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on a contentious piece of legislation known as trade promotion authority, giving the president “fast track” authority to negotiate trade deals. The Senate passed it by a 62-37 vote last month. The administration has been lobbying hard to win support, especially from Democrats worried about the potential impact on workers and wages.
“With America’s interests and values on the line, we hope Congress passes trade promotion authority without delay,” the diplomats wrote.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Christian Bakers Respond to Government Agency’s Ties to LGBT Group

The Oregon couple who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding says the case against them should be “pulled out” of the state’s administrative court system due to concerns that the government agency responsible for overseeing the trial is biased.
The Daily Signal obtained communications between Basic Rights Oregon, a prominent gay rights group, and the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which is the state agency pursuing the case against Aaron and Melissa Klein.
Based on that information, the couple’s lawyers suggested potential bias against the Kleins and requested the judge re-open the case for further investigation.
Now the Kleins, who are facing a $135,000 fine, believe their case should be withdrawn from the Bureau of Labor and Industries administrative court system completely.
“I think the case should be pulled out of [the Bureau of Labor and Industries] court and put into a civil court because I cannot get due process here,” Aaron Klein, co-owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Ore., told The Daily Signal in an exclusive phone interview.
“We were shut down at every turn, so to say that Basic Rights Oregon should have access to [Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian], that is absolutely ludicrous,” he said.
The Kleins were forced to close their bakery after facing boycotts and public backlash.

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