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    Boise, ID – State Police Cite 44 for Trespassing After “Add the Words’’ Protest Blocks Senate – 2.3

    Frustrated after eight years of rejection, a group of “Add the Words” supporters blocked the entrance to the Idaho State Senate chamber at the Capitol in Boise. The group members, standing in silence, covering their mouths, and wearing  t-shirts emblazoned with “Add the 4 Words,” said they were prepared to be arrested.

    “We are here to insist the Idaho Legislature finally add four words, ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ to Idaho’s Human Rights Act to prevent the suicides, beatings, loss of jobs, evictions and the fear that too many gay and transgender Idahoans live with every day,” the group said in a news release. “We do this for those who live in fear and those who may despair this year if no one speaks for them.”

    Idaho State Police arrested 44 people and cited each for trespassing.

    The last arrest came when former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, was taken into custody after the Senate voted to suspend its rule that allows former members to be on the Senate floor. The rules also prohibit former members from lobbying. LeFavour stood in the doorway to the Senate, hands over her mouth, refusing to move or to talk. The Senate voted to suspend for the day the rule that allows former members floor access. Monday’s protest targeted the fact that nothing in Idaho statutes prevents a citizen from being fired or blocked from buying or renting a home based on his or her sexual orientation. There’s no federal law offering specific workplace protections based on sexual orientation, either.

    “Gay and transgender Idahoans have tried every means to get the Legislature to consider the ‘Add the Words’ legislation,” the group’s press release stated. “If the Legislature again chooses to ignore us and not hear or vote on the bill, we are prepared to peacefully remain here to bring attention to the issue and the Legislature’s failure to protect those in our community from harm.”

    I’d like to add the words “Civil Rights Activist” to the Senator’s title!


    NYC, NY – Queer Nation to Protest Olympics at Russian Consulate – 2.4

    Members of the gay activist group Queer Nation and others who oppose the Russian government’s continued attacks on human rights, including the rights of LGBTQ Russians, marked the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games with a protest outside the Russian consulate in New York City at noon on February 6.

    “Gay bashing is not an Olympic sport,” said Scott Wooledge, a member of Queer Nation. “The International Olympic Committee, the Olympic sponsors, including Coke, P&G, and McDonald’s, and the athletes who are competing in Russia have refused to support human rights – so we will. The Russian government is on notice that the start of the Olympics is not the end of this fight.”

    “Vladimir Putin,” Russia’s president in effigy, appeared at the protest outside the Russian consulate, where he was scheduled to desecrate an Olympic flag.

    Last June, the Russian government enacted legislation that effectively bans any pro-queer statement in public or private and on the Internet. In July, a law banning adoptions of Russian children by people from any jurisdiction that allows same-sex marriage took effect. Last year, the Russian parliament considered legislation that would allow the government to remove children from a household headed by a gay or lesbian parent. While that legislation has been withdrawn ahead of the Olympics, activists believe the parliament will reintroduce it after the Games are over.

    That legislation’s passage has been followed by unprecedented, effectively state-sanctioned violence against LGBTQ people, who have been harassed, arrested, beaten, raped, tortured and killed. Activists had called for a boycott of Sochi and for the Games to be moved from Russia, citing its abysmal human rights record, including its attacks on queer Russians.

    The protest is the latest in a series of high-profile protests launched by Queer Nation dating to July 2013, including earlier confrontations with Moscow government officials at meetings promoting US investment in Russia.

    Just say nyet to Putin!


    Oklahoma City, OK – To Keep Same-Sex Marriage Ban, OK Might Ban All Marriage – 1.24

    State lawmakers are considering throwing out marriage in Oklahoma.

    The idea stems from a bill filed by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Edmond). Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt, while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.

    “[My constituents are] willing to have that discussion about whether marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all,” Turner said.

    Other conservative lawmakers feel the same way, according to Turner.

    “Would it be realistic for the State of Oklahoma to say, ‘We’re not going to do marriage period?’” asked News 9’s Michael Konopasek.

    “That would definitely be a realistic opportunity, and it’s something that would be part of the discussion,” Turner answered. Such a discussion will be made possible by a current shell bill – something that can be changed at almost any time to react to upcoming rulings on Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban.

    “I think that, especially with issues like this, [these lawmakers are] out of touch with most Oklahomans,” said Ryan Kiesel, ACLU Oklahoma executive detector.

