Wash. florist returns to Supreme Court for right to refuse service to gays

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.

After obtaining a perfunctory decision last year in her favor, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Washington State is back before the U.S. Supreme Court with a renewed call for a First Amendment ruling allowing her to refuse service to same-sex couples seeking floral arrangements for their weddings.

In her 41-page petition for certiorari, Baronelle Stutzman alleges the Washington State Supreme Court ignored case law in favor of religious freedom when it ruled—now twice—she violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination by refusing to provide floral arrangements in 2013 for a same-sex wedding.

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Catholic agency seeks right to anti-LGBT discrimination from Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A new Supreme Court petition seeks a First Amendment right for Catholic agencies to discriminate against LGBT people. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A new petition filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a Catholic adoption agency seeking to refuse placement into LGBT homes calls for a ruling that could enable anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom” — even if justices affirm in separate pending litigation LGBT protections are included under federal civil rights law.

The petition was filed July 22 by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — an organization that takes up religious freedom lawsuits, such as the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases — and seeks to establish a First Amendment right for Catholic Foster Services in Philadelphia to refuse to place children into LGBT families.

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Polis becomes 1st Democrat to address conservative summit

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, photo via Facebook.

DENVER (AP) | Jared Polis, who last year became the first openly gay man elected governor of a state in the U.S., made history again July 12 by becoming the first Democrat to address a Denver conservative conference.

The liberal governor from Boulder was sandwiched between Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and conservative media critic Brent Bozell on the morning program of the Western Conservative Summit, which is a two-day conclave founded and coordinated by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. Polis’ speech was relatively unremarkable other than the fact that he gave it.

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Wash. high court again rules against florist who refused to serve gays

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of being forced to reevaluate it decision following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, the Washington State Supreme Court has again concluded Arlene’s Flowers violated the state’s LGBT non-discrimination law by refusing to provide floral services to a same-sex wedding.

The 76-page decision finds previous decisions in the case were reviewed correctly under the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious neutrality. Thus, the new decision reaches the same conclusion Baronelle Stutzman violated state law in 2013 by refusing to serve a same-sex couple seeking to buy wedding flowers.

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White House stays silent on Masterpiece Cakeshop decision

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t address the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling from the Supreme Court. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

The entire day passed Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a major case on LGBT rights versus “religious freedom” without the White House weighing in on the outcome, even though the Trump administration has previously sided with the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

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Court dismisses Olivia de Havilland’s ‘Feud’ lawsuit against Ryan Murphy

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Olivia de Havilland’s lawsuit against Ryan Murphy and FX for Catherine Zeta-Jones’ portrayal of the iconic actress in “Feud: Bette and Joan” has been dismissed by the California Court of Appeals 2nd Appellate District.

According to Deadline, the lawsuit claimed the character hurt her “professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity.”

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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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LGBT groups condemn white nationalist rally in Charlottesville

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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LGBT rights groups are among those who have condemned a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday that descended into violence.

“Everyday we partner with people and organizations across the state to make Virginia a more inclusive place where all can thrive,” Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish told the Washington Blade in a statement. “Through sharing our stories, listening to intersectional voices, and working for fairness we strive for a more equal commonwealth. Intimidating communities with taunts and violence has no place here. Anyone who doesn’t strongly condemn the Unite for the Right rally is complicit in supporting this dangerous and racist agenda.”

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ACLU sues Metro to reinstate ads for Milo, others

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday charging that the D.C.-area Metro transit system’s decision to ban advertisements for a book written by gay conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos and “message” ads from three other groups, including the ACLU itself, violates the First Amendment.

Noting that Metro initially accepted the ads for Yiannopoulos’ book before abruptly taking them down last month, ACLU lawyers filed a motion asking for “immediate relief” from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for reinstatement of the ads to avoid further loss of revenue from book sales.

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Spicer denounces anti-LGBT violence — sort of

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denounced the recent trend of vandalism at LGBT community centers, but qualified his remarks by suggesting free speech under the First Amendment is appropriate to use against them rather than violence.

Spicer made the comments under questioning from the Washington Blade after an attack over the weekend at Casa Ruby, an LGBT community center in D.C. serving transgender and gender non-confirming people. The attacker smashed a window and assaulted a transgender staffer.

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Two state legislators aim to scrub contentious gun legislation from the Florida books

By : Billy Manes
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It may have seemed like a non-issue, especially considering that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled it unconstitutional just last month, but two Florida legislators are making a point of removing the controversial Firearm Owner’s Privacy Act from the state’s statutes. The law, passed in 2011, was television news fodder for weeks, as it challenged the ability of doctors to speak with patients about weapons in their homes. In 2011, a couple complained about being asked by their doctor about having firearms in their home. The confusion arose between limits on free speech and the Second Amendment. But it’s more than that, says state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, who just filed HB 6033 in tandem with Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Broward.

“It’s really important, because guns are a major cause of death and suicide,” Smith says. “Doctors simply ask about the common sense of their patients, like they ask about cleaning products, about chemicals in their pools. The fact that the Florida Legislature irresponsibly passed the first law of its kind is not only unconstitutional, it’s irresponsible.”

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The other side of life: Kittens And-Also SpaceTime

By : Jason Leclerc
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Jason Leclerc

When I was commissioned for this article, I was clear that I wanted to put the election behind us; my topic would be kittens.

So. Kittens.

With that settled and with smiles on our faces, let’s proceed.

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