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Marriages Of Transgender People Ruled Valid By Courts In Arizona And California


Recognition of gender identity as well as transgender people’s right to marry and have children. An Arizona Appeals Court ruled today that the marriage of Thomas Beatie and Nancy J. Beatie was indeed valid, and could thus be dissolved via divorce. A previous court had ruled that Beatie was legally female because he had not been sterilized and because he had given birth to the couple’s children, and therefore held their marriage was invalid because of Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Read the whole story at Transgender Law Center


Arizona inmate doesn’t die until two hours after execution begins

Governor Brewer orders investigation, but says death was ‘lawful;’ lawyers said he was ‘gasping and snorting’ for over an hour

prisonerA convicted murderer who was sentenced to death died nearly two hours after his execution by lethal injection began Wednesday, Arizona officials said. The state’s Gov. Jan Brewer ordered an investigation, but issued a statement saying Joseph Rudolph Wood was executed in a “lawful manner” and apparently “did not suffer.”

Read the rest of this entry

Attorneys ask judge to decide Ariz. same-sex marriage case without trial

PHOENIX — Attorneys for the state of Arizona and a group of gay and lesbian couples who sued over the state’s ban on same-sex marriage want a federal judge to decide the case without a trial.

ArizonaThe attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick on Monday they think he can instead rule based on arguments each side will file in the coming months.

The couples argue that the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses are violated by the state law barring them from being married.

The case will be heard after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals from Idaho and Nevada in September on cases from those states.

A federal judge struck down Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage in May. Another federal judge upheld Nevada’s ban in 2012.

The cases are Connolly v. Roche and Majors v. Horne.

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.

Arizona just won’t quit: New Arizona Bill Would Allow Judges To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

New Arizona Bill Would Allow Judges To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

“>New Arizona Bill Would Allow Judges To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

Arizona’s GOP is far from done trying to pass more anti-gay discrimination bills, despite suffering a major defeat this week after Republican Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, a wide-sweeping religious freedom anti-gay bill.

The bill would have allowed any individual or business to refuse services to anyone if they claimed it would compromise their religious liberty.

HB-2481 or better known as “Arizona’s First Freedom Act,” which was introduced into the Arizona House four weeks ago, now has 35 sponsors and has passed both the House Government Committee and the House Rules Committee.

The bill ”prohibits government from requiring a minister to solemnize a marriage that is inconsistent with the minister’s sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“The intent of my bill is to directly protect clergy, churches, man or woman of the cloth, to protect them from doing marriage ceremonies that go against their faith,” said Rep. Steve Montenegro, who sponsored HB-2481.

The portion of the bill that has raised many eyebrows is this line:

Defines minister as an individual who is authorized to solemnize a marriage pursuant to statute.

TheNewCivilRightsMovement explains the new controversial bill:

That includes, as Talking Points Memo reports, “state and local judges as well as justices of the peace and members of the clergy.”In other words, the state would be yet again, supporting discrimination.Ironically, Arizona does not yet offer the right of marriage to same-sex couples, so this bill would, under Gov. Jan Brewer’s test, which she used to veto SB-1062, automatically fail.

AZCentral adds:

TheAnti-Defamation League has spoken against a provision that would extend the right to refuse to conduct ceremonies to judges, justices of the peace and clerks who perform them.Religious officials are already exempt from lawsuits filed by people who feel they were wrongly denied marriage services, said Tracey Stewart, assistant regional director for the Anti- Defamation League.But judges and other civil servants are not men of the cloth, she said.“Those are usually individuals who are employed by government,” Stewart said.

Part of their public service as a government official extends to performing civil, not religious, marriage ceremonies, she said.

by | on February 28, 2014

Signs of discrimination from 1800’s and forward

need not apply

It should have been a no-brainer: Jan Brewer Promises To ‘Do The Right Thing’ For Arizona On Anti-LGBT Bill

WASHINGTON — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting, but a monumental state bill infamous for its discriminatory implications awaits her review back in Phoenix.

The bill, SB 1062, would permit discrimination on the basis of religious freedom, allowing business owners to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers.

The bill has passed both houses of the Arizona legislature. Brewer has not said whether she will sign it into law.

“I’m going to go home, and when I receive the bill, I’m going to read it and I’m going to be briefed on it. We have been following it. And I will make my decision in the near future,” Brewer told CNN on Monday, adding that she has until Friday or Saturday morning to decide.

Brewer touted her history of dealing with controversial issues as governor, saying she intends to weigh both sides of the argument.

“I can assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the state of Arizona,” Brewer said.

As of Monday, five of Arizona’s nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives had publicly denounced the legislation. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) tweeted their hopes that Brewer would veto the bill.

The White House hasn’t commented.

Dear Arizona Rep Ron Barber

Let me first preface: Rep Ron Barber (who is my area Representative in Tucson) has been a wonderful breath of fresh air.  I am a HUGE supporter of him and his efforts.  If he needs re-election help after I move out of Arizona, I will do all I can, including financial donations to this leader.

However, here’s my brief letter:

Honorable Rep. Ron Barber thank you for urging the Governor to veto this horrible, horrible legislation. However, I am moving out of this state. I know when I’m not welcome. I am a business owner and resident of Arizona, but no more. I am moving my business and my life out of this state. The Arizona Legislature clearly does not care about it’s citizens or the businesses in this state. I hope and pray you will continue to do the right thing and work to end discrimination in this beautiful yet troubled state.


