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Pence Praises Rule that Would Let Adoption Agencies Exclude Gay Parents


POLITICS

Pence Praises Rule that Would Let Adoption Agencies Exclude Gay Parents

During an event at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington on November 2019, Vice President Mike Pence praised a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would grant federal funding to adoption agencies that refuse to place children with LGBTQ families.

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Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Pence stated: “We’ve reversed the rule implemented in the closing days of the last administration that jeopardized the ability of faith-based providers to serve those in need by penalizing them for their deeply held religious beliefs… We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption.”

According to a government report, more than 100,000 foster children are awaiting adoption, but a big percentage of religious agencies refuse to consider same-sex parents.

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, slammed Pence’s comments by saying, “Children should never be denied the opportunity to join a stable, loving family – even if that means the family is LGBTQ… Research has shown LGBTQ families provide the same kind of love, protection and support as other families, and no child should be denied that kind of environment.”

According to a report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, 1 in 5 of the estimated 114K same-sex couples in the United States are raising children that are either adopted or foster children, 3% higher than heterosexual couples.

Shoshana Goldberg, the lead author for this report, wrote, “Without these policies, a qualified population of prospective parents may not have equal access to government-funded child welfare agencies and services.”

The Trump administration’s proposal was praised by Catholic and evangelical organizations, as its main focus is to discriminate against LGBTQ people, based on these organizations’ religious beliefs.

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Rhode Island To Restore Benefits For LGBTQ Veterans Reclassifying Their Discharge As Honorable


POLITICS

Rhode Island To Restore Benefits For LGBTQ Veterans

According to the Associated Press, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed legislation promising veterans benefits for LGBTQ service members discharged for their sexual orientation.

This new state law establishes a process for veterans removed from the military for being part of the LGBTQ community and reclassifying their discharge as honorable, making state and local benefits available to veterans removed from service preceding former President Barack Obama’s repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military. 

The Clinton Administration first introduced the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy in an effort to allow gay and lesbian service members to continue serving if they did not reveal their sexuality. Prior to this policy, LGBTQ were not allowed to serve in the military at all, leading to many veterans being dishonorably discharged from the service for being gay between World War II and when the DADT policy took effect. 

Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson of Rhode Island, who sponsored the legislation, told the Warwick Post, “Today, gay members of the armed forces can serve proudly and openly since ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was repealed,” she said. “But that doesn’t absolve us of our duty and obligation to those who served with honor before then. Many gay service members who were unceremoniously shown the door have been denied benefits for decades.”

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The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Passes Law On Hate Crime Protecting LGBTQ People


POLITICS

Indigenous Tribe Passes Law On Hate Crime Protecting LGBTQ People

According to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the law is modeled after the Matthew Shepard Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2009, which expanded existing federal hate-crime laws to include actions motivated by gender, sexual orientation, or disability. 

The new policy under the tribe law means offenders will face a fine of $1K and addition of jail time to any penalties.

In a statement to SDPB, Marlow Medicine Crow Jr, who is part of the Crow Creek Law and Order Committee, said this amendment to the law is the “first of it’s kind” and also added “It was a long time coming.

There’s a lot of things that go on that would necessitate that law and maybe help give more protections to them – the people that are being discriminated against.” The amendment, which passed unanimously, will likely take effect in December 2019.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe, which is also in South Dakota, was the first tribe to pass a hate crimes law that included protections for LGBTQ citizens back in September of 2019.

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Health And Human Services Plans To Revoke LGBTQ Adoption Rules


POLITICS

Health And Human Services Plans To Revoke LGBTQ Adoption Rules

The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a rule that would let faith-based adoption groups exclude LGBTQ parents who want to adopt. This change would also mean that religious-affiliated organizations could continue to receive federal money even if the organizations refuse to work with LGBTQ families.

Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said in a statement, “I know a little bit about marriage and it’s supposed to be between a man and a woman, … All these things are going on, I know the far left is trying to change the world.” Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon argued, “Our tax dollars shouldn’t be used to support discrimination.”

According to WGNO, there aren’t any federal laws that prevent discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community, and the proposed rule change would have the biggest impact on the child welfare and adoption system but would also apply to faith-based pre-schools and public health organizations that provide the community with STD testings.

An Obama administration rule withheld federal grants from adoption agencies who refused to place children with LGBTQ families; religious organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom said the rule violates the religious freedom of faith-based providers.

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Comcast’s LGBTQ Liaison Files Discrimination Lawsuit


POLITICS

Comcast’s LGBTQ Liaison Files Discrimination Lawsuit

Klayton Fennell, a gay Comcast executive who serves as the cable’s liaison with LGBTQ groups, filed a federal lawsuit on October 23, 2019 alleging the company discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation.

The 45-page court filing filed in October alleges how Fennell was passed over for promotions, called derogatory names, and denied equal pay because “he is routinely perceived as not conforming to traditional sex and/or gender-based stereotypes.” It also adds that he is paid “substantially less” than his heterosexual male counterparts.

In the lawsuit, Fennell also alleges that Comcast failed to conduct an investigation into his claims and allowed the hostility to persist. Fennell remains employed as a Senior Vice President, and his attorney Katherine Oeltjen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2015, The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Fennell as a “Top LGBT Leader in Business,” and earlier this year Fennell represented Comcast at an event in Nashville where Mayor David Briley signed an executive order recognizing LGBTQ businesses as a separate category in awarding government contracts.

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Jamaica’s Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis And St. James Councilor Say NO To Pride Event


POLITICS

Jamaica’s Montego Bay Mayor And St. James Councilor Say NO To Pride Event

Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner reports that Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis and St. James Councilor Charles Sinclair will not permit Montego Bay Pride to host a series of gay-themed events at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, a landmark building managed by the government.

St. James Councilor Charles Sinclair stated: 

“I am not opposed if Montego Bay Pride wishes to have an event to promote same-sex marriage, but I believe it should not be held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre… The cultural centre is a building under the management of the municipal corporation, which is a government agency. We, as a government agency, must ensure that we uphold the Constitution of Jamaica, and in upholding the Constitution, why would we engage a building controlled by the municipal corporation to be used to hold a function to promote same-sex marriage?… it is not consistent with the mandate that we have.” 

Following Davis and Sinclair’s statements, organizers for the event expressed frustration as many of the venues that originally agreed to participate in the event have cancelled. The police department also cautioned the organizers to take extra security measures.

Jamaica still upholds colonial-era homophobic laws like the “buggery” law which makes it difficult for the LGBTQ community to combat homophobia.

According to Wikipedia:

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Jamaica, especially men, face legal and social issues not experienced by non-LGBT people. Sodomy and/or buggery are legally punishable by imprisonment, though these laws are no longer enforced and their repeal is pending. Sexual behavior between women is legal.” 

Tourism, on the other hand, welcomes and assures safety to LGBTQ visitors traveling to the island; however, we strongly recommended that you do your research in booking LGBTQ-friendly lodging and neighborhoods.

Thousands of people were expected to attend the 5th annual Montego Bay Pride now rescheduled to take place on October 20.

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