Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Via JMG: ILLINOIS: Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Anti-Gay Walmart Employee

The Seventh Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's ruling against an Illinois woman who sued Wal-Mart for religious discrimination. According to the woman, she has a God-given right to scream anti-gay epithets at her coworkers. Gay City News reports:
According to the unsigned ruling, Tanisha Matthews, who describes herself as an Apostolic Christian, worked as an overnight stocker at a Wal-Mart store in Joliet, Illinois. While on a break, she took part in a heated conversation with other employees about God and homosexuality. Another employee who participated reported to management that Matthews was "screaming over her" that God does not accept gays, they should not "be on earth," and they will "go to hell" because they are not "right in the head." During a company investigation of the incident, five other employees confirmed that Matthews said gays are sinners who are going to hell. Wal-Mart managers considered these remarks to be "serious harassment" in violation of the company's "Zero Tolerance" harassment policy, which bars any conduct that could be interpreted as harassment on the basis of categories that include sexual orientation. Serious harassment is considered "gross misconduct" that is grounds for dismissal.
The ruling observes: "If Matthews is arguing that Wal-Mart must permit her to admonish gays at work to accommodate her religion, the claim fails. Wal-Mart fired her because she violated company policy when she harassed a co-worker, not because of her beliefs, and employers need not relieve workers from complying with neutral workplace rules as a religious accommodation if it would create an undue hardship." The above-linked article notes that Christian legal groups have been ramping up claims of the right to proselytize in the workplace. Courts, so far, have largely disagreed.

Read the entire ruling.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: NEW ZEALAND: A Man May Not Marry...

My pal Leif Wauters points out New Zealand's rather exhaustive and confusing list of who a man may not marry. Daughter's son's wife? Wait, what? Same-sex marriages don't appear on the banned list, possibly because New Zealand offers civil unions. Leif and his husband were forced to emigrate to New Zealand last year because of DOMA. They are watching the developments on that front very closely.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: BRAZIL: The Deadliest Place In The World To Be Transgender

Reeling from the murders of numerous transgender people, Brazilian activists have launched a petition campaign to the nation's president.
President Dilma Rousseff, You have said that human rights are at the “center of your politics.” In the face of a dramatic rise in attacks and murders of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Brazilians, we need your immediate support for the passage of the Anti-Homophobia law (PLC122) that will ensure that ALL Brazilians have equal protection under the law.
Organizers of the international activist group All Out write us today to request your signatures on the petition. They hope to gather 100,000 names and generate media attention when delivering the petitions to the president.

posted by Joe

Via JMG: RNC thinks gays shouldn't be permitted to visit their partners' death bed

Wow. And you'd have thought the Republican National Committee would have gotten over the gay-baiting, what will all the senior level gays working Republican Hill offices, the RNC, and considering that the former head of the RNC, Ken Mehlman, was himself gay. You'd think with all of that, the RNC would know better than to start gay-baiting yet again. But the Republican party just can't help itself. Hate, intolerance and bigotry is what they know best, whether it's racism against blacks and Latinos, sexism against women, or homophobia against gays. If it's not about who you're supposed to hate today, the Republican party just isn't interested in hearing about it.

Check out this site run by the RNC. Attacks regarding DOMA, DADT repeal (which Colin Powell and Dick Cheney are fine with), marriage equality (which Dick Cheney supports), civil unions (which George Bush said he was in favor of all the way back in 2004), and the RNC now appears to be endorsing California's hideous Prop 8 to boot. Oh but it gets better. The RNC is outright criticizing Obama for trying to eliminate discrimination against gays in housing, and for helping gay partners visit their dying loved ones in hospitals.

There is one glaring omission on the RNC Web site. They failed to take a position on stoning gays to death. I'm sure it's a typo that will be corrected in short order.

PS And Mr. President, note that the RNC is still accusing you of supporting gay marriage, even though you now claim you don't. You don't get credit for this stuff, they're still going to accuse you of being the next Hitler regardless of what you do. Why not just do the right thing on marriage equality, and everything else gay and otherwise.

(H/t to HRC for finding out this site existed.)