LGBT

Monday, June 13, 2016

Y@ Speak: hate won't win

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 5:30 PM


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New Orleans gathers to remember victims of the Orlando shootings

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Participants at last night's vigil for the Orlando shooting victims formed a human chain along the Mississippi River. - DELLA HASSELLE
  • DELLA HASSELLE
  • Participants at last night's vigil for the Orlando shooting victims formed a human chain along the Mississippi River.
A black flag with a rainbow fleur-de-lis fluttered above. Below, a circle of men, women and transgender members of the New Orleans LGBT community stood in silence, cradling flickering candles. Some who gathered at a local vigil Sunday night could be heard sobbing as friends and loved ones tried to offer comfort.

Less than 24 hours after 50 were killed at an Orlando gay dance club — a massacre that is now being called the worst mass shooting in United States history — members of the LGBT community near and far were left reeling.

The loss was deeply felt in New Orleans, as the city’s Pride Week loomed just a week ahead, and as locals were preparing for Labor Day weekend’s Decadence Festival, the city’s largest gay event that’s been tradition for more than 40 years.

As he gave a speech on the Moon Walk next to the Mississippi River, Frank Perez, vigil speaker and member of LGBT+, reiterated a story that resonated among those who had gathered for the impromptu vigil.

Perez, he said, had woken up to the news, which had broken in the wee hours of the morning. Omar Mateen, 29, a Florida man who had reportedly given his allegiance to the Islamic State, had opened gunfire in Pulse, a club known for its outreach as much as for its dancing. Armed with an assault-type rifle and a handgun, according to the Associated Press, Mateen killed 50 and injured another 53 before being shot to death by law enforcement. In the aftermath, local blood banks cited a “dire” need for donations. It was a suspected hate crime.

“Like most of you I went through a series of emotions throughout the day. I was sad, I was angry, I was confused, I was dumfounded,” Perez said. “We want to make sense of these tragedies, and I don’t know if we can.”

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Attorney General Jeff Landry vs. Gov. John Bel Edwards on LGBT discrimination, transgender issues

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards: "Folks running for office seem to forget that we have an obligation to protect all of our citizens."
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards: "Folks running for office seem to forget that we have an obligation to protect all of our citizens."

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, squaring against Gov. John Bel Edwards once again, says the state doesn't have to comply with an executive order protecting LGBT state workers and contractors from discrimination. Landry filed his opinion the same day the Louisiana Senate failed to pass LGBT nondiscrimination laws in the workplace — by a vote of a mere 8 yeas to 25 nays.

Edwards' order, the first statewide measure protecting transgender people in the state, prohibits discrimination on the "basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age," and extends that protection in services provided by state agencies.

Landry's opinion says "there is no constitutional or statutory provision in Louisiana banning discrimination on the basis of 'gender identity'" and that Edwards has overstepped his constitutional authority "by attempting to create new legislation in violation of the separation of powers."

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gov. Edwards on LGBT nondiscrimination order: "Louisiana is a state that is respective and inclusive of everyone around us"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards
Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued the first statewide measure creating legal protection for transgender people in Louisiana.

Today, Edwards signed an executive order protecting state employees, as well as employees of state contractors and people receiving state services, from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Previous legislative efforts to include LGBT protections in nondiscrimination laws have failed. Edwards' order creates protections from discrimination on the "basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age," and extends that protection in services provided by state agencies. 

There still are no statewide nondiscrimination laws protecting all LGBT people. Edwards' order also recognizes exemptions for churches and religious organizations. (A "Pastor Protection Act" filed by state Rep. Mike Johnson received committee support yesterday.)

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Louisiana's "Pastor Protection Act" gets committee support

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 3:15 PM

A crowd at Jackson Square in 2015 rallying in support of the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriages. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • A crowd at Jackson Square in 2015 rallying in support of the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriages.

After failing to get support for his 2015 "Marriage and Conscience Act" as a last line of defense from the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision on gay marriage, state Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, got committee support for his House Bill 597, aka the "Pastor Protection Act."

Johnson brought his measure to today's House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure, where it passed 7-3. Opponents argue the measure could open the door for all kinds of anti-LGBT discrimination as the measure not only protects clergy but employees of any "religious organization" from having to provide "services" to anyone they believe "violate[s] a sincerely held religious belief." Johnson says it's intended only to apply to people performing same-sex marriages.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Louisiana Supreme Court blasts SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Hundreds of people rallied in support of same-sex marriage in Jackson Square on June 26. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Hundreds of people rallied in support of same-sex marriage in Jackson Square on June 26.

