KKK Spreads Pamphlets in Fla.: 'Support Gay Bashing' to 'Stop AIDS'

(EDGE) Members of the Ku Klux Klan are reportedly spreading pamphlets around communities Jacksonville, Fla., urging residents to "support gay bashing" in order to "stop AIDS," Pink News reports. 

"Homosexual men and their sexual acts are disgusting and inhuman," the handout reads. It also says people should "ban non-white immigration," "outlaw Haitians," and "deport mud people."

Jimmy Midyette, a member of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, took to Facebook and posted one of the flyers. 

"These flyers have begun to appear at the homes of LGBT people - and surely others - in Jacksonville," he wrote on Nov. 21. "This is an unfortunate consequence of our recent success. Both with marriage equality and the progress we're making on equality in Jacksonville, we sadly can expect the vocal minority to freak out.

"Between this and the bomb threat made yesterday, our vigilance is required," he continued.

Similar pamphlets were passed around in the Mandeville, Louisiana area in August, which called for the death of gay people in order to eradicate HIV and AIDS. The papers were also reportedly created by the KKK.

Broward Offers Drive-Through Kiosk for Tax Payments

(SFGN) Broward residents’ property tax payments are due by March 31, but property owners can receive a discount for early payment.  A four percent discount will be given to residents who pay their property taxes in full before November 30.

The county will offer a drive-through kiosk for property owners on Monday, Nov. 30 for any residents who wish to make the early payment. The kiosk will be located in the parking lot of the Governmental Center Annex, 115 S. Andrews Ave., in Fort Lauderdale, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To access the kiosk, customers should enter the parking lot from the Brickell Ave. (west) side of the Governmental Center and follow the signs into the public parking lot. County staff wearing official shirts and badges will be on hand to collect payments.

In order for tax payments to be accepted at the outdoor kiosk, they must be:

  • Current 2015 tax payments only - no delinquent tax payments will be accepted.
  • Accompanied by original tax bill stub (which will be stamped "Received" by the collection agent).
  • Payment in full (no partial payments).
  • Payment by Check Only (personal or certified), no cash or credit card payments can be made at the kiosk. All checks must be in US Funds, issued by a US Bank Account.

Payments will be processed on the day they are received. Residents can visit broward.county-taxes.com to verify that their payment has posted, and to print a copy of their receipt by entering their property account number.

The Records, Taxes and Treasury Division will continue to accept property tax payments at their offices in the Governmental Center Annex, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Suite A100, Fort Lauderdale, through March 31, 2016. Payments can also be made online, and at any Broward County branch of Wells Fargo through March 31st. For more information, call 954-831-4000 or 311.

JP’s Chocolate Shoppe Launches “12 Days of Giving”

(SFGN) JP’s Chocolate Shoppe in Wilton Manors is launching their first holiday benefit, 12 Days of Giving, from Sunday Dec. 13 through Thursday Dec. 24.

During the benefit, participating organizations will receive 10 percent of all purchases made by their supporters at JP’s new location, 2410 Wilton Drive. With the mention of one of the participating charities, supporters will also receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases.

Proceeds will benefit six local charitable organizations including The Pride Center at Equality Park, Kids In Distress, Kiwanis Club of Wilton Manors, Emerge Broward, HANDY, and the Heart Gallery of Broward County.

Oklahoma Court Reinstates Same-Sex Couple's Parenting Suit

(AP) A lawsuit involving a same-sex couple and the parenting rights of their child's non-biological parent received new life when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled last week it is in the child's best interest to grant the non-biological parent a hearing to explore custody and visitation rights.

The state's highest court handed down the unanimous decision Nov. 17 in a lawsuit filed in Oklahoma County District Court by Charlene Ramey, whose nearly 10-year relationship with Kimberly Sutton produced a child that they jointly parented, according to the decision.

Sutton was the biological parent, but Ramey argued that she was the primary caregiver for the child's first four years of life and was referred to as "mom."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, which represents Ramey, described the decision as a landmark ruling in Oklahoma's child custody cases following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision earlier this year that gay and lesbian people have a fundamental right to marry.

