History: Beshear Becomes 1st Kentucky Governor To Attend LGBTQ Rally

Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky (screen capture)

Governor Andy Beshear became the first Kentucky governor to attend the annual LGBTQ Fairness Rally on Wednesday.

The Democrat defeated virulently anti-LGBTQ Republican incumbent Matt Bevin in November.

Amid rainbow flags and loud cheers from the crowd, Beshear told attendees, “Diversity and inclusion, they aren’t buzz words – they are values.”

“And they are keys to making Kentucky stronger,” continued Beshear. “Kentucky cannot reach its full potential if all of our people don’t feel supported to be themselves.”

Speaking in the Rotunda at the State Capitol in Frankfort, the governor also spoke in support of two legislative proposals vital to LGBTQ Kentuckians, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

One, a ‘statewide fairness’ measure that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“Discrimination against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters is absolutely unacceptable in this commonwealth,” said Beshear.

While 18 communities in Kentucky have ‘fairness ordinances,’ there are no statewide protections for LGBTQ people in the Bluegrass state.

He also endorsed a legislative ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ the harmful practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Also known as ‘ex-gay therapy,’ the pseudo-science has been denounced by nearly all major medical organizations including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign, called Beshear’s appearance politically courageous, reports the local ABC News affiliate 6News.

“To have support in the highest office in the commonwealth of Kentucky is so meaningful for so many LGBTQ people who have never felt seen by lawmakers who can make a difference,” said Hartman.

When asked about his historic appearance at the event, Beshear dismissed the question saying, “I think it took too long. Under this administration, every single Kentuckian counts.”

(Source: Lexington Herald-Leader)

Podcast: Gay Rom-Com For V-Day, Billy Porter On Sesame Street, HRC Ranks States On LGBTQ Life

In this episode: the NFL's homophobic email scandal, Pete Buttigieg claps back, and new music from out singer/songwriter Michael Lazar.

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s podcast:

• A Kentucky high school is being sued for outing a queer teen

• Professional ice hockey player Zach Sullivan comes out

• The Human Rights Campaign issues its annual States Equality Index

• Freeform channel previews upcoming gay romantic comedy for Valentine’s Day “The Thing About Harry”

• Billy Porter is taking a stroll down Sesame Street

• LGBTQs and their allies score at the 2020 Grammy Awards

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

Christian School Sued For Breach Of Contract After Outing Teen

The family of a 15-year-old in Louisville, Kentucky, is suing the teen’s former private school for expelling her after seeing a photo showing her celebrating her birthday with a rainbow sweater and rainbow birthday cake.

The parents of Kayla Kenney are suing private Christian school Whitefield Academy for “breach of contract, emotional distress, and defamation.”

Georgia Connally, the attorney who filed the lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court, told local news station WDRB, “They made an assumption about a child’s sexual identity based on a birthday cake and a sweatshirt.”

Connally shares that, while Kayla identifies as LGBTQ, she wasn’t openly gay at the time of the expulsion.

But, Connally notes the lawsuit isn’t about LGBTQ discrimination.

“This lawsuit is about whether or not (the school) followed their own rules when they chose to expel Kayla, and they didn’t,” she said. “They skipped a whole bunch of (disciplinary) steps and went straight to plan Z, in my book, which is expelling a 15-year-old based on a photo.”

The letter sent to Kayla’s parents informing them of the expulsion read, in part,  “The administration has been made aware of a recent picture posted on social which demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs.”

The school went on to state, “We made it clear that any promotion, celebration or any other actions and attitudes that are counter to Whitefield’s philosophy would not be tolerated.”

Kayla reportedly filed an appeal asking to meet with the school administrators, but they declined the request.

Once the story attracted national attention, the school issued a statement to the press saying Kayla had previous student violations that were part of the decision to expel her from school.

