Pastor Protection Act headed to FL Senate floor for vote

By : Jamie Hyman
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State senators will vote on the anti-gay and unnecessary Pastor Protection Act March 3, after the legislature approved amendments March 1 that narrow the scope of the bill.

SB 110 purports to prevent religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex weddings, even though under current laws protecting religious beliefs, clergy can already opt out of marrying any couple they choose, gay or straight.

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Birth certificates will determine gender for student-athletes in Texas

By : Wire Report
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Austin (AP) – School superintendents in Texas have overwhelmingly approved a change that requires public school officials to use a birth certificate to determine a student-athlete’s gender.

A referendum ballot submitted to superintendents last month shows they voted 586 to 32 to amend University Interscholastic League rules when it comes to transgender athletes.

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Kentucky Supreme Court rules in favor of lesbian in complex custody case

By : Wire Report
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Frankfort, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that a gay woman may proceed with her efforts to obtain joint custody of a girl borne by her ex-partner when they were still together.

The woman, identified as Amy, had asked the court to block adoption proceedings by her ex-partner’s husband. The girl’s mother became pregnant with the help of a sperm donor. She gave birth in 2006 when she and Amy were still a couple.

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Panasonic forges ahead with recognition of same-sex marriage and possible benefits

By : Wire Report
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Tokyo (AP) – Panasonic Corp. said it will recognize same-sex marriages in its employment policies in a rare move for a major Japanese manufacturer.

Although details are being worked out, some of the benefits currently allocated to married employees include maternity leave, health insurance and a small cash bonus, said spokeswoman Chieko Gyobu. Panasonic said the new policy will come into effect in April.

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Pastor Protection Act headed to Florida Senate for a vote

By : Jamie Hyman
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Tallahassee – The Pastor Protection Act, an unnecessary, anti-gay bill that purports to prevent religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex weddings, is headed to the full Florida Senate.

On Feb. 17, SB110 cleared its final hurdle when the Rules Committee voted 7-3 in favor of the legislation. The bill is redundant, as under current laws protecting religious beliefs, clergy can already opt out of marrying any couple they choose, gay or straight.

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Georgia’s version of “Pastor Protection Act” headed to their Senate

By : Wire Report
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Atlanta (AP) – A bill headed toward a vote in the Georgia Senate would allow faith-based organizations to refuse services to same-sex couples without government penalties, including loss of taxpayer funding.

The powerful Senate Rules committee Feb. 16 added that language to a bill unanimously approved by the House last week allowing religious officials to decline performing same-sex marriage ceremonies. The move combines two of the eight bills introduced this year seeking legal exemptions for opponents of same-sex marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling effectively legalized the unions.

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Florida among states with anti-sodomy laws on the books

By : Wire Report
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Baton Rouge, La. (AP) — A dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they are unconstitutional.

One such state is Louisiana, where gay rights groups contend police have used anti-sodomy laws to target gay men. But state lawmakers sided with religious and conservative groups in refusing to repeal the law last week.

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Screened Out – The Witch

By : Stephen Miller
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Ralph Ineson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw

It’s easy to sense the research and commitment that went into the horror movie The Witch, the debut full-length by NYC stage talent and shorts director Robert Eggers. The flick – set in 17th-century New England – follows a Puritan family thrust out into the wilderness, where they battle evil forces that come from the gnarled woods around them.

Alas, the sum here is more mood than sense. By the end, all the dark foreboding, meticulous academics, commentary on fundamentalism, and self-flagellating religiosity has less witchy magic. It devolves into gory absurdism.

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Screened Out – Steve Jobs

By : Stephen Miller
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Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels

Steve Jobs is available on DVD and some streaming services Feb. 16.

Like many Steve Jobs inventions, this excellent movie flopped. Why? How?

It isn’t the subject; Steve Jobs is one of the most intriguing persons of the last century. The film’s production team includes writer Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing), director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting), and Oscar nominees Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet. When this brilliant three-act movie opened in early October last year, the critical praise was high, and there was a lot of Awards buzz.

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Florida Competitive Workforce Act dies before Senate Judiciary Committee

By : Jamie Hyman
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Looks like 2016 is not the year for LGBT workforce protections in Florida.

At the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Feb. 9, the committee was deadlocked 5-5 on the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which would protect LGBT people against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. A tie vote means the bill fails.

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Organist Cameron Carpenter to meet with LGBT adolescents

By : Krista DiTucci
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On Feb. 27, world-renowned organist Cameron Carpenter will meet with members of Blake High School’s LGBT youth club Common Grounds for a lecture/demonstration at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Carpenter will be meeting with 25 student members of Common Grounds to discuss his music, career and the International Touring Organ. He will then entertain students with a brief performance of the touring organ. Carpenter’s appearance is in conjunction with his concert later in the evening at the Straz Center.

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New York moves toward conversion therapy ban

By : Wire Report
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New York (AP) – New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people’s sexual orientation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Feb. 6, joining a number of states that have acted against what’s known as gay conversion therapy.

The Democratic governor’s move comes as gay rights advocates have campaigned state by state with mixed results to try to ban a practice that major mental health organizations have repudiated.

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