Australian queer movement veteran Mannie De Saxe reflects on 30 years of activism!
Gay “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg catches a wave of support into the Democratic presidential debates!
The New Negro has a “Locke” on the Harlem Renaissance!
Kenya’s top court affirms rights for queer advocacy group, U.S. federal judge halts Trump’s trans troop purge, Costa Rica’s president vows marriage equality, San Antonio creates Chick-fil-A “no fly zone,” and more global LGBTQ news!
Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of March 25, 2019
Pete Pumped & Mannie’s Era!
Program #1,617 distributed 03/25/19
Hosted this week by Greg Gordon and produced with Lucia Chappelle
NewsWrap (full transcript below): Kenya’s Court of Appeal reaffirms a lower court decision to allow the East African country’s National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission to register as a non-governmental organization measures to prevent anti-queer bias based on religious belief, and to specifically include LGBTQ people in anti-bias protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, are introduced in the U.S. Congress a federal judge derails the Trump administration’s plans – at least for the time being – to discharge honorably serving transgender troops from the U.S. armed forces and to bar new trans enlistees [This Way Out’s LUCIA CHAPPELLE reports] Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello announces his intention to bypass recalcitrant lawmakers and issue an executive order to ban so-called “gay conversion therapy” for minors Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado vows to open civil marriage to same-gender couples before a Supreme Court ruling makes it automatic in May 2020 a vote by the San Antonio, Texas City Council to deny concession space in the city’s international airport to the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A follows confirmation, despite its media statements to the contrary, that the clucking company is still giving millions of dollars to anti-queer groups and causes (written by GREG GORDON, produced with BRIAN DESHAZOR, and reported this week by JESSICA ANDREA and TANYA KANE-PARRY).
Feature: Does Pete Buttigieg actually have a shot at the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States? It may be a long shot, but the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana has now met the donor goal to be invited to participate in the Party’s first nationally televised debate. He’s also got special insight into one of the people he’d be up against if he eventually makes it onto the Democratic ticket. At a candidate town hall at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Buttigieg to assess a fellow Indianan (with music by THE ROLLING STONES).
Feature: Premier Harlem Renaissance intellectual Alain Locke has fascinated This Way Out’s Queer Life and Literature commentator JANET MASON for a long time, so she was anxious to delve into the definitive Oxford University Press biography, The New Negro by Jeffrey C. Stewart.
Feature: Mannie De Saxe was in his 60s when he worked up the courage to come out of the closet, and he’s been a firebrand of LGBTQ activism in Australia ever since. The celebrated South African-born movement veteran and his partner of 30 years live in Melbourne, where This Way Out correspondent BARRY McKAY paid him a visit. With production assistance from KATHY SPORT, listen as Mannie recounts some of the highlights of his extraordinary life (with intro music from The Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba from one of Mannie’s favorite operas).
A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities for the week ending March 23, 2019 Written by Greg Gordon, produced with Brian DeShazor, reported this week by Jessica Andrea and Tanya Kane-Parry
Kenya’s Court of Appeal in Nairobi has affirmed a High Court ruling that the Coordinating Board must register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as a non-governmental organization – or NGO. The Board must approve the registration of every NGO to legally operate in the East African country. It rejected the group in 2015 because its members’ sexual activities are criminal under Kenyan law, and therefore, allowing “Gay and Lesbian” in its name was unacceptable.
The Court of Appeal ruled 3-to-2 on March 22nd that LGBTQ people have the right to form an organization for mutual support. As Justice Philip Waki told the court, “the reality is that this group does exist, and we can no longer deny that.” The two dissenting justices worried that allowing the LGBTQ group to register would contribute to the destruction of Kenyan cultural values.
A tweet by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission celebrated what it called the “Big win for freedom of association and a vibrant civil space.” The group’s news release said that the ruling supports inclusivity, and sets a positive precedent for other rights organizations in Kenya and across Africa.
The Penal Code Kenya inherited from its British colonizers punishes sex acts “against the order of nature” with up to 14 years in prison. Another ruling by the High Court, due on May 24th, could strike down those laws.
A bill to amend the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to specify that it can’t be used to justify discrimination has been reintroduced in the U.S. Congress. Democratic Representatives Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts and Bobby Scott of Virginia, along with Senator Kamala Harris of California, are leading the move.
The amendment was first proposed in 2017 following the U.S. Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling – the decision that private companies, under the Act, could deny certain types of contraception otherwise covered by its employees’ healthcare plans based on an employer’s religious beliefs. Amending the legislation would insure access to that coverage. It’s believed that it would also help protect LGBTQ people from faith-based bias. The Do No Harm Act would “clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights.”
It has the support of virtually every major U.S. LGBTQ advocacy group, and several civil rights and faith organizations, including the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Meanwhile, the Equality Act has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate by Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The measure was proposed in years gone by as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA. It has a modicum of bipartisan support this time: Maine Republican Susan Collins is a co-sponsor in the Senate.
