Tag Archives: non discrimination

Eighth Circuit Court Split Decision Supports "Christian" Videographers Denying Service To Gay Couple

Eighth Circuit Court Split Decision Supports “Christian” Videographers Denying Service To Gay Couple

A split decision of the Eighth Circuit Court on Friday cleared the way Friday for two “Christian” videographers to sue the state of Minnesota over the right to refuse to film same-sex weddings, arguing that the videos are a form of speech subject to First Amendment protections.

Carl and Angel Larsen, who run a Christian videography business called Telescope Media Group, filed a federal suit in 2016 against Minnesota’s human rights commissioner, saying the state’s public accommodation law could hit them with steep fines or jail time if they offered services promoting only their vision of marriage.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim in Minneapolis originally dismissed their case after finding that their professional policy of promoting marriage as a bond between one man and one woman was akin to posting a sign that said “white applicants only.”

Reversing the previous ruling Friday, a divided three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit emphasized that the Larsens have a First Amendment right “to choose when to speak and what to say.”

“Even anti-discrimination laws, as critically important as they are, must yield to the Constitution,” U.S. Circuit Judge David Stras wrote for the panel’s 2-1 majority,

“And as compelling as the interest in preventing discriminatory conduct may be, speech is treated differently under the First Amendment.”

Stras cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1995 landmark decision in Hurley vs. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston, which held that private organizations, even if they were planning on and had permits for a public demonstration, were permitted to exclude groups if those groups presented a message contrary to the one the organizing group wanted to convey.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison blasted the holding.

“This split decision today marks a shocking reversal of Minnesota’s evolution toward equality for LGBTQ people — with consequences for the entire country,” Ellison said in a statement. “A ruling that lets a business discriminate against LGBTQ folks today would let it discriminate on the basis of religion, race, gender, ability, or any other category it chooses tomorrow. The decision smacks of other dark moments in our nation’s history when courts have infamously upheld discrimination.”

The LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the bigoted couple, lauded the decision.

“This is a significant win. The government shouldn’t threaten filmmakers with fines and jail time to force them to create films that violate their beliefs,” ADF senior counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement. We’re pleased that the 8th Circuit has affirmed that the Larsens’ films are fully protected speech and that the state lacks a compelling interest to force them to express messages through their films that violate their deeply held convictions.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Jane Kelley wrote in dissent Friday that her colleagues’ ruling marks the first time a court has “afforded ‘affirmative constitutional protections to private discrimination.”

While the First Amendment does protect religious and philosophical objections to same-sex marriage, Kelley said that right does not entitle business owners to deny protected personals equal access to goods and services.

Virginia GOP Leaders Kill LGBT Non-Discrimination Bills for the 4th. Time

Virginia GOP Leaders Kill LGBT Non-Discrimination Bills for the 4th. Time

Republican leaders in Virginia’s House of Delegates Thursday removed two LGBT non-discrimination bills from the agenda of the General Laws Committee in a move that if goes unchecked will kill both bills when the House session ends at the end of the month,

The bills include House Bill 2677, which would discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, and House Bill 2067, which would prohibit similar discrimination in public employment. Both bills moved past the House Rules Committee on Monday.

This will be the 4th time, including in this session, in which similar non-discrimination bills have passed in the Virginia Senate with support from both Republicans and Democrats. Each year, the Republican leadership in the House of Delegates has blocked the legislation from receiving a vote on the floor.

“Today’s anti-LGBTQ actions by Virginia House leadership are dramatically out of step with voters, lawmakers, and Americans from all walks of life.” Freedom for All Americans CEO Masen Davis wrote in a statement. “Equality is not a partisan issue, but a human issue — and it’s a shame when legislators who don’t yet realize that fundamental truth have the power to thwart commonsense, bipartisan bills to protect their constituents.”

