Throughout the ongoing firestorm directed at Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass over their decision to host a reception for Ted Cruz at their penthouse in Manhattan last month, the two gay real estate developers have repeatedly stressed the event was an "informal dinner" and not a fundraiser.
"It is amazing that my businesses are being boycotted by some because I hosted a discussion with an elected official. Not a fundraiser. Not an endorsement. A dialogue," wrote Weiderpass in an op-ed for The New York Observer. "Despite media reports to the contrary, I did not organize the Cruz dinner, but did embrace the opportunity—again, in a non-fundraising setting—to discuss a number of important issues, including support for Israel and support for gay rights."*
Well it turns out Reisner wasn't exactly telling the truth, as The New York Timeshas revealed he cut a $2,700 check (the max individual contribution allowed) to the Cruz presidential campaign around the time of the dinner. Only after the NYT first reported on the dinner did Reisner ask for his check to be refunded.
“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 check to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Mr. Reisner said in a statement he provided after The Times learned of the donation from two people with direct knowledge of it. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of L.G.B.T. issues.”
A spokesman for Mr. Cruz declined to comment. Mr. Reisner, a friend insisted, was aware that his donation — and the refund — will appear on Mr. Cruz’s campaign finance filing when it becomes public in July.
Weiderpass, for his part, said he had not given a check to Cruz himself and "seemed surprised" when he was told about Reisner's donation.
* In the original NYT article that broke the story, the paper noted Cruz "did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states."
The Northern Ireland Equality Commission brought the case against Ashers on behalf of Queer Space activist Gareth Lee who had requested a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.
Ashers owners the McArthur family said in a statement:
“After much careful and prayerful consideration given to legal advice, we have decided to appeal the judgement handed down last Tuesday.
“We continue to insist that we have done nothing wrong as we have discriminated against no individual but rather acted according to what the Bible teaches regarding marriage.
“As many other people have already noted, Christian beliefs seem to have been trampled over in this judgement and we believe this only has negative effects for our society.
“Our hope and prayer would be that an appeal will allow us and other Christians to live out their faith in Jesus Christ in every part of their lives, including their workplace.”
The appeal is to be funded by the Christian Institute which last year released a video in support of the McArthurs.
“I believe that most people think that this is a ruling that should be overturned. There has been such extraordinary support from people from all walks of life who are appalled by what has happened to the McArthur family.
“There is huge public support for an appeal and it is vitally important that the higher courts consider this issue.”
With Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump all either officially entering the 2016 race or expressing their interest in doing so recently, Jon Stewart is a little upset he'll be missing out on the fireworks once he leaves TheDaily Show in August.
"Guys, I appreciate the effort. My mind's made up, I'm leaving the show...How much fun could you really have covering this thing?" Stewart joked.
Enter one Rick Santorum, a piece of coal, and a folded American flag.
In a wide-ranging interview with George Stephanopolous that included ISIS, immigration, and Hillary Clinton, 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took a moment to remark on the revelations that FRC staffer and family values crusader Josh Duggar sexually abused five underage girls more than a decade ago.
Good news keeps pouring out of Ireland after its historic gay marriage win, as Irish lawmakers are quickly pushing to amend the country's Employment Equality Act to prevent school and hospital LGBT employees from being discriminated against reports The Irish Times. Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (above right) is leading the push behind the amendment, and hopes to pass it by September at the start of the new school term.
If the legislation passes, it will grant protections to LGBT staff of religious run educational and medical institutions, along with single parents, while simultaneously protecting the institutions' religious ideology. Drafting on the legislation began this week; once drafted it heads to the Cabinet for an official sign-off, followed by the Oireachtas enacting it in July if all goes well.
In its current state, the act still allows for discrimination against employees and prospective employees whose orientation and family status do not match the religious ideology of an institution they’re employed with or applying for.