Showing posts with label Pro Civil Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pro Civil Rights. Show all posts

January 8, 2017

California Bans Official Travel to 4 States with Anti LGBT Laws


                                                                         


California has banned most taxpayer-funded travel to four states that have adopted anti-LGBT laws.

In addition to the three Southern states that the state attorney general's office had identified in November for inclusion on the list – Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee – Kansas was also named to the official list posted online January 1.

It is the result of Assembly Bill 1887, which was authored by gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), going into effect January 1. The AG's office did not explain its reasons for including the quartet of states on the travel ban list on the main page of the website, instead, it included links to the anti-LGBT laws each state has passed at the end of a separate page titled Frequently Asked Questions about the new law.

Low's legislation was in response to North Carolina lawmakers adopting in early 2016 House Bill 2, which restricts cities in the state from enacting local non-discrimination laws and requires transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender they were assigned at birth. Newly sworn in Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has vowed to repeal the law, though an effort to rescind it just prior to Christmas failed.

Mississippi allows for its residents and businesses to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, while Tennessee adopted a law last year allowing therapists and other mental health professionals to deny seeing LGBT patients and others for religious reasons. Kansas last year adopted a law allowing campus-based religious groups to discriminate against LGBT students.

Low told the Bay Area Reporter this week that he is "actually disheartened" to see four states made the list, as ideally there would be none falling under the ban. He added he hopes it serves as a warning to lawmakers in other states where anti-LGBT laws are pending.

"Our state has clearly said our taxpayer dollars will not fund bigotry or hatred," Low said. "If other states try to pass similar laws, we will do everything we can in our power to stop any type of discrimination from happening to Californians. As you know, our zero tolerance policy says there is no room for discrimination of any kind in California and this bill ensures discrimination will not be tolerated of any kind outside our borders."

Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group which co-sponsored Low's legislation, did not respond to a request for comment for this story by deadline.

As the B.A.R. noted in a story last week, San Francisco officials are expected to also ban non-essential travel to the four states, and possibly others, when its local travel ban goes into effect February 14, Valentine's Day. The city's ordinance also bans departments and agencies from entering into new contracts with businesses headquartered in the banned states.

"San Francisco and California must send a clear message that we aren't doing business in states that pass anti-LGBT hate laws," gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who was the main sponsor of the city's travel ban, said in a statement Tuesday to the B.A.R. "The issuance of this list – and the upcoming issuance of San Francisco's list – of banned states makes our legislation tangible."

Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties already have travel ban policies in place, as do the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville. And a number of states have banned travel to certain jurisdictions with anti-LGBT laws.

California's travel ban applies to not only government workers but also to employees and students at the state's public universities. But it does allow for exemptions to meet prior contractual obligations, or for the protection of public health, welfare, or safety.

With anti-LGBT legislation already pending in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia, it is likely more states could be added to the travel ban lists this year.

January 18, 2016

Life and Activism of Martin Luther King





March 1, 2015

Prior to The Presidents’ Visit, Gay Talese Walks Down Broad Str. on Selma



                                                                           

