A lesbian couple is suing Addison, Vt., for discrimination and intimidation they say has been going on since 2004.
Barbara Ernst and Barbara Supeno, commonly referred to by friends as “The Barbaras,” have been together for 21 years.
Their attorney, David Bond, says they moved into their lakefront property in 2004 and since then have been the target of harassment from other Addison residents who want to drive them out of town.
“It's entirely based on their sexual orientation,” Bond told WPTZ. “Neighbors insulted them, made obscene gestures to them. There were dead animals left on their property.”
Despite filing numerous complaints, the town refuses to respond to their grievances. Furthermore their property has come up twice during zoning meetings, and the couple was never informed.
The couple put up a fence in 2008 because they were fearful of the ongoing threats. Residents complained about their fence and a handicap ramp Supeno installed for her mother. Bond says Supeno tried to file the required forms for the ramp to avoid a $100 fine, but the town clerk refused to take the paperwork.
In April 2011, an anonymous letter was circulated throughout town titled “The truth about The Barbaras,” which alleged Ernst and Supeno were scam artists.
“It has been over 6 years that the Subject two women have been passing themselves off as involved citizens and very concerns about the town direction and in particular with Zoning, the school and the environment,” the letter said. “Beware: This is a totally phony perception that they have fabricated is a front to cover their devious and vicious behavior.”
A Middlebury, Vt., lawyer says he received a nasty letter allegedly from the couple refusing to pay him for services.
“We just thought we would give you a heads up as to our past games with previous attorneys in the state of VT and also lawyers in Middlebury,” the letter reads in part. “We love to play head games with them and give them a run for their money.”
The couple says they never sent such a letter.
Then someone spray-painted a homophobic slur on the pavement outside of twon offices.
The couple is suing Addison for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, tortious interference with prospective business relations, sexual orientation discrimination, common law retaliation and violations of common benefits clause.
A transgender personal trainer is suing CrossFit for banning her from competing in the CrossFit Games.
Chloie Johnson says the state of California recognizes her as a woman and the fitness company should, too.
"The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women,” CrossFit’s attorney wrote in a letter to Johnson in September.
Johnson underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2006 and her female hormone therapy is ongoing.
“[Jonnson] doesn’t have an advantage over other women. She’s been on estrogen for such a long time,” her attorney, Waukeen McCoy, told CNN.
Anti-androgen therapy neutralizes the effects of testosterone and reduces masculine features.
"She's female," McCoy said of Johnson. "She's legally female. A corporation like CrossFit, they're doing business in California. The law precludes from discrimination on gender identity."
The Olympic Committee allows transgender athletes to compete in their indentified gender after sexual reassignment surgery.
Johnson is seeking $2.5 million in damages and a reversal of the company’s policy.
The state’s expert witness in Michigan’s gay marriage trial testified Thursday that he believes unrepentant homosexuals will go to hell.
“Is it accurate that you believe the consequence of engaging in homosexual acts is a separation from God and eternal damnation?” asked attorney Ken Mogill, adding, “in other words, they’re going to hell?”
“Without repentance, yes,” answered the state’s expert witness, Canadian economist Douglas Allen.
Allen is the last witness to testify on the state’s behalf in the nine-day trial.
He says he researched 60 same-sex parenting studied over the span of 15 years and recommends the state maintain a ban on same-sex marriage.
Michigan voted to define marriage as being between one man and one woman in 2004. Now a lesbian couple is challenging that ban.
Allen claimed science is a long way off from knowing just how gay parents will affect a child. He said his research showed children raised in same-sex households are less likely to graduate high school than children with opposite-sex parents.
“The state should be very cautious in making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental issue where there’s no evidence on the child outcome issue,” Allen said in Wednesday. “We’re a long way from understanding what the child outcome results are in a conclusive way.”
Allen stands by his research, although he noted that it was criticized by other experts.
“The trial ended on Dr. Allen’s comment that the science on this remains unsettled,” said defense attorney spokeswoman Joy Yearout. “He was very clear that his personal beliefs have no impact on his research or the data it produces.”
Support for same-sex marriage in America is at an all-time high, according to a new poll.
A record 59 percent of Americans say they support same-sex marriage, and 50 percent believe the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection gives same-sex couples the right to marry, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll.
About a third of Americans, 34 percent, oppose gay marriage.
The numbers are the reverse of those taken 10 years ago. In March 2004, 59 percent opposed gay marriage while 38 percent supported it, Politico reported.
