Tag: LGBT discrimination

Mike Pence, who signed religious discrimination into law in Indiana, will likely be Trump’s running mate

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Indiana Governor Mike Pence is likely to be picked by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to be Trump’s vice-presidential running mate. This has not been confirmed by Trump himself; Trump intends to officially announce his VP pick sometime tomorrow.

For those of you who have heard of Pence, and for those of you who have not heard of Pence, he’s not worth any pence, and he’s a right-wing bigot with a track record of enshrining bigotry into Indiana state law.

Pence is most infamous for signing into law Indiana’s religious discrimination bill, which allows ordinary Hoosiers to discriminate against people who aren’t like them by, for example, allowing businesses and businesspeople to refuse to serve people because of the religious beliefs of the business owners. That is a law primarily designed to discriminate against Indiana’s LGBT community, and Pence made himself and Indiana a national embarrassment by signing the religious discrimination bill into law.

When it comes to working-class Americans, Pence is solidly against working-class Americans every step against the way. Pence repealed Indiana’s common construction wage law, which was Indiana’s version of a prevailing wage law for state-funded construction projects, and Pence also supports President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international trade agreement between the U.S. and countries like Vietnam, a country that killed tens of thousands of American troops in a war the U.S. should have never been involved in, and a country where workers are paid far less than the U.S. federal minimum wage. It’s no wonder why the White House is actually praising Pence, despite the fact that Pence is likely to be the running mate of perhaps the single most bigoted presidential candidate to win a major-party presidential nomination.

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Minnesota State House candidate Erin Maye Quaye attacked by GOP opponent for being mixed-race and lesbian

The Party of Trump has proven yet again that it is full of bigots who have zero respect for the American people. This time, it’s Minnesota State House candidate Ali Jimenez-Hopper attacking her Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) opponent, Erin Maye Quade, for being who she is:

Referring to Erin Maye Quade, a staffer for Keith Ellison who has a black dad and is married to a woman, Jimenez-Hopper said “she is really far left [in] her values.”

“She brings up that she is half black and she uses that as a strength. She brings up that she is in support of LGBT and that lifestyle and puts out pictures on Twitter of her and her wife,” Jimenez-Hopper continued. “I believe in the traditional marriage in the sense that it’s between a husband and wife and God and that family is important. We need to have these values so we can go forth and think about your community.”

Following that speech, Jimenez-Hopper was officially endorsed as the GOP candidate for the House seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Tara Mack. Neither Jimenez-Hopper or Maye Quade face primary challengers, meaning they’re set to face off in the general election this November.

Maye Quade of the DFL and Jimenez-Hopper of the GOP are running in the general election in Minnesota State House District 57A. Neither candidate faces any opposition in their respective primaries.

Jimenez-Hopper is using racist and homophobic language to attack Maye Quade for being of mixed race, as well as attacking her for being happily married to a woman that she loves. That kind of conduct from Jimenez-Hopper is disgusting, bigoted, and repulsive. Jimenez-Hopper attacked Maye Quade’s family, which is something that is completely out of bounds in American politics.

If you’re interested in why Erin Maye Quade is running for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, here’s what she is running on:

She said she intends for her campaign to be focused on issues like ameliorating childhood hunger, investing in transportation, enacting statewide paid family leave, and providing people with better mental health resources.

Like many Americans, Erin Maye Quade is someone who is genuinely interested in making her community, state, and country a better place to live. That is what a true patriotic American believes in, regardless of personal background. Maye Quade’s campaign website is here, and her Twitter page is here.

JoAnne Kloppenburg runs brilliant, factual attack ad against Rebecca Bradley

In Wisconsin, the major-party presidential primaries are overshadowed by an officially non-partisan general election for one of seven seats on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in which there are two candidates vying for a seat on Wisconsin’s highest bench. One of the candidates in the state supreme court race is Rebecca Bradley, a far-right incumbent state supreme court justice appointed to the court by Republican Governor Scott Walker. Bradley’s opponent is JoAnne Kloppenburg, a dedicated public servant and jurist who is currently a state appellate court justice and previously served as a Wisconsin assistant attorney general under both Democratic and Republican state attorneys general.

Many, many years before Bradley became a state supreme court justice, Bradley wrote a series of hateful columns for the student newspaper and student magazine of Marquette University. Bradley also has a very long history of saying incredibly offensive things, even long after she graduated from college.

