civil rights

Phoenix leaders say gay-marriage ruling good for business

Phoenix leaders say gay-marriage ruling good for business

Opponents of gay marriage, including Gov.Jan Brewer and Catholic bishops, criticized the judge's decision. Brewer said that with its decision, the court was eroding the people's power and overstepping its bounds. Brewer noted that Arizona voters in 2008 approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

We asked: What impact do you think the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage will have in Phoenix? Please indicate whether you support or oppose the decision. Read more »

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Tempe voters weigh discrimination against gay people

Tempe voters weigh discrimination against gay people

Cities have become the battleground that pits individuals who advocate for religious liberties against those who struggle to secure equal rights for gay and transgender Americans.

The local clashes come after a more than 20-year effort by gay-rights groups to push the United States Congress to pass a federal law that would ban employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Last year, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) 64-32, bolstering gay-rights advocates' hopes for sweeping change. The measure stalled in the House.

Gay-rights leaders have increasingly sought success on a more local level. Read more »

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Colorado Civil Rights Panel: Baker Must Make Cakes For Gay Weddings

Colorado Civil Rights Panel: Baker Must Make Cakes For Gay Weddings

 Colorado's Civil Rights Commission on Friday ordered a baker to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, finding his religious objections to the practice did not trump the state's anti-discrimination statutes.

The unanimous ruling from the seven-member commission upheld an administrative law judge's finding in December that Jack Phillips violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012. The couple sued.

"I can believe anything I want, but if I'm going to do business here, I'd ought to not discriminate against people," Commissioner Raju Jaram said. Read more »

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Major Michigan companies want to ban LGBT discrimination against workers

Major Michigan companies want to ban LGBT discrimination against workers

Whirlpool, Dow Chemical, Google, Consumers Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Herman Miller and Steelcase are among the founding members of the newly formed organization lobbying to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition wants the state Legislature to add it to Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on religion, race, color and national origin and later added age, sex, height, weight, familial status or marital status. Read more »

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Gay Rights Push Shifts Its Focus South and West

Gay Rights Push Shifts Its Focus South and West

The country’s leading gay rights groups and donors, after a decade focused on legalizing same-sex marriage, are embarking on a major drive to win more basic civil rights and workplace protections in Southern and Western states where the rapid progress of the movement has largely eluded millions of gay men and lesbians.

The effort will shift tens of millions of dollars in the next few years to what advocates described as the final frontier for gay rights: states like Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas, where Republicans dominate elected office and traditional cultural views on homosexuality still prevail. Read more »

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Gay community watches Mich. for legal landscape changes

Gay community watches Mich. for legal landscape changes

If you're overweight or old, pregnant or African American, your boss can't fire you for any of those reasons.

The law says so.

But if you're a gay man or lesbian, there's no such protection — one of several legal issues that weigh heavily on the gay community as it awaits a decision in Michigan's historic same-sex marriage trial. Read more »

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2 religion 'fixes' we don’t need

2 religion 'fixes' we don’t need

Legislation thrown together in response to a crisis almost always turns out to be heavy-handed or ineffective once it becomes a statute. Hard cases, as they say, make bad law.

But for really bad law — the kind with the potential for creating serious unintended consequences — nothing beats legislation that provides a solution for a non-existent problem.

Legislation sponsored in the House by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, and in the Senate by Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, represents a good example of the latter. Both of their bills — identical, for the time being, at least — would reframe and expand the state’s religious-expression protection laws. Read more »

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What’s Next for Gay Rights in 2014?

What’s Next for Gay Rights in 2014?

The year 2013 was a banner one for gay marriage—but some LGBT activists are asking whether the movement is headed down the path to true equality and liberation.

“On one level, our movement has been a staggering, if controversial, success; yet on another level, gay and lesbian people remain profoundly stigmatized, struggling against the same crises—in health, violence, discrimination and social services—that have plagued us for decades.” Read more »

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ENDA Vote: Senate Votes To Outlaw LGBT Workplace Discrimination

ENDA Vote: Senate Votes To Outlaw LGBT Workplace Discrimination

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Thursday to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, landmark civil rights legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT individuals in the workplace.

The final vote was 64-32, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats. The Republican senators backing the legislation were cosponsors Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), along with Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Read more »

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