Justice Kennedy announces plans to step down from Supreme Court

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy — the author of major U.S. Supreme Court rulings in favor of gay rights — has announced plans to step down from the bench.

Major media outlets reported Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan in 1988 — announced plans to step down Wednesday afternoon as the court’s 2017-2018 term came to a close. The Washington Blade confirmed Kennedy’s plans for departure with the Supreme Court.

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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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Justice Department set to host annual LGBTQ Pride event on June 26

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Department of Justice is set to host an event recognizing Pride month and LGBTQ employees on June 26, the Washington Blade has learned.

A spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday to the Blade the event is set to take place on that date in the Justice Department’s Great Hall per the annual tradition for DOJ Pride, the LGBTQ affinity group for Justice Department employees.

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Ex-Colorado official: No bias in same-sex wedding cake case

By : wire report
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DENVER (AP) — A former Colorado civil rights commissioner whose remarks on religion were the basis of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling for a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple insisted last Wednesday she has no religious bias and wouldn’t have said anything if she’d known how her remarks would be used.

Diann Rice acknowledged she made remarks cited by the high court when it ruled last Monday in favor of Jack Phillips, a suburban Denver baker. But she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she made the comments after Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission already had ruled against Phillips and for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins.

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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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White House hails Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling as religious liberty win

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hailed Tuesday as a win for religious freedom the narrow ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to serve a custom-made wedding cake to a same-sex couple.

“When it comes to the bakers, we were pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” Sanders said. “The First Amendment prohibits government discriminating on the basis of religious beliefs, and the Supreme Court rightly concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to show tolerance and respect for his religious beliefs.”

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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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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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Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance threatened on the federal level by new bill

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. | Jacksonville’s City Council approved an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting the LGBTQ community less than a year ago, but those protections are already in danger at the state level.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jay Fant has introduced House Bill 871. It would allow businesses to set their policies in accordance to their religious beliefs—something Jacksonville attorney and LGBT activist Jimmy Midyette calls “insidious.”

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Social conservatives thank Trump at White House for anti-LGBT policy

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Social conservatives like James Dobson thanked President Trump at the White House for his anti-LGBT policy. Washington Blade photo by Chris Johnson

A host of anti-LGBT leaders met with the President Trump on Monday afternoon to thank him for keeping his promises from Election 2016, including his administration’s actions against LGBT people.

The meeting at the White House was timed with Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a move long sought by social conservatives that many leaders in the international community have warned is dangerous.

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Kennedy wrestles with wedding cake case at Supreme Court

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — His vote likely to decide the outcome, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy voiced competing concerns Tuesday about respecting the religious beliefs of a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, and the gay couple’s dignity.

Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights cases, worried early in a riveting argument at the high court that a ruling in favor of baker Jack Phillips might allow shop owners to put up signs saying “We do not bake cakes for gay weddings.”

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White House: Trump backs ‘religious liberty’ in Cakeshop case

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 said President Trump backs the U.S. solicitor general in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

Hours after oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case concluded Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump backs the position articulated by the U.S. Justice Department that bakers should be able to put up signs saying they won’t serve gays.

Sanders made the comments in response to a question from the New York Times on whether Trump backs the view posed by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco during his first time in that role presenting arguments before the Supreme Court.

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