He walked down Broad Street looking like he had just popped off the cover of GQ magazine — bundled up against a late February chill in a camel-hair overcoat, a thick red scarf around his neck and, topping it off, a fedora reminiscent of the 1930s.
For Gay Talese, the son of an Italian tailor who raised him on hand-made suits, it was his daily attire and nothing out of the ordinary for one of America's most celebrated authors.
Such sartorial splendor drew understandable stares in downtown Selma this week as residents watched him enter stores, chat with shoppers and, in that direct, respectful way of his, ask questions without a tape recorder.
He didn't even have a notebook, preferring instead to use slips of paper to jot down comments from those he queried. His recall is remarkable and dates back decades as he gathered material for books that became best-sellers and made him a national literary icon.
Selma is a long way from New York City, but it's become something of a second home for Talese, a New Jersey native who graduated from the University of Alabama where he was sports editor of UA's Crimson-White, the campus newspaper.
He worked his way up from copy boy at the New York Times to become a respected reporter who later branched out to enter the competitive world of books and magazines.
As inquisitive today at the age of 83 as he was at 33, he came to town to see if Selma had changed from the hustling bustling little community that was home for an Air Force base that pumped millions into the local economy.
What he's discovered is a central business district that's a shell of its former self with empty stores lining Broad Street, Selma's main drag leading to the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge where "Bloody Sunday" occurred on March 7, 1965.
Statistics speak for themselves and Selma's problems are reflected in negative news developed over recent decades.
The unemployment rate for Dallas County where Selma is the center of everything was 10.1 percent — double the state average. It used to be higher than that, placing Selma among the highest jobless counties in Alabama.
The town's population, meanwhile, has declined from a high of 28,400 in 1960 when Craig Air Force Base and the Selma economy were booming. Today, it's down to 19,912 according to the 2013 estimation by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Carter administration ordered Craig closed in 1977 — an economic dagger blow for a town that relied on its military golden goose for support in so many ways.
Talese arrived in Selma after pitching a "Where is Selma today?" story idea to New York Times executives who green-lighted his proposed project.
After a couple of days in town he was quietly asking himself if he had just tackled a nut too tough to crack because "I don't see many changes."
"It was a lot different here when I was a young reporter," he said, as he broke off an interview with a laborer outside Butler-Truax, a jewelry store that dates back to the 19th century. "This street has the same look."
He thought about what it was like in 1965 "when I walked with the marchers and, soon, the president's going to walk down this street too and notice what I have."
President Obama is to address thousands on March 7, the 50th anniversary of the day Alabama state troopers using billy clubs and tear gas dispersed 600 peaceful protesters on the Pettus Bridge.
They were trying to march to Montgomery to seek easier access to the ballot box in the state. Two weeks later, they were finally able to reach that goal at the state Capitol in Montgomery.
Talese's aggressive, rapid-fire interviewing technique amused some in the stores he visited, but also displeased others and one let him have it.
"I think it's obvious he came here with an agenda and I didn't like it at all," said A.C. Reeves, a local real estate executive. "I told him so, too."
She said her company has invested thousands of dollars in an effort to buy and improve appearances of downtown stores, a clear sign, she said, that Selma residents do care about sprucing up the stores.
"I didn't come here with any agenda," Talese said the following day. "I'm a reporter and I try to tell both sides of a story I'm covering. What I see here is a street with a lot of empty stores and I'm trying to count them right now."
Joining Gay and serving as his escort during his return trip to Selma has been Sean Kelley, managing editor of Cooking Light magazine. He has been helping since he was a student at the University of Alabama 20 years ago.
"I love the man," said Kelley. "I forget at times how amazing he is and what he's done to shape so many careers in journalism."
Kelley said Talese is a "non-fiction literary equivalent of Mark Twain or Hemingway" — high praise, indeed for someone who is credited with creating the "New Journalism" rage in the 60s.
One of the things that amazes Kelley about his friend is Talese's ability to order meals at restaurants from Selma to New York City.
"I've seen him take over ordering at a table," said Kelley. "He eats out six times a week, so he is familiar with all the top restaurants in New York. Most of the time he picks up the tab, too."
Talese did hit a brick wall during dinner at the Selma Country Club on Sunday night when he kept trying to get some information from businessman Larry Jones, who sat a few feet away.
"I'm not recording this and it isn't for publication, either," Gay said, as Jones stared at him without responding. "It's just for background."
Edie Jones' silence matched her husband's and it was easy to see that Gay's usually persuasive interviewing power had met its match.
"He is a master of interviews," said Kelley. "He can bludgeon you and cajole you but, in the end you'll come away with the feeling that he likes you. That's because he does, even with difficult interviews."
Gay didn’t seem upset by Larry Jones' reticence because he was already thinking of the next morning when he'd once again walk down Broad Street to one of America's most famous bridges, mentally adding up the buildings in distress.
Alvin Benn                                  

October 14, 2013

Moroccans Kiss in in Support of Teenagers Arrested by Posting in FaceBook

View image on Twitter
© AFP

A few dozen Moroccans took part in a “kiss-in” Saturday in Rabat to support three teenagers arrested for posting a picture of themselves kissing on Facebook. The protesters were confronted by onlookers as they kissed and chanted "Long live love".

By News Wires (text)
 
A few dozen Moroccans staged a symbolic “kiss-in” Saturday in support of three teenagers arrested for posting pictures on Facebook of two of them smooching.


