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Shadowy Right Wing Group One Step Closer to Overturning Arizona City’s New LGBTQ Civil Rights Protections

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A group hiding behind a two-page website that lists no actual persons or physical address has submitted enough signatures to get a repeal of Mesa, Arizona’s new LGBTQ civil rights protections law onto the ballot for the November 2022 election.

According to news reports no one seems to know who founded United for Mesa, a Political Action Committee created days after the Mesa City Council passed the non-discrimination ordinance. The website lists an email address, phone number, and P.O. Box.

“Give the People a Voice,” the website urges, meaning they believe citizens should vote on civil rights, something studies show overwhelmingly ends with the majority voting to deprive the minority of equal rights. It also claims the “Mesa City Council just passed an ordinance WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF MESA RESIDENTS,” which is false. In a representative democracy, citizens elect leaders to make these very decisions for them.

Calling the group “below-the-radar, with no official leaders or posted public meetings,” the East Valley Tribune reported last month that “Unofficial leaders like Barbara R. Parker rallied like-minded troops via Facebook and other outlets.”

“Thank you to every petition signer and gatherer who helped save Mesa!” Parker posted Thursday night.

“Thank the Lord! I have never seen so many people working so hard to get signatures,” wrote Paula Smith in a comment to Parker’s post. “It’s been amazing! I’m so thankful everyone’s hard work paid off!”

“Thank you everyone for going the extra distance, so we may all have a voice in such an important decision,” added Charmon Puhlmann, a bus driver for Mesa Public Schools.

Political consultant George Khalaf’s firm, The Arizona Republic reports, “is leading the referendum effort against the ordinance,” but it does not mention what, if any, relationship he has with United for Mesa.

Last year the Arizona Capitol Times reported Khalaf was a political consultant to Republican state Representative Nancy Barto, in an article discussing an anti-transgender bill.

An email to United for Mesa did not receive a response by press time.

 

 

 

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BIGOTRY

DeSantis Spokesperson Says LGBTQ Pride Lights on Jacksonville Bridge Will Be Back On – No Word on Others

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A spokesperson for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis says the LGBTQ Pride Month display on Jacksonville’s Acosta Bridge will be back on Wednesday night. They were ordered removed after just one night by the state’s Dept. of Transportation, after dozens of other displays went unquestioned.

DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske told Florida Politics, “the lights will be on.”

Fenske said FDOT is “letting it go,” adding that other lighting displays “went up that were not on the approved list” previously, referring to already in place permits. However, the Pride display was the first to get blocked, a move that roiled locals.

The LGBTQ community remains targeted by DeSantis and his administration.

Permits for lighting other Florida bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg to celebrate Pride Month were denied, and there’s no indication they too will be allowed.

Ordering the Acosta Bridge LGBTQ celebration lights removed is “just the latest in a string of anti-LGBTQ actions” from DeSantis, Equality Florida Communications Manager Michael Womack tells NCRM.

Womack says the Florida Dept. of transportation “answers to the governor,” who he notes signed into law Florida’s first anti-LGBTQ bill in 24 years. He also says that in 2020 the permit to light the Acosta Bridge in LGBTQ rainbow colors for Pride Month was denied.

It is no coincidence that the Florida governor, a likely 2024 presidential hopeful, chose Jacksonville, a conservative Christian private school, and the first day of Pride Month to sign into law a bill banning transgender girls from playing in girls sports.

“Girls are gonna play girls’ sports,” DeSantis said June 1. “Boys are going to play boys’ sports.”

DeSantis chose June 2 to veto legislation that would have provided funds for counseling for survivors of the Pulse massacre and funding for LGBTQ homeless youth.

“Let’s be clear about what this is: Governor DeSantis has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community,” Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, who now works for Equality Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday the DOT ordered the Pride Light display removed, claiming there was no permit for the event. But the DOT never had a problem with countless other displays, including those recognizing Memorial Day, Autism acceptance and awareness, St. Patrick’s Day, Lupus, the first day of Spring, Christmas, child abuse awareness, and Easter – to name a few.

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BIGOTRY

DeSantis Admin Orders Jacksonville Bridge Stripped of LGBTQ Pride Month Rainbow Lights One Day After Turned On

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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis or someone in his administration ordered the Acosta Bridge in Jacksonville to take down a special LGBTQ Pride Month rainbow light display, just one day after it had been turned on.

The Florida Times-Union reports the order came from the Florida Department of Transportation, which ordered the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to remove the display. The FDOT owns the bridge even though it is controlled by the JTA.

“This afternoon, the FDOT informed the JTA that our scheduled color scheme for the Acosta Bridge is out of compliance with our existing permit. The JTA will comply accordingly,” the Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced in a statement.

But Florida Times-Union metro columnist Nate Monroe says there’s “almost no way this didn’t come from the governor’s office. JTA has lit the bridge up with all sorts of colors on all sorts of occasions, with no pushback, until now.”

He also encouraged social media users to contact Gov. DeSantis’ Press Secretary, who is a fan of light shows, at least some light shows:

Requests for Pride Month displays on other bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg, were allegedly denied.

Florida’s first LGBTQ Latinx legislator expressed outrage:

Equality Florida’s Senior Political Director notes DeSantis has used LGBTQ Pride Month to attack LGBTQ people several times already:

An investigative reporter and Executive Producer at WTLV/WJXX weighs in with other events that were allowed (even more examples on her Twitter page):

UPDATE: DeSantis Spokesperson Says LGBTQ Pride Lights on Jacksonville Bridge Will Be Back On – No Word on Others

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BIGOTRY

‘I Live in Oakland’: Homophobic Hotel Guests Shamed Out of Pool After Profanity-Laced Freakout Over Two Women Kissing

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A Sacramento hotel was the scene of a homophobic incident when a group of people witnessed two women kissing and flipped out.

The Black Bay Area Instagram account showed the white women losing their minds while queer Black women were kissing. They insisted they weren’t racist, just homophobic, mentioning there were children.

One person in the pool kept chanting “SHAME” as the people left in disgrace. The chant lasted for at least three minutes non-stop. The first woman walked away but the second and third woman tried to argue with the people in the pool, filming them and shouting at them.

“Do you have kids? Good because you’d be a terrible father!” one woman said while holding her beverage. Another woman flipped off the camera.

Pride Month begins today, June 1st.

See the video below:

 

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