Champions of LGBTQ life and culture in Rochester, NY since 1973.
Monday October 20th 2014



Lambda Legal files for summary judgment on Arizona marriages

6a00d8341c730253ef01bb0799a7bc970d-250wiBy Kyler Geoffroy on

On the heels of last week’s Ninth Circuit decision striking down Nevada and Idaho’s gay marriage bans, Lambda Legal has filed for summary judgment on behalf of Nelda Majors, Karen Bailey and other couples in a case challenging Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer:

Nelda and Karen [pictured] have been waiting since the Eisenhower Administration; the time is now. None of these loving and committed couples should have to wait even one day longer for the equal treatment that the Constitution promises. The indelible writing is on the wall, both with the 9th Circuit ruling and last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to review circuit court rulings out of the 4th, 7th and 10th Circuits striking down similar bans in five states nationwide. Equality plus liberty add up to marriage for same-sex couples here in Arizona, too.

The federal judge in question, U.S. District Judge John Sedwick, last month ordered Arizona to recognize the marriage of a gay man who lost his spouse to cancer last month and was subsequently denied death benefits because of the state’s same-sex marriage ban.


Houston subpoenas anti-gay pastors on repeal of LGBT right ordinances

AnniseParkerHSTeabagistan has been in an utter uproar for the last 24 hours after the city of Houston subpoenaed anti-gay pastors with a demand for copies of recent sermons in order to determine whether they were advocating for the repeal of the city’s recently approved LGBT rights ordinances.

Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are hoping to force a repeal referendum when they get their day in court in January, claiming City Attorney David Feldman wrongly determined they had not gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. City attorneys issued subpoenas last month during the case’s discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

The subpoenas were issued to several high-profile pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion on behalf of the pastors seeking to quash the subpoenas.

Under the 1954 Johnson Amendment, tax-exempt 501(C) organizations, which includes most churches, are banned from intervening in political campaigns. The subpoenas have inflamed every corner of the wingnut-o-sphere with the usual screams of homofascism. As it turns out, Houston Mayor Annise Parker was not advised that the subpoenas were being filed.

Mayor Parker agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastor’s sermons. The subpoenas were issued by pro bono attorneys helping the city prepare for the trial regarding the petition to repeal the new Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in January. Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until yesterday. Both agree the original documents were overly broad. The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing. Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process.

For the last several years, hundreds of Christian churches have participated in an annual event called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, during which pastors openly violate the Johnson Amendment. The event was expressly created in order to goad the federal government into finally charging somebody so that the law’s repeal could be achieved. So far the feds have not taken the bait. Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a project of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is screaming the loudest about homofascism in Houston. Secretly, though, you know they are thrilled.

Potential presidential candidate Ted Cruz and many fellow Baggers were foaming at the mouth today; Cruz accused Parker of bulldozing “religious freedom” – the term used to describe legal discrimination against people the religious right hates.

Third Australian state to overturn gay sex convictions

bruce_for_coogee_portaraitBy Andrew Potts on

Photo by Bruce for Coogee campaign

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) looks set to join Victoria and South Australia in quashing criminal convictions for gay and bisexual men who were prosecuted over consensual sex acts prior to the decriminalization of homosexuality in the state.

The NSW Legislative Assembly, or Lower House of the NSW Parliament, voted today in favor of a private members bill put forward by Coogee Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith – the first openly gay man to be elected to that chamber.

Under the bill men who were convicted of having sex with other men prior to 1984 would be able to have those convictions removed from their records.

‘Consensual sex between two consenting adult males should never have been considered a crime. This is another step in correcting some of the wrongs of the past,’ Notley-Smith said in announcing the bill in September.

‘Once a conviction has been extinguished, people will not be required to disclose that the conviction ever existed. In applying for a job or any other position or office, even under oath, they will not have to disclose the extinguished conviction. It will be illegal for any government agency to disclose any information about an extinguished conviction.’

Notley-Smith believes his Criminal Records Amendment (Historical Homosexual Offenses) Bill 2014 will pass easily in his state’s Upper House with bipartisan support when the bill is brought before it for a vote next week.

The bill was welcomed by Sydney independent MP Alex Greenwich – the second openly gay man to be elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly – who successfully sought to have parliamentary standing orders suspended so that the bill could be debated today.

‘What better way to mark the 30th anniversary of decriminalization, than passing legislation that says the gay community should have never been criminalized in the first place,’ Greenwich said.

‘For 30 years many men have had the unfair burden of criminal convictions for being who they are and loving who they love. This bill rights that historic wrong.’

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