Only around a dozen couples actually locked lips in the gathering outside parliament, but the
demonstrators insisted they had defended the right to public displays of affection inMorocco’s conservative society.
The kissing case has sparked uproar online, with citizens protesting against what they see as creeping conservatism in the Muslim country long known for being relatively liberal and tolerant.
More than 2,000 people had indicated they would take part in Saturday’s “kiss-in” but the vast majority failed to show, indicating a gulf between online activism and actual on-the-street protests.
The demonstrators gathered outside parliament for “a symbolic kiss of love”, one participant, Nizar Benamate, told AFP after the display before a group of onlookers and reporters.
“For us, the message got through. It was a success. There were couples and single people, and the couples were not embarrassed in public,” said Ibtissam Lachgar, one of the organisers.
“Our message is that they are defending love, the freedom to love and kiss freely,” she said.
A small group of counter-protesters shoved some of the couples and threw chairs.
“We are an Islamic country and kissing in public is forbidden. A simple kiss can lead to other things. These are atheists who are acting against Islam,” one of them said.

YOUTUBE VIDEO SHOWS SCUFFLE BETWEEN PROTESTERS AND OPPONENTS

After the brief scuffle the two groups dispersed peacefully.
The couple at the heart of the case, a boy and a girl aged 15 and 14, and their 15-year-old male friend who took the photos outside their school in the northern town of Nador, were arrested last week, charged with “violating public decency” and held in a juvenile centre.
The case lit up social media, with several young people posting similar kissing pictures on Facebook and Twitter and calling for “kiss-ins” in an online rebellion against conservatives.
Amid mounting pressure, the judge ordered that the teens be released on bail three days later, and their trial Friday was adjourned until November 22 to allow “an inquiry into the social circumstances of the teenagers,” their lawyer said.
(AFP)

June 7, 2013

Gay Marriage Gains in Polls Like a Backup Sink Just as The Supremes Get Ready to Sing


 

 I was pleased to see to much noise and talking, guessing that I was pleased I as said to be able to get all the pertinent polls in one place and therefore dear reader I am passing along to you because: Adamfoxie*blog *Shares*
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 By god sakes if I was a practicing Christian or practicing anything religious, anything to do with god, wouldn't you say that may be he is trying to tell you! something. What would it take anybody to be convinced that one thing we try in this nation to do, even though we fail many times is to be  fair. Contrary to popular believe that the national populace can not be blamed for what the politicians do is very wrong. These politicians have a mom, dad and dark room fill no longer with smoke but lots of fine spirits and an ambilical cord to their parents which are the voters who got them there. The voters keep those scissors nice and sharp enough that can cut them off like my mom used to cut a piece of soft chicken breast. 
When you have over half of the country on anything you usually get unity and a sense that the people are speaking. I hope that is happening because anytime people speak, that lady with a blindfold and weight counter manage to see who is talking and usually swings that way of the way the noise is coming. I hope that american politics being what they are, that the natural cause of events will follow and we will get something out of the supremes called fairness——few of us now believe in justice but most of us we surely damn believe in trying to be fair to one another.

 A book a few thousands years old written by men that could only speak of their times and use the symbols of their times and churches that have used tradition when it was important to them and their message., I hope that fairness comes with a strong dose of common sense. If that happens may be we would have learnt the lessons of the separation of races, the injustices that were committed when you separate. Just like in Nazi Germany when they were able to separate everyone by birth and looks you started having millions of human beings cooked up for dinner, supper,breakfast and lunch. And nobody came to their rescue says the book of recent history and human crimes. The Japanese were separated in camps too and they suffered, no body got cooked, hung or gassed them but loosing your liberty for whom you are and were born as? 
Let this time when we have  killed separated and hid in closet all sorts of people that their only sin was that some,….they…. had to put their penis in a slide different position with their human brother they love and wanted to share a life with.  What do they deserve? I say they deserve fairness.
 Fairness for people that are not 100% like you but they are humans and maybe they are 99%  or may be 100%  by the time you get to know them. If everybody knew an LGTB person as their neighbor or family and you got to know them, you will be in the over half of the country that are standing with us, gays. You will say I should be fair and it doesn’t cost me a dime.                                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~Adam Gonzalez of adamfoxie*
More than half of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry, endorsing the goal of gay-rights activists as the U.S. Supreme Court this month prepares to rule on the issue for the first time.

