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You Must Include Gay Venue On Site Of Joiners Arms, Planners Tell Developers


      "Khan’s office is pushing planners to do more to ensure that LGBT venues are protected from housing developments, which has led to the closure of several well-known bars in central and east London, including the Black Cap in Camden, The Queen’s Head in Chelsea and the Joiners in Tower Hamlets."


      "Gay bars in London are closing down at such an “alarming” rate that the redevelopment of the Joiners Arms, an east London pub that counted Alexander McQueen, Rufus Wainwright and Wolfgang Tillmans among its regulars, will only get the go-ahead if it includes an LGBT club venue – and the mayor’s office will send an inspector to make sure it is gay enough.

      "Tower Hamlets council has told the developers of the Joiners site that their plans for offices and nine luxury flats will get planning permission onlyif it includes a pub that will “remain a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-focused venue for a minimum of 12 years”. It is believed to be the first time that the sexual orientation of a venue’s customers has been included as a condition of planning approval.

      "The borough’s mayor, John Biggs, said: “Tower Hamlets council is committed to celebrating our great diversity, which includes serving the needs of our LGBTQ+ community. I am delighted that as a council we are leading the way in using innovative ways to protect spaces such as the Joiners Arms site.”

      "City Hall’s culture at risk officer, Ed Bayes, will be involved in assessing licensee applications to ensure that the operator of the new bar will be sufficiently LGBT, and not seeking to open a gay bar in name only.

      "Over the past decade London has lost 58% of its LGBT venues as their prime locations are snapped up by developers for regeneration and clubgoers abandon nights out for the convenience of Grindr, Tinder and other hookup apps. Eleven London boroughs, including Haringey, and Kensington and Chelsea, have lost all their LGBT bars.

      "The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has demanded that urgent action is taken to halt the “shocking” decline of LGBT bars, which he said were vital for the city’s economy and diversity. Khan’s office is pushing planners to do more to ensure that LGBT venues are protected from housing developments, which has led to the closure of several well-known bars in central and east London, including the Black Cap in Camden, The Queen’s Head in Chelsea and the Joiners in Tower Hamlets.

      "Councillors for Tower Hamlets, which has lost seven of its 10 LGBT venues since 2006, are scheduled to vote on the redevelopment plans for the Joiners site on Hackney Road on Wednesday night. The developer, Regal Homes, which bought the site in 2014, a year before the venue’s closure in 2015, is understood to have agreed to the council’s demands to give an LGBT operator first refusal on the lease."


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      Judge Orders FBI To Probe Records Of 1950s Program That Purged Federal LGBT Workers


          'A federal judge, sweeping aside objections from the Justice Department, has ordered the FBI to conduct a new search for decades-old documents about a U.S. government program to purge the federal workforce of gays and lesbians, including records on the role of a future chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in implementing the Cold War-era crackdown.

          'The ruling last Friday by U.S. Judge Royce Lamberth was hailed by a gay rights group as a major victory in its efforts to uncover long-buried historical records showing that, in the height of the McCarthy era in the 1950s, the U.S. government targeted homosexuals as a threat to national security under Executive Order 10450, signed by President Dwight Eisenhower in April 1953.

          'The strongly worded ruling by Lamberth, which has not been previously reported, comes at a time when, in the eyes of some critics, President Trump’s administration is seeking to roll back LGBT rights. The Justice Department asserted in court papers filed last Wednesday — just two days before Lamberth’s ruling — that LGBT Americans are not protected from discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

          '“Thousands of LGBT Americans were ruthlessly investigated, interrogated and fired because of this Order,” said Charles Francis, the president of the Mattachine Society of Washington, a group that has been seeking records about the order under the Freedom of Information Act.

          'Francis, a former well-connected Republican lobbyist, added that historians still do not know the full extent of the executive order’s implementation and enforcement, including by such officials as Warren Burger, a future Supreme Court chief justice who at the time was assistant attorney general for the civil division and charged with enforcing the ban on gays working in national security jobs. (Burger later served as a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge and, in 1969, was nominated by President Richard Nixon as Chief Justice, serving in that position until 1986.)

