Speed Read: Bias bill is pro-gay?
UGANDAN PRESIDENT DELAYS AGAIN: President Yoweri Museveni was scheduled to sign his parliament’s Anti-Homosexuality Act Monday morning, just two days after he penned a statement suggesting he would wait for proof that homosexuality is genetic. In the independent weekly newspaper The Observer in Kampala Friday, Museveni’s op-ed said he would “encourage” the U.S. government to join with Ugandan scientists “to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.” But early Monday, Associated Press reported his office announced he would sign the bill at 11 Ugandan time Monday (3 a.m. EST). The legislation is the Anti-Homosexuality Act, passed by parliament in December. Museveni initially declined to sign it, saying he was concerned it had not been passed through proper procedures in the parliament. Then he said he would sign it, saying Ugandan scientists had convinced him that homosexuality is a choice (though some political observers said he traded his signature for an endorsement by the majority party for his re-election). The February 21 essay makes clear Museveni has hesitated at least in part in reaction to a statement from President Obama that the law would “complicate” U.S. relations with Uganda. There was no indication what brought about Museveni’s latest change of plan.
ALASKA ANTI-BIAS BILL GETS HEARING: A bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Alaska will get its first hearing in a state senate committee today. The bill has seen no movement in the state house.
RELIGIOUS BIAS IS PRO-GAY? Proponents of a stalled religious bias bill in Kansas are sending out letters claiming the bill helps LGBT people. According to the Wichita Eagle, a group called Kansans for Liberty has been sending out letters to generate support for the bill by claiming it would enable LGBT business owners to refuse service to people who violate LGBT people’s beliefs. “If an LGBT couple owned a meeting space would any of us like to force them to rent it for an anti-gay rally and wedding? Should an African American and his LGBT partner be forced to lease his space or services for a KKK wedding?” The letter doesn’t indicate that the bill requires that a person identify a religious belief, not a moral or ethical one, in order to evade non-discrimination laws. Supporters of the bill are hoping to apply enough pressure on the Kansas Senate to get the bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee where the chairman last week said he would not advance it.
NO NEED TO WAIT TIL JUNE: A U.S. district court judge in Chicago ruled Friday that Cook County can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, rather than wait until June 1, the enactment date on legislation passed and signed last year. The decision came in Lee v. Orr, filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU. U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman (an Obama appointee) said there is “no reason” to make same-sex couples wait. That decision prompted a state senator who had introduced a new bill seeking to ban marriage for same-sex couples to withdraw his legislation. And Equality Illinois called on clerks in other counties to abide by Coleman’s reasoning.
NEW MEXICO STAYS FIRM: The New Mexico legislature ended its 2014 session Friday without taking up a bill that sought to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The state supreme court ruled last year that state laws that “have the effect of precluding same-gender couples from marrying” violate the equal protection guarantee of the state constitution.
DESPERATE TAX BREAK: A Republican hopeful in the Kentucky gubernatorial race told a radio audience Friday he thinks allowing same-sex couples to marry could lead to parents attempting to marry their own children in order to reap a tax benefits. The comment came from Tea Party businessman Matt Bevins, a father of nine kids who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the May 20 primary.
TALKING TO THE SOUTH: The national Freedom to Marry group will today announce the launch of a $1 million television advertising campaign in southern states to build public support for allowing same-sex couples to marry.