News Round-Up: April 16, 2020

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Gorgeous photo of the moon over Turkey from Instagram user mostafa.rok (above). Follow him here. #AnyoneSeeAMoon?

The Advocate: Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips is being sued (again) after refusing to bake a birthday cake for a transgender woman.

Washington Examiner: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced Thursday that Ohio will begin to reopen some of its businesses on May 1. The governor has a stay-at-home order in place until May 1 and opted not to extend it as he begins to roll out his plan for relaxing some of the social distancing guidelines.

Gallup Polling: As Donald Trump works to contain the damage from the novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the rally in support he enjoyed as the nation entered a virtual lockdown has faded. His job approval rating, now 43%, has slipped six percentage points since mid-March when he earned 49% approval, which tied his personal best.

(graphic via Gallup)

OUT: Illustrator Tommy Taylor has transformed Disney Princes into the quarantined gays we know and love.

Newsweek: According to survey averages from Real Clear Politics, Biden is ahead of Trump in half a dozen states critical to the Electoral College map this November: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Twitter: I am not mad at Spain’s army uniforms for members of its elite La Legión, and neither is the internet.

News Round-Up: January 31, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Australia’s Coach Clayton (above) shares great legs/butt workouts on his Insta. Why? Because no one ever wrote a song about a small butt. #amiright Follow him on Instagram here.

Press Herald: Jack Phillips, the anti-gay baker from Colorado who took his case all the way to the Supreme Court in order to avoid making a cake for a same-sex couple, just got a book deal for his story.

KIT212: Kenneth has the what’s what in gay rags across the country including the latest issue of DNA Magazine (below).

LA Times: Joshua Ebow, 30, was arrested in connection to a string of brutal anti-gay hate crimes in the Los Angeles area. If convicted he faces up to 14 years in prison. Ebow was charged with punching and stabbing “men who were gay or perceived to be gay.”

USA Today: The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory amid the coronavirus outbreak. The new message is firm: “Do not travel to China.” The alert, which is a Level 4 (the highest level), cites the fact that the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency as reason to suspend travel.

Iowa: Donald Trump warned an Iowa crowd in a wild campaign speech Thursday night that global warming activists are out to “kill our cows,” and “that means you’re next.” #srsly

Anti-LGBTQ Baker Agrees To A Ceasefire With Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop

Anti-LGBTQ baker Jack Phillips has agreed to call it a draw with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Phillips was brought up on charges by the commission for declining to make a pink and blue cake in 2017 celebrating a transgender woman’s transition.

Autumn Scardina, a Denver attorney, asked Phillips to make a blue and pink cake celebrating both her birthday and the anniversary of her transition.

The commission found, with probable cause, that Phillips had discriminated against Scardina due to her gender identity, a violation of the state’s public accommodation laws.

Phillips filed a counter-lawsuit against the commission alleging persecution for his Christian faith.

On Tuesday, Phillips’ attorneys and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser mutually agreed to drop both legal actions.

Weiser told the local CBS news affiliate that both sides “agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases.”

Regarding whether religious beliefs can trump public accommodation laws intended to protect LGBTs from discrimination in his state, Weiser said, “The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them.”

“Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws,” he added.

But attorneys for the anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Phillips, claimed there was “overwhelming evidence” of hostility towards Phillips by the state.

The Denver Post reports Phillips issued a statement saying, “Today is a win for freedom.”

“I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop,” added Phillips. “I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs.”

Phillips famously waged a six-year battle with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after turning away a gay couple seeking a cake to celebrate their marriage in 2012.

The fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where Phillips won in a narrow ruling saying the commission showed anti-religious bias in determining its sanctions on Phillips.

The issue of religious freedoms over LGBT civil rights was not resolved in that case.

The Denver Post notes that the agreement between Phillips and the CCRC does not preclude Scardina from moving ahead with any legal action of her own.

(h/t Denver Post, CBSDenver)

News Round-Up: March 5, 2019

Oh no, I'm nor jealous at all of InstaHunk Jim Newman and his Brazilian infinity pool afternoon. #HowNiceForHim :)
InstaHunk Jim Newman in Brazil

Some news items you might have missed:

• Oh no, I’m not jealous at all of InstaHunk Jim Newman and his Brazilian infinity pool afternoon. #HowNiceForHim #SeeWhatHardWorkGetsYou

• CNN reports that Donald Trump pressured White House staff to issue Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations. This comes just days after The New York Times reported that the Trumpster intervened to secure a high-level security clearance for his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

• Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, has agreed to drop his lawsuit against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in exchange for the commission giving up on its own administrative discrimination complaint against Phillips.

• NBC News reports North Korea started rebuilding a banned long range missile site 48 hours after Donald Trump’s failed Hanoi summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

• An unlicensed gun owner in Indiana is recovering in a hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the penis. #WhatElseIsThereToSay?

• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reported to be scrambling to avoid embarrassing Donald Trump as possibly 15 Senate Republicans may join Democrats in a resolution denouncing the Donald’s use of ‘national emergency’ to get funds for his beloved wall.

• Madonna celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of her mega-hit, “Like a Prayer,” yesterday. The actual date was Sunday, but apparently Madge was ‘blocked’ from posting then.

The Queen of Pop writes: “30 years ago today I released Like a Prayer and made a video that caused so much controversy because I kissed a black saint and danced in front of burning crosses! I also made a commercial with PEPSI that was banned because my video was seen as inappropriate. Happy Birthday to Me and Controversy! #likeaprayer meant to post this yesterday but was blocked! what a shocker!”

Colorado: Anti-LGBTQ Baker Refuses To Sell Trans Woman A Cake

Anti-LGBTQ Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has filed a new lawsuit against Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials alleging “religious persecution” over his refusal to bake a cake for a transgender individual.
Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop

Anti-LGBTQ Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has filed a new lawsuit against Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials alleging “religious persecution” over his refusal to bake a cake for a transgender individual.

According to The Denver Post, Phillips’ lawsuit states the commission found the baker violated the state’s LGBT protection laws this past June when he declined to bake a pink and blue cake for trans woman Autumn Scardina of Arvada who was celebrating her seventh year of gender transition. Phillips claims the cake would have amounted to endorsement of messages of sex and gender identity that conflict with his deeply held religious beliefs.

Upon being rebuffed, Scardina filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission which ultimately determined Phillips had discriminated against Scardina based on her gender identity which violates the state’s public accommodation laws.

“The woman on the phone did not object to my request for a birthday cake until I told her I was celebrating my transition from male to female,” Scardina wrote in her complaint, according to ThinkProgress. “I believe that other people who request birthday cakes get to select the color and theme of the cake.”

In a June 28 letter, the commission informed Phillips he was in violation of state laws and to find a way to reach an amicable resolution with Scardina.

According to the lawsuit, Phillips is seeking not only restitution for legal fees but $100,000 from the director of the civil rights commission in “punitive damages.”
Phillips gained national attention in 2012 when he refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.

In June this year, his case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which found the Colorado Civil Rights Commission may have been prejudiced against Phillips in doubting the sincerity of his religious claims and asked the commission to review the decision. The high court specifically noted at the time that the ruling was specific to this case only and not a broad pronouncement in support for LGBTQ discrimination.

In a press release, attorney Kristen Waggoner of the anti-LGBTQ law group Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Phillips said, “The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs.”

“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him — something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do,” she added. “Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”

News Round-Up: September 7, 2017

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Woofy Eliad Cohen serves up some #ThrowBackThursday to his army days. Did you know that Cohen’s native Israel requires 32 months of compulsory military service for men? #MenInUniform

• The owner of High Times has acquired LGBTQ publications The Advocate, Out, Pride, Plus, and Out Traveler.

• Speaking of The Advocate, the cast of Will & Grace covers the venerable LGBT publication this month:

• Virulently anti-LGBTQ pastor Kevin Swanson announced on his radio program today that the Supreme Court must immediately reverse its Roe v. Wade and Obergefell decisions before the wrath of God is brought upon the U.S. in the form of Hurricane Irma. #SRSLY

• At this writing, 86 GOP members of Congress have signed an amicus brief in support of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Donald Trump’s Justice Department also filed a brief in support of the baker’s right to discriminate against LGBTs.

• Check out the latest from Maroon 5: the poppy, upbeat “What Lovers Do” featuring 2017 breakout R&B star, SZA.

Supporters Launch Crowdfunding Campaign For Anti-Gay Colorado Baker

Baker Jack Phillips refused to bake wedding cake for same-sex marriage

As we’ve seen in the past with other businesses who chose to not serve LGBTs, the friends of a Colorado baker have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help offset the penalties the baker has incurred by violating the state’s public accommodation laws:

“Cake artist” Jack Phillips has said his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, has lost more than a third of its receipts since he stopped making all wedding cakes while the case makes its way through the legal system.

“We hope it will relieve some of the financial pressure on Jack,” his brother-in-law, Jim Sander, said of the new fundraising effort in a phone interview Friday with The Daily Signal. “A business that has a 10 percent loss is a big deal in the Wall Street Journal. So a 40 percent loss is a big hit.”

Sander said the “crowdfunding” campaign, through the website Continue to Give, a Christian-oriented service, went online Thursday afternoon—hours after the Colorado Court of Appeals decided Phillips and his business must provide cakes for gay marriages. The mission: Financially support Phillips, 59, and “protect his freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” The goal: Raise $200,000.

At this writing, six percent (or about $12K) has been raised by the campaign.