          'The significance of Executive Order 10450 was highlighted two years ago in “Uniquely Nasty: The U.S. Government’s War on Gays,” a Yahoo News documentary that won the Edward R. Murrow Award for best online news documentary. The order for the first time included “sexual perversion” as one of the grounds — along with drug addiction, unspecified “immoral” conduct and “sympathetic association” with a “saboteur, spy, traitor, anarchist or revolutionist” — as grounds for stripping federal workers of their security clearances. The premise behind the order was that gays would be susceptible to blackmail and therefore couldn’t be entrusted with national security secrets.'


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          Hatred Of LGBTQ People Still Infects Society. How Can We Celebrate?


              "Gratitude implies that the state eventually buckling to the demands of LGBTQ people represented some sort of sacrifice on the part of our persecutors. Legal rights were won by LGBTQ people who were spat at, reviled by the press, demonised by large swaths of the public, persecuted by the law, incarcerated, chemically castrated and driven to suicide."


              "Anger, searing fury, not gratitude: that’s how the 50th anniversary of partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales should be marked. That we are no longer legally persecuted in this country – and that we are less hated and judged than we were – is not something to be thankful for. Gaining treatment others take for granted is not some special gift: equality is not a privilege.

              "Gratitude implies that the state eventually buckling to the demands of LGBTQ people represented some sort of sacrifice on the part of our persecutors. Legal rights were won by LGBTQ people who were spat at, reviled by the press, demonised by large swaths of the public, persecuted by the law, incarcerated, chemically castrated and driven to suicide.

              "We should mark this day by saying: how dare they deprive us of our rights in the first place, and how dare they still not fully accept us as proper equals. Gratitude should only be awarded to those LGBTQ people who needlessly had to waste their lives to win us rights and freedoms that they themselves were denied.

              "Five decades ago, the British justice system decided to celebrate partial decriminalisation by arresting more gay and bisexual men than they had before this supposed emancipation. Scottish gay and bisexual men had to wait until 1980, four years before I was born.

              "Now the state offers pardons to those it persecuted and whose lives it ruined. Pardons? It is a grovelling apology that should be offered: it is up to LGBTQ people whether they choose to pardon the state for the cruelty inflicted on them. Like 81-year-old Keith Biddlecombe, for example: locked up by the state in the 1950s for having sex with other men. The state demanded he give them names of his sexual partners to drastically shorten his incarceration: one of those men took his own life."


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              Gender Reassignment Could Be Streamlined Under Proposal


                  "Proposals to streamline the process of changing gender have been unveiled by the [British] government, as part of an attempt to boost equality for the LGBT community" in Britain.


                  "Proposals to streamline the process of changing gender have been unveiled by the government, as part of an attempt to boost equality for the LGBT community.

                  "It will also become easier for gay men to give blood under the plans, unveiled by the women and equalities minister, Justine Greening. Her department will undertake a nationwide survey of the LGBT community, which will be used to inform future plans to boost equality.

                  "The measures are announced before the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality under the Sexual Offences Act 1967.

                  "An attempt to speed up and de-medicalise the process for changing gender will be the main element of a consultation on the laws that underpin gender transition, enshrined in the Gender Recognition Act.

                  "Current rules mean that a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is required to begin the process, while individuals have to provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender.

                  "Meanwhile, the period after which men can donate blood after having sex with a man will be reduced from a year to three months. The reduction was decided after independent medical advice. It followed improvements to tests for various blood infections such as as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or syphilis.

                  "A national survey will aim to consult 1.5 million LGBT people in Britain, which will then be used to inform future measures for boosting equality."


