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Legal – Judge: Mississippi Can’t Enforce Anti-LGBT Law as Court Battle Continues

(DV) A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday, Aug. 1, refused state officials’ request to be allowed to enforce Mississippi’s anti-LGBT HB 1523 as the state appeals his ruling against the constitutionality of the measure, according to BuzzFeed reports.

HB 1523, signed into law in April by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, provided protections for individuals, religious organizations and certain businesses who take actions due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions” regarding same-sex marriage — or any sex outside straight marriage. It also provided similar protections for those who object to transgender people.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in June issued a permanent injunction barring Mississippi from denying same-sex marriage licenses, meaning no circuit clerk or staff member clerk can deny a gay couple a marriage license even if House Bill 1523 is in effect.

On Monday, Reeves refused to put his ruling on hold while the state appeals the ruling to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He wrote, “[I]ssuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion. Matters of life and death are sui generis. If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens forces them to ‘tinker with the machinery of death,’ their animus exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor, or the marriage equality cases.

“The motions are denied,” Reeves added. “The baton is now passed.”


Related: Poll: Young Americans Favor LGBT Rights on Adoption, More


Politics – Rubio Holds Event with Anti-LGBT Groups on Orlando Massacre Anniversary

(DV) Marco Rubio, who Miami New Times calls “Florida’s most brazen political opportunist,” will be holding an anti-gay event in Orlando on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse massacre.

On Aug. 12, Rubio will speak to Liberty Counsel, the organization run by Mat Staver — Rowan County, Ky. County Clerk Kim Davis’ attorney. Davis is the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses and went to jail for four days until she agreed to a compromise.

The meeting is also hosted by the Florida Renewal Project, another anti-LGBT group that believes homosexuality is a Marxist plot and universal same-sex marriage is suicide. Because we want to force everyone to get same-sex married, I guess.

Among the other anti-gay speakers is Bill Federer, who thinks gays people are responsible for Islamic terrorism. Hey, Bill, I’m Jewish. I have some wonderful Muslim friends, but leave me out of this. Another is the Rev. Ken Graves who preaches about “militant homofascism.” Yeah, I’m against that too. Does that put me on this creep’s side?

Rubio had promised Florida he would not run for re-election. But when he lost his home state’s presidential primary, he dropped out of the presidential race and decided to run for his Senate seat again.

While Rubio has been hostile to Florida’s LGBT community since he became a U.S. senator six years ago, no one thought he would be so tone deaf that he’d mark the anniversary of the murder of 49 people by celebrating with people who hate them.


Related: NYPD Investigating Subway Stabbing as Anti-Gay Hate Crime


Sports — Out Gay Olympian Wears Trunks with ‘Gay and Lesbian’ Written On at Rio 2016

Olympian Amini Fonua from Rio is using his butt to promote equality, according to Pink News.

The 26-year-old swimmer competes in his second games for Tonga with the words “Gay and Lesbian” written on the back of his swimsuit.

“Having the words ‘gay and lesbian’ over my butt is my way of announcing my queerness for the swimming world to see,” Fonua told Vanguard Now.

Fonua will not be wearing the swimsuit when he competes for Tonga in the 100-yard breastroke, but that will not stop him from showing off the pair that was gifted to him by the Los Angeles LGBT Center. According to Fonua, he has so far worn them to all of the practices.

“I have worn that suit to every single practice leading up to Rio … because there’s not a lot of diversity in swimming,” Founua said. “It’s a gentle reminder to everybody and myself that I’m different, and to take pride in that difference.”

The trunks were given to Fonua after he helped to raise thousands of dollars through the Beach Volleyball Classic Fundraiser.

Fonua was one of the few out gay Olympians at the 2012 London games and is a proud flag-bearer for the opening ceremony for Tonga, Pink News reports.

“I also believe there’s real strength to be derived from the power of openly LGBT athletes, so to all the others in Rio, I say this: just by being here and being queer and present, you’re making a difference,” Fonua said, adding: “I want the next generation of athletes who advance through swimming’s world rankings to feel safe and comfortable being themselves.”