Kentucky House Waters Down Religious Liberty/Freedom To Discriminate Bill Over Fear of Backlash

Midway, Kentucky Becomes 8th KY City With LGBT Fairness Ordinance (And NO Religious Exemptions)

Kentucky Gay


The small Kentucky city of Midway, population 1,657, became the eighth Kentucky city to adopt a Fairness Ordinance, prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people

Led by first-term Mayor Grayson Vandergrift, four council members cast votes in favor of LGBT Fairness with two council members casting votes in opposition after brief debate.  In April, the council committee removed “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) language from the draft ordinance and the full city council held a public forum on the issue in early May. A dozen Midway residents spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance at the forum, while only one member of the community spoke in opposition.

“Midway has taken a bold step towards Fairness for all its residents tonight,” shared Midway resident Cindy Batts. “Mayor Vandergrift reminded everyone of the alarming reality for most LGBT Kentuckians–they can still be legally fired from a job or denied housing or service if they are gay or transgender without state or federal civil rights protections. In Midway, that is now no longer the case.”

Midway now joins seven other Kentucky cities that have passed similar LGBT Fairness Ordinance, including Covington (2003), Danville (2014), the state capital Frankfort (2013), Lexington (1999), Louisville (1999), Morehead (2013), and the tiny Appalachian town of Vicco (2013).

8 Kentucky cities down, 417 Kentucky cities to go!

HRC Announces Support For Utah Non-Discrimination Law That Still Allows Religious Institutions and Non-Profits To Discriminate.

Gay Inc


If you head on over to the HRC Blog today you’ll see a story of the HRC applauding  themselves for the  backing of  Utah’s proposed non-discrimination bill S.B. 296, that extends employment and housing non-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity…….. somewhat.

HRC Blog:

“This is an extraordinary moment for the state of Utah, for LGBT Americans, and for the Mormon Church, which, by supporting this legislation, shows a willingness to align with others on the right side of history,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The desire exhibited by the Mormon Church to work toward common ground should serve as a model for other faith traditions here in the United States.”

It contains these consequential provisions:

  • Employers would be prohibited from discriminating against job applicants and employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,
  • All individuals would be afforded the same free-speech protections in their private lives and could not be fired for either supporting or opposing marriage equality,
  • Landlords and property owners would be prohibited from discriminating against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation,
  • No religious exemptions from the non-discrimination provisions would be allowed for individuals or for-profit businesses.

While the HRC is spinning this there as “comprehensive” there are religious exemptions involved

(ii) The following entities are entitled to the exemptions described in Subsection

847 (4)(a)(i):
848 (A) a religious organization, association, or society; or
849 (B) a nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in
850 conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society.

So just like the  failed federal ENDA attenpt which HRC continued to stand behind and support while every other organization stood down after realizing the broad religious exemptions it held.  Those same exemptions are indeed in the Utah bill and while individuals and businesses would not be able to discriminate without a religious affiliation.  Those who have, which not only include churches and religious non-profits, but also schools, hospitals or an business affiliation to “religious organization, association, or society.” can. Which let’s face it is about 3/4 of Utah.

Don’t let the HRC spin fool you.  This is nothing but another disastrous move by HRC who are willing to settle for “some” of our rights instead of “all” of them.



Missouri Advances Nondiscrimination Protections For Gun Owners NOT Gays

Well it looks like in the the “show me” state of Missouri you’ll soon be protected from discrimination for your love of guys, but not for the love of another human being who happens to be the same sex as the Missouri House advanced a new nondiscrimination bill that protects gun owners while LGBT’s in the state still face employment or housing discrimination without any protections. When the law passes which it looks like it will, it will ensure that anyone who legally carries a firearm cannot be fired, denied benefits, or otherwise discriminated against.

Said who is openly gay state Rep. Mike Colona (D), “what this body has done is put protecting gun ownership above discriminating against somebody because of their sexual orientation, and I just don’t think that’s right.”

And thats why Missouri is called a “flyover state”