"This isn't so much a referendum on whether someone is pro or con on gay marriage," said Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. Instead, the decision focuses on the best interests of the same-sex couple's child, he said.

"The law had not caught up with the evolving definition of the family," Henderson said. "This opinion makes it clear that courts can't penalize children who have same-sex parents."

Va. School Board Strengthens LGBT Employment Protections

(AP) The Kanawha County school board has approved policy changes meant to protect prospective and current lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1MZlhDr) that the board approved the changes at a meeting Thursday. Among the changes was adding "ancestry and sexual orientation" to the equal opportunity section of the school system's cultural diversity and human relations policy.

The change adds a definition of sexual orientation: "actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender identity or expression of an individual, with or without regard to the individual's assigned sex at birth."

The revision also crosses out the phrase "any other status protected by federal, state or local law," which was part of the list of classes protected from discrimination. There is no federal or state law banning discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Utah Man Sues Over Alleged Same-Sex Marriage Discrimination

(AP) A Utah man says the college where he worked discriminated against him because he was in a same-sex marriage, denying the couple benefits and forcing him out of a job.

Dustin Kennedy said in a new federal lawsuit that an administrator at the Salt Lake City-based Eagle Gate College acknowledged that the couple could have gotten benefits if one of them was a woman.

"He just wants to be treated like everyone else," attorney April Hollingsworth said.

But the for-profit school said it couldn't give the men spousal benefits because its insurance company refused. Eagle Gate lawyer Christopher Snow said that administrators wanted to extend benefits to the couple, but their provider turned them down because gay marriage wasn't legal when Kennedy worked there between 2007 and 2011.

"We were in full compliance with the law at the time of Mr. Kennedy's request," said Snow in a statement.

Hollingsworth says that no one cited the insurance company when Kennedy and his husband, also an Eagle Gate employee, were denied benefits.

Afterward, they were told they violated a romantic relationship rule even though it was routinely ignored for heterosexual couples. When they complained, Kennedy saw his work hours reduced to nothing, the lawsuit claims.

After his job as a massage therapy instructor ended, he says that Eagle Gate refused to pay unemployment benefits, claiming that he had left voluntarily. Kennedy took the issue to court and a judge sided with him, the suit states.

Utah's new law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation went into effect in May, after Kennedy stopped working at Eagle Gate.

Ark. Judge: 3 Gay Couples can Amend Kids' Birth Certificates

(AP) A Pulaski County judge says three same-sex couples who sued the state for refusing to name both spouses on their children's birth certificates can get the documents amended to list both names.

Judge Tim Fox did not issue a formal ruling after a hearing Monday but said the three couples who filed suit can go to the Arkansas Department of Health to change the documents immediately. Fox said he will issue a written ruling soon.

The married women filed suit after the U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down gay marriage bans nationwide.

Two of the couples were married out of state before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and a third was married in Arkansas days after the decision. The couples' children were conceived through anonymous sperm donors.

'Modern Family' Star Discusses Body Dysmorphia, Comes Out to Public

(EDGE) "Modern Family" star Reid Ewing made headlines last week when he wrote a piece for the Huffington Post detailing his body dysmorphia and addiction to plastic surgery. On Saturday, the 27-year-old actor took to Twitter and confirmed he's gay during a conversation on body dysmorphia.

In his HuffPo article, titled "I Underwent Cosmetic Surgery for My Body Dysmorphia... And I Wish I Hadn't," Ewing writes: "I genuinely believed if I had one procedure I would suddenly look like Brad Pitt."

Ewing, who plays Sarah Hyland's boyfriend Dylan on "Modern Family," took to Twitter Saturday to respond to a story "Good Morning America" aired about a young man named Eugene Bata, who discussed his struggles with body dysmorphia, and revealed he is gay. The actor confirmed in another tweet Sunday that he is gay, and followed up with commentary on Monday.

