Washington: Super-Spreader Event Leads To Spike In COVID Infections

A super-spreader event in Washington state has led to nearly 100 COVID-19 infections
A super-spreader event in Washington state has led to nearly 100 COVID-19 infections
(screen capture via KREM2)

The pandemic deniers are still at it.

From NBC News affiliate KREM2:

A three-day-long super-spreader event in Republic, Washington is causing a spike in COVID-19 cases in Ferry County. As of Wednesday, nearly 100 people had been infected.

The event was set up to recruit new Eagle’s Club members the weekend of April 9-11. Some said it was advertised as a protest against COVID-19 restrictions. The club president said it was simply a dinner and poker night to attract new members.

Health officials in Republic said patient zero was traced back to the event. Since then, infections have reached far into the community.

The bank in town had to shut down early and brought in temporary workers. One of the only grocery stores also had limited capacity and county services have taken a hit with court cases being delayed because so many workers are either home sick or in quarantine.

These kinds of events have been happening throughout the past year as the pandemic has raged on.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Gay Couple Attacked For Holding Hands At Food Truck

Four men in Washington state have been arrested for allegedly harassing and physically attacking a gay couple for holding hands at a food truck.

Pedro Mata Contreras, 36, Oscar Emestor Mata, 38, Ulises Missael Reyes-Mata, 24, and Jose Torres, 37, were charged with Felony Malicious Harassment. All four maintain their innocence.

Local CBS News affiliate KEPR reports eight witnesses told police the group of four men verbally harassed the gay couple early Sunday morning at a food truck in Pasco, using the word “fag.”

The incident escalated as the men reportedly punched one of the victims in the face. As he fell to the ground, the other men began to kick him repeatedly.

The victim, left bleeding on the ground as the men ran away, suffered bone fractures in his face and a concussion.

Witnesses were able to identify the four accused attackers.

The four men are scheduled to be arraigned on December 31.

(mugshots via Franklin County)

(lead image via Depositphotos)

Washington State Supreme Court Upholds Ruling Against Anti-LGBTQ Florist

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld its 2017 ruling which found florist Barronelle Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she refused to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple in 2013.
Homophobic florist Barronelle Stutzman

The Washington State Supreme Court has upheld its 2017 ruling which found florist Barronelle Stutzman had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she refused to sell wedding flowers to a gay couple in 2013.

Stutzman’s legal team had appealed the original ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but last June the high court punted.

Instead of reviewing the case, SCOTUS vacated the Washington state Supreme Court ruling and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the caseto ensure they did not rule with any religious bias.

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court upheld its original ruling in a unanimous decision,

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a statement which read, “Washington state law protects same-sex couples from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, the same way it protects Washingtonians from discrimination based on their religion, veteran or military status, disability, race and other protected classes.”

The case began when Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry in 2013 after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before.

They approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs.

Washington state’s public accommodation laws specifically prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.

Although she cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, it’s worth noting that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman. GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.

However, Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.

Following Wednesday’s ruling, Stutzman’s attorneys (from the virulently anti-LGBTQ law firm Alliance Defending Freedom) say they plan to take their appeal (again) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Source: KEPR)

News Round-Up: January 11, 2019

• InstaHunk Joe Blizzard is setting up some serious 'beard goals.' #Woof
Joe Blizzard

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunk Joe Blizzard is setting some serious ‘beard goals.’ #Woof

• White House officials are considering diverting disaster funds earmarked for Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California to build Donald Trump’s beloved ‘wall’ under the guise of declaring the border situation a ‘national emergency.’

• Did you hear about the United Airlines pilot and copilot having sex in the cockpit during a flight? Me neither. But fools who came across the fake story on the fake news site World News Daily Report swallowed the bogus story hook, line and sinker.

• After reviewing recent HIV research, experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) say they agree with over 300 health agencies around the world: HIV positive people with an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV.

• Hate crime charges have been filed against a Washington state man who groped and punched a married lesbian couple at a Seattle Seahawks game.

• Check out this promo video for the upcoming WorldPride Main Event on Saturday, June 29, 2019, which will bring the entire LGBTQ community and its allies together on one ginormous dance floor at New York City’s largest venue, the Jacob Javitz Center.

Click here for more info on Pride Festival.

SCOTUS Dodges Anti-LGBT Florist Case, Orders Lower Court To Revisit Decision

Barronelle Stutzman
 

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to rule on the case of Washington state florist Barronelle Stutzman who refused to create flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding in 2013.

Although SCOTUS didn’t take the case, the justices instead vacated the 2017 ruling against Stutzman by the Washington state Supreme Court and ordered the state’s top court to take another look at the case and consider the SCOTUS ruling earlier this month regarding Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

In that case, SCOTUS didn’t decide the central dispute which is: do anti-discrimination laws in 22 states bar “creative artist” business owners from legally discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or do “deeply held religious beliefs” trump the rights of LGBTs?

Instead, 7 Supreme Court justices found that the Colorado state commission on civil rights appeared to show hostility towards religion in reaching its decision against the baker. In doing so, SCOTUS reversed the fine ordered on Phillips.

Today, SCOTUS told the Washington state Supreme Court to revisit the Stutzman case to see if similar anti-religious bias existed in coming to its decision regarding the florist.

In 2013, Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed were planning to marry after Washington state legalized same-sex marriage the year before. But when they approached Stutzman for flowers for their event, Stutzman refused citing her Christian beliefs. Washington state’s public accommodation laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Stutzman was fined $1,000 and ordered to sell floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she were to continue selling arrangements for heterosexual weddings.

Although she’s cried about financial burdens due to the ongoing court case, its important to remember that over $174,000 was raised via crowd funding for Stutzman.

