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NATIONAL Protests, Respect for Marriage Act, photographer, Fla. Democrat
by Andrew Davis
2022-09-11

This article shared 855 times since Sun Sep 11, 2022
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The Inland Empire Pride festival in Riverside, California, was disrupted when far-right extremists demonstrated outside the event venue, The Advocate reported. Violent clashes erupted between protesters and those attending the festival with some individuals arrested. Anti-LGBTQ+ extremist Chris Reyes, who has been active in the local community, led the protest and ended up being pepper-sprayed, bloodied and arrested. The violence from the event can be seen in a video posted to its YouTube account by News2Share. It was the first time in 12 years that a local LGBTQ+ Pride event occurred, per Riverside Press-Enterprise.

By contrast, in a very quiet protest in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, a couple dozen people held a "read-in" in support of the local library, per CNN. Trustees are facing a recall, because the library's director just resigned under the pressure, and because a vocal group of activists is demanding the banning of more than 400 books from the library's shelves—with many of them being about gender or sexuality. (However, the protesters didn't necessarily read books on the banned list.)

With Congress now back in session and passing the Respect for Marriage Act a top priority in the Senate, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is mobilizing 226 major businesses representing more than 8.5 million employees, its more than 3 million highly engaged members and supporters and the nation's 62 million "Equality Voters" to call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), per a press release. The legislation would nationally codify federal marriage equality by guaranteeing the federal rights, benefits and obligations of marriages in the federal code; repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA; and affirm that public acts, records and proceedings are recognized by all states.

A federal district court ruled in favor of a Louisville photographer who filed a lawsuit against the city in 2019, alleging its Fairness Ordinance violated her constitutional rights as a Christian because it could force her to take on same-sex wedding assignments, the Courier-Journal reported. In a 44-page ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Beaton, the court granted a request by Chelsey Nelson, owner of Chelsey Nelson Photography, for an injunction against the city's ordinance, saying the city could not use the law to compel her to photograph same-sex weddings or "otherwise express messages inconsistent with Nelson's beliefs," and could not prohibit her from advertising on her website that she only photographs opposite-sex ceremonies.

Some Florida Democrats renounced support for a candidate seeking statewide office after anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion social-media posts surfaced, The Advocate noted. Agriculture Commissioner candidate Naomi Esther Blemur distanced herself from the posts, but not before supporters including Florida's only out state senator (Shevrin Jones) bailed on her campaign. Blemur claimed, "I have been smeared with fake emails, websites, social media accounts, and slandering tweets. Through it all, I have maintained and practiced, 'when they go low, we go high," adding that she has "always been a vocal supporter of everything woman. I am pro-choice, and have always been. I am an LGBTQIA+ ally, and I will remain one."

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—including the first member of that bench appointed by President Donald Trump—unanimously ruled on Sept. 6 that a circuit precedent from 2014, Pickup v. Brown, which rejected a constitutional challenge to California's ban on conversion therapy for minors, is still a binding precedent in the Ninth Circuit, Gay City News reported. The only real point of suspense in the case was what effect the panel might give to the US Supreme Court's decision in 2018 in National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra.

When Brigham Young University LGBTQ students, alumni and friends gathered off campus at a park in Provo, Utah, for a back-to-school event, they were met by dozens of protesters, CNN noted. Some openly carried handguns and others were carrying "God hates gays" signs and yelling, "There are no gays in heaven." However, 12 people wearing three-foot-long "angel" wings shielded the Pride event attendees from the hate and showed them that more people stood with LGBTQ+ students than against them.

Also, Brigham Young University removed pamphlets with off-campus resources for LGBTQ+ students from welcome bags for incoming freshmen late last month, NBC News noted. Created by RaYnbow Collective—a nonprofit group not affiliated with the school that founder Maddison Tenney, a BYU student, says focuses on education and allyship for queer students—the pamphlets offered information about weekly and monthly events available to LGBTQ students, as well as lists of organizations in the area that could provide therapy, safe housing, mentorship and more. Asked by TODAY.com why the pamphlets were removed, BYU stated that it "would like our students and employees to utilize our new Office of Belonging as their primary resource in these efforts."