“Inaccurate media reports are circling stating that the student in question was expelled from our school solely for a social media post,” the statement read. “In fact, she has unfortunately violated our student code of conduct numerous times over the past two years. In the fall, we met with the student to give her a final chance to begin to adhere to our code of conduct. Unfortunately, she did not live up to the agreement, and therefore, has been expelled.”

Connally takes issue with the school addressing the conflict with the media which, by her reading, not only outed the teen but constitutes breach of contract.

“The school went to the media to defend themselves,” explained Connally. “They have a privacy policy, a confidentiality policy, that’s also in the contract, and they didn’t follow it. And that put a child in harm’s way.”

The lawyer notes that while the school is a private, religious entity, “There’s no religious exception for defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

“If those things were done, then they’re just as liable as a public entity would be,” she added.

Whitefield Academy has not responded to calls or emails about the lawsuit.

Here’s the initial report about the expulsion from the local CBS News affiliate:

News Round-Up: December 17, 2019 (You’ll Never Guess The Cover Guy)

L-R Josh Rimer and Heath Busse (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Gaily Grind: After hottie Josh Rimer, travel blogger and Mr. Gay Canada 2019, shared that he and his fiancé Heath Busse were turned away by the Sheraton Hotel in Puerto Vallarta for their upcoming wedding, Hilton reached out: “We’ll gladly host your wedding ceremony and feast for FREE for you and your 45 guests at Hilton Puerto Vallarta!”

Miss Manners: A ‘committed Biblical believer’ wrote to an advice columnist asking for help after a ‘presumptuous’ gay relative mentioned bringing his boo to a family holiday dinner. Miss Manners had the perfect response.

Military Times: A new survey shows some 50 percent of troops said they had an unfavorable view of him. By comparison, just a few weeks after his electoral victory in November 2016, 46 percent of troops surveyed had a positive view of the businessman-turned-politician, and 37 percent had a negative opinion.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg• The Hill: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday responded to Donald Trump’s suggestion that the Supreme Court could stop the impeachment process, saying “the president is not a lawyer.” The Constitution states that the U.S. House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

Yahoo News: Outgoing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin commuted the sentence of a man who had been convicted of decapitating a woman and disposing of her body in a 55-gallon barrel. Since his November defeat to Democrat Andy Beshear, Bevin has issued 428 pardons, many of them controversial.

NBC News: Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump and ex-business partner of Paul Manafort, was sentenced to three years probation and 45 days in jail on Tuesday after he cooperated extensively (more than 500 hours) with federal investigators.

Transformation: Comedic actor Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, HBO’s Silicone Valley) adds “thirst trap” to his resume.

Sharing that he never thought he’d be “one of those people” who post shirtless pics, he told his Instagram followers he found out a year ago he was going to be in Marvel’s Eternals and “decided I wanted to transform how I looked.”

He adds that he’d have never been able to achieve his new fitness on his own crediting a full year with “the best trainers and nutritionists paid for by the biggest studio in the world. I’m glad I look like this, but I also understand why I never did before. It would have been impossible without these resources and time.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I never thought I’d be one of those people who would post a thirsty shirtless, but I’ve worked way too hard for way too long so here we are. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I found out a year ago I was going to be in Marvel’s Eternals and decided I wanted to transform how I looked. I would not have been able to do this if I didn’t have a full year with the best trainers and nutritionists paid for by the biggest studio in the world. I’m glad I look like this, but I also understand why I never did before. It would have been impossible without these resources and time. So big thanks to @grantrobertsfit who started working with me at the beginning of the year and made me understand true physical pain for months and months. Then, once we started shooting, a massive thanks to @davidhigginslondon and his team (@ellispartridge, @thebeardypt, @tomcheesemanfitness) for training me almost every day and making me strong, limber and injury free. I can almost touch my toes now. (And thank you for forcing me to do cheat meals David.) Matthews Street Catering for their delicious and healthy meals. And finally, the biggest thanks goes to @emilyvgordon for putting up with me complaining and talking about only working out and dieting for the last year. I promise I’ll be interesting again some day. #thirstyshirtless (Photo by @markupson.) (edit: I left off one very important person: @lancecallahan who trained me for 6 years and helped me build the foundation I could use to do this. Thank you!)

