Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

LGBT Rights

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11Gay Cat Disowned By Nigerian Woman

A woman in Nigeria has disowned her cat because of its homosexuality. The cat displayed "unnatural sexual behavior," reports the Huffington Post, leading the middle-aged woman to shun it after seven years.

The cat, named Bull, has made history as being the first cat to be publicly declared gay and disowned by its owner, reports Leadership.

Bull was in the habit of making sexual advances only to other male cats in the household and his owner felt his behavior was "a contradiction of the laws of nature."

Leadership reports that the cat's owner expressed a strong belief in the "divine purpose of creating male and female of every creature to fulfill an ordained purpose of procreation."

The cat's owner had only one comment to make: "Anybody interested in this gay cat can have it because I have no further use of it.”

Bull's headline making comes just days after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill banning same-sex marriage, gay amorous relationships, and participation in LGBT rights groups.

Bull is still seeking a home as no one has publicly accepted ownership of him.

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11Anti-Gay Hate Mail: 'You And Your B*tch Wife Need To Go To Where You 2 Bulldykes Got Hitched'

In August, we told you about Linda Cooper, the woman who was exiled from her Tennessee church of 60 years for supporting her lesbian daughter’s LGBT rights campaign.

Cooper’s daughter, Kat, is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. In August, Kat and other LGBT supporters won over Collegedale legislators, and the town became the first in Tennessee to introduce same-sex benefits.

Despite all the support Kat and her family received on the internet, there was a heavy pushback to their victory from within the Collegedale community. Not only was Kat's mother Linda kicked out of her church, but many Collegedale residents openly voiced their disapproval of the city council's decision.

In the following months, Cooper says she has received more than her fair share of hate mail from angry anti-LGBT voices around the country. Cooper says the receptionists at her station have learned by now that any piece of mail addressed to Cooper without a return address is likely another hate letter. She posted her most recent letter to Facebook yesterday.

Here it is:

Cooper later posted a follow up message on her Facebook page.

"I think the individual who wrote the letter is pitiful, and it is very sad for countless reasons," she said. "It's not even necessary for me to state more. Nonetheless, it is a clear depiction of how hate and ignorance fuels violence and discrimination. Something we all need to be highly aware of at this time."

Sources: Huffington Post, Facebook

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11Lesbian Mother Wins Parental Rights in Florida

In any reasonable situation, one parent cannot simply take a child to a foreign country and deny visitation rights to the other parent. Gay and lesbian parents don’t always get the same rights as their same-sex counterparts, however, as was demonstrated in Florida when a trial court denied rights to a woman in exactly that situation.

But the Florida Supreme Court overturned this ruling on Thursday, granting parental rights to the mother left behind.

The case involves two women, known only as DMT and TMH, who used assisted reproductive technology to have a baby. TMH had her egg fertilized and placed into DMH’s uterus.

When the couple broke up after an 11-year relationship, DMT headed to Australia with the child. When TMH petitioned the court for parental rights, she was denied because Florida laws do not recognize a same-sex partnership as a "commissioning couple."

The Florida Supreme Court disagreed, saying that the current statute is not constitutionally sound.

Justice Barbara Pariente wrote, "In reaching our conclusion, we rely on long-standing constitutional law that an unwed biological father has an inchoate interest that develops into a fundamental right to be a parent protected by the Florida and United States Constitutions when he demonstrates a commitment to raising the child by assuming parental responsibilities." 

Still, TMH only won the case with a majority of 4 to 3. Chief Justice Ricky Polston wrote for the dissenters, saying,  "Does this mean that a child could have a constitutional right to two mothers and a father (or two fathers), perhaps when a married, heterosexual couple agrees to and subsequently raises a child with the egg donor, an egg donor who is in a committed relationship with a man other than the genetic father?"

Although TMH’s victory is momentous for the gay-rights movement, her battle is not over yet. She must now deal with the local court system to establish visitation rights.

Sources: Orlando Weekly, Courthouse News

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11Employment Non-Discrimination Act Passes Senate in Bipartisan Vote

Thursday the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA, in a bipartisan vote for the law which is, according to POLITICO, “landmark civil rights legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in the workplace.” Joining with the Democrats were 10 Republicans, bringing the final “yes” vote to 64, more than enough to defeat a filibuster by those in the GOP opposed to the law.

