Louisiana's House Committee on House and Governmental Affairs failed to pass a bill which would "prohibit discrimination in state employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression."
Authored by State Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, who in 2011 introduced a bill to protect gay students from bullying, House Bill 85 would allow gay state employees who were discriminated against to appeal to the state Civil Service Commission. Current law allows discrimination appeals based on discrimination of political beliefs, sex or race and, provides for hearings and decisions in those cases. Current law does not include provisions for gay employees.
The Louisiana Family Forum argued the bill would create "a target-rich environment for lawsuits" and afford "special" rights to gay employees.
The committee voted 6-3 against the bill.
Making its debut tonight, along with seven brand new bands, is Not Enough Fest, a production of No More Fiction. Since 2009, the group has supported and produced LGBTQ and feminist punk rock and DIY bands with shows typically benefiting local nonprofits.
With Not Enough Fest, inspired by the Portland, Ore. music and art festival, bands must meet a few requirements: they must be brand new and be composed of at least half women-identified and/or queer-identified people. Event organizers encouraged novice musicians to meet, learn, and play together as a group. The end result is the debut of seven bands — Spring Break-Up, Pregnant, Mans, Goat, Arabella Arabella, Osedax, and If So, Uh-Oh.
Over the last several months, No More Fiction hosted mixers where musicians or soon-to-be musicians could meet like-minded players, share ideas and music interests and start putting together groups. Organizers also hosted workshops, where budding musicians could learn guitar, bass, drums and vocal skills. The event is meant to "encourage the participation of women and queers in DIY music making in our town."
The event also features a screenprinting demonstration, and all proceeds from Not Enough benefit Ashley Volion, a Lafitte woman with cerebral palsy who was denied by the state to live and work in Chicago while pursuing a PhD at the University of Illinois for disability studies, the only program of its kind in the country.
The all-ages event begins at 7 p.m. at 3 Ring Circus' The Big Top Gallery (1638 Clio St.). Admission is $5-$25.
Last month, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu addressed her position on same sex marriage as the U.S Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. U.S. Senate Democrats had only a handful of marriage equality opponents — Landrieu among them. Today, Indiana's Joe Donnelly and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp came forward in support.
Donnelly wrote the following on Facebook: "With the recent Supreme Court arguments and accompanying public discussion of same-sex marriage, I have been thinking about my past positions and votes. In doing so, I have concluded that the right thing to do is to support marriage equality for all."
"After speaking with North Dakotans from every corner of our great state, and much personal reflection, I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships," Heitkamp wrote. "The makeup of families is changing, but the importance of family is enduring."
Landrieu has not outright opposed the concept — she even has acknowledged the "progression" of public opinion and its influence. Last month, Landrieu told Buzzfeed that she feels "very strongly that people should be allowed to love who they love," but added, "unfortunately my state has a very strong ban against gay marriage constitutionally."
Playwright and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's work 8 will be given a staged reading at the Civic Theatre Sunday, April 21 at 7 p.m. The reading is presented by Southern Rep and the Forum For Equality.
8 is about the debate over gay marriage surrounding California's Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment that declared the state would only recognize marriages between a man and a woman. It was passed, and appeals of its constitutionality reached the Supreme Court in recent weeks, along with another case about the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Black won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2009 for Milk, the film about murdered gay San Francisco councilman Harvey Milk. He authored the screen play for J. Edgar, starring Leo DiCaprio as FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. He also was a writer for HBO's Big Love.
Black will attend the reading and a reception for VIP ticket holders. Tickets are $15-$100.
Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo announced a long list of supporters co-signing a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting marriage equality and challenging California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.
In a statement, former New Orleans Saint Scott Fujita said, "Football is a macho sport, but we've found many players to be accepting. We hope to create an environment where a player who is gay will be treated like any other teammate."
Among the co-signing supporters for the "Athletes' Brief" are Saints linebacker Scott Shanle, as well as former Saints players Steve Gleason, David Kopay and Kawika Mitchell. Other supporters include Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, WNBA coaches and players, university athletic directors and others. Kluwe, Ayanbadejo and Fujita are Ambassadors for Athlete Ally, an organization aiming to end homophobia in sports — you can read the organization's brief in full here.
The brief's introduction includes the following:
The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA, at the league level, team level, and individual level, are finally speaking out against homophobia and intolerance of LBGTQ individuals. More and more of us realize that using demeaning slur words like “faggot,” “queer,” and “gay” can have serious, negative consequences. ... Not necessarily consequences for us. Instead, consequences for the children and adults who look up to us as role models and leaders. Consequences for children and adults who mimic our behavior when they interact with others. And consequences that can be severe, long-lasting, and not infrequently lead to suicide and other serious harm.
Read the brief's full introduction below the jump.
Folk singer Michelle Shocked, whose anti-gay comments at a San Francisco concert last Sunday night made worldwide headlines after fans walked out and the venue pulled the plug on her mic, will appear on an Internet radio show tomorrow morning to discuss the incident.
Shocked, a former New Orleans resident who performed at the 2011 Jazz & Heritage Festival and local venues around town (most recently a gig at Chickie Wah Wah in November), had much of her upcoming tour canceled after her remarks, which reportedly included her belief that the overturn of California's Proposition 8 (which put a ban on same-sex marriage in the state Constitution) would result in the return of Jesus Christ. (Time reported the story with the headline "Singer Who Everyone Thought Was a Lesbian Spews Anti-Gay Hate at Concert.")
Shocked, now a self-described fundamentalist Christian, has taken to Twitter to explain, somewhat, that her remarks were taken out of context and misquoted. "Am neither against a woman's right to choose nor gay marriage. Am a fundamentalist tho," she explained. "Most don't even know what my 'views on Gays' are. What is reported to be my views on Gays isn't," she added, as well as "Just my usual troublemaking, at the expense of dear friends who trust me, even when I appear to be gay-bashing."
She is scheduled to appear on The Nicole Sander Show on RadioOrNot.com Thursday morning at 10 a.m., where she'll certainly be asked about exchanges like this:
The crowd had come, presumably, to hear songs like “Come a Long Way” and “On the Greener Side,” which got airplay on MTV back in the day. (“Greener Side” was even up for a VMA against Madonna’s “Vogue.”)
Instead they were treated to a tirade that allegedly included Shocked announcing “God hates fags.”
Matt Penfield, who was live-tweeting the show from onstage called her rant, delivered during her second set, “totally sincere [and] super anti-gay and hateful.”
We’re still trying to get the full text of her speech, but apparently she told fans “you can go on twitter and say Michelle Shocked said ‘God hates fags.’”
Another Twitter user posted that Shocked “said she lives in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”
Members of the Baton Rouge LGBT community are raising questions about the “2012 Municipal Equality Index,” a new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The HRC, the country’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, gathered data on more than 100 U.S. metro areas on their laws and policies regarding gays and lesbians, and presented each city with a score from 0 to 100. Only two cities in Louisiana were evaluated, and Baton Rouge scored 2 out of 100 — one of the worst scores in the nation. (In contrast, New Orleans received a 79, while Jackson, Miss. got an 8 — six points higher than Baton Rouge.)
Meanwhile, Fox News personality and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee launched a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” set for Aug. 1, which was supported by self-styled family-values types including Fox News personality and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, former Pennsylvania Gov. Rick Santorum — and the newly formed East Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce.
A civic business council taking a stance on a divisive social issue? It makes sense when you find out that the chamber’s chairman is Woody Jenkins, publisher/editor of several small newspapers in central Louisiana and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for nearly three decades, where his voting record was lauded by both the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family.
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