In a Louisiana case challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban and adoption rules, the Louisiana Supreme Court turned to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared those bans unconstitutional. State Supreme Court justices declined to rule yesterday in the case of Lafayette couple Angela Costanza and Chasity Brewer, declaring the state's appeal moot in light of the Supreme Court ruling that overturned same-sex marriage bans nationwide.

But — much like the dissenting justices in the Supreme Court ruling — several of state justices used the decree to criticize the Supreme Court and the "horrific impact" its ruling will have in the U.S.

Four of the five Louisiana justices concurred with the ruling and the Supreme Court, largely because they had to. ("I concur because I am constrained to follow the rule of law set forth by a majority of the nine lawyers appointed to the United States Supreme Court," wrote Justice Jeanette Theriot Knoll in her opinion.)

Justice Jeff Hughes, however, dissented.

"The most troubling prospect of same sex marriage is the adoption by same sex partners of a young child of the same sex," Hughes wrote, though he didn't say outright why he is troubled by it.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Y@ Speak: fireworks

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 12:50 PM

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Sparks were flying in courtrooms and clerks offices and on Independence Day. Also: we #AskBobby, lock down Anthony Davis and go to Essence.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban is overturned

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Jacqueline Brettner speaks to a crowd at Jackson Square on June 26. Brettner and her spouse Lauren were plaintiffs in a Louisiana suit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban, which was overturned today by a federal judge in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling.
  • Jacqueline Brettner speaks to a crowd at Jackson Square on June 26. Brettner and her spouse Lauren were plaintiffs in a Louisiana suit challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban, which was overturned today by a federal judge in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling.

Update:  The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says marriage licenses are now available to same-sex couples in New Orleans.
Today the Eastern District Court of Louisiana ordered the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who complete a marriage application at the Department's Office of Vital Records in Orleans Parish. The Department made necessary modifications to the marriage license application printed forms and the certified copies. Additional long-term changes will be made to the Louisiana Electronic Event Registration System (LEERS) to accommodate the changes necessitated by the court's judgement. Marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by clerks of court in Louisiana and submitted to Vital Records will also be documented in the LEERS system.
A federal judge has recalled and rescinded a judgment upholding Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban. The order from U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman — who upheld the ban in his 2014 ruling — follows the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning same-sex marriage bans, as well as yesterday's Fifth District Court of Appeals ruling in the Louisiana case attempting to overturn the state's ban. The appellate court ruled the high court's decision is "the law of the land" and handed the case back to the District Court to reverse its ruling. Feldman complied this morning.

"It is so ordered that this Court's Order and Reasons and the accompanying Judgment dated September 3, 2014, are hereby recalled and rescinded."

Feldman's order overturns Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban and says the state must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples seeking them. Feldman's ruling also enforces the state to recognize same-sex marriages that were performed in other states, and that same-sex couples can jointly adopt and be recognized as parents on their children's birth certificates. The ruling also enforces the state to allow same-sex married couples to jointly file their taxes.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said he was waiting for the Fifth District's decision before he advised state agencies to comply with the law, but when that decision was handed down yesterday, Jindal said he wanted to wait, again, this time for the District Court.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fifth Circuit appeals court will follow SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Hundreds of people rallied in Jackson Square on June 26 following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.
  • Hundreds of people rallied in Jackson Square on June 26 following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. But Gov. Bobby Jindal wanted to wait on another court ruling to determine whether the state will adhere to the high court's decision. "Of course we're going to comply with a court order," Jindal said on Meet the Press last Sunday. "We don't have a choice."

In January, a three-panel judge at the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a Louisiana case in which same-sex couples pushed the state to overturn its same-sex marriage ban. The appellate court waited to issue its ruling, as the Supreme Court's ultimate, superseding decision on Obergefell v. Hodges was pending anyway. Today, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Supreme Court's decision is "the law of the land":
Obergefell, in both its Fourteenth and First Amendment iterations, is the law of the land and, consequently, the law of this circuit and should not be taken lightly by actors within the jurisdiction of this court. We express no view on how controversies involving the intersection of these rights should be resolved but instead leave that to the robust operation of our system of laws and the good faith of those who are impacted by them.
The Fifth Circuit ruling sends the case back to U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman along with an order to reverse his decision, effectively eliminating Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban. The Fifth Circuit ruling also attaches a July 17 deadline for the District Court, as one of the plaintiffs, Robert Welles, is ill.

But following the ruling, Jindal said state agencies will continue to follow the state's ban on same-sex marriages until the District Court orders otherwise.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Y@ Speak: nothing happened last week

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 5:30 PM


Nothing happened last week. David Vitter ate a sandwich.

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