Days prior, according to The Washington Post, Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke out against the legislation, which means that it is highly unlikely that he would ever bring the bill to the floor for a vote. Ironically, a less-extensive version of ENDA passed the House in 2007, but then went on to fail in the Senate. However, given the upcoming midterm elections and the fear of conservative backlash crippling the GOP caucus, there would have to be considerable pressure on the Speaker for this bill to stand for a vote, let alone be sent to the President’s desk.

The bill was first introduced in 1994 by the late Ted Kennedy with the intention to curb discrimination based on sexual orientation. This most recent version is the most expansive yet, also including protection for issues relating to gender identity along with sexual orientation.

Critics of the bill—outside of those that are morally opposed to the very groups this act protects—suggest that this will result in troubling lawsuits from employees fired for just causes who also happen to be LGBT. Still the addition of the 10 Republicans also meant that amendments were added to the bill that, in the words of Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, “moves forward in a way that works for employers as well as employees.” While the future of this particular bill is somewhat dismal, it does show promise that the “war against compromise” in the halls of Congress might be waning. 

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11Pope Francis Sends Private Letter to Italian LGBT Group and Offers His Blessing

According to reports, Pope Francis has personally responded to a letter from a group of lesbian and gay Catholics in Italy called Kairos of Florence.

It was originally reported that back in June, the Pope received the letter from the group, which the authors say was written in the hopes of starting a conversation regarding homosexuality in the church. The letter even stated that not willing to have open communication “always feeds homophobia.”

The group has written countless letters to church officials in the past, but say it has fallen on deaf ears. The members of Kairos of Florence were reportedly in shock, however, when they wound up getting a personal response from Pope Francis himself, who many note is quite possibly the most progressive Pope in the Catholic Church’s history.

The group will not disclose what the letter read, as they have chosen to keep it private, but did say that the Pope gave them his blessing and that they all “really enjoyed” the letter.

Pope Francis has made much advancement in his short time as Pontiff, especially when it comes to the church’s views on homosexuality. In August, Pope Francis referred to gay priests when he said, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?” Just last month, Pope Francis shocked many when he bluntly stated that the Catholic Church as a whole is “obsessed” with issues like gay rights and abortion, saying that the church shouldn’t “interfere spiritually” with LGBT members, and that they need to focus on issues that don’t involve judging other people’s lives.

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11Lesbian Student Kaitlyn Hunt Speaks Out From Jail Following The Start of Her Sentence (Video)

Kaitlyn Hunt, the Florida teen who was sentenced to jail for having a sexual relationship with her underage girlfriend, is now speaking out from prison.

Earlier this year, the underage girlfriend’s parents had Hunt arrested when they discovered that their daughter was in a relationship. At the time, the girl was 14 years old, and Hunt was 18.

From the start, Hunt’s family maintained that she was being targeted because the girlfriend’s parents did not accept their daughter as a lesbian, but since the case has received national attention and garnered support form gay rights activists all over, both prosecutors and the girl’s family say that it is simply due to the fact that Hunt had sex with a minor.

Last week, Opposing Views reported that Hunt had accepted a new plea deal that sentenced her to four months in jail along with two years of house arrest and probation. Now, sitting in a Florida jail cell, Hunt gave her first public interview regarding the case since her sentence to News Channel 5.

“I never was educated on dating laws and ages and stuff so I still was confused about everything,” said the now 19-year-old in the interview. “I didn't know why I was in trouble.”

Hunt previously accepted a plea deal in August, but after it was discovered that she violated a court order not to contact the girl and sent thousands of text messages to her, the judge revoked her bond. Prosecutors added a charge of transmitting harmful material to a minor, and she was sent to jail. She has now accepted the new plea deal, started her four month prison sentence, and says she will return home right before Christmas.

She plans to start school for nursing in January, and says that she is relieved that the trial is now over.

You can watch the interview below.

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11Presbyterian Church in Minnesota Installs Noted Lesbian Pastor, Activist Laurene Lafontaine

A well-known lesbian pastor and activist has a new place of employment at a Presbyterian church in Minnesota.

Community Presbyterian Church in Rochester approved the hire in July, and as of Sunday, Laurene Lafontaine officially became leader of the congregation.

“Laurene has many important qualities to help us grow as a congregation,” said the church in a statement. “She took over a small struggling church made up of older members who literally had the mindset that they were going out of business and after a year, the congregation began to grow and operate with a surplus.”

