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May 16, 2015

Robbie Rogers and Megan Rapinoe also signed the letter

Martina Navratilova has teamed up with several other top LGBTI and ally athletes to stop Kazakhstan hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The incoming law, which has overwhelmingly been approved in the Senate, is a copycat of the Russia 'gay propaganda' ban.

The athletes believe the Olympics should ensure the principles of non-discrimination are upheld and that Kazakhstan is banned from hosting the Games.

Other athletes who have signed for LGBTI equality in sports include diver Greg Louganis and soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Robbie Rogers.

May 7, 2015

The singer urged the US congress to continue leading the global effort to fight HIV and AIDS

Sir Elton John has said he believes AIDS can be eradicated during his lifetime – but only if the United States continue to lead the global effort.

Speaking at a senate hearing on the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), the United States’ global initiative to fight HIV and AIDS, the British singer urged the Congress to continue their global leadership.

‘The AIDS epidemic is not over and America's continued leadership is critical,‘ the British singer told the Senate.

April 27, 2015

New York’s gay hoteliers, Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner, face a continuing backlash, and a protest rally this evening, for hosting an intimate party with Republican Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz

The hoteliers who own New York’s Out NYC hotel and a commercial strip on Fire Island, among other ventures, have faced widespread calls for a boycott after hosting an intimate evening function at their home with Ted Cruz.

Cruz is a Republican Senator who has been very vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage.

According to Human Rights Campaign, Cruz ‘has consistently opposed equality for LGBT Americans … attacking fellow Republicans for marching in pride parades, and using his opposition to marriage to win his first Senate campaign.’

April 12, 2015

While she now supports marriage equality, question remain about how, and when, the former Secretary of State 'evolved'

Papers released by the Clinton Library this past week do not show where then First Lady Hillary Clinton stood on the Defense of Marriage Act.

In 1996, the bill passed both the House and Senate by huge margins. 

It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

April 10, 2015

Republican lawmakers in Washington state unsuccessfully tried to strip verbal counselling from a bill to ban attempts to change people’s sexuality on the grounds that it might harm free speech and patient-counselor confidentiality

Washington state Republicans say they are opposed to ‘treatments’ aimed at changing people from gay to straight if they involve physical interventions like making people take baths in freezing water but they draw a line when it comes to spoken ‘ex-gay’ therapies.

Republican members of the state House of Representatives unsuccessfully tried to strip a prohibition on verbal counseling from a Washington Senate bill to ban attempts to ‘cure’ people of their sexual orientation in the state.

April 3, 2015

The openly gay Star Trek actor and LGBT activist wants people to remember that the battle for LGBT equality in Indiana is far from over

George Takei has argued that despite Indiana lawmakers amending the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), there is still a long way to go. 

The amendment, which passed the state House by a vote of 66-30 and the state Senate by a vote of 34-16, explicitly bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – the first time both terms have ever been mentioned in Indiana law.

However, the amendments to the law do not apply to schools or churches in the state. 

April 3, 2015

Human Rights Campaign says amendment limits damage but falls far short of a full solution

Gov Mike Pence Thursday evening signed a fix to Indiana's 'religious freedom' law after a backlash over what was seen as a 'license to discriminate.'

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), made law last week, allowed businesses to turn away LGBTI customers on religious grounds.

The amendment, which passed the state House by a vote of 66-30 and the state Senate by a vote of 34-16, explicitly bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – the first time both terms have ever been mentioned in Indiana law.

March 31, 2015

Arkansas is expected to move ahead with its anti-gay bill

'Religious freedom' bills in both Georgie and North Carolina have stalled amid a national backlash over a similar law that was passed in Indiana last week.

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses to turn away LGBTI customers on religious grounds.

Georgia's Senate passed the bill earlier this month within minutes of being introduced with no advance notice.

But the draft law stalled at the committee stage after a lawmaker added anti-discrimination language to stop it from being using against LGBTI people.

March 31, 2015

Measure would allow hospitals to turn away LGBTI patients

As Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana's 'religious freedom' law on Thursday (26 March), an even worse bill passed its first reading in North Carolina.

The NC Religious Freedom Restoration Act, introduced last week in both the House and Senate, says the state 'shall not burden a person’s right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.'

March 30, 2015

State Democrats and LGBTI groups want law fixed before more damage is done to state's economy and image

If Indiana Governor Mike Pence thought giving a defiant TV interview over the weekend would head off mounting criticism of his recent signing of a 'religious freedom' bill, he was very wrong.

On Monday, backlash against SB101 - which gives private businesses and organizations the right to discriminate against LGBTI people and others due to religious beliefs - picked up even more momentum.

March 27, 2015

'This bill is a poison pill for jobs and investment in the state of Arkansas, and Governor Hutchinson has a duty to veto it'

Today, 27 March, the Arkansas Senate has passed a 'religious freedom' bill, mirrors Indiana's new law.

According to Arkansas Online, the southern state's senate passed HB 1228, also known as the Conscience Protection Act, in a 24-7 vote.