Nonprofit fundraising, advocacy and membership agency IPM Advancement released a first-of-its-kind research report titled "LGBTQ+ Nonprofit Organizations in the United States: Growth, Trends, Concerns, and the Outlook for Philanthropic Giving," per a press release. The report is designed to better understand the number of nonprofit organizations that are working on LGBTQ+ and equality issues nationwide, and where those organizations have impact. IPM Advancement has made the new report available for free download at report.ipmadvancement.com .

California Gov. Gavin Newsom authorized more than $41 million to fight the spread of the monkeypox virus in an emergency budget package signed Sept. 6, LAist reported. The goal is to make access to monkeypox treatment, testing and vaccinations easier. For months, LGBTQ+ leaders have criticized the public health response to the outbreak that started in May and has predominantly affected men who have sex with men. Nationwide, more than 20,000 people have tested positive. "Community health clinics on the front lines of responding to monkeypox have desperately needed support from local, state and federal governments. Expanding vaccine, testing, outreach and treatment is the much-needed relief to ensure our community's health," said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Joe Hollendoner in a press release.

In a move the restaurant industry stated could raise fast-food prices, California Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed into law a bill creating a "Fast Food Council" to determine standards for pay, hours and working conditions for the state's fast-food workers, CNN reported. Under the legislation, the council could raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to up to $22 an hour—well above the $15 an hour in the state for employers with more than 26 workers. The new standards apply to chains with at least 100 locations nationally.

D.C.-based publication Tagg has turned 10, The Washington Blade noted. As one of just two queer womxn's magazines in the country, Tagg has established itself as one of the nation's leading and forthright LGBTQ+ publications that focuses on lesbian and queer culture, news, and events. "Tagg is a form of resistance," owner/editor Ebone Bell said in a Zoom interview with the Blade. "I always say the best form of activism is visibility and we're out there authentically us."

The 2022 AIDS Walk Los Angeles event is returning to the City of West Hollywood after a seven-year hiatus, according to the WeHo Times. The fundraiser, organized by APLA Health & Wellness, is slated to step off at West Hollywood Park on Sunday, Oct. 16. The City of West Hollywood hosted the annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles event from 2001 to 2015. To register for AIDS Walk Los Angeles, visit https://aplahealth.akaraisin.com/ui/awla22/pledge/registration/start.

The Billy DeFrank Community Center, the heart of the South Bay's LGBTQ+ community, unveiled a larger-than-life mural honoring its namesake in San Jose, California, CBS News noted. William Price, who performed in drag under the stage name "Billy DeFrank," was a pioneering activist and community fundraiser. He died in 1980 from a heart attack, a year before the community center first opened its doors.

The organizers of a gaming convention who originally planned to hold their event in Florida have canceled it, citing both Florida's lax COVID-19 policies and its hardline anti-LGBTQ+ stance, according to LGBTQ Nation. The group said that the state is no longer "a safe place for our community." "While we would love to return in-person, we've determined that to provide a safe and welcoming event to all, it was best that we move away from our originally planned location in Florida," the website for Games Done Quick (GDQ) says. "Given the state's continued disregard for COVID-19's dangers (including anti-mandate vaccination policies) and an increased aggression toward LGBTQ+ individuals, including the law colloquially known as 'Don't Say Gay,' we do not believe it is a safe place for our community at this time."

Halloween New Orleans' "Wonderland" will take place Oct. 28-30, per a press release. "Wonderland" will benefit Project Lazarus—the city's oldest and largest agency providing transitional housing and support services to people who are living with HIV/AIDS and who experience homelessness. Events will include "The Queen's Ball" (with silent auction), "Nightmare in Wonderland" and "Mad Hatter's Tea Dance." See HalloweenNewOrleans.com .


This article shared 855 times since Sun Sep 11, 2022
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