    Kiesel says prohibiting all marriage is new territory. In fact, the ACLU was unable to find an example of where a state has ever tried to ban all marriage. Kiesel believes the entire idea just boils down to politics.

    “Moving forward, I think we’ll see less efforts like this,” Kiesel said.

    Turner admits his idea makes a lot of people uncomfortable. He also says, “I accept that.” Turner plans to wait until the federal appeals process plays out. The fight over Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage will now head to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

    Maybe queers should stop fighting for marriage and begin the battle to end it for everyone!


    Richmond, VA – Ousted Attorney General Really Really Really Hates Queers – 1.13

    Just hours before leaving office, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) issued an opinion that appears intended to entrench his own anti-gay policy preferences while he could still speak as his state’s top legal officer. Cuccinelli, who once claimed that the “homosexual agenda… brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul,” lost his bid for Virginia governor to recently inaugurated Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

    By defeating Republican nominee Cuccinelli in the gubernatorial election, Virginia voters rejected one of the most openly right wing politicians in the country. Governor-Elect McAuliffe repeatedly hammered the point that Cuccinelli was focused on his own agenda of climate change denial, anti-LGBTQ discrimination, restrictions on women’s reproductive health, steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act and blocking any gun violence reduction efforts.

    Cuccinelli’s nonbinding opinion, which is dated January 10, 2014, concludes that “a Governor may not direct or require any agency of state government to allow same-sex couples to receive joint marital status for Virginia income tax returns.”

    The question of whether married same-sex couples may file joint Virginia tax forms hinges upon a potential conflict in state law. Although the state constitution includes an expansive ban on same-sex marriages or similar arrangements, gay rights advocates note that forbidding same-sex couples from filing jointly “is in conflict with the state law that requires conformity with federal rules” – married couples of all kinds file joint tax returns under federal law.

    Additionally, the United States Constitution forbids Virginia from “deny[ing] to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” and at least one federal judge has held that states cannot deny marriage equality to same-sex couples under the Fourteenth Amendment.

    Gov. McAuliffe, whom the voters of Virginia chose over Cuccinelli last November, campaigned on a pro-gay rights platform. His first action as governor was an executive order shielding LGBTQ state employees from employment discrimination.

    Good thing “The Cooch” is gone; he also tried to ban oral and anal sex!


    Washington D.C. – Scholars to Explore “Lavender Languages” at American University – 2.3

    Scholars will gather at American University for North America’s longest-running academic conference on language use in LGBTQ life. The conference, which runs Feb. 14 through 16, is expected to draw up to 150 registrants, including students and scholars of language and sexuality.

    Language use is defined broadly to include modes of linguistics such as pronunciation, vocabulary and meaning, conversational structures and styles, life stories and other narratives, fiction, print media, sign language, nonverbal communication and communication through visual arts. This year, attendees are likely to explore the use of language in the controversy surrounding LGBTQ rights and the Sochi Olympics.

    “As Lavender Languages enters its third decade, it continues to elevate the study and scholarly exploration of queer thought and languages,” says William Leap, a professor in AU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Anthropology and conference founder and organizer. “The discussion of gay rights and Sochi needs careful analysis. This isn’t about, ‘Do we go to the games or stay home?’ Russia’s policies on gay rights are playing with people’s lives.”

    Additionally, the conference program includes sessions on themes of queer language and hip hop, neoliberal homophobia, varieties of speech in the drag speech community, the LGBTQ reclaiming of slurs, pornography, the “sounding gay” of gay speech, sex and violence, and language and queer online communities. Speakers from Brazil, Canada, Scotland, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and the mainland United States and Puerto Rico will take part, and there will be sessions on representations of sexuality in Spanish and Catalan, in French, and other languages and linguistic traditions.

    Over the years, the conference has played a part in expanding the field of queer linguistics. Edited collections and books have come out of the conference, or been created in response to the event’s proceedings.

    If I learn “Lavender Language,” will that make me bilingual?!



    In the December 5, 2013, issue of the Bay Times, comments made by Tea Party Fort Lauderdale co-founder Danita Kilcullen in an e-mail were mistakenly attributed to Jim Gleason of the Log Cabin Republicans. Gleason informed us that, “To the contrary, I denounced Danita Kilcullen’s e-mail.” We apologize to Gleason for the error. The original story source for our coverage, a Sun-Sentinel article, is at