Kloppenburg is running a brilliant, factual attack ad against Bradley, using Bradley’s own words against her:

Long story short, I believe that the people of Wisconsin cannot afford ten more years of an ideologically-motivated politician like Rebecca Bradley issuing decisions from Wisconsin’s highest bench. That’s why I encourage Wisconsinites to vote for the only independent-minded jurist running for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court: JoAnne Kloppenburg. Kloppenburg believes that justices should interpret the laws, not use the judiciary to enact a political agenda by judicial fiat.

The general election for Wisconsin Supreme Court is April 5, and will be held alongside the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in Wisconsin. Go, Jo, Go!

VICTORY! Georgia Governor Nathan Deal VETOES religious discrimination!

I rarely agree with Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA), but I strongly agree with his decision to veto Georgia House Bill 757 (HB757), the bill that, if the Georgia General Assembly were to override Deal’s veto, would allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against people, including LGBT people, on religious grounds.

While supporters of legislation like Georgia’s HB757 claim that the legislation that they support “religious liberty” legislation, the legislation that they actually support is religious discrimination legislation. That’s because the legislation would allow people and businesses to discriminate against people because of who they are. That is not the character of the people of Georgia, and it’s not the character of the people of this great country.

Hillary admires war hawks like Henry Kissinger and anti-LGBT bigots like Paul Wellstone

At the most recent Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee, Hillary Clinton praised one of the most dangerous people in American history, Henry Kissinger, who was Richard Nixon’s right-hand man on foreign policy (Operation Menu was a U.S. carpet-bombing operation in Cambodia that Kissinger played a key role in). Nowadays, a carpet-bombing operation of any kind would be considered a war crime under international law. For someone like Hillary to praise someone like Kissinger is, in and of itself, proof that Hillary does not stand for the progressive values that the Democratic Party should stand for.

In recent days and weeks, Hillary has also praised the late Paul Wellstone, who represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate for nearly two terms before his tragic death in a 2002 plane crash, was nearly a polar opposite of someone like Kissinger. In fact, Wellstone is someone that I admire, as he was progressive on nearly every political issue. However, he committed an unforgivable sin in 1996, when he voted for Bill Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act, a bill designed to discriminate against LGBT  couples by denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages. For Hillary to praise someone like Wellstone and use Wellstone to attack Bernie Sanders for standing up to progressive values amounts to effectively defending Wellstone’s bigotry towards the LGBT community.

Hillary Clinton is running the most right-wing campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination since George Wallace in 1972.

Ending workplace discrimination against LGBT people should be the next fight in the LGBT rights movement

Thanks to a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision issued earlier today, same-sex couples across the entire United States of America can now enjoy the same legal right to marry that heterosexual couples have long enjoyed. To put it mildly, this is a huge victory for love and equality in America.

However, in 32 states, some, if not all, LGBT workers, can legally be fired simply because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity:

  • In 21 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming), all workers can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • In 3 states (Arizona, Missouri, and Montana), state employees cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation, but state employees can be fired on the basis of gender identity, and private-sector workers can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • In 5 states (Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio), state employees cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but private-sector workers can be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • In 2 states (New Hampshire and Wisconsin), all workers cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation, but all workers can be fired on the basis of gender identity.
  • In 1 state (New York), state employees cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and private-sector workers cannot be fired on the basis of sexual orientation, but private-sector workers can be fired on the basis of gender identity.

If the source I linked to above has inaccurate and/or outdated information, please leave a comment on this blog post with accurate information for a particular state.

While it is a huge victory for the LGBT movement to secure marriage equality in all 50 states, the fight for full equality for gays, lesbians, bisexual people, and transgender people is far from over. The next big fight in the LGBT rights movement should be to push for laws prohibiting public and private employers from firing people based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

With a stroke of a pen, Mike Pence legally eliminates Hoosier Hospitality

Hoosier Hospitality has been legally eliminated in Indiana. I’m not kidding.

Mike Pence, the far-right Republican Indiana Governor, signed into law a religious discrimination bill that, among other things, will allow business owners to refuse service to gays, lesbians, and other groups of people because of the owners’ religious beliefs.

