Brazil Supreme Court criminalizes homophobia, transphobia

By : Felipe Alface of the Washington Blade, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The majority of the Brazilian Supreme Court on May 28 voted to equate homophobia and transphobia to the crime of racism.

The voting has not ended and will continue on June 5, but May 28’s historic decision saw six of the 11 possible votes in favor.

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North Carolina GOP eases into session before facing Democratic governor

By : Wire Report
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)- North Carolina Republican legislators handed out chairmen’s gavels and filed bills on Wednesday, easing into a new work year that is likely to feature clashes with the state’s Democratic governor, including over what to do with a controversial law limiting LGBT rights.

The General Assembly finished in less than an hour with no recorded votes in sessions held two weeks after lawmakers re-elected GOP House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger.

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Badges of Courage: Local authorities across Central Florida and Tampa Bay aim in the direction of tolerance, not discrimination

By : Anna M. Johnson
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The Orlando Police Department Headquarters is tucked away inconspicuously on the Amway side of I-4. The “Ultimate Improvement Project” construction blocks most of the adjacent parking, leaving the closest available open spaces directly under the overpass. A stone staircase leads to the office.

Inside, all visitors are required to wear bright neon visitor passes. There is a small gift shop that sells police merchandise right next to the enclosed information desk. It is called the “Cop Shop.”

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New law in Hawaii means insurance companies can’t discriminate against transgender patients

By : Wire Report
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Honolulu (AP) – Insurance companies would not be allowed to discriminate against transgender patients under a bill passed by the Hawaii Legislature.

The bill passed April 26 by the House of Representatives prohibits denying, canceling or limiting coverage based on a person’s gender identity.

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Ted Cruz supports North Carolina trans bathroom restrictions

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says he supports the ability of North Carolina lawmakers to pass a law restricting bathroom access for gay and transgender people.

Cruz said April 14 during taping of a MSNBC town hall in Buffalo, New York, that states can pass such laws because “men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls.” Cruz says, “That is a perfectly reasonable determination for the people to make.”

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Uprisings: The gloves are off

By : Billy Manes
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Nobody expects the presidential politics of stuffy Red-Rover games in the dank hue of late-night union halls under the auspices of a “caucus” to be absolutely civil, just as nobody expects the debate exchanges rushing up to primary conventions to be a lovely little tea party, curtsies included. However, for most of this election cycle – at least on the left – the last two standing, Sen. Bernie Sanders and “establishmen” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have kept their conversations at a comfortable, respectful clip. That’s not happening anymore, as you’ve probably witnessed in either the viral YouTube Greenpeace guerilla-clip meltdown of Hillary Clinton complaining about her alleged financial embed with the fracking/fossil-fuel industry or her comments about “tone.” On the “purist” Sanders side, equal and opposing complaints have been made at an increasing pitch. Sanders’ path to victory is a bit of tiny babbling brook at this point, so the shushing and finger-wagging and Republican talking points have taken center stage.

The #bernieorbust movement is a sad apocalypse for multiple Trumping reason, and the constant nag on the superdelegate issue and speaking fees has turned a benign bumper-sticker campaign into a problem for all concerned. Also, the nonstop denial that Sanders is also taking part in the political lexicon of PAC cash and backpats is absurd. He may not be getting as much money from larger entities, but he’s certainly playing the same game. And now, just as “Shillary” has always been unflatteringly and unfairly accused of doing, he’s shouting about it.

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North Carolina bathroom law could be settled in Virginia

By : Wire Report
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Richmond (AP) – The fate of North Carolina’s new law aimed at restricting restroom use by transgender people could be determined in Virginia, where a school board has ordered a teenager to stay out of the boys’ room.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond could rule any day now in the case of Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male. Grimm says he has to take a “walk of shame” to use a restroom at Gloucester High School.

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Florida Senate approves Pastor Protection Act

By : Jamie Hyman
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The anti-gay and unnecessary Pastor Protection Act is headed to Governor Rick Scott.

Florida’s Senate voted in favor of  HB43 23-15 on March 3, as the end of the 2016 legislative session nears. Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Miami) is the only Senator to cross party lines, voting against the bill.

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Portugal’s president blocks laws on same-sex adoption, abortion

By : Wire Report
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) – Portugal’s president has vetoed bills recently passed by Parliament that granted full adoption rights to same-sex couples and removed abortion restrictions.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva says the legislation granting gay couples the same adoption rights as heterosexuals is a radical change that requires broader public consultation. He says Parliament has failed to demonstrate it is in the best interest of children.

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Mormon leader criticizes Kim Davis on her handling of license issue

By : Wire Report
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The Mormon Church staked a deeper claim to middle ground in American society, advocating for compromises between protecting religious liberties and prohibiting discrimination, and criticizing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis for refusing to license gay marriages.

“We may have cultural differences, but we should not have ‘culture wars,'” Mormon leader Dallin H. Oaks declared.

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Uprisings: October 8 – 21

By : Billy Manes
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It shouldn’t be a political banner for the requisite public waving in front of a coming election – a disturbed gunman follows in the footsteps of all of all of the disturbed gunmen before him and arbitrarily takes the lives of nine individuals ranging in age from 18 to 67 in what can only be described as a massacre on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Oct. 1 – but it has become one, regardless of from which side of the aisle you’re armchair quarterbacking the decline of western civilization. In the aftermath of the latest campus terrorist attack (and yes, that’s exactly what it was), politicians were once again called to task, once again asked for answers, on exactly how it is that we comfortably walk this tangent bridging mental health and forced death into one blur of public-relations horror.

“Stuff happens,” presidential hopeful and gaffe-master Jeb Bush opined, according to the Tampa Bay Times via the Washington Post.

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Bill proposed to Florida House would end conversion therapy in minors

By : Jeremy Williams
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Florida House Representative David Richardson (Miami Beach-D) filed HB137, a bill that would prohibit gay conversion therapy for minors.

The proposed bill would prevent “persons who are licensed to provide professional counseling” from providing “treatment with the goal of changing a person’s sexual orientation including, but not limited to, efforts to change behavior, gender identity or gender expression, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward a person of the same gender.”

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