Despite pressure from LGBT activists following the overwhelming defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) on Tuesday, the National Football League is not budging on its decision to hold the 51st Super Bowl in Houston in 2017.
“This will not affect our plans for Super Bowl LI in 2017,” Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, told NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “We will work closely with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee to make sure all fans feel welcomed at our events. Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”
HERO, which would have prohibited discrimination against a number of protected classes, including LGBT people, was passed in May 2014 by the Houston City Council. Opponents tried to petition it to the ballot, but failed to garner enough valid signatures. The Texas Supreme Court later interceded and forced the ordinance to be placed on the ballot. HERO was eventually defeated, garnering only 39 percent of the vote to opponents’ 61 percent.
Supporters of the LGBT community launched a petition at Change.org soon after the election results came in, arguing that the NFL should move the Super Bowl from Houston. As of mid-day Thursday, the petition had received 2,287 signatures.
Some had speculated that the NFL might be pressured to change the venue for the Super Bowl due to the influence of the LGBT community, in the same way that it seriously considered moving the 2015 Super Bowl from Arizona after lawmakers attempted to pass a law that would allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That measure was eventually killed with a veto from then-Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican.
But while the NFL is refusing to budge on the 2017 Super Bowl, supporters of equality can take a small measure of solace that there might be at least some form of karmic justice. On Wednesday, Houston lost three separate bids to host the College Football Championship game for 2018, 2019 and 2020. As LGBT sports website OutSports notes, the three cities that Houston lost two — Atlanta, San Francisco, and New Orleans — all have nondiscrimination protections for LGBT individuals enacted into law.
Thousands of LGBTQ Israelis received text messages saying they "deserve severe punishment, death and deportation" and demanding that they "repent" on Monday, according to The Aguda - Israel's LGBT Task Force.
"You are LGBT and an apostate. You deserve severe punishment, death and deportation from Israel," the text message reads. "Come to Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan in order to repent. We would be glad if you undergo conversion to faith."
The message included a phone number and a Telegram account to contact and claimed to be sent by Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Hadash, the dean of Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan, a Lithuanian-style Orthodox yeshiva in Jerusalem.
A Central New York school district experienced a backlash on social media after a high school senior accused administrators and district officials of prohibiting him from sharing a story about coming out and fighting anti-gay bullying in a school newsletter.
Tyler Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Tully High School, in Tully, N.Y., said on TikTok that he was one of two students selected to write for a section called "Senior Spotlight" for his school's January newsletter. Johnson said he was asked to write about his biggest challenge in life thus far, and how he was able to overcome it.
The U.S. Senate has confirmed an openly gay man as the ambassador to Cameroon, despite the country's laws criminalizing homosexuality.
Christopher Lamora, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who recently served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, was one of more than three dozen nominees selected by President Joe Biden or various ambassadorships, who saw their nominations blocked earlier this year by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Cruz had refused to agree to move forward on diplomatic nominations to protest the Biden administration's policy on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The Biden administration opposes the pipeline, but has not issued sanctions for fear of worsening the United States' relationship with Germany, reports Politico.
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