The effects of the religious discrimination bill on Indiana’s economy are already negative and far-reaching. Gen Con, the largest tabletop game convention in North America, stated its intention to move the convention from Indianapolis to an as-of-yet-unspecified location in another state or country prior to Pence signing the religious discrimination bill into law. Additionally, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is looking to move its scheduled 2017 General Assembly from Indianapolis to a location outside of Indiana. The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, has signaled that they’ll hold the 2015 Final Four in Indianapolis (presumably because moving the Final Four to another venue on nine days notice would be a logistical nightmare, if not virtually impossible, for the NCAA), although the NCAA has publicly condemned the religious discrimination legislation, and it’s possible that the NCAA may refuse to hold future NCAA championships in Indiana and move the NCAA headquarters to somewhere outside of Indiana.

Also, a special note to Democrats and progressives regarding religious discrimination legislation: Don’t use the Republican/conservative framing by referring to the legislation as “religious freedom” legislation, as all you’re doing by using their framing is reinforcing the right’s narrative. Refer to it as religious discrimination legislation, as that’s what it is: it allows business owners and other types of employers to discriminate against others based on religious beliefs of the business owners and employers.

Vladimir Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev signs discriminatory measure banning transgender people from driving in Russia

In cased you missed it, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, signed into law a legal amendment banning, among other groups of people, transgender Russians from driving in the country:

Transgender people have been banned from driving in Russia, according to a new legal amendment published this week.

The regulations, which affect people deemed to have “sexual disorders”, also affect fetishists, voyeurs, exhibitionists and transvestites, and were immediately condemned by human rights activists as discriminatory.

The amendment to the law listing medical impediments to driving was signed by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at the end of last year, but only published this week.

(editing to correct a grammar error mine)

This act by the far-right government in Russia discriminates against transgender Russians and many other Russians based on their gender identity and sex life. There is no scientific basis whatsoever to ban people from driving based on their gender identity and sex life, yet the far-right Russia government is doubling down on their bigotry by trying to blame transgender people for the country’s high rate of automobile crashes:

The Russian government says the new rules are to help cut down on the number of car accidents. Although most of the provisions refer to physical impairments, such as blindness, “gender identity disorders” including transsexualism and dual-role transvestism are referenced in the revised provisions. Sadomasochism and exhibitionism are included as well, according to BuzzFeed’s J. Lester Feder and Susie Armitage.

(editing to correct a grammar error mine)

While I can understand banning blind people from driving, as that is a legitimate reason to ban someone from driving, banning transgender people and others based on their gender identity and sex life is absolutely absurd and blatantly discriminatory. Instead of enacting new regulations to make automobiles safer, making roads and highways safer, expanding public transit, and other measures to actually make Russian roadways safer, the far-right Russian government blames transgender people for the country’s high rate of automobile crashes. That logic is absurd and bigoted.

I thank Meg Gorski, a progressive political blogger here in the United States, for bringing this discriminatory measure by the Russian government to my attention.

U.S. Supreme Court lists marriage equality cases for consideration at its next conference

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), which has five Republican-appointed judges and four Democratic-appointed judges, has formally listed seven marriage equality cases with cert petitions pending from five different states (three from Virginia and one each from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin) for consideration at its upcoming conference on September 29, the first such conference after SCOTUS’s summer recess began:

The U.S. Supreme Court has formally listed all marriage cases with cert petitions pending — Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana — for consideration on September 29, at its very first conference after coming back from summer recess.

Kathleen Perrin, the legal eagle behind Equality Case Files, adds: “While this is an encouraging move, if the Court follows the pattern it followed last term, no case will be granted cert without being relisted at least once… For comparison, the (California) Prop 8 case was distributed to four conferences and (United States v.) Windsor to three before the Court granted cert in those cases.”

Indeed, the AP reports that the justices could put off deciding to take up a case until as late as January and still be able to hear arguments and issue a decision by the end of June.

The marriage equality cases that have been formally listed by SCOTUS are as follows: Herbert v. Kitchen (Utah), Smith v. Bishop (Oklahoma), Rainey v. Bostic (Virginia), Schaefer v. Bostic (Virginia), McQuigg v. Bostic (Virginia), Bogan v. Baskin (Indiana), and Walker v. Wolf (Wisconsin). SCOTUS could decide to take up the marriage equality cases at its next convention or at a later date.

I hope that the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling in favor of marriage equality for the entire country because same-sex couples deserve the same right to marry that heterosexual couples currently enjoy. Given that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for violating the U.S. Constitution last year with Republican-appointed justice Anthony Kennedy joining Democratic-appointed justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer, those same five justices forming a majority opinion in favor of marriage equality is certainly a possible outcome.