There is also greater support for allowing gays to adopt children – 61 percent said they support gay adoption, up from 49 percent in 2006.
The new poll was taken after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.
In the 33 states that prohibit gay marriage, 53 percent of those polled said they supported gay marriage, while 40 percent opposed.
Respondents showed the greatest unity when it came to laws allowing businesses to refuse service to homosexuals due their religious beliefs. Seven in 10 people said businesses shouldn’t be allowed to deny service.
For the first time in 20 years, a gay rights group will be allowed to join Boston's St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Mayor Martin Walsh threatened to boycott the event if organizers didn’t allow MassEquality to participate in the March 15 parade. The group applied to march each year for the last four years.
"We don't ban gays, we just want to keep the parade an Irish parade," lead organizer Tim Duross told NBC News Saturday.
"Everyone knows who they are," he added. "They're a good organization, they help LGBT veterans, and if they help veterans they're OK with us.”
"That there is a conversation happening around allowing openly LGBT people to march in this parade is historic," said MassEquality executive director Kara Coredini.
Coredini is scheduled to meet with Duross on how the marchers will identify themselves in the parade. Coredini says the only meaningful change will be to allow gays to appear "openly."
"It's not political to want to be equal. It's not political to want to be visible and welcomed by your community," she said.
When asked whether Duross would agree to the rainbow flag being carried, he hesitated before saying, “If they put a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and a leprechaun, then I think everyone would be happy.”
Gay rights advocates took the parade to the Supreme Court in 1995, but the high court ruled in favor of private organizers. They said they could exclude groups that disagreed with their message.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council plan to boycott the city’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade because it bans gay pride signs.
“I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade,” de Blasio said at a February press conference.
“The St. Patrick’s Parade should be a time when all New Yorkers can come together and march openly as who they are- but right now that is not the case for the LGBT community,” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “This City Council is committed to celebrating and respecting the diversity of New York City and that is why we’ve decided to not participate in the parade. I hope the organizers will eventually realize that the parade will be better when all New Yorkers can march openly and proudly.”
Catholic League President Doesn't See LGBT Discrimination: Where Are Examples Of Gays Being Persecuted? (Video)
CNN’s Chris Cuomo got into a heated debate with Catholic League President Bill Donohue Thursday over the veto of Arizona's Religious Freedom bill.
“Where are the examples of gays being discriminated against?” Donohue asked. “If they’re so discriminated against how come they make more money than straight people on average?”
“Is somebody being denied at Applebee’s getting a hamburger? Where are these examples of gay people being persecuted?” he added.
“Under the law in Arizona, there is no special protection of the LGBT community, so a business member, if he wanted to or she wanted to, could discriminate without violation,” Cuomo said. “That’s why the law was unnecessary. Do you get that?”
"Can you enumerate for me examples of gay people in Arizona who are having their rights violated by people of faith?” Donohue asked.
“Can you point out a business that was made a substantial burden religiously because of what they had to do vis-a-vis a gay person?” Cuomo replied.
Donohue was unable to come up with a single example. He argued that forcing Arizona citizens to do things that are against their faith is one step away from government forcing churches to perform gay marriage ceremonies. He said gay marriage leads us down a path in which brothers and sisters and other incestuous relationships will earn the right to marry.
“The bigger proposition is, why do you want do discriminate against gays?” Cuomo said at the segment’s conclusion. “You say, ‘We don’t, as individuals. Only the marriages bother us.’ But that’s the same thing. Because their right as an individual is to marry.”
“You do not own marriage," he told Donohue. "It was not developed by Christians. It is a civil situation. It’s secular. If they are equal, they have equal rights.”
Michele Bachmann: ‘We Need To Have Tolerance’ For Those Who Want To Discriminate Against Gays (Video)
Rep. Michele Bachmann urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer not to veto the “Religious Freedom Bill” Wednesday because people with strong religious convictions are being treated “differently than other Americans.”
Bachman, R-Minn., appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” Wednesday night in support of the bill, which would have allowed Arizona businesses to refuse service to homosexuals based on their religious beliefs.
“We need to respect both opinions,” she told host Wolf Blitzer. “Just like we need to observe tolerance for the gay and lesbian community, we need to have tolerance for the community of people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs.”
When asked if Brewer should veto the bill, she said, “No, I don’t think that she should.”
“And open the door for less tolerance for gays?” Blitzer asked.
