Prominent LGBT organization GetEQUAL has issued a travel alert for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Mississippi.
Mississippi legislators are currently attempting to pass Senate Bill 2681, titled the "Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act," a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community based on "religious freedom." The bill is similar to controversial legislation in Arizona recently vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.
GetEQUAL Mississippi alerts those traveling to the state of a continued risk of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The State of Mississippi does not currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (“LGBT”) people from being legally ejected from their hotel rooms or other places of public accommodation, and is on the cusp of passing legislation that would give business owners even more latitude to legally discriminate against minority groups.
Those who are required to travel to Mississippi are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Avoid traveling alone in the state.
- Only book travel at hotels which have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Visit only known LGBT-friendly establishments, including restaurants, bars and venues.
- Be aware of your surroundings and adopt other appropriate safety measures to protect yourself while traveling.
GetEQUAL Mississippi will continue to monitor this situation and update travelers as needed.
GetEQUAL regularly issues travel alerts for members of the LGBT community based on the current political and social climate of a given area. Previous alerts included San Antonio last summer when the city council seemed poised to strike down a proposed ordinance that would offer nondiscrimination protection for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity within already existing legislation.
American Idol alum Adam Lambert was joined Thursday morning by Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor on Good Morning America, where the trio announced an upcoming North American tour.
“Queen is one of the quintessential rock bands of all time. … They've influenced bands for years to come,” Lambert said.
Lambert fronted for the British band in a series of highly successful European shows in 2012.
The 19-date North American tour kicks off June 19 at the United Center in Chicago and will conclude July 20 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Washington, D.C. Other stops included are New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Vancouver, Montreal and Las Vegas.
Tickets go on sale Friday, March 14 at LiveNation.com.
Though Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) was supportive of the effort to pass civil unions, he has previously stopped short of endorsing marriage equality. That changed this week when he released the following statement:
We have advocated for equal rights for all Coloradans and we will continue to advocate for equal rights for all Coloradans. Last year, Colorado took a historic step forward when we passed bipartisan legislation recognizing civil unions. If all men and women truly have the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and if all people are created equal, then by extension of law, logic, and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage.
Colorado is the only remaining state that offers civil unions. In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the inferiority of civil unions became much more apparent, because they do not entitle same-sex couples to the federal benefits of marriage. Still, Colorado is bound by its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Last week, Hickenlooper signed into law a measure that will allow couples in civil unions or marriages from other states to file their state taxes jointly.
The Walt Disney Company will cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 because of a policy that bans gay adult leaders in the organization.
The Boy Scouts organization is "disappointed" by the decision, which will affect the organization's ability to serve children, Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, said in a statement Sunday. Disney does not provide direct funding to the Boy Scouts, but it donates money to some troops in exchange for volunteer hours completed by Disney employees, he said.
"We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids," he said.
David Jefferson, chief spokesman for The Walt Disney Company, did not respond to calls or emails.
The memo was posted on the website of Scouts for Equality, an organization that is critical of the Boy Scouts' policy to ban adult gay troop leaders.
The Boy Scouts lifted a ban on gay youth last year.
A federal judge in San Antonio ruled Wednesday that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutionally deprives some citizens of due process and equal protection under the law by stigmatizing their relationships and treating them differently from opposite-sex couples.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia cited recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings as having trumped Texas’ moves to ban gay marriage.
“Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” he said in his order. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.”
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