Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana

This Indiana Pizza Shop Is A Joke, But It Reveals A Real Problem With The Law

Recently, a pizza shop in Indiana told a news station that the pizza shop would deny service to a same-sex couple. The shop would especially deny service to any homosexual couple looking for the shop’s service in catering the couple’s wedding. The pizza shop is called Memories Pizza. The owners of Memories Pizza, the O’Connor family, are Christians who believe firmly in their religious beliefs. They also agree to the controversial bill passed by Indiana governor Mike Pence, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is an act that expresses freedom of religion. This act mostly targets homosexual people because there are people who believe homosexuality is a sin and will deny the homosexuals in businesses.

It may be the O’Connor’s belief to deny service to a homosexual couple but it is still discrimination because the pizza shop is denying service to any gay couple who comes into their shop looking for Memories Pizza to cater for the couple’s wedding. However, along with Memories Pizza and other businesses, these businesses serve the public. It is unfair to deny service to anyone that does not follow the business owner’s religion. The business owner should deny service to a customer if the customer is acting in a way that is threatening or harming the other customers or the owners in the store.

Homosexuality in Prisons

Ex-convict blasts Ben Carson’s belief about widespread homosexuality in prisons

So apparently prison turns people into homosexuals. According to Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and potential presidential candidate, stated on CNN, “A lot of people who go into prisongo into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay.” Many critics including an ex-convict don’t believe in Carson’s belief that a heterosexual can go into prison and turn homosexual when the person is released from prison. This particular ex-convict and champion for the formerly incarcerated, Stanley Richards, who finished his last sentence of 4 ½ years, knows for a fact that prisons do not make people homosexual. Richards is the right person to state his opinion on Carson’s statement because he went into prison as a heterosexual and is still a heterosexual when released. Through Carson’s statement on CNN, it shows that Carson does not fully understand what actually occurs in prisons and the identification of homosexuality, as stated by Richards. Perhaps Carson is referring to the phrase that goes on in prison showers, don’t drop the soap. The phrase “don’t drop the soap” is implied when an inmate drops the soap and bends over to pick up the soap, another inmate may rape the person from behind. An inmate who was raped does not automatically change his sexuality because he or she was raped. Rape in prisons has nothing to do with choosing to become homosexual.

Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D

To view the video please click the following link:

Trans-gender Murders

Already Three Black Trans Women Have Been Brutally Murdered in 2015 

Recently three transgender women of color have been brutally murdered. The three African-American women mentioned in this article are Goddess Edwards, Lamia Beard, and Ty Underwood. Goddess Edwards was 20 years old and lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. As the article states, Goddess Edwards name had been stolen from her, so the National Director of Trans Women of Color Collective, Lourdes Hunter, decided to call her Goddess Edwards.  Goddess Edwards was the first reported trans-woman of color to be murdered in 2015. However, due to misgendering from the media and the law enforcement, not all of the information, along with the others, has been released. Edwards was murdered on January 9th with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Lamia Beard was 30 years old and lived in Norfolk, Virginia. She loved music and played a variety of instruments. She even got a full ride scholarship to Bethune Cookman College. She was just like any other person. She was accepted and loved by her friends and family. On the morning of Saturday, January 17th, Lamia was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital due to life-threatening gunshot wounds. She later passed away.

Ty Underwood was 24 years old and lived in Tyler Texas. She was an assistant at a nursing home. She was accepted into the Kilgore College’s nursing program. She was murdered nine days after Lamia Beard was murdered. Ty was found in her car with three gunshot wounds on Monday, January 26. No arrests have been made in either of the cases.

These women’s stories are not getting the media coverage they deserve. All transgender people who have committed suicide or have been murdered despite the race, ethnicity, and gender, deserve the media’s attention so that public opinion will become more involved. All these women had plans for their future. Their skills, hobbies, goals and dreams never changed from when they were men to when they were women. These women were still the same but they were even happier with the support of their family and friends throughout the transition. No one should take away the life of a person because they are different or have different beliefs.

Wedding Planning Controversy

WATCH: Florida Wedding Planner Can’t and Won’t Work with Lesbian Couple

Planning a wedding is stressful but can also be enjoyable, especially when planning that wedding will lead to the most wonderful day of the couple’s life. The journey of marriage-hood starts with a good wedding planner.  The wedding planner can choose to deny a request if the wedding planner is overbooked and other reasons. But do those reasons to turn down a request include not feeling comfortable planning a wedding for lesbian couples?

 After receiving a letter that the owner of Simply Elegant Wedding Planning, Lana Rusev, in Jackson, Florida, could not plan the wedding because of an over-booking issue, Melissa McCord posted the letter on Facebook. The comments on this letter was not just because of the over-booking problem, it was because of the fact that Rusev did not want to plan for lesbian couples. So far there have been many negative comments on Simply Elegant Wedding Planning Facebook page. Rusev stated on a TV station that as an immigrant from Ukraine, she feels like a victim because her family “fled from a country that persecuted people for their belief [Christian].” According to the article, right-wing activist and Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins stated that the hostility Rusev faced in the Soviet Union is returning with the negative comments on Facebook in America.

