The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a 2015 ruling by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) that the owners of Gresham-based Sweetcakes By Melissa violated the state's nondiscrimination statutes when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple based on their religious freedom, a Lambda Legal press release noted. The court had initially affirmed the BOLI ruling, but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling in June 2019 and directed the Oregon appeals court to reconsider its decision in light of the Supreme Court's 2018 ruling in favor of a Colorado baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer said, "The court was right five years ago and is still right today. The [owner] Kleins' faith does not give them a pass to ignore Oregon's Public Accommodation Law."
A bomb threat was phoned in to the Wilshire Boulevard Koreatown offices of the TransLatin@ Coalition, according to The Washington Blade. According to TransLatin@ Coalition President/CEO Bamby Salcedo, an unidentified male caller told the staff person who answered the call, "You're all going to die." Officers, specialists and detectives from the Rampart Division of the LAPD responded and swept the building; they found no explosive device. The incident is under investigation.
A lesbian member of the West Virginia Air National Guard is suing the U.S. Army and Air Force, alleging that her male boss penalized her for not being feminine enough, LGBTQ Nation reported. Tech. Sgt. Kristin M. Kingrey, 37who has been a member of the military for almost 15 yearsclaimed her superiors threatened that, if she didn't grow out her hair and start wearing makeup, there'd be consequences to her career. After issuing the threat, the lawsuit alleged her leaders followed through, withdrawing her acceptance from a job she had already been offered and refusing to hire her for another role, even though she was qualified.
A California judge granted a temporary restraining order to Apple CEO Tim Cook after the company said a Virginia woman sent him hundreds of sometimes threatening messages and appeared at his Palo Alto condo, NBC News reported. In a petition for the order, Apple said the woman began harassing Cook in October 2020, when she is alleged to have tweeted that they were married and that Cook, who is openly gay, fathered her twin children. Also, the woman allegedly opened dozens of corporations in Cook's name in California, New York and Virginia, including one with "Safe Sexclinic, Cook HIV" in its name.
In other Cook-related news, he said Apple is seeing inflationary pressure, as the company reported nearly $124 billion in sales in its December quarter, CNBC reported. "We try to price our products for the value that we deliver and we are seeing inflationary pressure," Cook said. "I think everybody's seeing inflationary pressure. There's no two ways about that." Cook added that he hoped the increased costs would be temporary.
Streaming giant Netflix lost its inclusion on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC's) annual Corporate Equality Index due to its airing of Dave Chappelle's controversial special The Closerand the company has responded, according to out.com . In a statement, Netflix said it "respectfully disagree[d] with HRC's decision" to exclude them from the report. "While we have more work to do, we've made real strides on inclusion, including for our LGBTQ+ colleagues," a Netflix spokesperson said in response to the news. "For example, we offer comprehensive transgender and non-binary-inclusive care in our U.S. health plans as well as adoption, surrogacy, and parental leave for same-sex couples."
Equality California recently endorsed California Attorney General Rob Bonta, per a press release. Bonta made history last year as the state's first Filipino American to serve as attorney general, after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed him to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of former Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. "LGBTQ+ Californians have a great champion and ally in Attorney General Rob Bonta, and we are thrilled to support his campaign for a full term," said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang.
Polk County, Florida authorities have used LGBTQ+ dating apps like Grindr, Taimi and Scruff in a crackdown on drugs, targeting the apps' users who sold them, The Advocate noted. As part of the six-month undercover operation police have called "Swipe Left," the Polk County sheriff's office said it had made 60 arrests. In a press conference, police said the investigation began in July 2021 after the sheriff's office was given a tip about users selling drugs on Grindr.
As lawmakers in Florida take aim at prohibiting instruction around racial equality in classrooms, some are now also trying to limit conversation about gender and sexual orientation in schools with a bill that will be voted upon later this spring, Sun-Sentinel.com reported. That was one of five bills filed during the first week of Florida's 2022 legislative session that would affect LGBTQ+ students in school as well as those seeking medical care. "This is an agenda that has nothing to do with the life of Floridians," said Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith. "These bills would have a chilling effect, banning discussions of the existence of LGBTQ+ people, making students more vulnerable, more isolated, invading the most personal conversations between doctors, parents, and young people."
