Transgender policy studied in Georgia school assault case

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP)| The Education Department said October 3 that it is investigating whether a Georgia school district’s policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice created a “hostile environment” for a 5-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom.

The complaint, filed on behalf of the parent of the girl, has the potential to upend a heated national debate on transgender students and their access to education bathrooms and locker rooms. The Obama administration sided with transgender students in their choice of school bathrooms, but the Trump administration scrapped that policy and said it was a local decision for schools and states.

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16 states urge Supreme Court to rule workers can be fired for being trans

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A coalition of 16 states led by Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals court decision in favor of a fired transgender funeral home worker and determine workers can be terminated for being transgender.

The states filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court last week in response to a petition urging justices to take up and reverse the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, which held anti-trans discrimination is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars sex discrimination.

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Fit for Print: Stop weaponizing religion

By : Steve Blanchard
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From a very young age it was drummed into me that there was a right way to act and a wrong way to act. I’m talking, of course, about my days in church.

Fortunately, the church I attended wasn’t a fire and brimstone kind of place. There were plenty of messages about kindness, doing unto others and helping those who are less fortunate. But every message had the same footnote: “By the way, stay on the straight and narrow and avoid an eternity in the fiery pits of hell. Do what you’re told to do and the big man in the sky who spends all of his time spying on you won’t have a reason to punish you forever.”

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Conservative groups upset over ‘boycott’ by LGBT Bar Association

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Two national litigation groups that specialize in lawsuits seeking to overturn LGBT rights laws issued a joint statement last week denouncing the National LGBT Bar Association for calling on the nation’s lawyers and law firms to refuse to provide free legal services for the two groups.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the Colorado baker in the now famous anti-LGBT Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, and the Liberty Counsel accused the D.C.-based National LGBT Bar Association of fomenting anti-religious bias.

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Jack Phillips in court again after refusing to make cake for trans customer

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who became notorious after a lawsuit against him for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple went to the U.S. Supreme Court, finds himself back in litigation — this time because his bakery wouldn’t make a cake celebrating the transition of a transgender person.

Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT legal firm that represented Phillips in the wedding cake lawsuit, announced on Wednesday it has sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for finding probable case he violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act for refusing to make the cake.

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Supreme Court sends back ‘religious freedom’ case from anti-gay florist

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers is seeking an OK to refuse service to gay couples. Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced that it has sent back for review to Washington State a lawsuit filed by an anti-gay florist seeking a First Amendment right to refuse service to same-sex weddings.

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Court applies Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling to uphold Ariz. LGBT ordinance

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A state appellate court on Thursday upheld a city non-discrimination ordinance in Arizona, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in the reasoning for the decision.

The court in a decision written by Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Lawrence Winthrop determines a non-discrimination ordinance in Phoenix barring anti-LGBT discrimination enacted in 2013 is valid under the U.S. Constitution.

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Supreme Court sidesteps major ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop case

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court sidestepped making a major decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case pending before the court, issuing a narrow decision based on the facts of the lawsuit in favor of a Colorado baker sued for refusing a wedding cake to same-sex couple.

In the 7-2 decision written by U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court vacates the decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals against baker Jack Phillips on the basis the state commission handling his case displayed a religious bias against him.

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Trump’s new faith initiative raises concerns among LGBTQ advocates

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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President Trump’s new initiative to support faith-based organizations with federal assistance is stirring unease among LGBTQ rights supporters, who say they’ll keep watch to ensure the program doesn’t enable anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

Trump, who created the initiative by executive order on Thursday on the National Day of Prayer, said during a signing ceremony in the White House Rose Garden the program will “help design new policies that recognize the vital role of faith in our families, our communities, and our great country.”

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Hawaii appeals court sides with lesbian couple denied B&B

By : wire report
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HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii bed and breakfast discriminated against a couple by denying a room to two women because they’re gay, a state appeals court affirmed.

Aloha Bed & Breakfast owner Phyllis Young had argued she should be allowed to turn away gay couples because of her religious beliefs. She appealed a 2013 lower court ruling that ordered her to stop discriminating against same-sex couples.

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Judge refuses to order school to suspend transgender policy

By : wire report
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CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in Chicago won’t force a suburban school district to suspend a policy that enables transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, concluding in a new ruling that decades-old anti-discrimination statutes extend to students whose gender identity isn’t conventional.

U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso’s refusal late Friday to impose a preliminary injunction is a legal blow for more than 50 families who sued in hopes of getting the Township High School District 211 in Palatine, just northwest of Chicago, to end the policy for good.

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Judge rules against Atlanta chief fired for distributing anti-gay book

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran sued after he was fired for distributing anti-gay literature. Photo public domain.

A former fire chief’s lawsuit against the City of Atlanta challenging his termination for distributing anti-gay literature on the job yielded mixed results in a court decision Wednesday — although the judge ruled against the major freedom of speech and religion claims he presented.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May, an Obama appointee, denied relief for Kelvin Cochran — who distributed a book saying men who engage in homosexual or extramarital sex are “un-Godly” and “wicked” sinners and their deaths would be celebrated — on his basis of his freedom of speech, association and religion claims.

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