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                  Kim Davis's Anti-Gay Views Are Going To Cost Her State Big Time


                      Kim Davis started all this mess by refusing to issue marriage licenses to two legally eligible same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality based on her "religious beliefs". The two opposite-sex couples were not issued marriage licenses because Kim Davis "briefly refused to issue licenses to all couples in 2015 as her legal troubles began to mount." She was taken to court and, of course, legal fees had to be paid since the plaintiffs won their case, but not by Kim Davis. Oh, no, not by her and not by Rowan County. So who will pay? Why, Kentucky taxpayers, of course. According to U.S. District Judge David Bunning, since Kim Davis "represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she refused to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples,".....

                      ... at the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Commonwealth of Kentucky('s taxpayers) must pay. Does this seem fair to you? Kim Davis was the cause of the litigation but she gets off scot-free and doesn't have to pay one red cent in legal fees to the plaintiffs for her dereliction of duty as a public servant. I wonder just how popular she is now that Kentucky taxpayers must foot the bill to the tune of $222,695 in legal fees.


                      "Two years after Kim Davis first made national headlines, her anti-marriage equality case is closed, at least for now ― but it will come at a cost to local taxpayers.

                      "Davis, who is the county clerk for Kentucky’s Rowan County, steadfastly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality, citing her religious beliefs. Though Davis was briefly jailed for contempt of court, she went on to become the darling of right-wing conservatives, including former Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee.

                      "On Friday, a federal judge awarded $222,695 in legal fees to the attorneys of four couples ― two same-sex, two opposite-sex ― who were denied marriage licenses by Davis. (The clerk briefly refused to issue licenses to all couples in 2015 as her legal troubles began to mount.) However, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered the state, as opposed to Davis herself, to pay the fees.

                      "His reasoning was simple. “Davis represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she refused to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples,” he said, according to The New York Times. “The buck stops there.”

                      "He then added, “The plaintiffs prevailed by every measure of victory. Plaintiffs obtained marriage licenses that could not be revoked. And two of the plaintiff-couples married on those licenses. That is enduring relief. There is nothing more the court could do.”

                      "The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky praised the ruling as a victory for the LGBTQ community, and noted that Davis’s case should serve as an example to other public officials who violate citizens’ rights. Nonetheless, ACLU Legal Director William Sharp said in a statement, “It is unfortunate that Kentucky taxpayers will likely bear the financial burden of the unlawful actions and litigation strategies of an elected official.”

                      "The Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who represented Davis, said in a statement that his organization was pleased that neither his client nor Rowan County were deemed liable, but nonetheless vowed to appeal the ruling. "


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                      The "Wedding" Cake That Wouldn't Die


                          Like the Living Dead, this cake case just keeps coming back again and again.

                          Today lawyers for Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Bakeshop in Colorado, filed a Writ of Certiorari with the US Supreme Court, formally asking the Court to review the case they already lost back home three times. The lawyers' summary of their 32-page writ is this:

                          QUESTION PRESENTED

                          Jack Phillips is a cake artist. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he engaged in sexual orientation discrimination under the Colorado AntiDiscrimination Act (“CADA”) when he declined to design and create a custom cake honoring a samesex marriage because doing so conflicts with his sincerely held religious beliefs.

                          The Colorado Court of Appeals found no violation of the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses because it deemed Phillips’ speech to be mere conduct compelled by a neutral and generally applicable law. It reached this conclusion despite the artistry of Phillips’ cakes and the Commission’s exemption of other cake artists who declined to create custom cakes based on their message. This analysis (1) flouts this Court’s controlling precedent, (2) conflicts with Ninth and Eleventh Circuit decisions regarding the free speech protection of art, (3) deepens an existing conflict between the Second, Third, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits as to the proper test for identifying expressive conduct, and (4) conflicts with free exercise rulings by the Third, Sixth, and Tenth Circuits.

                          The question presented is:

                          Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel Phillips to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.

                          Good God, but this zombie wedding cake just keeps coming back again and again, like Michael Myers coming after Jamie Lee Curtis.

