U.S. Denying Visas to Gay Men Fleeing Chechnya

U.S. Denying Visas to Gay Men Fleeing Chechnya

After the world learned last month that Chechnya had at least one (if not multiple) operating concentration camps targeting gay men, one of the first questions involved how world powers would react. Knowing the harm he’s already inflicted on the LGBTQ community just within his first 100 days, LGBTQ civil rights advocates did not expect Donald Trump to offer any solace or safety to those fleeing […]

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GOP Rep Contacts a Progressive Constituent’s Employer Over Activism

After learning one of his constituents works for a bank he’s received financial support from, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) wrote a letter to punish a progressive activist for speaking out publicly against him. In a letter dated March 21, 2017, Frelinghuysen – who serves as the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee  – contacted Lakeland Bank in New Jersey about Saily Avelenda (who up until […]

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Human Rights, Equal Rights, Political Rights

civil rights equality

Last night, I spoke at the annual dinner of the Columbus, Indiana, Human Rights Commission. Here’s what I said (sorry for the length): Over the past several years, American political debate has become steadily less civil. Partisan passions have overwhelmed sober analysis, and the Internet allows people to choose their news (and increasingly, their preferred realities). During the recent election […]

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MO Rep: Distinction Between Homosexuality & “Being a Human”

Rick Brattin

During a Missouri House discussion on a bill that would make it more difficult for individuals to sue corporations for discrimination, Representative Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville) explained he sees a distinction between “homosexuality” and “being a human being.” The comment came as a response to an amendment to Senate Bill 43 that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While the failure of the amendment is newsworthy […]

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Civic Ignorance: The Evidence Keeps Accumulating

civic literacy - we the people

Periodically, I use this blog to indulge a rant about Americans’ lack of civic literacy. (Regular readers are probably getting tired of my preoccupation with civic education–or more accurately, the lack thereof.) Be warned– I’m going to beat that dead horse again today. A column written by Colbert King from the Washington Post has highlighted still another research project confirming Americans’ low levels […]

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Florida Religion in School Legislation SB 436 Passes

Religion in public schools may become law thanks to Kim Daniels and Dennis Baxley - SB 436

Late on Friday, the Florida legislature passed SB 436 (also known as the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act”) as a part of a compromise to pass changes to the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Upon becoming law, SB 436 will prohibit Florida public school districts “from discriminating against students, parents, & school personnel on basis of religious viewpoints or expression.” At […]

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Army Secretary Nominee: Public Health Care Harms Religious Conversion [UPDATED]

Mark Green

Speaking to a church group in 2015, Trump Army Secretary Nominee Mark Green argued that government-subsidized health care prevents people from turning to religion for assistance. That, in turn, is “an injustice that’s even bigger than just the creation of an entitlement welfare state.” The Washington Examiner initially reported on the comments: Mark Green, a state senator in Tennessee, told a church […]

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Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty Was Thankfully Scaled Down

religious liberty executive order signing

Today, President Trump signed an executive order on “religious liberty” — a buzz-phrase that is code for “make everyone comply with my belief system.”  In it, Trump calls for less IRS enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which prevents churches from politicking from the pulpit, not that they’ve been very successful in enforcing it anyway.  Since the law was enacted in 1954, […]

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The Age of Inhumanity

Historians will eventually affix a label to the time period we are living through (assuming, of course, that we do live through it); my predictive powers are considerably less than optimal, but I vote for “The Age of Inhumanity”–or maybe, “The Age of Assholery.” My exhibits, from just the past couple of days: Jimmy Kimmel recently delivered an emotional monologue about his […]

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KY: Damages Case Against Kim Davis Approved by 6th Circuit

Kim Davis

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court ruling stating a gay couple discriminated against by Kim Davis – the county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky – could not sue for damages. The 6th Circuit noted the judge “erred” in ruling damages claimed by David Ermold and David Moore were “moot” because marriage equality had become law and Davis […]

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