Historical marker honors Tennessee LGBT activist

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A historical marker has been unveiled honoring a pioneering activist for gay and lesbian rights in Tennessee.

Media outlets report the marker was unveiled Saturday during a ceremony outside the former home of Penny Campbell in Nashville.

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Supreme Court won’t hear case seeking Title VII protection for gays

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced it won’t hear a case seeking protecting for lesbian, gay and bisexual workers under existing civil rights law barring sex discrimination.

The court announced it denied a writ of certiorari in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital as part of an order list Monday reflecting decisions made justices at a conference last week Friday. It takes a vote of four justices to agree to take up a case, although the vote isn’t made public.

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Arkansas resumes issuing birth certificates after brief halt

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ governor ordered health officials on Friday to treat married lesbian and heterosexual couples the same when listing the parents on a birth certificate, in an effort to comply with a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state’s birth certificate law was discriminatory.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s directive came hours after a judge blocked the state from issuing any birth certificates until it complied with the June ruling. Arkansas stopped issuing and amending birth certificates for about two hours Friday morning after the injunction by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who also canceled mediation he had ordered between attorneys for the state and three same-sex couples to find a fix to the law.

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Kennedy wrestles with wedding cake case at Supreme Court

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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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Masterpiece Cakeshop case is ‘about freedom’

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: The gay couple in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case says their case is about “freedom.” Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

The gay couple in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case on Tuesday said the issue is about equality.

This is about freedom, freedom for LGBT people to live full lives in public,” David Mullins told LGBT rights advocates who were gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Troubling signs for gays from Supreme Court in cakeshop arguments

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The U.S. Supreme Court concluded arguments Tuesday in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case with no clear indication of whether it would rule as swing-vote U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy expressed skepticism of the Colorado non-discrimination law, but also sent conflicting messages.

As the American Civil Liberties Union’s national legal director David Cole argued before the bench, Kennedy remarked the attorney’s claim the baker, Jack Phillips, denied a wedding cake to the same-sex couple based on their identity, rather than objections to same-sex marriage, was “too facile.”

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Same-sex marriage case before Supreme Court has ties to civil rights decision

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The upcoming Supreme Court argument about a baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple makes some civil rights lawyers think of South Carolina’s Piggie Park barbecue.

When two African-Americans parked their car at a Piggie Park drive-in in August 1964 in Columbia, South Carolina, the waitress who came out to serve them turned back once she saw they were black and didn’t take their order.

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Opponents in LGBT case agree: It’s not about wedding cake

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In a legal case with profound implications for LGBT rights and religion’s place in public life, the opposing sides agree on this: It’s not about the cake.

At its core, the case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments on Dec. 5 is a showdown between a gay couple from Colorado and a Denver-area baker who in 2012 cited his Christian faith in refusing to make a cake for their wedding celebration.

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Supreme Court won’t review Texas decision against same-sex benefits

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up review of a Texas Supreme Court decision casting doubt on whether the 2015 ruling for LGBTQ nationwide requires municipalities to offer same-sex spousal benefits to employees.

The Supreme Court announced it has denied certiorari, or refused to take up the petition seeking review of the decision, in an order list Monday reflecting decisions justices made during a conference last week Friday. It takes a vote of four justices to take up a case, but the vote on petitions isn’t made public.

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Judge threatens to block all birth certificates over LGBT discrimination

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge’s threat to block the state from issuing any birth certificates if lawyers don’t quickly fix a law that was found discriminatory could open up a new fight with a state Supreme Court that was criticized over its handling of a gay marriage case. It could also prompt a new debate in a legislature that had planned to focus on the budget, not LGBT issues, when it meets next year.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox last week gave attorneys for the state and three same-sex couples until Jan. 5 to come up with language to strike from the state’s birth certificate law after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with his finding that it illegally favors heterosexual couples. If the attorneys can’t come up with a fix, Fox said he’ll prevent the state from issuing any more birth certificates until the Legislature addresses the issue.

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Governor takes LGBT rights battle to state Supreme Court

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s governor is going to the state’s Supreme Court in hopes of reviving his executive order aimed at protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in state government.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, issued an order in April 2016 banning discrimination in state government and state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry challenged the order.

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Speaker Ryan: ‘I haven’t given any thought’ to Cakeshop case

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had no comment Thursday on the pending Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court in which a baker is seeking a First Amendment right to deny wedding cakes to same-sex couples.

In response to a question from the Washington Blade on the litigation, Ryan was seemingly unaware of the lawsuit. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Tuesday.

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