Here is another account of inequality between the homosexual communities. I believe that if it is against Lana Rusev’s beliefs, then she should not do anything that would oppose that belief. However, religious beliefs should not play a role in the business world. Lana Rusev’s statement on the TV station was contradictory in my opinion because if people in the Soviet Union were persecuted because of their beliefs, then why did Rusev discriminate against the McCord couple based on the couple’s belief?  No one should be denied of service just because they are lesbian couples. Despite the fact that they are lesbians, nobody should have to look for specific wedding planners who don’t discriminate against couples.

Wedding planner book <Photo courtesy of Google>

Get Your Licenses Here!

Who Gets a Gay Marriage License?

Certificate of Marriage license sample (Courtesy of Google)

Florida has overturned gay marriage due to a judge’s ruling on the ban. This means same-sex couples can get marriage licenses and get married. In Chipley, Florida, Ozzie Russ and Steve Schlairet will be allowed to get a marriage license after 18 years together as a couple. However, county clerks of court are not sure if the couple will be the only same-sex couple to get a marriage license or if all same-sex couples can. The reason county clerks of court are unsure to give the licenses out because of a risk of criminal penalty. The couple clerks in Washington County were advised by the attorneys not to hand out the marriage licenses or risk criminal penalty. The couple filed a successful lawsuit about the gay marriage ban. While Washington County, where the couple is from, will hand out the marriage licenses, other counties in Florida are waiting for the judge’s ruling.

It is implied by the author that the couple, Ozzie Russ and Steve Schlairet, want same-sex couples in Florida’s counties to also get marriage licenses. Every couple who is qualified to get a marriage license and wants one should be getting a marriage license. Following Florida’s footsteps in handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a first step to any state who has not done so already.

Not Offensive to You, Not Offensive to Me

The Interview

Watch it to battle tyranny! But not for the laughs. 

A good comedy movie will always make me laugh out loud no matter the scenario. Who wouldn’t want a great laugh while watching a more than an hour long movie? Apparently that would be North Korea ‘s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. Of course, Kim Jong-un wouldn’t laugh at this movie, The Interview, that has to do with stereotypical Asian jokes and the task to assassinate the North Korean dictator. This satirical-comedy based on an interview with the North Korean leader would offend Kim Jong-un. As a result of the threats, many United States citizens believe from valid evidence, that North Korea hacked Sony Pictures. In fact, North Korea threatened anyone who watched The Interview, and would then create a terrorist attack.

            Despite the threats, Sony Pictures released as of 1PM on December 24th ,The Interview, in select theaters in few cities. The Interview is also available online via YouTube, Google Play, Xbox video, and Sony’s website. No movie should be excluded from the public. Freedom of speech plays a very evident role in this situation. The article gives readers insight on what to expect when watching The Interview. The author then goes on to describe certain parts of the movie. This movie shouldn’t have been taken out of the movie theaters in the first place. This situation is about freedom of speech and it is the public’s decision to watch the movie or not.

            There are movies that people have been offended by. Not everyone will like the movie. Some will just laugh it off and move on. In addition to offensive movies, Grouplove, an American Indie Rock band, released the music video for Ways To Go in 2013. In the music video, the band members are playing the song while a younger version of Kim Jong-un is starting his day. In a BuzzWorthy article, the band is promoting peace and understanding to North Korea. Whether it’s a satirical-comedy movie or an indie-pop music video, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but the intention of the creators should be known.

The Interview poster

Let’s Get Our Facts Straight

Rolling Stone Rolls Off Cliff

The case of the Rolling Stone magazine report of the University of Virginia alleged rape is seen through the viewpoint of a conservative source. The Rolling Stone Magazine reported on the gang rape of a woman named Jackie during a party at a fraternity house at University of Virginia. Jackie, the rape victim, discussed her story with Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone also reported on the University’s failure to respond to the assault, and to further research other sexual assaults at the University.

However, recently Rolling Stone apologized to the public due to the fact that there have been discrepancies from the account of the sexual assault and rape by Jackie. Therefore, Rolling Stone published a response to their former publication, A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice, which explains how the magazine got their information and how their original judgment was Rolling Stone’s mistake not Jackie’s mistake.

Rape and sexual assault allegations towards women have occurred in multiple universities. Many believe that women ask to be sexually assaulted or raped because of the clothes they wear and how they act. Others believe otherwise. Due to this controversy, it is evident that viewers understand both viewpoints of what Rolling Stone published and the story of Jackie.

The conservative author, Rod Dreher, first gives the reader an excerpt from the Rolling Stone report to read from, and then gives his view on the excerpt. He states that Rolling Stone published a story only based on one person whose story had some very relevant mistakes in the story. I somewhat agree with what the author states.  I believe that in order to bring awareness to an ongoing issue, there has to be as many reports on the subject as reporters and news sources can find.  In cases such as these, there needs to be an opportunity for each side to give an account of the events before publishing the article, and then leave it up to the readers to decide what they believe.