“In fact, it’s just the opposite,” she contended. “This is a decided level of intolerance. It’s effectively eviscerating the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, expression, and religious expression for the people of Arizona. And it sets a terrible precedent.”
“But gay and lesbians won’t be able to get services like all other Americans. That’s discriminatory against them,” Blitzer argued.
“This isn’t one side or another. What we’re talking is tolerance on both sides and it is not tolerant to force people to violate their religious beliefs,” Bachmann said.
“It looks like she may veto it, but I think that will prove to serve us not very well in terms of tolerance in the United States,” she added.
“There’s a lot of tolerance,” Blitzer added. “Americans are very tolerant people and there is religious freedom.”
Brewer vetoed SB 1062 Wednesday night.
An anti-gay Harlem church posted a bizarre sign accusing President Barack Obama of waging a war against heterosexual black men.
“Obama has released the homo demons on the black man,” reads the sign outside ATLAH World Missionary Church. “Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man.”
The church's pastor, James David Manning, has a history of spreading anti-Obama and anti-gay messages. Previously the sign read, “The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA: Hussein.”
In his latest ministry video posted online Wednesday, Manning calls Obama “perverted” and “the son of Satan.”
“It’s an attempt to save the black family,” Manning said of the sign. “There is a major problem in the black family with the absence of black fathers, black husbands.”
"Black women are having a hard time finding black men to marry,” he said.
He claims Obama promotes the "catastrophic crisis of the absence of males in the home" in the African-American community because he wants to “destroy the black family.”
He cites the fact that the first openly gay professional athlete and openly gay NFL hopeful are both black.
"Looking at the conclusive proof," he said, "no white homosexuals have come out in the sports arena."
Rochelle Hill, who leaves a block away from ATLAH told the New York Daily News the neighborhood is tired of Manning’s messages.
“It’s just appalling,” said Hill, who claims she and others will rally to force Manning to take down the sign. “It’s a poor representation of our neighborhood. It’s just hate.”
“A church is supposed to be a place that’s all inclusive,” said Harlem resident Ronald Flagg. “What does Obama have to do with people being homosexual? He has enough to deal with in this country.”
A Ugandan tabloid published the names of 200 "top" homosexuals after President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay law Monday that makes certain consensual homosexual acts punishable with prison time.
Under the headline “Exposed,” the tabloid, Red Pepper, appears to be launching a witch-hunt in Uganda, where gay acts are already illegal.
The new law bans promotion of homosexuality and specifies the illegality of lesbianism, too. Anyone convicted of “attempt to commit homosexuality” or “aiding and abetting homosexuality” will now face a penalty of seven years in prison. Even a person who “keeps a house, room, set of rooms, or place of any kind for purposes of homosexuality” will face seven years in prison.
“President Museveni has dealt a dramatic blow to freedom of expression and association in Uganda by signing the Anti-Homosexuality bill,” said Maria Burnett, a senior Africa researcher with the Human Rights Watch. “Attacking basic rights and criminalizing the expression of divergent views doesn’t bode well for anyone. This is yet another troubling sign of disregard for fundamental human rights in Uganda.”
High profile gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema and Ugandan lesbian activist Jacqueline Kasha both appear on the Red Pepper list.
— Kasha Jacqueline (@KashaJacqueline) February 25, 2014
The Netherlands stopped a $9.6 million subsidy to Uganda's judicial system over the new law.
Sweden threatened to withdraw $10.8 million in direct aid after the bill was signed Monday. Norway and Denmark plan to collectively transfer $17 million in aid to non-governmental organizations.
Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Reuters that Museveni signed the law "to demonstrate Uganda's independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation."
Washington lobbyist Jack Burkman said Monday he plans to draft legislation that would ban gay players from joining the National Football League.
”We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman said in a statement. "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?”
Burkman says he has support from lawmakers, but did not disclose which ones.
“If the NFL has no morals and no values, then Congress must find values for it,” Burkman said.
Critics are calling the low-level lobbyist’s statement a publicity stunt.
Burkman’s firm did less than $2 million in business in this Congress, according to The Wire’s Philip Bump. He also has a mere 21 followers on Twitter and “a ‘radio show’ that appears to be nothing more than a podcast,” Bump wrote.
Burkman says the measure is a direct response to Missouri football star Michael Sam coming out this year.
Sam hasn’t expressed regret over coming out but says he would like to steer the conversation back to football.
"Well, heck yeah, I wish you guys [the media] would just say, 'Michael Sam, how's football going? How's training going?'" Sam said. "I would love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is. And I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player."