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Gay dads adopt 14 kids (video)

"All of our kids have two parents that love them. Most of their friends don't."

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26
Jan
2014

Arizona governor Brewer vetoes controversial anti-gay law, Ohio pulls similar bill after Brewer’s veto

And Mississippi has now scaled back its "religious freedom" bill to ensure it doesn't repeat Arizona's mistake.

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27
Feb
2014

Schock and Sinema take a selfie

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay

Anti-gay Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) walks along looking at his phone just before the State of the Union Address as bisexual Rep. Kyrsten Sinema digs through her bag. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay
Schock spots Sinema and stops to say hello. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay

Sinema and Schock engage someone else in conversation. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade

Schock looks up. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay

Shock sits on Sinema‘s lap. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay

Sinema grabs her phone. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay

Schock takes Sinema‘s phone and holds it out as the two pose for a selfie. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Aaron Schock, Republican Party, United States House of Representatives, Illinois, gay news, Washington Blade, Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona, Democratic Party, bisexual, anti-gay

Sinema and Schock admire their photo together. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

 

29
Jan
2014

Following the victory in Arizona, a brief look at 2,000 years of gay history

With the defeat of Arizona's "religious freedom" bill, it's time to reflect on the past and future of LGBT rights.

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27
Feb
2014

Arizona passes ‚ÄúCitizens United‚ÄĚ-type law protecting corporations‚Äô ‚Äúreligious beliefs‚ÄĚ

New law could put every state and local law, even court decisions, at risk from "religious discrimination" claims.

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21
Feb
2014

Stephen Colbert on SB1062 going down in Arizona

Colbert: "SB1062, a bill defending my religious right to deny sodomites pastry."

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28
Feb
2014

The sudden eruption of anti-gay legislation nationwide is not a coincidence

The American Religious Freedom Program pushes a 'bigotry for all' bill, aiming for gays but hitting everybody

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21
Feb
2014

No, Arizona‚Äôs SB 1062 was not ‚Äúegregiously misrepresented‚ÄĚ by critics

A look at the attempt by some on the right to claim that Arizona's bigoted law was simply "misunderstood."

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01
Mar
2014

Anderson Cooper obliterates dithering idiot supporter of Arizona‚Äôs anti-gay ‚ÄúStand Your God‚ÄĚ law

If Arizona's governor signs this law, the Super Bowl, Apple and Google had better cancel their plans in the state.

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25
Feb
2014

Businesses still have ‚Äėlicense to discriminate‚Äô in Arizona

Arizona, rainbow flag, gay news, Washington Blade

While LGBT Americans today celebrate the defeat of anti-gay bills such as SB 1062, they also await the passage of state and federal laws that would positively provide them the protections they deserve but currently lack. (Wikimedia Commons image of Arizona by Huebi modified)

By CROSBY BURNS

 

As LGBT activists cheered the demise of Arizona‚Äôs controversial ‚Äúlicense to discriminate‚ÄĚ bill, one thing seemed lost on the media, in progressive circles and among most Americans: Even with Gov. Jan Brewer‚Äôs (R) veto, businesses in a majority of Arizona cities still have the legal right to discriminate against LGBT people.

If passed, SB 1062 would have afforded business owners the right to refuse service to patrons that identify as LGBT based on those owners‚Äô religious beliefs. In this respect, SB 1062 is part of a broader pattern of dangerous ‚Äúreligious freedom‚ÄĚ bills being proposed throughout conservative statehouses in the United States. In this respect, the defeat of SB 1062 is something to celebrate, as anti-gay legislators in other states will think twice before introducing similar legislation that sanctions LGBT discrimination behind the guise of ‚Äúreligious freedom.‚ÄĚ

However, most activists are celebrating last week’s veto as if SB 1062 would have stripped all Arizonans of nondiscrimination protections they currently enjoy under state law. This is far from the truth.

Looking broadly, federal law affords no legal protections against discrimination on the basis of either sexual orientation or gender identity. While an alarming nine out of 10 Americans believe laws like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act already exist, the cold hard truth is that under the law of the land in the United States, it’s perfectly legal to deny someone employment, refuse someone service, or kick someone out of their apartment simply because they are LGBT.

Where federal policymakers have failed to enact comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination legislation, a number of states have filled the void with nondiscrimination laws that provide LGBT people protection in employment, housing and public accommodations. However, fewer than half have done so. Or put another way, in a majority of states‚ÄĒstates like Arizona‚ÄĒLGBT people have no protections against discrimination under state or federal law.

It’s true that in Arizona, the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson and Gilbert have municipal ordinances that afford their LGB citizens some protections against discrimination (Phoenix, Tucson, and Tempe also afford protections to transgender citizens). Signing SB 1062 into law would have invalidated these city’s ordinances, which according to U.S. Census data account for 2.6 million people, or 40 percent of Arizona’s total population. In that respect, the defeat of the bill was certainly a huge victory in maintaining these important protections.

However, the bill’s defeat legally changes nothing for LGBT people living in the remaining cities accounting for 60 percent of Arizona’s population. If SB 1062 had been passed into law, businesses could legally turn away LGBT customers. But even today without SB 1062, businesses can still turn away LGBT customers in the 86 Arizona municipalities that do not have any LGBT protections on the books. Nevertheless, this fact seems lost in the media and among LGBT activists.

There is a lot to celebrate with SB 1062’s veto. The massive opposition to this bill is one more indicator of the huge cultural shift we have made as a country, a shift away from bigotry and toward fairness and inclusion of LGBT people in our society. Moreover, the groundswell of opposition to the bill included Arizona’s two Republican senators, Fortune 500 companies, and even many of the Arizona state legislators that voted for the bill in the first place.

In this respect, the defeat of this bill is a significant symbolic victory for the LGBT movement. And as mentioned earlier, it’s a significant legal victory for LGBT Arizonans living in cities like Phoenix where they are afforded some protections against discrimination.

And yet despite these victories, the controversy that was SB 1062 was a missed opportunity. It was a missed opportunity to have an important conversation about the lack of legal protections afforded to LGBT Americans in this country. While marriage equality is on the march both in the courts and in the statehouses, legislation outlawing discrimination against LGBT people has stalled. To change that, we need to acknowledge that those laws don’t even exist in the first place.

So yes, in many ways the veto was something to celebrate. But while LGBT Americans today celebrate the defeat of anti-gay bills such as SB 1062, they also await the passage of state and federal laws that would positively provide them the protections they deserve but currently lack. This means, for example, Congress finally passing comprehensive protections for LGBT Americans such that all people are protected against discrimination, regardless of the state where they reside. Now, that would be something to celebrate.

Crosby Burns is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the managing editor of the LGBTQ Policy Journal at the Kennedy School.

04
Mar
2014