A gay Alabama man took to social media to share his experience at the polls. The man, who wrote his story on Reddit but declined to provide his name or any other identifying information, said the clerk at his voting location attempted to turn him away after noticing him place his arm around his boyfriend, who had accompanied him to the polling location.
"It is disgusting that the people in charge of maintaining the integrity of the voting process are the ones that are manipulating it," the man, under the username TenenBobOmb, wrote later on the /askgaybros subreddit in a thread titled "Just voted for Doug Jones. Voting clerk saw me put my arm around my boyfriend and tried to keep me from voting."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered an apology to the LGBT community on Tuesday, on behalf of the Canadian government, for decades of "state-sponsored, systematic oppression and rejection." Speaking in the House of Commons, he expressed shame, sorrow, and regret to to the military and civil servants, as well as those criminalized, who endured discrimination and injustice based on their sexual orientation.
"To all the LGBTQ2 people across this country who we have harmed in countless ways, we are sorry," Trudeau said. "You are professionals. You are patriots. And above all, you are innocent. And for all your suffering, you deserve justice, and you deserve peace. We betrayed you, and we are so sorry."
The good news is that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law that prohibits defendants from using the gender identity and sexuality of their victims as a motive for violence. Illinois is the second state to do so following California’s precedent in 2014. This means the state’s courts will no longer recognize the argument that the LGBTQ community poses a threat to society, which has been used for the past 50 years to justify the actions of their murderers. The bad news is that this argument is still a legal murder defense in 48 other states.
Back in 2013, the American Bar Association (ABA) urged federal, state, and local governments to legislatively ban the use of the gay and trans panic defense by criminal defendants. Yet to this day, in every state except for California and Illinois, a person can use this courtroom strategy to excuse the assault or murder of another human being, explaining it as a reasonable response to an otherwise irrational fear of gay and trans people.
Toronto-based nonprofit Rainbow Railroad is working with the Canadian government to give sanctuary to gay and lesbian Chechnyan refugees fleeing persecution in their home country. The nonprofit helps LGBTs escape state-sponsored violence in countries around the world. Executive director Kimahli Powell revealed in a Facebook video that Rainbow Railroad had been covertly working with the Canadian government over the past three months to aid the refugees.
An anti-gay purge in Chechnya began earlier this year, involving the arrest, detaining, beating and torturing of gays by law enforcement. Though at least three deaths have been reported, the Chechen government claims the purge never happened, and in a recent HBO interview, Chechen leader Ramzan A. Kadyrov denied the existence of gay people within his country altogether. In response, Powell and the Canadian government quietly created an underground railroad program that has expedited safe passage for 31 government-assisted refugees between June and August, mostly arriving from safe houses in Russia, with more to be expected.
The decision, which sends the case back to Indiana's federal district court, involved Indiana teacher Kimberly Hively, who claimed her employer denied her promotions and let her go from her job at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, Indiana, because she is a lesbian. After staff members saw her kissing her girlfriend goodbye in the school parking lot, an administrator reprimanded her for "sucking face" and "unprofessionalism."