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Homophobic Photographer Files Anti-LGBTQ Lawsuit ‘Just In Case’

Two men kiss after getting married

A wedding photographer in Louisville, Kentucky, has filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s Fairness Ordinance saying it forces her to “use her artistic talents to promote same-sex wedding ceremonies.”

The photographer, Chelsey Nelson, asks in the lawsuit that the city not only stop enforcing the 20-year-old ordinance but also requests ‘compensatory damages.’

In the filing, Nelson’s lawyers from the anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) assert the law would “force Chelsey to create photographs for, blog about, and participate in solemn ceremonies she disagrees with–same-sex wedding ceremonies.”

“She believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman,” said Jonathan Scruggs of ADF speaking to WDRB.com.

“The way Louisville’s law works, because Chelsey wants to photograph and blog about weddings between a man and a woman, it requires her to do the same type of thing to celebrate same-sex wedding ceremonies, and that’s just wrong,” added Scruggs.

The lawsuit claims the ordinance violates the First Amendment, which protects religion, speech, assembly, and the press, as well as the 14th Amendment, which says the government cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

Louisville Metro Ordinance 92.05 states it is an unlawful practice to deny someone “full and equal” enjoyment of goods, services, privileges, advantages and public accommodations based on their race, color, religion, nationality, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The ordinance also prohibits communications that suggest a person could be discriminated based on the above criteria.

But here’s the thing – no same-sex couple has even approached Nelson to photograph their wedding let alone bring charges against her via the Fairness Ordinance.

Not one.

Scruggs calls the lawsuit a pre-emptive strike saying his client “just wants clarity” just in case a same-sex couple might approach her for their nuptials.

Chris Hartman, director for the local LGBTQ advocacy group The Fairness Campaign, calls the filing a “fishing expedition” that basically amounts to a “frivolous lawsuit.”

Noting ADF’s predilection of running back and forth across the country representing anti-LGBTQ clients, Hartman likened the legal action to “throwing spaghetti at the wall” in their attacks on the LGBTQ community hoping something will stick.

Hartman points out that the Fairness Ordinance prohibits not only discrimination based on sexual orientation, but bias based on religion or color.

“What they are challenging in this lawsuit is a provision that has been well accepted in civil rights statutes across the entire nation for more than 50 years, which says that a business may not post on its business front or I suppose in this case, on its website, that it will not serve protected classes of people,” Hartman told the Courier-Journal.

He added, “This has been an instrumental part of civil rights laws since the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964.”

Alliance Defending Freedom has been involved in numerous lawsuits across the country challenging local anti-discrimination ordinances. Just some of those cases have included wedding invitation designers in Tuscon, Washington state florist Baronelle Stutzman, and homophobic Colorado baker Jack Phillips.

(source: Courier-Journal)

Kentucky Governorship Flips Blue

In a solid red state that Donald Trump won by 30 points in 2016, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) trumped incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) winning the governor’s mansion.

With 99% of the vote in, Beshear has been announced the ‘apparent winner’ by a lead of over 6,000 votes.

This is not good news for Donald Trump.

#happydance

Kentucky: Anti-LGBTQ Printer Wins At Supreme Court On Technicality

 

(stock image via Depositphotos)

The Kentucky state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Lexington print shop owner who refused to make LGBTQ Pride t-shirts because of his religious beliefs.

Back in 2012, Hands On Originals print shop declined to make t-shirts bearing a design that read, “Lexington Pride Festival.”

The owner of the company, Blaine Adamson, told reporters after a hearing before the state Supreme Court he couldn’t produce the shirts because the message “goes against my conscience.”

