01/26/2015

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange to Appeal Gay Marriage Ruling to Eleventh Circuit

StrangeAlabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed a notice of appeal to the Eleventh Circuit regarding last week's federal ruling that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. 

Yesterday, we reported that U.S. District Judge Callie V. Granade placed a 14-day stay on her ruling to allow Strange to present his arguments to the Eleventh Circuit. 

Said Strange in a statement:

"Judge Granade’s decision to grant a stay of her January 23, 2015, ruling concerning Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages is a step in the right direction. While I would have preferred a longer stay to allow the matter to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated ruling in June, the 14-day stay allows more time for my office to prepare our stay request to the 11th Circuit Court while also affording the public time to resolve the confusion over the impact of the recent ruling.” 

A similar request by Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi last month was shot down by a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit. If the court fails to act during the 14-day period, the stay will be lifted February 9th. 

Read the notice below via Equality Case Files:

1:14-cv-00208 #60 Notice of Appeal by Equality Case Files

Posted Jan. 26,2015 at 1:25 PM EST by in Alabama, Gay Marriage, Luther Strange, News | Permalink | Comments (7)


The New Animated LGBT Web Series 'McTucky Fried High' is Something to Snack On: VIDEO

Mctuckyfriedhigh

McTucky Fried High is a new bimonthly LGBT web series set in a high school with students who are assorted food items (foodents?). The series plans to take on issues like gender identity, bullying, and coming out.

In the show's first episode Henry Fry, a football player, comes out of the closet, sending the foodent body into chaos as the each try to get a piece of the school's first openly gay athlete.

The Gay-Straight Alliance wants to recruit him, the mean girls (Sheri Soda and Shirley Cone) want a shiny new GBF, Angela Babycarrot wants to be the first female Food Council President (after Celery Clinton) and plans to use the situation to her advantage, while her closeted best friend Kevin Wiener is seriously crushing on the newly-out fry guy.

Check out episode one, AFTER THE JUMP...

Mctucky

Continue reading "The New Animated LGBT Web Series 'McTucky Fried High' is Something to Snack On: VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 26,2015 at 1:00 PM EST by in McTucky Fried High, News, Web Series | Permalink | Comments (5)


Saks Fifth Avenue Is No Longer Claiming It Has A Right To Discriminate Against Transgender Workers

Jamal.Leyth

After weeks of pressure from LGBT groups, Saks Fifth Avenue has withdrawn a court filing in which the department store chain alleged it has a right to discriminate against transgender workers. 

BuzzFeed reports that attorneys for Saks on Monday withdrew their motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Leyth Jamal (above), a transgender woman who worked at the company's Houston Galleria store. 

Jamal sued Saks for wrongful termination based on sex in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, in addition to a hostile work environment, retaliation and breach of contract. 

In their motion to dismiss, attorneys for Saks shockingly alleged that transgender workers aren't protected against discrimination under Title VII — despite findings to the contrary from both the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and US Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Attorneys for Saks also misgendered Jamal and argued that Saks isn't bound by the nondiscrimination policy in its employee handbook, which includes gender identity. 

In response to Saks' filings, the Human Rights Campaign suspended the company's score of 90 on the Corporate Equality Index. HRC also joined the National Center for Lesbian Rights in filing a brief in Jamal's case supporting her claim under Title VII. Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into Saks' transgender-related employment practices in the Empire State. 

Saks finally relented, and in withdrawing their motion to dismiss, the company's attorneys wrote: 

“Saks is confident that, as this matter proceeds, the facts will demonstrate that Plaintiff’s allegations are wholly without merit, that Saks did not discriminate against Plaintiff, and that Saks’ policies and procedures are effective in ensuring an inclusive and diverse workplace free of discrimination and harassment."

Also Monday, the Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in the case supporting Jamal's claim under Title VII, BuzzFeed reports. 

It will be interesting to see how Jamal's case plays out from here, but it's already had a lasting impact. If nothing else, it's doubtful we'll see too many more major corporations with a record of support for the LGBT community claiming Title VII doesn't protect transgender workers. 