Also in Florida, Leon County Schools will be asking for community input for its new LGBTQ+ guide and the Student and Parent Bill of Rights policy, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The two have been updated to reflect HB 1B, approved by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis after the Florida Legislature's special session late last year. The new law solidified the governor's emergency order from earlier in the year that directed the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Department of Health to issue emergency rules to allow parents to make healthcare decisions for their children.
Bisexual Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was been formally censured by the Arizona Democratic Party, LGBTQ Nation noted. While the censure itself is just a simple reprimand on Sinema's record, the party also decided last fall to pledge that they could withdraw support from the bisexual Senator if she runs for reelection in 2024, but prevents reform to the filibuster. The party's censure is just one of several forms of fallout Sinema is facing after refusing, alongside Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) to reform the filibustera procedural maneuver historically used to prevent the passage of civil-rights legislation.
In a first for an LGBTQ media outlet, the Washington Blade, based in the nation's capital, has been given a designated seat in the White House James S. Brady briefing room, according to Press Pass Q. The announcement actually came Dec. 17 from the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), which is responsible for the seating assignment in the briefing room. According to the Blade, the newspaper will share the seat with the Boston Globe: "The two publications have made an arrangement to rotate a presence in the seat on a weekly basis. The seat is in the seventh group and next to a seat shared with the Daily Caller, a conservative publication; and EWTN, a social conservative news outlet billing itself as a global network for Catholic-themed programming."
The Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund announced thatafter 21 years and over $105 million in investmentsit will wind down its LGBT equality program over the next two years, a press release noted. The fund has supported 186 grantees over that span, including Freedom to Marry, the Palm Center, the Movement Advancement Project
The director of a Mississippi library system said a mayor is withholding $110,000 from his city's library because LGBTQ books are on the shelves, The Daily Leader noted. Tonja Johnson, executive director of the Madison County Library System, told news outlets that Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee received citizen complaints about a handful of books that featured members of the LGBTQ community. The Ridgeland Board of Aldermen approved the city budget in the fall, and Ald. Ken Heard told WAPT that the mayor doesn't have the authority to unilaterally deny funds to the library.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized on social media after suggesting today's anti-vaxxers have it worse than Holocaust victims like Anne Frank, HuffPost noted. During an anti-vaccine mandate protest in Washington, D.C., the eldest son of former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy said, "Even in Hitler's Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland; you could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did." Kennedy's comparison was criticized by many, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and his own wife, former Curb Your Enthusiasm cast member Cheryl Hines.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion to throw out former President Donald Trump's effort to stop an investigation into his business dealings, calling the effort a "frivolous" attempt to circumvent the law, HuffPost reported. James launched the investigation in March 2019, shortly after Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that the real-estate magnate had inflated some assets to obtain favorable loans and devalued others to pay less in taxes.
The dean of Georgetown University Law Center condemned a new faculty member's Twitter posts questioning the qualifications of any Black woman that President Joe Biden may nominate to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Reuters reported. "The tweets' suggestion that the best Supreme Court nominee could not be a Black woman and their use of demeaning language are appalling," wrote Dean Bill Treanor in a message to the law school community about comments posted by Ilya Shapiro. Shapirowho later apologized on Twitteris joining its faculty on Feb. 1 as executive director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dined at a New York City restaurant days after it was confirmed she tested positive for COVID multiple times, USA Today noted. The former Republican vice-presidential nominee (who's unvaccinated) dined at New York City's Elio's. The visit came after her positive coronavirus tests delayed a trial over her defamation claims against The New York Times.
Kansas State University junior center Ayoka Lee put herself into the NCAA Division I women's basketball record book on Jan. 23 for the most points ever scored in a game, with 61, ESPN.com noted. Lee scored almost as many points herself as opponent Oklahoma did as a team, with the unranked Wildcats beating the No. 14 Sooners 94-65 at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas. The former D-I women's record of 60 points was held by Long Beach State post player Cindy Brown (set in 1987) and Minnesota guard Rachel Banham (2016).