Fifty-two percent say they back giving gay couples the right to marry, compared with 41 percent who are opposed, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted May 31-June 3.
  EGay Marriage Gaining Ground As Supreme Court Prepares To Rule
The growing acceptance of gay marriage comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on two cases about the issue. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Fifty-two percent of Americans say they back giving gay couples the right to marry, compared with 41 percent who oppose expanding the law. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Of those supporters, more than half -- 61 percent -- want a national law rather than a state-by-state approach. During arguments in March, the justices signaled a reluctance to declare a right to same-sex marriage nationwide.
“It should be a national law that is done and over with,” says Kevin Mangum, a disabled veteran from San Angelo, Texas. “Things change, and that’s the way it is now.”
Momentum has grown behind gay marriage over the past decade. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex weddings, six in the last year alone.
Companies including Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are urging the court to back gay-marriage rights, as are dozens of Republicans who once held top government positions.
More From the Poll:
The growing acceptance of same-sex nuptials comes as the Supreme Court is set to rule on two cases about the issue. The higher-profile one centers on California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that banned gay marriage in the state. The initiative effectively overruled a state Supreme Court decision that had permitted such weddings for five months.

Multiple Options

The second case concerns the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union. The court will rule on the law’s provision denying legally married same-sex couples the federal benefits available to heterosexual spouses, such as the right to file joint tax returns.

In the California case, the court has a menu of options. It could issue a sweeping ruling either way -- declaring a nationwide right to same-sex marriage or decide that the issue should be determined on a state-by-state basis.
The justices suggested during the earlier arguments that they are inclined to take a narrower approach. The Obama administration is urging the court to adopt reasoning that would allow same-sex weddings in California and six other states that currently permit civil unions or domestic partnerships. The court could also rule on procedural grounds, limiting the impact to California, or even dismiss the case entirely.

‘Global Resolution’

The poll results illustrate that much of the public would prefer a more sweeping response from the high court.
“There is a wish for this to be over and done, to find a global resolution rather than this being revisited election by election,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll for Bloomberg.
The higher level of support is driven by the overwhelming backing for same-sex marriage among younger Americans, regardless of political affiliation. Almost two-thirds -- 65 percent -- of survey respondents under age 35 say they favor gay weddings. Americans over age 55 are almost split, with 44 percent favoring gay marriage and 47 percent opposed.
“I see no possible explanation for how that sort of discrimination is acceptable,” says Leeor Schweitzer, a 24-year-old political independent from PortlandOregon.
The age gap is particularly stark among Republicans, who oppose same-sex marriage in higher numbers. Overall, one-third of self-identified Republicans favor same-sex marriage and 59 percent oppose it. Those under age 35, however, support it by a 5-to-4 majority.

Unmistakable Message

The Republican National Committee, as part of an internal examination of the party, released a report this week exploring its failings among young voters, including opposition to same-sex marriage.
“It was unmistakable in the focus groups that gay marriage was a reason many of these young voters disliked” the party, the report said.
“People my age don’t see a problem with it,” says Chris Paradiso, a 27-year-old Republican sales manager from New York. “As long as they don’t try to marry me I don’t care.”
At the same time, more than two-thirds -- 68 percent -- of born-again Christians, a strong base of support for the Republican Party, are against same-sex marriage.
“It’s totally against what Christians believe,” says Dena Smith, a housewife in southernArkansas. “I would not vote for someone who is for legalizing gay marriage.”
{Adam}

September 25, 2012

Group of Diversified Prominent Pastors Come to MD to Affirm Gay Marriage(Q.6) As Civil Rights

African American Pastors 4 MD Marriage Equality at the National Press Club

This report gives you specifics of how these pastors feel and where they are from. It’s so good to see for a change!
A group of prominent African-American religious leaders from Maryland, as well as other parts of the country, endorsed Maryland's Question 6 at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington this morning. Question 6 is referendum to affirm the law passed earlier this year to allow same-sex couples access to Maryland marriage licenses.
Led by the Rev. Delman Coates, pastor of the 8,000-member Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., 11 ministers expressed their support for civil marriage equality, even if their particular churches oppose same-sex marriage.