According to the church website, Laurene was ordained in 1987 after receiving a Masters of Divinity from the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. She went on to become a noted LGBT rights activist, as well as starting the AIDS/HIV Interfaith Network of Colorado.

“Serving now as the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Rochester, Minnesota is the fulfillment of a lifelong sense of call to ministry in the local church,” says Lafontaine in her statement on the church’s website. “I absolutely love preaching, teaching and getting to know people. I am excited to be here in Rochester, Minnesota!”

A ceremony for her installment took place on Sunday, and several speakers included both LGBT activists and religious leaders.

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11Obama Says No Special Financial Aid Laws Planned For LGBT Students Cut Off By Parents

After being asked at a town hall meeting in Binghamton, New York if his plan to make college more affordable to students would include help for LGBT students cut off by their parents after coming out, President Obama said that he did not anticipate any special laws would be formulated to address the issue.

“I don’t suspect that we’ll have any special laws pertaining to young people who are cut off from support by their parents because their parents hadn’t gotten to the place I think they should be when it comes to loving and supporting their kids regardless of who they are,” Obama said in response to the question.

“But we are going to make sure that all young people get the support they need so that if their parents aren’t willing to provide them support, and they’re functionally independent, that they’re able to still go to college and succeed,” he continued.

Obama further stated that “the programs we have in place don’t discriminate and shouldn’t discriminate” against LGBT students. He did, however, praise the societal evolution seen in recent years in regards to LGBT rights, and cited the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell” as evidence of progress.

The meeting was a stop on the president’s higher education tour espousing his plan to increase college affordability.

Sources: Huffington Post, The Hill

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11Alabama Congressional GOP Candidate Dean Young Requests Anti-Gay and Religious Pledges For Other Contenders

Dean Young, a GOP candidate for the Congressional office in Alabama vacated by Representative Jo Bonner’s (R) retirement, released an anti-gay and religious pledge this week that he has asked his eight primary opponents to sign. The pledge requires candidates to affirm that they subscribe to religious beliefs that oppose marriage equality.

Young’s pledge, entitled “Pledge to Oppose Gay Marriage,” argues that it is “time for men and women of faith to stand for the founding Christian values and morals that made our nation great, to defend our families and the sacred holiness of marriage.” The pledge has six points to which signers must affirm (as follows):

1.     I believe that the only marriage is between one man and one woman.

2.     I believe the Biblical condemnation of homosexuality and thereby gay marriage.

3.     The tenants [sic] of my church oppose gay marriage.

4.     I oppose gay marriage.

5.     As a member of Congress, I shall take active steps to oppose gay marriage.

6.     I support the by-law change to expel any member of the Republican Executive Committee who opposes the party position by supporting gay marriage.

This is not the first time Young has been outspoken in his rejection of marriage equality. In a previous interview with Alambama’s WPMI, Young blasted “weak and spineless” GOP members that did not openly oppose LGBT rights, and declared his own opposition to gay marriage.

“If you want to have homosexuals pretending like they’re married, then go to the Democrat party,” Young said.

Alabama’s state constitution states that “no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his [sic] religious principles.” Though Young’s pledge is voluntary, his suggestion that “good” representatives of Alabama should adhere to certain religious principles appears to violate the explicitly stated separation of church and state in the Alabama constitution.

Sources: Huffington Post, Think Progress

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11Florida Condo Association Refuses to Sell to Same-Sex or Unmarried Couples

A Florida condo association has banned prospective residents from purchasing a place together if they are not husband and wife — a requirement that some are calling archaic and homophobic.

According to the Miami New Times, Julia Nowak, an openly gay realtor who rents a unit to her elderly parents, discovered the new restriction after it was adopted in July.

"I could not believe what I was reading,” Nowak said. “It basically says you have to be either a single person or a husband and wife to purchase a unit here.”

The rule also forbids elderly couples, whose social security benefits would change if they married, from renting a unit.

While it seems like such discrimination should be illegal, the unincorporated Sarasota County has no anti-discrimination law pertaining to same-sex couples, whether they are married in another state or not.

According to Florida attorney Mary Greenwood, there is nothing illegal at the federal, state or local level in the condo association’s ordinance. Unless the county or state passes a human-rights law that forbids discrimination, it will remain legal.

Greenwood, however, agreed that the requirement was discriminatory.

The Casa de Amici condo association refused to comment on the requirement.

Sources: Miami New Times, The Blaze

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