Pennsylvania Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick and New York Democratic Representative John Katko are co-sponsors in the House. Openly gay Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline is spearheading the legislation in the House, with the strong backing of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
While chances of passage of both the Religious Freedom Restoration Act amendment and the Equality Act in the Democratic-majority House are good, it remains to be seen how much support they’ll have in the Republican-controlled Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has never met a queer-positive bill he liked.
According to a study released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute, majorities of people in all 50 states support non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people – and that includes a majority of Republicans, and majorities in all major religious groups.
The far right, however, is freaking out. Mat Staver of the rabidly homophobic Liberty Counsel warns that the Equality Act “threatens the free exercise of religion and free speech.” Far-right pundit Glenn Beck told Fox News Trump cheerleader Sean Hannity that if Donald Trump is not re-elected in 2020 it will signal “the end of the country as we know it.” Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom claims that the legislation “would undermine women’s equality” and “force Americans to participate in events and speak messages that violate their core beliefs.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson hinted at the apocalypse. “They want men to go into women’s bathrooms and women’s locker rooms. The whole thing is chaotic,” he charged, adding that, “The Bible says, when there is no vision of God, the people perish, and we have gone to the point where God will give us up.”
We reported during our last newscast about the Pentagon issuing a directive on March 12th to begin implementing Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces. But one federal judge has said “Not so fast!” This Way Out’s Lucia Chappelle explains:
[Lucia Chappelle:] “The Trump administration was wrong last week when it claimed that it could begin to implement the President’s proposed ban on transgender people serving in the US military – this according to a judge in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC.
“Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in a notice on March 19th that ‘defendants were incorrect in claiming there was no longer an impediment to the military’s implementation of the transgender policy,’ and that ‘defendants remain bound by this Court’s preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo.’
“A three-judge appeals court panel overturned her injunction in January, but the panel has not issued its final order. Because there is no final order, the plaintiffs have not been able to file a formal appeal of that ruling to the full court. Kollar-Kotelly based her contention that her injunction still stands on those issues.
“‘Buzzfeed’ reports that the plaintiffs have until March 29th to request a hearing before the full bench of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If their appeal is accepted, it could further delay the implementation of Trump’s purge of transgender troops. The White House has yet to respond to the ruling. I’m Lucia Chappelle.”
In other news, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced this week that he will sign an executive order banning so-called “gay conversion therapy” for minors. According to Pink News, he’s going against the members of his own New Progressive Party, which blocked legislation to ban “conversion therapy” in the House of Representatives.
“I strive for Puerto Rico to be a society in which everyone, no matter who they love, can be accepted and live without fear of persecution,” Rosselló said. “This includes the most vulnerable in society, our children, who must be supported and loved. … Conversion therapy,” the governor added, “does not benefit anyone in any way. It only causes unimaginable pain and suffering.”
Costa Rica’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to open civil marriage to same-gender couples before May 2020, when it will automatically come into force. The ruling said that it was unconstitutional for the Family Code to discriminate against queer couples.
President Carlos Alvarado told the Associated Press this week that lawmakers will get it done. But Gay Star News reports that there are 57 seats in the legislative chamber, and 14 of them are held by evangelical anti-LGBTQ members. Costa Rica’s first openly gay lawmaker, Enrique Sanchez, has accused the chamber of intentionally delaying what his country’s Supreme Court has made inevitable.
As a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights, Costa Rica is also bound by a January 2018 order of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights requiring all countries in the region without marriage equality – and that’s still most of them, including Costa Rica – to allow gay and lesbian couples to legally marry.
And finally, the Chick-fil-A fast food restaurant chain is still anti-queer. That’s the conclusion of the City Council in San Antonio, Texas. They voted 6-to-4 this week, with one abstention, to deny the outlet a concession space at the San Antonio International Airport. It was apparently no accident that the Council vote came on the heels of a report by Think Progress that the company’s tax filings show that it’s still making substantial donations to anti-queer organizations and causes – 1.8 million dollars in 2017 alone – despite public pronouncements to the contrary. One of the organizations the company funds is the Paul Anderson Youth Home. A “Christian residential home for troubled youth,” according to its website, it teaches that same-gender love is a sin, and that marriage equality “rages against Jesus Christ and His values.” Another one of Chick-fil-A’s birds of a feather is the Salvation Army, which itself has a long and troubled anti-queer track record.
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has claimed that those who support marriage equality “shake their fists at God,” and has said his company operates on “biblical principles.”
San Antonio City Councilman Roberto C. Treviño told Out in San Antonio that the vote to deny space to the anti-queer company “affirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. … Everyone should feel welcome,” he added, “when they walk through our airport.”
[sfx: quick cluck-cluck-clucking up then fades out under] A press release from Chick-fil-A clucked that the vote was … “disappointing.”
[final cluck sfx.]
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