The Beverly Hills Hotel has become the subject of a boycott by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist groups after the owner, and leader of the small Southeast Asian nation Brunei, instituted outrageous anti-gay legislation in his home country.
According to The Washington Blade, The OutGiving Conference, an event for wealthy LGBT donors hosted by the Gill Action Fund, announced last week that it would be canceling the conference at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The cancellation reportedly came after organizers realized the hotel was owned by the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, who is the leader of the country that recently passed harsh penalties for same-sex acts.
As reported by The Huffington Post last week, Brunei is slated to allow death by stoning as punishment for gay sex. Other offenses referenced in the revision of capital punishment regulations reportedly include "rape, adultery, sodomy, extramarital sexual relations for Muslims, insulting any verses of the Quran and Hadith, blasphemy, declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim, and murder."
Executive Director of Gill Action Kirk Fordham reportedly stated that a new venue would be chosen following the event's cancellation. “In light of the horrific anti-gay policy approved by the government of Brunei, Gill Action made the decision earlier today to relocate its conference from the Beverly Hills Hotel to another property,” Fordham said in a statement. “We are seeking a return of all deposits."
In response to the boycott, The Beverly Hills Hotel sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that reads, in part, "[W]e do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind. We are also against any law in any other country around the world that punishes people for their religious beliefs, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation. The laws and policies that govern how we run our hotel have nothing to do with the laws that exist in any other country outside of the United States."
This isn't the first time that the Beverly Hills Hotel's ties to anti-gay Brunei resulted in a boycott from LGBT groups. In February 2013, a group called "Dump The Beverly Hills Hotel" began publicly encouraging individuals to no longer patronize the business due to its ties to "state-sponsored homophobia."
Laverne Cox is near the top of the TIME 100 Reader Poll.
The transgender actress and activist was reportedly in first place just days ago, after knocking pop star Justin Bieber out of the top position, but currently sits in fourth place, still ahead of Bieber and other stars like Beyonce and Meryl Streep.
TIME notes that while the final list of the 100 most influential people of the year is ultimately decided by editors, input from readers is both valued and considered.
Cox reportedly took the number one spot after she retweeted TIME magazine, alerting her fan base to her place in the poll.
Though Cox has been working in Hollywood for many years, she blasted onto the scene after appearing on the first season of the hit Netflix original series "Orange Is The New Black" in 2013 and has since utilized her platform to continue to bring visibility to issues affecting the transgender community. Her most recent accomplishment involved receiving the Stephen F. Kolzak award at the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards.
Voting is still open for the TIME 100 until 11:59 p.m. on April 22, 2014.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has revoked the charter of a Seattle-area church because of the church's support for an openly gay Scoutmaster.
On March 31, the BSA notified Chief Seattle Council Troop 98 Scoutmaster Geoffrey McGrath that his registration would be revoked because he is gay. However, the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, which charters Troop 98, said it would stand by McGrath and allow him to continue his duties as Scoutmaster. As a result of its continued support, the BSA on Thursday stripped the church of its charter.
As you are aware, the policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not allow open or avowed homosexuals to serve as adult volunteer leaders [...] Nevertheless, Rainier Beach United Methodist Church has stated that it will not remove [McGrath] as a leader and will continue to allow him to serve as an adult leader in violation of the charter agreement and the policies of the Boy Scouts of America. As a result of this refusal to comply with the policies, guidelines, rules, and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, Rainer Beach United Methodist Church is hereby advised that it is no longer an authorized chartered organization and may no longer use the Scouting program or any of its registered marks or brands.
"That the Boy Scouts of America would punish a church and the young people of Troop 98 because the church's core values emphasize fairness and equality for all of God's children is simply unconscionable," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "The fact that the Boy Scouts of America chose Easter weekend to once again blatantly discriminate against gay and lesbian people, as well as the churches that support them, flies in the face of the values of Scouting and sends a hurtful message to youth."
Rainier Beach United Methodist Church Reverend Monica Corsaro says the church is weighing legal options as a result of the BSA's decision:
"As a Reconciling Congregation, it's important to us that we are open to all people," said Rainier Beach United Methodist Church Pastor Monica Corsaro. "It's a part of our values that the spirit of inclusion is also reflected in the Boy Scout Troop we charter. The congregation stands with Geoff, because his work with this Troop reflects the spirit and the values of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church. In light of the BSA's decision to infringe on our religious liberties, sending us such troubling communication on Good Friday, we have acquired legal council to assess our options."
Rainier Beach United Methodist Church is represented by Friedman | Rubin Law Offices.
Thirty-nine Washington state legislators have signed a letter in support of Rainier Beach United Methodist Church's decision to stand by McGrath, writing that they're "deeply troubled" as "discrimination against gay people is unacceptable."
In May 2013, the BSA approved a landmark resolution that allowed gay youth to participate in Scouting. The Boy Scouts opted to maintain its ban on gay and lesbian parents and adults, however.
The lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court in favor of upholding California's ban on gay marriage learned while he was handling the case that one of his children is gay and now is helping her plan her wedding with another woman.
Attorney Charles Cooper says his view of same-sex marriage is evolving after having argued in court that gay unions could undermine marriages between a man and a woman.
The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country's rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favor of allowing the unions.
Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle. And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process.
"My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people's do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago," Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker's book "Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality."
Cooper's words are reminiscent of the language President Barack Obama used throughout his first term to describe his "evolving" views on gay marriage. In 2012, Obama announced publicly that he did, in fact, support the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Other politicians have also voiced support for same-sex marriage after learning that their own children were gay, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose position was at odds with President George W. Bush. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, reversed his opposition to gay marriage last year, saying that his gay son had caused him to think about the issue differently.
Ellen DeGeneres tops gay glossy Out's eighth annual Power 50 list.
The 56-year-old DeGeneres returned to the top spot in this year's list of most influential gay people, knocking out last year's champ Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“Everybody loves Ellen, and that's one of the reasons she's regained the top spot,” Out editors wrote. “In March, The Ellen DeGeneres Show shattered its own 10-year ratings record in the episode that immediately followed her Academy Awards hosting gig, which also gave the awards its best ratings since 2004. And her star-studded Oscars selfie almost shut down Twitter when the pic became the most retweeted ever.”
This year, Cook traded places with DeGeneres, who was named second most influential last year.
MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow received a third place finish.
In fourth place was Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. And journalist Glenn Greenwald rounded out the top 5.
JoeMyGod noted the unusual absence of last year's #21 ranked Matt Drudge: “Since there's no obvious reason for Drudge to completely fall off the list in one year, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody got a cease-and-desist letter.”
Also missing from the list is Fox News' Shepard Smith, a staple of previous years.
Click here to view the full Power 50 list.