Feb 21, 2014,Press Release

TUCSON – U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today issued a statement on SB 1062, which has been passed by the Arizona Legislature and sent to Gov. Jan Brewer.

The bill shields businesses from being sued if they deny service based on religious beliefs. It is seen as a way for business owners to legally discriminate against gay people or others by claiming that the discrimination is religious-based.

Barber’s statement:

I strongly oppose SB 1062 – a deeply offensive piece of legislation that would give legal protection to business owners who discriminate against certain groups of individuals. This bill clearly is aimed at LGBT Arizonans.

Those who supported this bill claim it is a way to protect the constitutional right of freedom of religion. No religion legitimizes discrimination.

SB 1062 takes us back to the days when businesses were allowed to have “white only” lunch counters, waiting rooms and drinking fountains. Arizona must not take such a giant step backward.

This bill will divide Arizona. It will hurt our community and our economy.

I call upon Gov. Jan Brewer to veto SB 1062 and send a message that Arizona is not a state that legalizes hate and discrimination. This bill is wrong.

In addition to Barber’s opposition to the bill, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council is among the business organizations opposing this bill, saying that companies considering Arizona locations already have said they will look elsewhere if SB 1062 becomes law.

Arizona you don’t get to decide. We already did this in the past. See the graphic!

You don’t get to chose.  If you’re business is open to the public then it is open to the public.

Discrimination is wrong.  No matter how you dress it up, it's wrong.

Discrimination is wrong. No matter how you dress it up, it’s wrong.

American Airlines, Marriott Urge Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Bill

Marriott Hotels and American Airlines have both written letters to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) requesting that she veto the pending anti-gay legislation SB 1062. The bill, which passed both houses of the state legislature last week, would allow businesses to refuse to serve same-sex couples on the grounds of “religious freedom.”

BuzzFeed legal editor Chris Geidner tweeted what he said was a copy of Marriott’s letter Monday. In the letter, the hotel chain said the law would have “profound negative impacts” both on hotels operating in Arizona and the state’s economy as a whole. Marriott did not immediately return The Huffington Post’s requests for comment.

Breaking: @Marriott urges AZ Gov. Brewer to veto #SB1062.

— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) February 24, 2014

American Airlines sent a separate letter Monday expressing similar sentiments. If enacted, the airline said, the law would “jeopardize” Arizona’s economic recovery by “reducing the desire of businesses to locate in Arizona.”

Brewer has until next Friday to decide whether or not she will veto the bill.

news article by Harry Bradford with the Huffington Post

George Takei’s Defiant Response to Arizona as State Passes the ‘Turn Away the Gays’ Bill

Openly gay former Star Trek and Heroes actor, and social media behemoth George Takei has written an open letter to Arizona legislators who have passed a law allowing businesses the right to refuse to serve people on the basis of their presumed sexuality.

George Takei has millions of social media followers.

George Takei has millions of social media followers.

This, from CNN, reporting on the passing of the bill last night:

The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.

“I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”

The law is designed to by pass citizen’s constitutional right to equal provision of good and services, guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act – which has protected LGBT people from such discrimination in recent cases such as that of the bakery owner who refused to bake a cake for a same sex marriage.

Condemnation of the regressive and discriminatory law which has been likened to the Jim Crow laws that segregated non-whites from whites in public spaces in the 1950′s – when African Americans were barred from ‘white’ stores, libraries, schools, parks, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and other spaces.

George Takei, who has over 6 million Facebook followers, and more than a million twitter followers, is now turning his vast social media influence on the State of Arizona.  In a furious letter which condemns the bigoted bill, Takei promises a full programme of boycott actions against the State and it’s businesses if the law is implemented. Here is the letter in full.

Dear Arizona,

Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.” This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us.

Kansas tried to pass a similar law, but had the good sense to not let it come up for a vote. The quashing came only after the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other traditional conservative groups came out strongly against the bill.

But not you, Arizona. You’re willing to ostracize and marginalize LGBT people to score political points with the extreme right of the Republican Party. You say this bill protects “religious freedom,” but no one is fooled. When I was younger, people used “God’s Will” as a reason to keep the races separate, too. Make no mistake, this is the new segregation, yours is a Jim Crow law, and you are about to make yourself ground zero.

This bill also saddens me deeply. Brad and I have strong ties to Arizona. Brad was born in Phoenix, and we vacation in Show Low. We have close friends and relatives in the state and spend weeks there annually. We even attended the Fourth of July Parade in Show Low in 2012, looking like a pair of Arizona ranchers.

The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear.

So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.

And maybe you just never learn. In 1989, you voted down recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday, and as a result, conventions and tourists boycotted the state, and the NFL moved the Superbowl to Pasadena. That was a $500 million mistake.

So if our appeals to equality, fairness, and our basic right to live in a civil society without doors being slammed in our face for being who we are don’t move you, I’ll bet a big hit to your pocketbook and state coffers will.

George Takei

We salute the actions of Takei and all those inside and outside of Arizona fighting this awful law.  In the words of Desmond Tutu:  “If you are silent neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

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