Podcast: Texas’ Anti-Trans Bill; Star Trek Discovery; New Jersey’s Support For Trans Students

Listen in as I discuss this week’s LGBTQ headlines including:

• The Texas Legislature is on its way to approving an anti-transgender “bathroom” bill

• Rhode Island becomes the 9th state to ban harmful “ex-gay therapy”

• New Jersey passes required guidance for trans students

Star Trek Discovery will feature its first gay romantic couple

• We may soon find out if Academy Award winner Moonlight opened the door for more mainstream success for queer-themed cinema

All that and more on this episode of The Randy Report.

For past episodes, or to subscribe to the podcast for free, click here.

And, by the way, please feel free to share The Randy Report podcast with friends. It’s a great way to catch up on the week’s LGBT political, pop culture and entertainment headlines in about 15 minutes 🙂

Rhode Island Governor Signs “Ex-Gay Therapy” Ban Into Law

Excellent news from Rhode Island where Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law her state’s recently passed bill which bans “ex-gay” therapy torture.

With a sweep of her pen, Raimondo makes Rhode Island the 10th state in the country plus Washington DC to outlaw the harmful practice.

Add to that mix several cities which have passed their own municipal bans, and we’ve got some progress happening on this important issue.

From the Human Rights Campaign:

“No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Legislature for protecting the state’s LGBTQ youth.”

Rhode Island is now the eleventh jurisdiction — and the fourth state so far this year — to enact these crucially important protections. Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Rhode Island Supreme Court Throws Out Firefighters’ Lawsuit Over Driving In Gay Pride Parade

In 2004, Providence firefighters Theodore Fabrizio and Stephen Deninno filed suit against the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for being assigned to drive a fire truck during an annual gay pride parade in 2001.

The men sued saying their constitutional rights were violated arguing that as practicing Roman Catholics they did not “support, encourage,nor condone homosexual behavior.”

Today, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued their ruling.

Writing for the entire court, Justice William Robinson III called driving a fire truck in a parade a “legitimate work assignment” and said as public servants they were “relatively anonymous.”

“The respondents’ appearance in the parade, solely as members of the Providence Fire Department, did not constitute a form of expression on their part. Rather, it was simply the accomplishing of a task assigned to an engine company of the Providence Fire Department,” Robinson wrote.

Marriage equality begins at midnight in MInnesota and Rhode Island

Congratulations to the LGBT communities in Minnesota and Rhode Island as marriage equality becomes a reality at midnight tonight.

In Rhode Island, Lee Swislow, GLAD’s executive director made the following statement: “Congratulations to all of the loving, committed Rhode Island couples who can now marry and enjoy the dignity and security of having their marriage recognized at home and by the federal government. We are joyful and proud that each of the six New England states recognizes the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.”

GLAD was an active part of the coalition that worked for many years to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples in Rhode Island through legal work, public education, and providing strategic expertise.

Some people in Rhode Island can’t see the writing on the wall, though, as one man tried to get a temporary restraining order in place to stop the upcoming nuptials:

Ronald L’Heureux, a cofounder of the Faith Alliance to Preserve the Sanctity of Marriage as Defined by God, brought a petition and complaint to the court on Tuesday morning and sought a temporary restraining order to stop the law from taking effect. Judge Daniel A. Procaccini denied the request, saying L’Heureux had fallen “far short” of the criteria needed to obtain a temporary restraining order, said court spokesman Craig Berke.

Instead, Procaccini scheduled a preliminary hearing for Aug. 9.

L’Heureux’s complaint, which names Governor Chafee, state Department of Health Director Michael Fine and 75 state lawmakers who voted for same-sex marriage as defendants, argues that legalizing same-sex marriage will violate religious freedoms guaranteed by the state Constitution, forcing people to accept, in public spheres such as schools, a practice that they oppose based on their faith.
“It violates the Constitution and causes irreparable harm, and once it passes they’re going to teach my children and grandchildren conduct that’s reprehensible to my faith,” said L’Heureux, who represented himself in court.

With gay marriages becoming legal in Minnesota on Thursday, courthouses in major cities across the state will be open after midnight to accommodate dozens of same-sex couples eager to tie the knot.

“It’s good for our business,” says Ron Stein, a jeweler in Minneapolis, where the mayor plans to conduct weddings for approximately 40 couples. “We’ve had orders already.”

NPR Minnesota reports that the city of Minneapolis is hosting an extravaganza at City Hall tonight where Mayor R.T. Rybak will officiate at the marriage of 42 same-sex couples. The celebration, which will stretch well into Thursday morning, includes performances by local musicians, a brass quintet and a reception at the nearby Hotel Minneapolis.