African American Pastors 4 MD Marriage Equality at the National Press Club
(Photo by Todd Franson)
''As pastors and clergy leaders, we are here today to declare our unequivocal support for Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act and to dispel the myth that all African-American pastors are fundamentally opposed to the idea of marriage equality,'' Coates told the audience at the Press Club, referring to the title of the marriage-equality bill signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in March. The law does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2013, a political concession made to help it pass the Maryland Legislature.
''Admittedly, many of us find the idea of voting on someone else's civil rights a bit disconcerting,'' Coates continued. ''When the rights of the minority are submitted to a vote, all too often the minority loses. But I am confident that over the course of our advocacy in Maryland this year, and the evolution of views nationally at the highest levels, we are seeing attitudes change, which causes us to be confident that Marylanders will allow fairness for all to be the guiding principle that informs their support for Question 6 on the November 6th ballot referendum.''
Coates emphasized that the debate over Question 6 needed to be a question of public policy, rather than a debate over religious beliefs. He also highlighted the fact that Question 6 and the underlying marriage-equality law explicitly provide religious protections for institutions and clergy who do not want to endorse or perform same-sex marriages.
''This is not an issue about gay or straight, this is an issue about civil rights,'' said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a 2004 presidential candidate and New York-based president of the National Action Network. ''And to take a position to limit the civil rights of anyone is to take a position to limit the civil rights of everyone. You cannot be a part-time civil rights activist. You cannot be for civil rights for African-Americans, but not for gays and lesbians.''
Other speakers at this morning's event were the Rev. S. Todd Yeary, senior pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore; the Rev. Brad Braxton, senior pastor of The Open Church in Baltimore; and the Rev. Christine Wiley of D.C.'s Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ; and Susan Newman, associate minister of All Souls Church in Washington. Wiley and Newman, both Maryland residents, both said that many of their D.C. congregants are also Maryland residents and who will be supporting Question 6.
The Rev. Donte Hickman, senior pastor of Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore, who testified alongside Coates in favor of marriage equality before the Maryland General Assembly, also attended the press conference, though he did not address the crowd.
Aside from voicing their support for Question 6, the pastors also challenged attempts by others to use President Obama's recently stated support for marriage equality as an argument to persuade religious African-Americans to not vote in November.
One of the marriage-equality movement's most vocal opponents, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), stated in a 2009 memo a goal to ''drive a wedge between gays and blacks … fanning the hostility in the wake of Prop 8,'' referring to the California ballot measure that rescinded same-sex couples' right to marry in 2008. Responding to a press question, the Rev. Amos Brown, senior pastor of San Francisco's Third Baptist Church, specifically called out NOM its tactics.
Although none of the Friday morning speakers said they knew of any Maryland pastors advising congregants to forgo voting on Election Day, the Rev. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, said his deacons advised him of family members receiving such requests elsewhere – Richmond and New Jersey, specifically.
Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at the National Press Club as part of African American Pastors 4 MD Marriage Equality
Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at the National Press Club as part of African American Pastors 4 MD Marriage Equality
(Photo by Todd Franson)
''I am ultimately concerned about those who would use this as a political wedge to suppress those who would vote in the November elections,'' said Wesley, who has many Maryland congregants, particularly from Prince George's County. ''It is absolutely deplorable and reprehensible for anyone to suggest that this an issue that should keep us from the polls. I would encourage all people of faith not to fall prey to this tragedy.''
''I'm a good enough preacher to convert you, I don't need to force you to believe in what I believe in,'' Sharpton said in a swipe at those pastors encouraging African-Americans not to vote. ''Any preacher who cannot win converts should not ask the legislature to pick up for his ineptness.''
Asked if they would appear in commercials on behalf of marriage equality to counter ads by opponents who have purchased four weeks of pre-election advertising, Sharpton said he would. Coates and Braxton said their group of clergy will be engaging in several events to educate the public about Question 6 as part of a ''full-court press'' to convince voters to support the ballot question.
''I think you're seeing here today leading voices, mainstream voices in the African-American community on this issue,'' Coates said in response to a question citing a rival press conference held simultaneously in Virginia by African-American pastors opposed to marriage equality. ''I've heard Rev. Sharpton say before, 'There's a difference between ''the black church'' and ''a church of blacks.'' The black church represents that tradition of African-American Christian religion that has been on the side of freedom, justice and equality. Those voices that you hear [here] today represent a black-church tradition.''

By John Riley 
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