For LGBT People, Growing Old Poses New Challenges

For LGBT People, Growing Old Poses New Challenges

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say they know someone who is gay, but for the estimated 2.4 million LGBT people age 65 and older, growing old could mean going back into the closet, according to the American Psychological Association. Kathy Ritchie ( @kathymritchie ) from KJZZ examines the many hurdles — including stigma, social isolation and financial challenges — facing LGBT elders.

Mayor Briley signs historic executive order for LGBT-owned businesses, affirms inclusion as recognized category for Metro procurement

Mayor Briley signs historic executive order for LGBT-owned businesses, affirms inclusion as recognized category for Metro procurement

Mayor Briley makes Nashville the first city in the South to include LGBT-owned businesses as a recognized category for Metro procurement. On Monday, Mayor David Briley signed an historic executive order for LGBT-owned businesses, affirming their inclusion as a recognized category for Metro Procurement. By signing the executive order, Mayor Briley makes Nashville the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-owned businesses.

The signing is part of Mayor Briley’s mission to have Metro Government reflect the diversity of Nashville in its hiring practices, contracting and economic development opportunities, and through the delivery of equitable programs, services, and policies.

“It’s my job as mayor to make sure that everyone in our city, regardless of who they are or where they come from, has equal access to economic opportunities,” said Mayor Briley. “Today, we’ve taken an important step towards better equity for LGBT-owned businesses in Nashville. I am proud to sign this executive order and look forward to seeing these Nashville businesses flourish.”

The executive order charges the Metro Purchasing Agent with the following:
1) Modifying the business registration documents related to procurement to allow for self-identification as an LGBT-owned business.

2) Developing a process to acknowledge LGBT certification and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as the certifying entity, in collaboration with the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce as their local affiliate.

3) Monitor and track usage of LGBT-owned businesses in the procurement of goods and services for the Metropolitan Government.

4) To the fullest extent permitted by Tennessee law and the Metropolitan Code, provide LGBT-owned businesses with similar programs and services as those offered to Minority, Service Disabled, Small, and Women-owned businesses in Davidson County to ensure such businesses are familiar with how to do business with the Metropolitan Government and are informed about procurement opportunities.

The executive order will result in consistent provision of critical capacity-building services for all vendors as well as Metro’s better understanding of the firms with which it does and could do business. By tracking LGBT-owned and certified businesses (and the contracts they bid for) Metro will be able to better understand the availability of LGBT firms and assess if it is contracting with them equitably. This change also sets the foundation for LGBT firms to be included in future official disparity studies.

“We are thrilled that Mayor Briley signed this much-needed executive order today,” said Joe Woolley, CEO, Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “This has been at the top of our advocacy list for quite some time. Mayor Briley embraced the idea and even put in a $25,000 grant to the Chamber so we could grow LGBT-certified businesses that were ready to do business with Metro. We are proud to see Nashville become the first city in the South to recognize LGBT-certified businesses.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Briley and of our local affiliate chamber, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT entrepreneurs in the Nashville region will now have the opportunity to create jobs and develop innovations that benefit all who live there,” said NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan Lovitz. “We are excited to see LGBTBs from all different fields help grow the economy of Nashville and beyond.”

“This is a special day not just for my business and my employees but for me personally,” said Jack Davis, founder of Good Neighbor Festivals. “My company prides itself on creating meaningful experiences, building communities, and bringing people together around shared interests. By signing this executive order, Mayor Briley has lifted Nashville up to a higher standard, deciding that in order for our city to truly succeed, we must build a more inclusive and loving community. Today marks a special moment in Nashville’s history, and one I won’t soon forget.”

Councilmember Tanaka Vercher who is a member of the Black Caucus and chair of the Budget & Finance Committee said: “As a city government, we must always strive to make sure we are representing everyone in our community. The executive order Mayor Briley signed today will allow LGBT-owned businesses in our city to have a fairer shake when it comes to doing business with Metro. It’s an honor to be here today as we continue to make Nashville a more diverse and equitable place for all who live here.”

