Speed Read: Mississippi maybe

MISSISSIPPI VOTE: The Mississippi House tore through a lot of legislation Tuesday but did not take up SB 2681, a bill that would enable people to discriminate against others by claiming a religious motivation to do so. Today is the deadline for the House to advance any outstanding bill for this legislative session. The bill has already passed the senate. To listen in on the debate, click on House WebCast.

DEPOSING A DETRACTOR:  Attorneys for the National Organization for Marriage will depose gay activist Fred Karger today in a lawsuit in which NOM accuses the Internal Revenue Service of unlawful disclosure of confidential tax information to the Human Rights Campaign. Karger has made it a mission to publicize NOM’s alleged failures to file information on its activities with various federal agencies. And in its lawsuit, NOM v. U.S., the NOM claims Karger allegations have been based “solely on confidential tax return and donor” information, including the names and addresses of NOM’s donors. Although the suit is filed in federal court in northern Virginia, Frontiers newsmagazine reported yesterday that Karger will be deposed in Los Angeles.

A PLACE FOR SPACE: A federal district court judge in Missouri upheld a state law that requires protesters stay at least 300 feet away from a funeral between one hour before the service until one hour after. Missouri passed the law in 2006 after the virulently anti-gay Westboro church staged a protest outside the funeral of an Iraqi war vet. Last year, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a Missouri law that banned protests outside funerals. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in a 2011 case out of Maryland that Westboro protesters had a first amendment right to protest outside a soldier’s funeral.

A STUDIED STEP BACK: The ACLU of Wisconsin decided yesterday to withdraw its request for an injunction against the enforcement of the state’s law banning same-sex couples from marrying. The request for an injunction came in the ACLU’s recently filed lawsuit, Virginia Wolf v. Scott Walker, in a federal district court. In return, reported the Wisconsin State Journal, district attorneys in two counties agreed not to prosecute two of the eight plaintiff couples for having violated a state law against obtaining a marriage license in another state that is outlawed by Wisconsin.

BOOKING THE BIAS: The South Carolina House voted Monday to approve a budget that deletes almost $70,000 in funding for two state colleges to penalize the schools for including pro-gay books in their curricula. The House rejected efforts by Democrats to reinstate the funding. “Dad-gummit, they’re fighting for our students” to have the freedom to read what they want, said a veteran of Afghanistan who supported restoring the money. The books that prompted the cut were an autobiography by Alison Bechdel (Fun Home), used by the College of Charleston and Out Loud, about a gay and lesbian radio show, used by the University of South Carolina.

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