In recent days, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has published articles about the coming “boon” to the state’s wedding industry, as well as the phenomenon of same-sex couples facing the same sort of pre-wedding “jitters” long known to straight couples.

Rhode Island becomes 10th state to legalize marriage equality

Rhode Island on Thursday became the nation’s 10th
state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, as a 16-year effort to
extend marriage rights in this heavily Catholic state ended with the
triumphant cheers of hundreds of gays, lesbians, their families and
friends.

The final House vote passed 56-15.  Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign the bill today at 5:45 EST on the State House south steps!

Marriage equality begins August 1st.

Rhode Island will be the 10th state in the U.S. to legally recognize marriage equality!

Congrats, Rhode Island!

Rhode Island: Governor Chafee pens op-ed in advance of signing marriage equality into law

In an op-ed in The New York Times titled “Why I Am Signing Marriage Equality Into Law,” Chafee goes beyond the usual “I believe in equality” argument to say that it’s an economic imperative to support marriage:

“Rhode Island was badly battered by the recession of 2008, but we are moving in the right direction,” Chafee argues. “Jobs are the only way forward — we need to keep the ones we have, and we need to create new ones.

“There are good signs — our unemployment rate has just undergone the largest yearly drop since 1985 — but one needless obstacle to our recovery remains. Rhode Island is part of a highly regional economy, with the other New England states and New York in constant competition with us for innovative companies, and particularly for the young, open-minded individuals who are close to the heartbeat of the new digital economy.

“In our small cluster of states, it is relatively easy for a company or a person to cross a border seeking a more favorable climate. And in recent years Rhode Island has been an outlier among our surrounding states: we are the only one prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.”

Read the entire op-ed at NYTimes.com

Rhode Island: Senate panel approves marriage equality, bill moves to full Senate tomorrow

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 today to pass a marriage equality bill.

The Senate bill would allow gay weddings in Rhode Island beginning on Aug. 1.

The full chamber of 38 senators will vote on the same-sex marriage bill Wednesday during a session at 4pm.

Democrats hold a 32-5 majority in the Senate, although three of the party’s leaders – Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport, Majority Leader Ruggerio and Judiciary Committee Chairman McCaffrey of Warwick – are all opposed to gay marriage.

By contrast, the Senate’s five-member Republican caucus announced their unanimous support for the same-sex marriage legislation earlier Tuesday. The top Republican in the lower chamber, House Minority Leader Brian Newberry, also voted in favor of same-sex marriage in January.

(via WPRI)

Rhode Island: GOP Senate caucus announces support for marriage equality

As the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee gets ready to consider a marriage equality bill today, we get word from Towleroad that the state Senate Republican caucus has announced it’s support for the bill.

From Rhode Island United for Marriage:

Ri

It’s a big day in Rhode Island, and we’re excited to kick it off with some really exciting news for our campaign! This morning, the Senate Republican Caucus – including Senators Dennis Algiere, David Bates, Dawson Hodgson, Nicholas Kettle, Chris Ottiano – released a statement announcing unanimous support for S38, the bill that will extend marriage to loving same-sex couples:

We support Senate Bill 38 because it rightfully extends the civil aspects of marriage to all Rhode Islanders while protecting the freedom of religion our state was founded upon.  Gay and lesbian couples deserve to be treated equally under the law, and at the same time churches, synagogues and mosques in our state must be free to exercise their faith and their sacraments as they see fit.  This bill strikes the right balance and should be passed by the Senate.

Said RI4M campaign director Ray Sullivan:

“We are proud and humbled to have earned the support of the entire Senate Republican caucus for Senator Nesselbush’s legislation. We applaud their courage and their conviction in standing up for all loving, committed couples and their freedom to marry. That this is the first legislative caucus of either party to unanimously support marriage equality is a testament to the bravery and strength of character of these five senators. We thank them for their support, and look forward to their voting in favor of S38.” 

(via Towleroad)

Rhode Island: Providence 6th grader schools legislators on equality

Matthew Lannon, 12, a sixth-grader at Wheeler School in Providence, presented a voice and face of youth to the very adult topic of same sex marriage in Rhode Island.

Matthew, with his two moms, watching and lending him support, was one of the many advocates and opponents of gay marriage to testify before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday evening at the RI State House.

Excerpt from his testimony: “If there’s one thing you don’t mess with in life, it’s love. My parents and all the other gay and lesbian people here want to be happy, just like you. All they want is to be treated fairly. But unlike most of you, they have to come again here year after year and explain over and over why their love is equal to yours. This year, you have the opportunity to change that. I say, choose love.”

(via Providence Journal)