The executive order is Mayor Briley’s latest step to spread economic opportunity and prosperity in Nashville to all people. The Mayor’s leadership in creating the Minority Business Advisory Council, the Equal Business Opportunity ordinance and Nashville GRAD are earlier testaments of his commitment to ensuring our city’s growth doesn’t leave anyone behind.

LGBT group criticizes Chick-fil-A exec’s invitation

LGBT group criticizes Chick-fil-A exec's invitation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) — An LGBT advocacy group cites Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s support of Christianity in opposing a Chick-fil-A vice president as a military academy symposium speaker. Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, right, with Chick-fil-A Foundation head Rodney Bullard, promoting Bullard’s 2018 book "Heroes Wanted." Rodney Bullard, Chick-fil-A vice president of corporate social responsibility and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation, should not speak at a February leadership symposium at his alma mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), the advocacy group said.

"Chick-fil-A has a long and sordid history of financially supporting rabidly anti-LGBTQ organizations such as the virulently homophobic ‘Fellowship of Christian Athletes,’" the group said in a Feb. 12 letter to Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, USAFA superintendent. "USAFA’s outrageous decision to honor Chick-fil-A Executive Rodney Bullard with this high visibility speaking engagement to its 2019 (National Character and Leadership Symposium) NLCS is nothing but another wretched example, in a long line of such despicable instances, of fundamentalist Christian-based homophobic oppression by USAFA."

Bullard will remain a speaker at the event Feb. 21-22, USAFA told Baptist Press today (Feb. 15).

"That each speaker has an individual viewpoint on different aspects of our culture enhances the NCLS mission to present a rich variety of outlooks and perspectives to our audiences, which we feel is in keeping with the tenets of a liberal education," USAFA media relations chief Meade Warthen said in an email.

The speakers’ "wide-ranging backgrounds, diversity of thought, and comprehensive leadership experiences will enable their listeners to appreciate the many opportunities life offers in fashioning pathways to success," Warthen said.

Under the name of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the advocacy group said it represents 12 LGBT clients at USAFA, including cadets, faculty and staff.

The MRFF stance is the latest in a string of objections to Chick-fil-A community involvement, stemming from Cathy’s 2012 statement that he supports a biblical definition of marriage that prohibits gay marriage.

The Chick-fil-A Foundation did not respond to a Baptist Press information request by press time, but Chick-fil-A and its foundation Bullard heads do not fund anti-gay programs, Bullard told the Associated Press.

Instead, the foundation funds programs to benefit children suffering poverty, including groups that work with LGBQT youth, Bullard told AP.

"We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy told the North Carolina Baptist journal, the Biblical Recorder, in 2012. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

"We operate as a family business," Cathy told the Recorder. "Our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that."

Cathy has maintained his position despite targeted opposition to his stores from LGBT special interest groups. In promotional materials, Chick-fil-A lists 39 consecutive years of sales growth.

The foundation, established in 2012, has 194 partners nationwide, including ministries and community service groups helping underprivileged youth, the homeless and other populations.

Arkansas asked to reconsider ruling on LGBT rights measure

Arkansas asked to reconsider ruling on LGBT rights measure

The filings say the lower court hasn’t ruled on whether the 2015 law is constitutional. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she’s reviewing the petition and would take appropriate action. (MGN Photo) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) —

An Arkansas city and LGBT rights advocates are asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling that blocked the city from enforcing an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Attorneys for Fayetteville and the group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays asked the court Friday to reconsider its decision to overturn a lower court ruling that the city could continue enforcing its ordinance while the city challenged a 2015 law that barred cities and counties from enacting protections not covered by state law. Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

The filings say the lower court hasn’t ruled on whether the 2015 law is constitutional. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she’s reviewing the petition and would take appropriate action.

‘Flawed’: Setback for LGBT students as Senate delays anti-discrimination protections

'Flawed': Setback for LGBT students as Senate delays anti-discrimination protections

The push to protect LGBT students from discrimination in religious schools has suffered a setback with a Senate report calling the proposed bill "flawed".