Posted Jan. 26,2015 at 12:35 PM EST by in Discrimination, Houston, LGBT Rights, Texas, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (4)


Sam Smith Responds to Howard Stern Calling Him a Fat, Ugly, Gay One-Hit Wonder: VIDEO

Stern

Sam Smith took to Twitter over the weekend to respond to shock jock Howard Stern's backhanded compliment last week that the crooner was a "chubby and gay" one-hit wonder and an "ugly motherf--er."

Tweeted Smith:

He also retweeted a note of encouragment from actress Bonnie Hunt: 

For those keeping track, Smith has two songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week "I'm Not the Only One" and "Stay With Me". His debut album In the Lonely Hour has sold over 1.2 million copies and was the third best-selling album of 2014 behind Taylor Swift's 1989 and the Frozen soundtrack. 

[h/t Buzzfeed]

Posted Jan. 26,2015 at 12:10 PM EST by in Howard Stern, Sam Smith | Permalink | Comments (24)


Gay Man Creates $50,000 Indoor Playland for His 15 Rescued Cats: VIDEO

Cat

Peter Cohen, Manuel Flores, and Hiroyuki Furumoto have built an indoor playland for their 15 rescue cats which is unlike anything you've ever seen.

CatguysThe playland consists of dozens of platforms, tunnels, nooks, spiraling ramps, and holes that look like a shark's gaping mouth on which the cats can scratch their backs. It even has closets with filtration systems and exhaust fans to hold the many litter boxes as well as constantly cleaning Roomba vacuums.

Cohen, who lives in Goleta, California (near Santa Barbara), says that he has spent as much as $50,000 on the project.

Check out the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

While the video from HouzzTV which began going viral this week says nothing about the relationship between the men behind the project, a bit of sleuthing shows that both business and romantic relationships are fueling the project. And a mad love of cats.

Cat2

Continue reading "Gay Man Creates $50,000 Indoor Playland for His 15 Rescued Cats: VIDEO"

Posted Jan. 26,2015 at 11:45 AM EST by in Cats, News, Pets | Permalink | Comments (11)


Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Goes On Trial

Parker

Eight months after the Houston City Council passed an Equal Rights Ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, a jury trial is scheduled to begin today in the lawsuit aimed at repealing the measure. 

But don't expect a verdict anytime soon: The trial could last six weeks or more as jurors go over thousands of pages of signatures on a petition to repeal the ordinance to determine how many are valid.

The trial will have little to do with the merits of the ordinance, which prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Houston was the last major US city to pass such an ordinance, but its enforcement is on hold pending the outcome of the legal proceedings. 

After the council approved the ordinance in May, anti-LGBT groups said they turned in more than 30,000 signatures on a petition to repeal it. However, city officials rejected the petition, saying it had only 16,500 valid signatures, fewer than the 17,269 needed to force the City Council to repeal the ordinance or place it on the ballot.

Anti-LGBT groups responded by filing a lawsuit, which resulted in a right-wing media firestorm after attorneys for the city subpoenaed the sermons of pastors who led opposition to the ordinance. Mayor Annise Parker eventually withdrew the subpoenas, but that didn't stop the anti-LGBT groups from staging an "I Stand Sunday" rally featuring Mike Huckabee, Phil Robertson and the Benham brothers. 

In court documents, the city's attorneys have accused anti-LGBT groups of fraud and forgery in gathering signatures, and they've filed a motion seeking summary judgment that could end the trial before it begins

If the trial proceeds and the anti-LGBT groups prevail, the ordinance likely would appear on the ballot in November. If the city prevails, the ordinance would finally go into effect. However, knowing the opposition, we're pretty sure they'd appeal. 

Out lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker has said she feels sorry for jurors who must sit through the trial but added the city will do whatever's necessary to defend the ordinance.   

Jury selection was scheduled to begin this morning, with opening arguments set for Tuesday. Stay tuned to Towleroad for continuing coverage. 

Posted Jan. 26,2015 at 11:23 AM EST by in Annise Parker, Discrimination, Gay Rights, Houston, LGBT Rights, Texas | Permalink | Comments (7)


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