“Because of my Christian beliefs, I can’t promote that,” Adamson told a Human Rights Commission hearing officer at the time. “Specifically, it’s the Lexington Pride Festival, the name and that it’s advocating pride in being gay and being homosexual, and I can’t promote that message. It’s something that goes against my belief system.”

But the city of Lexington’s fairness ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in issues relating to housing, employment, and public accommodation.

So, the local Gay and Lesbian Services Organization filed a complaint with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission claiming Adamson unfairly discriminated in declining the t-shirt order.

According to the Courier-Journal, the HRC ordered Hands On Originals to print the shirts and attend diversity training classes.

The t-shirt Hands On Originals declined to make (image provided)

Adamson, represented by the virulently anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, appealed his case and won at both the circuit court and state court of appeals.

This past August, his case landed at the state Supreme Court which has now decided in Adamson’s favor – but on a technicality.

The state high court dismissed the case ruling that the Lexington Gay and Lesbian Services Organization lacked standing to sue the t-shirt company because the GLSO wasn’t the party denied service by Hands On Originals.

The individual who originally placed the order and was turned away would have been the correct party to file suit according to the high court’s ruling.

“Without a proper complainant, no determination can be made as to whether the ordinance was violated,” Justice Laurance VanMeter of Lexington wrote for the court’s majority.

“While this result is no doubt disappointing to many interested in this case and its potential outcome, the fact that the wrong party filed the complaint makes the discrimination analysis almost impossible to conduct, including issues related to freedom of expression and religion,” VanMeter wrote.

And Justice David Buckingham, who wrote a concurring opinion, chastised the Lexington Human Rights League for trying to force Hands On Originals to “engage in expression with which it disagreed.”

Buckingham wrote, “When expression is involved, whether a parade organizer, a newspaper or a t-shirt company, a publisher may discriminate on the basis of content, even if that content relates to a protected classification.”

Raymond Sexton, executive director for the Human Rights Commission told the press he is reviewing the Supreme Court’s ruling and will discuss any possible further action at the next meeting of the commission.

(source: Courier-Journal)

News Round-Up: November 1, 2019

Tyler Valenzia (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Mixing it up today with fitness guy Tyler Valenzia (above). I realized I practically never feature clean-shaven blond guys. Tyler’s ready for a lazy weekend, and I def don’t hate that. #ProblemSolved

Advocate: On a technicality, the Kentucky Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit brought against a shop that refused to print T-shirts for Lexington’s 2012 Pride Festival. The court didn’t rule on LGBTQ rights or not, but dismissed the case because the party that brought the claim, the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, lacked standing because it was not the party denied service by the business.

KIT212: Kenneth has the latest on what’s making news in this week’s gay magazine.

BBC: An Indonesian man who worked for an organization that helped draft strict laws making adultery & gay sex punishable by public whipping has been caned after being caught having an affair with a married woman. #karma

Playbill: Tony and Emmy winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots, Pose) and Tony winner Idina Menzel (Wicked) will perform during the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Also joining the festivities (9 AM ET on NBC on Thanksgiving Day) is Broadway alum and Glee star Lea Michele.

Politico: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has begun closing campaign offices in New Hampshire due to a shortage of funds. The campaign announced the decision was made to go ‘all-in’ in Iowa for the first-in-the-country contest.

New Music: Gryffin & Slander dropped their EDM single, “All You Need To Know” featuring the vocals of Swedish singer/songwriter Calle Lehmann, back in March. The track comes from Gryffin’s full-length debut album, Gravity.

I liked it back then, but today they share this acoustic take on the track which reveals a much deeper emotional core to the song.

Regular readers of The Randy Report know how I love artists reinventing, and thereby discovering more of, their own art. I like this.

Appeals Court Rules Kim Davis Can Be Sued By Gay Couples

Bad news for homophobic former Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis (above).

