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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ACLU challenges policy banning gay content in Kentucky prison

By : Wire Report
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Lexington, Ky. (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a ban on letters, magazines and other mail sent to inmates at a Kentucky prison that contains material with gay-related content, news reports said.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky ACLU legal director William Sharp has written to the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex to object to a policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving items that “promote homosexuality.”

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Guest Column – Creep of the Week: Ted Cruz

By : D'Anne Witkowski
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D'AnneWitkowskiCapBefore I begin this column I’d like to first offer an apology.

You see, I have a bad habit of referring to anti-gay politicians and talking heads using pejorative terms like “ass,” “asshole,” “dick” and “dickhead.” I’ve done some soul-searching and realized that I can no longer do this in good conscience and I sincerely apologize.

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Washington judge says florist who refused same-sex wedding broke law

By : Wire Report
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RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – A florist in Washington state who refused to provide flowers to a gay couple for their wedding violated state consumer protection and anti-discrimination law, a judge ruled Feb. 18.

Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom rejected arguments from the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland that her actions were protected by her freedoms of speech and religion. While religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, actions based on those beliefs aren’t necessarily protected, he said.

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Guest column: The Right to Be Wrong

By : Richard Rosendall
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Richard Rosendall

Richard Rosendall

I have been fighting the Catholic Church since I first argued with a nun at St. Catherine Labouré Elementary School in Wheaton, Maryland in 1962. I don’t recall being smacked with a ruler, but Sister Mary Margaret gave intimidating glares.

I remembered her, and the scorn of the parish’s Monsignor W. Joyce Russell toward liberal priests during 1968’s uproar over the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, when I helped win D.C. marriage equality over objections by the Archdiocese of Washington several decades later. The Archdiocese wanted various exemptions enabling them, for example, to receive government contracts for adoption services while turning away gay couples. They lost. They then withdrew from public adoption services and were replaced by another contractor.

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CA ban on gay conversion therapy faces first legal challenge

By : Wire Report
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A first-of-its-kind California law prohibiting licensed psychotherapists from counseling gay minors on how to become heterosexual faced its first legal test Friday as lawyers for those who support “reparative therapy” asked a federal judge to block the ban.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller in Sacramento held a 50-minute hearing on whether the law violates the First Amendment and should be kept from taking effect as scheduled on Jan. 1.

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