                          Here is the history of the case:

                          • Jack Phillips is a baker. His lawyers call him a "cake artist". He set up shop in Colorado. Here's one of his cakes:
                          • Among the business laws Colorado requires him to obey is one saying he cannot discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation (or race, or religion, or national origin, etc.).
                          • David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012, with Craig's mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home in Colorado. Mr. Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs the store’s policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods to celebrate a same-sex couple’s wedding.
                          • The couple filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and an administrative judge found Phillips in violation of the law.
                          • After appealing to the Colorado Court of Appeals on August 13, 2015, Masterpiece Cakeshop appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. When that Court declined to hear the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop asked the Supreme Court of the United States to hear the case. On June 26, 2017, The Supreme Court announced it will review the decision from the Colorado Court of Appeals.
                          • Mykolai Mike Kolesinski reported an interview with the baker here. he says he'd make the same decision again.

                          This case gained national attention because it was new back when the marriage cases were before the Supreme Court back in 2013-2014. And the arguments Mr. Phillips' supporters were making then are still being dredged up from the dead today:

                          A business owner should be able to decide who he does and does not want to serve. It's his business after all.

                          Well, as a country, we've already been down this path. No, you cannot post a No Jews Allowed sign on your restaurant's front door. However, in most of the country, it's perfectly legal post a No Gays Allowed sign.

                          But not in Colorado. The people of Colorado, in their wisdom, long ago enacted a law prohibiting that kind of discrimination. If Mr. Phillips does not want to obey this law, he is free to move across the border to Nebraska, where discrimination against gay citizens is A-OK.

                          The baker is not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. He happily serves gay customers, but he just does not want to make them wedding cakes.

                          Yeah, right-- and my restaurant serves black customers... it's just that the steaks are reserved for whites only. Discriminating a little bit is still discrimination. And in Colorado, breaking the law a little bit is still breaking the law.

                          The couple could easily go to another bakery, and in fact another bakery made them a rainbow flag cake for free.

                          Yeah, yeah-- and Jews can go buy their gas in Jewtown and stop trying to get it at my gas station. It doesn't matter if the customers you reject can go elsewhere. Breaking the law is breaking the law, even if the people you discriminate against can go try and find second-best somewhere else.

                          Cake baking is speech, so telling the baker who he must bake for limits his freedom of speech.

                          There is no evidence that the couple in this case asked for anything specific to be written on the cake, for two plastic dolls in tuxes to stand on top of it, or that they asked for a cake that was in any way different from cakes Mr. Phillips had already baked for heterosexual couples dozens of times already.

                          Baking a wedding cake is participating in a religious ceremony. Baking a cake for a same-sex couple therefore violates the baker's freedom of religion by forcing him to participate in a religious ceremony that is contrary to his beliefs.

                          It's a cake, fergoshsakes, not a frackin' communion wafer. I've been to a lot of weddings in my life, and I've never seen a baker participate in one. Where does he stand-- next to the priest? Behind the bridesmaids?

                          The fact is that wedding cakes are not part of any marriage ceremony. They're served at wedding receptions-- AKA parties for people who are already married. If it's same-sex marriage the baker objects to, then he's going to have to decline to serve these customers when they come in for a sweet roll the morning after the wedding. Or for cupcakes for their kid's fifth birthday, or for an anniversary cake ten years from now. Because they're still gonna be just as married as they were at their wedding reception.

                          This case should be a warning to everyone about the slippery slope we're sliding down because of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Religious people will lose their rights as a result.

                          Yeah, except for one thing: according to Colorado law--and Colorado Law is what's being argued here--Nobody In This Case Was Married. The unmarried couple came to the bakery in July of 2012, when same-sex marriage was illegal in Colorado and when same-sex marriages performed out of state were null and void within Colorado's borders. Mr. Phillips was illegally discriminating against two unmarried customers who were planning--in the eyes of Colorado law--nothing more than a party.

                          This case is not some "consequence" of same-sex marriage. It's a case of plain old-fashioned bigotry. The sad part is that the only defense this cowardly baker and his supporters have been able to come up with is to try and hide their ugly bigotry behind Jesus.

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