Harris, Carper introduce bill to include LGBT questions on U.S. Census

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the wake of the Trump administration’s decision not to allow Americans to identify as LGBT on the U.S. Census, two Democratic senators have introduced legislation that would require those questions in major federal surveys.

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced on Tuesday they had introduced in the U.S. Senate the Census Equality Act, which would begin the process of adding questions allowing respondents to identify their sexual orientation and gender identity in both the decennial U.S. Census and the annual American Community Survey.

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Candidate with anti-gay views running for Missouri House

By : wire report
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) | A candidate with anti-gay views is running for the Missouri House of Representatives.

Hardy Billington, 65, is the only Republican candidate campaigning to represent Poplar Bluff, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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Levi’s, Yelp join coalition pledging not to discriminate

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Levi Strauss, Yelp and Lyft are leading a coalition of 1,200 businesses and cities that are pledging not to discriminate against employees or customers based on race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.

Normally, making a promise to serve every customer might seem like a no-brainer. But the Open to All coalition is launching in a highly charged atmosphere, with florists refusing to provide flowers for gay weddings and stores turning away Muslim customers. On the same June weekend that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because of her affiliation with President Donald Trump, a transgender woman was harassed by staff at a Washington restaurant for using the women’s restroom.

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Land O’Lakes’ Beth Ford is first out lesbian CEO at Fortune 500 company

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Beth Ford (Screenshot via YouTube)

Beth Ford has been appointed CEO of dairy food cooperation Land O’Lakes. This marks the first time an out lesbian has been CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Ford will take over for Chris Policinski who is retiring. According to Fortune, she is the first female CEO in Land O’Lakes’ 97-year history. Ford is the first gay woman CEO at a Fortune 500 company and the third openly gay CEO.

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Sessions announces the creation of a ‘religious liberty task force’

By : Wire and Staff Reports
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WASHINGTON (AP) | American culture has become “less hospitable to people of faith,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said July 30 in vowing that the Justice Department would protect people’s religious freedom and convictions.

Sessions spoke at a Justice Department summit on religious tolerance at a time when courts across the country have been asked how to balance anti-discrimination laws against the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantees.

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Lawsuit revived over transgender woman at health club

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MIDLAND, Mich. (AP)| The Michigan appeals court says a lawsuit can proceed in a dispute over the presence of a transgender person in the women’s locker room at a Midland health club.

Yvette Cormier says her membership at Planet Fitness was wrongly terminated in 2015 after she warned other women at the club. Planet Fitness told her that it allows people to use the locker room that matches their identity.

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Alaska Airlines asks gay couple to make room for straight couple or to get off the plane

By : Colton Adkins
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Alaska Airlines is in clean-up mode after a gay couple was asked to move seats on one of its flights to make room for a straight couple that wanted to sit together.

David Cooley, CEO and founder of The Abbey Food and Bar and The Chapel at the Abbey in West Hollywood, took to Facebook to express his anger with the airline.

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Air Force DB is first openly gay service academy player

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) | An Air Force defensive back is the first openly gay football player to play for a military academy.

The Gazette reports that sophomore Bradley Kim announced his sexual orientation on Friday to teammates, on social media and in an article in OutSports.

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Anti-LGBTI groups participate in State Dept. religious freedom conference

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is among those who participated in a religious freedom conference the State Department held in D.C. this week. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A number of anti-LGBTI organizations participated in a three-day religious freedom conference the State Department held this week in D.C.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Thursday tweeted a picture of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins “welcoming attendees” of a workshop that focused on U.S. government grants.

A conference schedule the Washington Blade obtained indicates the workshop took place at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s offices in Northwest D.C. The picture on Twitter shows Perkins — who is a member of the commission — speaking at a podium in front of a screen with the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and its Office of Global Programs’ names projected onto it.

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Oklahoma mom offers to be stand-in parent at gay weddings

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Sara Cunningham (Photo via Facebook)

One Oklahoma mother has gone viral for offering to be a stand-in parent at gay weddings.

Sara Cunningham, an ordained minister and mother of two, made a Facebook post offering to attend a gay wedding in place of a disapproving parent.

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New bill proposed in House to ban all non-U.S. flags at embassies, including pride flag

By : Colton Adkins
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A new bill proposed by Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan from South Carolina looks to ban all U.S. embassies from flying flags other than the American flag – including the rainbow flag.

The bill comes after the U.S. embassy in Belize flew a rainbow flag to celebrate LGBT Pride this year. The U.S. embassy in Jamaica also flew the rainbow flag in 2016 in support the LGBTQ community in Orlando after the Pulse shooting.

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Missouri lesbian couple sues after being denied housing

By : wire report
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP)| A married lesbian couple is suing a St. Louis senior living community for discriminating against them by denying them housing.

Mary Walsh and Bev Nance filed a federal lawsuit against Friendship Village Sunset Hills Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges the housing community violated the federal Fair Housing Act and the Missouri Human Rights Act by denying them housing because they are a same-sex couple.

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