National

Arkansas governor urged to veto "religious bigotry" bill

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and HRC Arkansas on Friday condemned the Arkansas Senate’s passage of HB 1228, an Indiana-style bill that will open the door to discrimination against LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and other minority groups across the state.

After a formal procedural hurdle, the bill will be on its way to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s desk. HRC has repeatedly called on the governor to veto this legislation, including at a press conference on Thursday featuring HRC president Chad Griffin.

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RGOD2: The “freedom of religion” debate, or the end of clergy and church tax-exempt privilege?

The Christian family, like any other family, has its arguments and problems. We find ourselves at loggerheads and not speaking to each other, often over something trivial. We came sometimes behave like nasty children and it is only at a time of collective crisis that GRACE abounds and we are knocked out of our collective narcissism.

Judge blocks FMLA benefits for married gay couples in Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The Human Rights Campaign criticized a ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on Thursday that blocked a recent rule change to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) from the Department of Labor (DOL).

Judge O’Connor’s decision prevents legally married same-sex couples in Texas from exercising their FMLA rights.

Montana: Republican proposes "religious freedom" referendum

HELENA. Montana – A Republican lawmaker proposed Wednesday that the Legislature ask voters if they want additional religious protections in Montana's constitution.

Rep. Carl Glimm of Kila said he brought House Bill 615 before the House Judiciary Committee to prioritize people's personal beliefs above job descriptions. The proposal would give people a right to challenge state laws they say burden their freedom to exercise religion.

Former Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson told the committee it's rare for a law not to defy someone's personal beliefs.

Texas: Religious case made against anti-gay-marriage bill

AUSTIN, Texas -- A bill seeking to continue Texas’ ban on gay marriage, no matter how the courts rule, received strong opposition during a late Wednesday public hearing — much of it from religious leaders and believers who said conservative Christians do not have the sole perspective on marriage.

House Bill 1745 would ban the use of state or local tax money to license, register or support a same-sex marriage — nor could that money be used to follow a court order requiring state recognition of gay unions.

Bill threatens LGBT Georgians, other minorities, and state's economic climate

ATLANTA, Georgia -- A subcommittee of the Georgia House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday moved an anti-LGBT bill forward that could allow people to use their religion as an excuse to challenge or opt out of various laws -- including local laws in Atlanta and other cities -- that protect LGBT people and other minorities from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Major local conferences have already threatened to move out of the state if the bill becomes law.

BREAKING! Indiana governor slammed for signing anti-gay bill into law

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Despite widespread opposition from business and civil-rights groups, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday signed SB 101, the deeply flawed bill designed to allow private businesses, individuals and organizations to discriminate against anyone in Indiana on religious grounds.

It should be noted that Governor Pence, a right-wing Republican who fought nail and teeth against marriage equality, signed SB 101 into law at a private ceremony out of the public eye.

Disciples of Christ threatens to cancel Indiana convention due to religious freedom bill

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has sent a letter to Gov. Mike Pence threatening to cancel its 2017 convention in Indianapolis if he signs controversial legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples.

"Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry," Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star.

Alabama bills impede adoption of children needing loving homes

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — HRC Alabama criticizes the introduction of two bills, SB 261 and HB 296, which empower adoption agencies to discriminate against eligible parents and guardians — legislation which, if passed, will deny countless children from accessing loving, caring homes.

Kentucky transgender restroom bill withdrawn from Senate

FRANKFORT, Kentucky -- A proposed law that drew widespread criticism for targeting transgender students in Kentucky appears to be dead.

The Kentucky General Assembly adjourns without passing the Student Privacy Act. That's the law that requires transgender students to use the restroom designated by their birth gender.

It passed a Senate committee last month. But according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, its author Senator C.B. Embry withdrew it from the Senate floor. He represents Hopkins County, Muhlenberg County, and Ohio County.