Related: Same-Sex Married Couple Makes Olympics History


Memorial – Mayor of Orlando Says City Plans to Buy Pulse Club to Create Permanent Memorial

The Mayor of Orlando says that the city may take ownership of Pulse nightclub to ensure that it stays a permanent memorial on the site, according to Pink News.

The Orlando massacre saw 49 dead and more than 50 wounded at the hands of a gunman who opened fire during a Latino night in June. The majority of the victims were LGBT people of color.

The owners of Pulse initially planned to re-open with a street party in the wake of the massacre, with promises to carry on. Plans filed last month by the club owners’ non-profit onePULSE Foundation suggested that a memorial may be built on-site to sit alongside the re-opened nightclub.

However, Mayor Buddy Dyer has suggested that the club should be taken into public ownership by the city and converted into a permanent memorial.

“At some point I think the city needs to gain control [or] purchase the Pulse site and then make some determination, with a lot of input, on what a permanent memorial might look like,” Dyer told local radio station WMFE. “One thing I’ve been thinking about is I think we need to determine some period of time that we leave it exactly as is with some adequate fencing … because there will be people that want to travel here and see it as it exists, without modification to it.”

He added: “There’s some time frame where we need to keep it intake as is, and then transition to whatever a permanent memorial it may be.”

“Maybe we’ll make that judgement [on the conversion] if the volume slows down, but I think there are a lot of people that want to pay tribute.”


Related: Pulse Victim Finally Dances Again



Business – Target Stock Continues to Rise Despite Hate Group Boycott

(EDGE) Conservative "Christian" buying power is taking a hit this quarter as the stock price for Target continues to rise despite a hate group-led boycott of the mega retailer.

Following a sharp drop in stock price prompted by the American Family Association (AFA)-led boycott of Target over the stores transgender-inclusive restroom policy, it appears as though the discount retailer is doing just fine. Shares of Target are going for 74.65, up from a low of 66.74 in mid June.

Meanwhile, AFA is re-upping its efforts to keep shoppers out of Target stores during the back-to-school season.

According to Christian Times, AFA marked the new season on the first day of August with a new drive to garner another million signatures to force the retail company to abandon its bathroom policy.

"Target is dependent on a large back-to-school sales season," said AFA on its website. "Those who spend their money elsewhere will send a strong message to Target that the bathroom policy is bad for business."

In reality, business for Target has increased over the past year. On August 1, 2015, shares traded at 51.85. A year later, there has been a 22.8 increase in value to the current price of 74.65.


Related: Top 5 Non-binary Video Game Characters


International – Gay Syrian Refugee Found Beheaded, Mutilated In Turkey

(CNN) A gay refugee living in Turkey has been found murdered, his body so mutilated his friends could only identify him by his pants, a local rights group said.

Wisam, who arrived in Istanbul about a year ago after fleeing Syria, went missing on July 23 and was found two days later in the city's Yenikapi district.

He previously had been threatened, kidnapped and raped, according to Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (KAOS GL), a Turkey-based rights group. CNN is not using the victim's last name out of concern for his family's safety.

"We identified him from his pants... They had cut (him) so violently. So violent that two knives had broken inside him. They had beheaded him. His upper body was beyond recognition," said one friend, whom CNN is not naming for safety reasons.

"If you saw his body, if you even saw a picture of it, you would faint," said another friend, who asked CNN to identify him as Mohammed out of fear for his safety. "It was as if he was attacked by a beast."

Wisam had been stabbed 20 times, his organs were removed and he had been beheaded, according to Alex Benjamin, who works for an organization that aims to help LGBT refugees get expedited asylum.

"Police are doing nothing," Benjamin said, "because he is Syrian and because he is gay."

Police told CNN they were not authorized to comment on the case. Authorities haven't said whether Wisam was killed for being gay. As of Friday, his killers had not been detained.