GoFundMe eventually shut down the campaign based on the company’s policy that campaigns can’t be used to raise funds for legal cases where formal charges have been filed.

Stutzman was allowed to keep the $174,000.

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in response to today’s decision saying their work for LGBT equality will continue:

“The Supreme Court today asked the Washington courts to re-examine our clients’ case in light of the recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop,” said James Esseks, director of ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “To be clear, the court made no indication the lower courts ruled incorrectly and made no decision on the case’s merits. We are confident that the Washington State Supreme Court will rule once again in favor of the same-sex couple, and reaffirm its decision that no business has a right to discriminate. Our work to ensure LGBT equality is the law and the norm in all 50 states will continue.”

Washington State Lawmakers Ban “Conversion Therapy” For Minors

From the AP:

The Washington Legislature has passed a bill to ban licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation.

The Senate agreed on changes made in the House to Senate Bill 5722 and passed it on a 33-16 vote Saturday. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

The bill would deem it “unprofessional conduct” for a licensed health care provider to perform conversion therapy on a patient under the age of 18.

Under the measure, if the provider violates the law, they would face sanctions ranging from fines to license revocation or suspension. Changes made in the House include the measure applying to non-licensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, religious denomination or church.

Research shows no evidence that one can change their sexual orientation. In fact, these practices can have dangerous effects on LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior.

So-called “conversion therapy” has been denounced by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice.

Several cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, and Arizona have also enacted similar protections.

News Round-Up: January 5, 2018

Joss Mooney (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• Shoutout/woof to total thirst trap Joss Mooney who recently joined MTV’s The Challenge. The former Ex on the Beach star and online trainer is giving you his best moody-muscle gaze via Instagram.    #Dang

• Twitter says they don’t want to block the tweets of world leaders (we’re looking at you, Donald Trump) because “people should be able to see and debate” important information those leaders may share.

• A transgender cab driver in the UK, who was snubbed by her kids when she came out, will not be sharing her $5.4 million lottery winnings with the hideous offspring.

• The groundbreaking Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series The Fosters will come to an end this Spring. The series, about a lesbian couple raising their adopted and biological children, will see the beginning of the end when the current season picks up January 9.

• Washington state has added a third gender option – “X” – to birth certificates. Additionally, the state has streamlined the process of updating gender identity on state-issued documents.

• Colorado prison guards “smiled” as a gay prisoner begged not to be housed with a rapist. Over the course of three days, the 21-year-old was repeatedly raped and beaten. He has filed suit against the federal government.

• Check out the new music video for “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens from the soundtrack for the acclaimed feature film, Call Me By Your Name, featuring footage from the film.

I’m thinking Oscar nomination for “Best Song” here.

Podcast: Anti-Trans Bathroom Measure Fails In WA; Germany Close To Adopting Marriage Equality; New Out Music From Superfruit

In this week’s headlines on The Randy Report podcast:

• An anti-trans bathroom measure in Washington state fails in epic fashion

• Germany is close to adopting marriage equality

• Chechnya resumes rounding up and torturing gay men

• UK Prime Minister Theresa May sends best wishes for “Happy Pride” in London

• Nelsan Ellis (TRUE BLOOD’s “Lafayette Reynolds”) passes away at 39

• New music from Superfruit – the disco-tastic “Bad 4 Us”

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

Washington: Anti-Trans Haters Fail To Bring ANY Signatures To Put Transgender Rights On November Ballot

Anti-trans bathroom measure, I-1552, will not qualify for the 2017 ballot in Washington State.

From Washington Won’t Discriminate:

Pop the champagne bottles: We just defeated I-1552!

Backers of this dangerous initiative needed to submit 260,000 valid petition signatures to the Secretary of State by 3PM today to qualify for the ballot. They didn’t even show up to hand over their petitions.

No signatures = automatic disqualification.

I-1552 will NOT be on Washington’s November ballot. And our state’s long-standing non-discrimination laws will continue to provide protections against discrimination for ALL Washingtonians—including our transgender family members, neighbors, coworkers, and friends.

And the HRC celebrates:

“Anti-equality activists spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to pass a shameful ballot measure aimed at discriminating against LGBTQ people, but thanks to the fair-minded people of Washington State, they have failed,” said Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director.

“For months, our opponents attempted to garner enough signatures to put the fundamental civil rights of transgender people on the ballot.

“Their failure is a victory for equality and validation of Washington’s non-discrimination laws that ensure fair and equal treatment for LGBTQ people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Updated: Democrats Caucus In Washington, Alaska & Hawaii

UPDATE:

https://twitter.com/CNN/status/713837435310972928

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Three states will hold their presidential caucuses today – Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

The caucus format has done very well for Sen. Bernie Sanders, so expectations are high that he could sweep all three contests. However, given that all delegates are awarded proportionally, I wouldn’t look for Sanders to close the delegate gap too much today, although I’m sure he will walk away with a net gain.

Clinton currently holds the lead in pledged delegates by about 303. Washington is the big prize today with 101 delegates; Alaska will award 16, and Hawaii 25.

In that these are caucuses, there has been little to no polling done for today.

Expectations are high in Hawaii for Sanders. One Clinton supporter told Politico regarding Clinton’s chances in Hawaii: “He’s going to crush us. He should win this thing 2-to-1 at least,” the aide said of Sanders prospects. “If we keep this below 65-35 I’d be shocked.”

Tuesday is Wisconsin’s turn to chime in on the presidential sweepstakes. The most recent poll shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading there by 6 points.

Then, after a couple of weeks off, the Dems return to the ballot box with contests in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and New Jersey. Current polls show Clinton leading by sizeable numbers in all of those states.

But that can all change. We shall see.