March 24, 2015

Senate has already passed legislation - Governor Mike Pence plans to sign into law

The Indiana House of Representatives on Monday (22 March) easily passed a bill that would allow anyone - including private businesses and organizations - to discriminate against LGBTI people and others due to religious beliefs.

The bill was passed by the Indiana Senate last month and Republican Governor Mike Spence (pictured) has already vowed to sign it into law.

Spence said in a statement the bill 'is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact.

March 19, 2015

Australian lawmakers will debate a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage for the third time in five years next Thursday amid hopes Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will finally allow his MPs to vote with their consciences on the issue

Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm today announced his Freedom to Marry Bill will return for debate in the Australian Senate as soon as next Thursday.

In doing so, Senator Leyonhjelm called on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow his MPs and senators a conscience vote on the issue.

Abbott has said in the past that his MPs would get a conscience vote on the issue when his party room decided they should and Leyonhjelm believes there is enough support amongst members of the ruling Liberal-National Coalition for that to occur.

March 18, 2015

Ruling coalition votes against the motion

Australia's national Senate has supported a motion calling on all parties to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage.

The motion, proposed by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, passed the upper house where opposition parties have the majority. The ruling Liberal-National coalition voted against.

'[Prime Minister] Tony Abbott should lift the gag on his MPs and let them vote freely on the issue of marriage equality. There's nothing to be afraid of,' she wrote on Twitter.

March 13, 2015

Perverting the Constitution and religious freedom

State legislatures across the country are disenfranchising LGBTI Americans.

Lawmakers are introducing a surprising number of bills in state legislative sessions, overtly sanctioning and enforcing discrimination. These bills are called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), but don’t be fooled. These politicians are looking to codify LGBTI discrimination.

This week the Georgia Senate, with a vote of 37-15, approved their controversial RFRA (House Bill 1023).

March 13, 2015

Outdated language banning same-sex parents from adopting in Florida is set to be removed from law

Republican-dominated Florida House of Representatives has supported a bill amendment removing a gay adoption ban from law, as part of wider changes to incentivise foster care in the state.

Same-sex parents in the state have been allowed to adopt since 2010 after an appeals court ruled Florida’s gay adoption ban to be unconstitutional – but the language of the law has remained the same.

February 26, 2015

'Bills that say they are about protecting one thing when the real goal is to target and discriminate against LGBT people'

The Indiana State Senate has passed a bill that will permit small businesses to exercise their 'religious liberties'. 

Critics of the bill, which was created by Social Conservatives in response to the state's same-sex marriage law being struck down in June 2014, have argued that it would allow small business owners to refuse service to LGBTI people based on their sexuality.

February 26, 2015

Measure is approved 'for the protection of children from harmful information'

The Senate of Kazakhstan has passed a bill banning 'propaganda of a non-traditional sexual orientation.'

The upper house of the Kazakh parliament approved the measure on 19 February 'for the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development.'

Aldan Smayil, a member of the Majilis (the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament), proposed prohibiting 'gay propaganda' in August 2013.

February 23, 2015

'If it becomes law, this bill will preempt local nondiscrimination laws and policies that offer protections on any basis not yet included in state law'

Leading US civil rights organizations are asking Arkansas' governor to veto a bill blocking towns and cities from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against LGBTI residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Arkansas, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and National Center for Lesbian Rights issued the statement yesterday (21 February).

February 15, 2015

'It’s crystal clear that the motivation for this bill is to stifle local efforts to advance equality for LGBT Arkansans'

Arkansas is one step closer to prohibiting towns and cities from passing laws blocking discrimination against LGBTI residents.

February 11, 2015

A group of federal Democratic lawmakers have joined forces with Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to introduce a bill to protect LGBTI students from bullying and discrimination in public schools

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives Jared Polis and Robert C Scott have been joined by Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in co-sponsoring a bill to protect LGBTI students in public schools in a move the group will encourage bipartisan support for the effort.

The lawmakers introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) on Tuesday which, if passed, will help protect public school students from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

February 6, 2015

New post will be filled by an openly gay Foreign Service officer

US Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the appointment later this month of a special envoy to advocate for LGBTI rights overseas.

The move pre-empts a bill introduced last week in boths houses of the Senate that would make promoting LGBTI rights a priority of US foreign policy.

January 30, 2015

Legislation creates a special LGBTI envoy in the State Department

US lawmakers in both of houses of congress yesterday (29 January) introduced a bill to promote and protect LGBTI rights globally.

The International Human Rights Defense Act would create a special envoy in the State Department to coordinate efforts to prevent and respond to discrimination and violence against LGBTI people worldwide.

January 29, 2015

Bill gives civil partners nearly all the rights of married couples

Lawmakers in socially conservative Chile have given final approval to gay civil unions after more than four years of legislative wrangling.

The senate yesterday (January) passed the Civil Union Accord bill by a 25 to 6 vote margin with three abstentions, a week after the lower house approved the measure.

The bill now heads back to President Michelle Bachelet to sign into law.