University of Virginia

Legalization of Gay Marriage in More States

Courts back marriage equality on Mississippi, Arkansas

More and more states have equal marriage. However, there is still same-sex marriage bans in the Deep South. But two southern states, Mississippi and Arkansas have joined the portion of states that are in favor of same-sex marriage. The U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves in Mississippi stated that the state’s gay marriage ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment because it violates the rights that same-sex couples are guaranteed according to the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. In Arkansas, Judge Kristine Baker also issued a similar ruling to Mississippi’s Judge Reeves’s ruling. His ruling states that clerks could not issue gay marriage licenses until the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court decides on the ruling. That ruling would be for fourteen days. Both Mississippi and Arkansas are waiting for the pending appeal of equal marriage.

So far there are thirty-five states that have legalized gay marriage. These states have legalized gay marriage either by court decision, state legislature, or popular vote. As soon as the court appeals are ruled, Mississippi and Arkansas will become the 36th and 37th states to give equal rights to all couples according to a report done by Miranda Leitsinger.

According to page three of Judge Reeves decision, people marry for emotional support and a way to express public and private expression, religious reasons or economic and government benefits. I do believe in Judge Reeves’s decision. Any couple, homosexual, straight or anyone can and should marry. They have their own reasons to express their love and their right to marry should not be taken away. I believe that state bans on same-sex marriage is in violation of the 14th Amendment. Anyone should have equal rights to marry whomever he or she chooses to marry. The questions stated in Judge Reeves’s decision are a great idea to decide on whether there should be same-sex marriages.

And I Thought We Could All Eat at Restaurants

Couple says they were asked not to come back to East Texas restaurant because they are gay

A freedom of where you choose to is always something people take for granted. Most of us have the choice to dine wherever we want to eat without any discrimination towards the patrons or the waiters and employees. But that wasn’t the case in Pittsburg, Texas when a homosexual couple was banned from returning to the restaurant. That restaurant called Big Earl’s Restaurant have a policy that states “Welcome to BIG EARL’S Where MEN act like MEN WOMEN act like LADIES NO SAGGY PANTS We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”.

538d57103913a.imageThe gay couple, Collin Dewberry and Kelley Williams, were leaving the restaurant after eating when the waitress who is also the restaurant owner’s daughter said that they don’t serve homosexuals at the restaurant. Except she used a very offensive and derogatory term at the couple instead of stating the statement in a formal manner. She then repeated the restaurants policy. The couple believes that they have done nothing wrong and Earl, the restaurant owner, states that the couple’s behavior of touching legs, was against the policy. However when the couple asked how a man should act, Earl said, “…man’s supposed to stand up and be a leader…”  The restaurant is a family restaurant so sexual actions aren’t allowed. But refusing service of a couple due to their sexuality is not equality.

 Of course restaurants have the right to refuse service due to bad behavior, however restaurants should not discriminate based on a person’s sexuality or race. Based on the restaurant’s reviews another case where a black man was refused service at the restaurant. I believe that there should be equal service for all types of patrons in a restaurant. Unless the patron is nude or is behaving inappropriately, then the restaurant has the right to refuse the service. Where do restaurants draw the line between inappropriate behavior and sexual orientation?

The Apple Falls From the Post

Russian Memorial to Apple Founder Dismantled After CEO Says He’s Gay

The Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs’s memorial was dismantled in St. Petersburg, Russia recently. But what was the reason for dismantling it? It certainly wasn’t due to repairs. The reason for dismantling the memorial is that Tim Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs, came out as homosexual. The memorial was constructed near a St. Petersburg college by a Russian group of companies called ZEFS. According to ZEFS, the two-meter high iPhone monument was taken down because Russian law states that “gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law.”

But what exactly is gay propaganda? The federal law signed by President Putin defines propaganda as any nontraditional information that is aimed towards minors which includes sexual attitudes and attractiveness of sexual relations. Anyone found breaking the anti-gay law will be fined starting at 4,000-5,000 rubles (about $120-$150 US dollars). President Putin signed this law last year to promote and sustain the traditional values. However, while instilling traditional values is beneficial to the Russian community, the gay community in both the United States and Russia are outraged.

The memorial does not represent Tim Cook. It is a memorial of Steve Jobs. However when people look at the memorial, they will picture the company as a whole which includes Tim Cook. The Russian government only took it down to protect the young scholars and people of the gay propaganda and mean no discrimination to homosexuals. But how else can one learn about our society if one is shielded away by their government? Not only does the memorial show the strength and hard work over the years of Steve Jobs and the Apple Company, it would inspire the young scholars out in the world to believe in themselves and to never give up.

Tim Cook came out as gay in order to help civil rights. The Russian government even went as far as to prohibit Cook from entering Russia. The gay propaganda limits the individuality of a person . People wont be able to learn if they are not open to change.

Russians tear down Steve Jobs Memorial

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

Steve Jobs memorial

Steve Jobs memorial