Cue the sad trombone sound…womp womp womp

An appeals court has ruled that Davis can be sued as an individual for refusing to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples after the historic U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell ruling in 2015.

Reuters reports:

The Kentucky county clerk who in 2015 gained widespread attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples may be sued for damages by two of those couples, a federal appeals court ruled late on Friday.

In a 3-0 decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said Kim Davis can be sued in her individual capacity, though sovereign immunity shielded her from being sued in her former role as Rowan County Clerk.

Davis claimed that Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, did not apply to her because she stopped issuing licenses to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, and the plaintiffs could have obtained licenses elsewhere.

Davis lost her reelection bid last year.

She was represented by the virulently anti-LGBTQ Liberty Counsel law firm. Mat Staver, the organization’s founder told the press, “She had no hostility to anyone, given that she stopped issuing all marriage licenses.”

Liar.

In related news, the 6th Circuit Court also ruled that the state of Kentucky is on the hook for $224,000 in legal fees incurred by the couples who sued Davis when she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

According to the Lexington Courier-Journal, Gov. Matt Bevin fought the judgment saying Davis should be responsible for the fees, not the state of Kentucky. He lost.

Hate doesn’t pay, kids.

Gay-Hating Kim Davis May Have To Pay $222K To Gay Couple’s Legal Team

Former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis

Back in 2015, then-candidate for Kentucky governor Matt Bevin was proud to announce he “absolutely supported” Kim Davis, the infamous county clerk who denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that marriage equality had become the law of the land, Davis refused to issue the licenses citing her deeply-held religious beliefs.

It’s important to note that those ‘deeply-held religious beliefs’ about the sanctity of marriage didn’t stop her from marrying three different men four times, so, there’s that.

At the time, the state required the name of the county clerk to appear on each marriage license, and Davis saw that as tacit endorsement of same-sex marriage. Digging in her heels, she stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether.

Gay and straight couples, now unable to marry, sued Davis with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. The result was a federal judge ordering Davis to issue the licenses, but she still refused.

And so it was that the judge found her in contempt of court, and she was jailed for five days making her the darling of the anti-LGBT crowd.

The eventual solution was the Kentucky legislature changing state law that required county clerks names on marriage licenses. The gay and straight couples were issued marriage licenses, and the lawsuit against Davis was dismissed in that the issue had been resolved.

Davis went on to write a book, campaigned for a failed same-sex marriage ban in Romania, and then, this past November was voted out of office.

But this sad tale isn’t quite done, yet. There is, as they say, the issue of the bill.

In 2017, a district judge ruled that the state of Kentucky had to pay the $222,000 legal costs of the gay and straight couples who had brought the lawsuit against Davis.

According to the Associated Press, lawyers for now-Governor Matt Bevin say state taxpayers “should not have to collectively bear the financial responsibility for Davis’ intransigence.”

“Only Davis refused to comply with the law as was her obligation and as required by the oath of office she took,” Bevin attorney Palmer G. Vance II wrote in a brief filed with the court.

“Her local policy stood in direct conflict with her statutory obligation to issue marriage licenses to qualified Kentucky couples,” continued Vance in the brief. “Davis had an independent and sworn duty to uphold the law as an elected county officer.”

For clarity, both Bevins and Davis believe that the court should not award legal fees saying the gay and straight couples didn’t technically ‘win’ the lawsuit since it was dismissed after the legislative action.

Steve Pitt, an in-house lawyer for the governor, says Bevins “continues to support Ms. Davis’s actions,” but if legal fees are to be awarded, “the taxpayers of Kentucky are not responsible to pay the ACLU’s attorney fees.”

Davis’s lawyer, Mat Staver of the virulently anti-LGBT organization Liberty Counsel, which has been labeled an ‘extremist group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center, argues that Davis was acting on behalf of the state.

Since Bevins appealed the initial ruling regarding court costs, the two sides will face off Thursday at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati where a three-judge panel will hear arguments on who should pay the legal fees.