DC Police Arrest Trans Activist During Protest

(TheTaskForce) The National LGBTQ Task Force condemns the treatment of transgender activist Jes Grobman by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. Grobman was arrested during a “Transgender Week of Action” protest in DC. Police have now dropped charges against her. At the time, activists were blocking an intersection next to the Columbia Heights Metro.

“Last night’s action, which was intended to highlight violence and discrimination experienced by transgender people, clearly demonstrated why transgender people are afraid of going to police for help, especially as police themselves are often a source of violence. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 46% of transgender people are uncomfortable going to the police, and 22% of transgender people have been harassed by police. Transgender people of color are especially vulnerable—15% of black trans people and 9% of Latino/a trans people have been assaulted by police. Transgender women of color are frequent targets of police profiling,” said Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, National LGBTQ Task Force Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director

The National LGBTQ Task Force supports legislation to end racial profiling, ending “stop and frisk” police practices, along with efforts to decriminalize sex work and an end the use of condoms as evidence. Transgender people are 5 times more likely to live in extreme poverty than the general population, with 34% of black trans people, 28% of Latino/a trans women and 18% of Asian/Pacific Islander trans people making less than $10k a year. Employment discrimination plays a large role, with 47% of transgender people reporting being fired, or denied a promotion because of their gender identity. Also, 16% of trans people have had to resort to the underground economy including sex work in order to survive. The National LGBTQ Task Force supports passage of explicit nondiscrimination laws that will ban LGBTQ employment discrimination nationwide.

Pennsylvania School District Rejects Anti-LGBT Policy

(Lambda Legal) the Northwestern Lehigh school board in New Tripoli, PA announced that it would continue its current practice to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and single-sex facilities that match their gender identity. The Board explicitly rejected efforts by the anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to implement policies that would discriminate against transgender students.

For over a year, the district had been following inclusive practices regarding bathroom access by transgender students until ADF petitioned the school board to adopt a discriminatory policy. As a result, Lambda Legal, which is representing a young transgender student attending a school in the district, urged the school board to continue its current practice of respecting the gender identity of its students and in line with federal and state law, as well as to adopt inclusive policies that respect the gender identity and expression of its students. In support, community members and concerned parents asked the school board to affirm the school district’s current practice respecting the gender identity of its students and to reject ADF’s discriminatory efforts.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal, said

“The anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom has instituted a campaign to peddle misinformation, promote discrimination and stir up controversy where there is none. But across the country, schools and school districts are adopting respectful nondiscriminatory policies and practices for their transgender students. Instead of turmoil, administrators, teachers, and coaches have witnessed thriving, active and engaged students. By choosing to reject ADF’s discriminatory efforts, the Northwestern Lehigh School District protects the privacy concerns of all students. We urge it to continue to respect the gender identity of each student and adopt inclusive, nondiscriminatory policies.”

Since 2014, ADF has waged similar transphobic campaigns in several school districts across the country. In Ohio, Missouri, and more recently, in Illinois and New York.

Uruguay Joins International LGBT Rights Group

(GlobalEqualityFund) Uruguay has joined the Global Equality Fund, and will host the 2016 Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in April, co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, following up on previous conferences hosted by the United States, Germany, and Sweden.

The Global Equality Fund’s mission is to “advance freedom, equality, and dignity for all. Partners of the Global Equality Fund work together to affirm a consistent global message that LGBTI rights are human rights and support civil society organizations working to promote the inclusion of and respect for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Global Equality Fund consists of a partnership among the governments of Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, and organizations such as the Arcus Foundation, the John D. Evans Foundation, LLH: the Norwegian LGBT Organization, the M•A•C AIDS Fund, Deloitte LLP, the Royal Bank of Canada, Hilton Worldwide, the Human Rights Campaign and Out Leadership and has given more than $17 million dollars to LGBT advocacy groups since 2011 according to the Washington Blade.

  • Same-sex couples have had the legal right to marry in Uruguay since 2013.
  • In Uruguay, transgender people are able to legally change their gender on identification and other documents without having surgery.
  • Uruguay co-sponsored a resolution against anti-LGBT discrimination and violence that was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in September 2014.