LGBTQ+ Orgs Celebrate Michigan’s Historic Passage of LGBTQ+ Non-Discrimination Law
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is about to sign a historic LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination law, making hers the first U.S. state to pass such protections in nearly 3 years. The victory comes after Republican legislators spent 4 decades blocking the legal protections.
The law will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s 1976 Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), helping protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in the fields of education, employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The bill’s gay sponsor Sen. Jeremy Moss (D) said that Republicans had blocked such protections from going into law for decades. Republican opponents of the bill said it would force secular views on religious citizens. They even tried to carve out exceptions into Moss’ bill that would’ve allowed religious business owners to discriminate on the basis of “sincerely held beliefs,” but these efforts failed before the bill passed in a 64-45 House vote on Wednesday.
Democrats gained full control of the legislature in January, helping pave the way to the law’s passage.
In a tweet celebrating the House vote, Whitmer wrote, “I’m proud that we’re finally in a position to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ+ Michiganders. Let’s get it done!”
The bill also passed after years of court battles over whether ELCRA already protects LGBTQ+ citizens. A 2020 Michigan Court of Claims ruling said it didn’t, but a July 2022 Michigan Supreme Court ruling said that it did. The Supreme Court case tried to determine whether the religious owners of a wedding venue and hair removal business could legally refuse service to a same-sex couple and a trans client, respectively.
In a statement, Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said, “We’re seeing history in the making here in Michigan. Extremist legislators tried to fearmonger people into believing a false narrative last fall, but they failed because Michiganders know better. The people of Michigan could not be fooled and they have organized over decades for this moment.”
“ELCRA will not only protect LGBTQ+ people here in Michigan, its passage will send a message across our nation that when we organize — when we come together as a community — we will and do achieve progress,” Robinson continued. “We will continue to take this fight to each and every state that tries to deny LGBTQ+ people their rightful place in society.”
The Trevor Project’s advocacy campaign manager Gwen Stembridge wrote, “By codifying non-discrimination protections into state law, Michigan brings us one step closer to creating a society where LGBTQ young people never have to fear being turned away from a business or told they cannot participate in an activity or enter a public space just because of who they are or who they love,”
Stembridge added that the bill is also a welcome “beacon of hope” considering the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills that Republican legislators have introduced nationwide this year.
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GOP Appoints Failed Politician to Judgeship Despite Her Having Zero Judicial Experience
Michele Fiore, a Republican politician, has been appointed to a Nevada judgeship even though she has no prior legal or judicial experience. She has also previously been accused of obstructing an investigation into her own business and once said it’s okay to point a gun at federal officers.
Fiore will fill a seat on the Pahrump Justice Court in Nye County, located about 65 miles west of Las Vegas, the Associated Press reported. County commissioners unanimously appointed her to the judgeship. She will serve on the court through 2024.
She told commissioners that she would oversee the judicial appointment with “integrity and honesty” because she has “been at the end of the political barrel.”
However, it seems she ended up at the end of that barrel largely due to her own fault.
In 2015, Nevada state regulators revoked the license of her home-health business after she refused to show financial records during an investigation of alleged Medicaid fraud, Wonkette noted. That same year, she made statements against transgender people using changing facilities matching their gender identities.
In 2016, she said it was okay to point a gun at law enforcement officers if they point a gun at you first.
“I would never, ever point my firearm at anyone, including an officer of the law. Unless they pointed their firearm at me,” she said in an interview with Las Vegas TV station KLAS. “Now, once you point your firearm at me, I’m sorry, then it becomes self-defense. So whether you’re a stranger, a bad guy, or an officer, and you point your gun at me and you’re gonna shoot me and I have to decide whether it’s my life or your life, I choose my life.”
The Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers called her statement “utterly irresponsible,” “an embarrassment,” and a demonstration of why she’s unfit to hold national office.
Though Fiore was a member of the Nevada Assembly from 2012 to 2016 and a member of the Las Vegas City Council from 2017 until her appointment into the judgeship, she launched a failed 2022 election bid to become the Nevada State Treasurer and a failed 2016 bid to become a state representative in the U.S. House.
Biden Signs Historic Law Requiring Government to Honor Same-Sex Marriages
In front of a crowd of nearly 3,000 people, President Joe Biden (D) signed the Respect for Marriage Act, a law which officially repealed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that forbade the federal government from legally recognizing same-sex marriages.
The law also requires the federal and state governments to recognize same-sex marriages as long as they occur in states where they are legal. If any state refuses to recognize such marriages the spouses can sue under the new law.
“Racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia: They’re all connected,” Biden said before signing the law, according to LGBTQ Nation. “The antidote to hate is love. This law and beloved defense strike a blow against hate in all its forms. And that’s why this law matters to every single American, no matter who you are or who you love.”
The D.C. Gay Men’s Chorus, nonbinary singer Sam Smith, and longtime LGBTQ ally Cyndi Lauper all performed for the crowd before Biden signed the law.
169 House Members and 36 Senators voted against the bill, which also protects interracial marriages. All were Republicans. Republicans also tried to derail its passage by adding amendments that would’ve allowed people the right to discriminate based on sincerely held religious beliefs, effectively hollowing out any civil rights protections that come with legalized same-sex marriage.
Thirty-five states still have same-sex marriage bans on their books. If the Supreme Court ever overturns the 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriages, those states will be able to stop offering marriage to same-sex residents.
The Respect for Marriage Act ensures that U.S. citizens will be able to travel to other states with legalized same-sex marriages and have those marriages recognized at the state and federal levels.
Russian hackers crash 14 U.S. airport websites after coordinated cyberattack
Websites for 14 U.S. airport websites were targeted with “denial of service” cyber attacks on Monday morning. Russian-speaking hackers have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Denial of service attacks crash websites by simultaneously sending large numbers of artificial users to websites. The overwhelmed service requests shut down the websites by overwhelming the sites’ computer servers.
The attacks affected the public-facing websites for LaGuardia airport in New York City, O’Hare international airport in Chicago, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, and nine other airport websites. Most of the sites have since returned online.
“The systems targeted do not handle air traffic control, internal airline communications and coordination, or transportation security,” ABC News reported.
“Killnet,” a pro-Russian hacker group, reportedly took credit for the attacks. The group has targeted the U.S. and other Ukrainian allies since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. While cyber security experts say that the cyberattack originated in Russia, there’s no proof that the Russian government had any involvement.
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