A Coalition majority Senate committee report released on Thursday recommended the bill and circulated amendments "not be passed" and instead the issue be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission for "full and proper consideration". To celebrate the LGBT community, the City of Sydney unveiled a permanent rainbow crossing in Surry Hills in February.Credit:Katherine Griffiths Senator Ian Macdonald wrote "the committee is of the opinion that matters of anti-discrimination and religious freedom are too important and too complex to be dealt with in haste".

"While the committee considers it necessary and appropriate to prohibit discrimination against LGBTIQ+ school students, it is of the view that this should not occur at the expense of the ability of religious educational institutions to maintain their ethos through what they teach and the rules of conduct that they impose on their students."

The committee received submissions from 1092 organisations and individuals, 9000 items of correspondence and held two public hearings in Brisbane and Sydney.

The Labor bill, introduced in November by Senator Penny Wong, sought to amend the sex discrimination act to prevent schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

Labor senators Louise Pratt and Murray Watt said in their dissenting report they were "deeply disappointed" with the government’s decision to defer the bill and were "aggrieved" by the lack of sitting days available to debate the issue.

Religious institutions and legal experts noted that subsection 37 of the bill was "too broadly worded" and said there were "significant, presumably unintended consequences" for the ordinary teaching of religious bodies, such as bible readings in a chapel.

In the Labor report Senator Pratt agreed with these concerns, arguing that the bill be passed after clarifying "the scope of educational institutions in section 37".

The dissenting reports by Labor and the Greens rejected government amendments ensuring any "teaching activities" and "rules" relating to the religious tenets of school remained lawful, arguing they would "entrench" or "carve out" discrimination.

Bill Shorten on Saturday said "the case for not discriminating against kids on the basis of sexuality is one hundred per cent clear".

"We would like to see that legislated. Of course we need to get everyone else in the Parliament to agree with us."

The Law Council of Australia said in a statement that while "preferring comprehensive rather than piecemeal reform" they "generally supported the passage of the Bill".

In December Scott Morrison said he would allow a conscience vote on the issue – an offer which was rejected by Labor and the Greens, who agreed to delay debate to continue negotiations in light of the government’s controversial amendments.

‘It enables me to play sport without fear of prejudice’

'It enables me to play sport without fear of prejudice'

Isca Apollo FC, a newly-formed LGBT team in Exeter, hope to one day play in a mainstream league.

The team, which will have their first fixture later this year, came together to allow people to play football without being discriminated against because of their sexuality.

They are being supported League Two club Exeter City’s Community Trust.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 finale: Can we get serious about that result?

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 finale: Can we get serious about that result?

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4 finished with a flourish that floored the fans. Was your super-queero crowned? Drag Race All Stars 4 Episode 10—Super Queens finale: the verdict

How much Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent was Episode 10 packing? Overall: C.U.N.

Lewks: C.U.N.t

RuPaul’s arts and crafts race. (World of Wonder/VH1l) I’m not including Ru in this rating. That dress was a tacky last minute stitching together of stars—just like the crowning.

But the others were a real wonder, woman.

Naomi Smalls did not get the praise she deserved (standing ovation, crown and a hundred thousand dollars) for that dress.

Monet X Change served her best lewk of all time, and only Villanelle can beat a face like Monique Heart.

Trinity the Tuck’s look couldn’t be faulted, although it definitely wasn’t my “all time favourite”—bit of a reach that, Michelle. Throw away that receipt because you won’t want to Monet X Change this look. (World of Wonder/VH1l) Challenge: C.U.n

OK, let’s talk about that song.

It collapsed in on itself. Monet proved that a slow tempo can be the source of a powerful performance, but—frankly—the other three showed just how easily it can drain it.

And it was nigh on impossible to get four distinct, memorable performances through all that smoke and autotune.

It all meshed into mediocrity. Not much could penetrate this Drag Race fog. (World of Wonder/VH1l) But, that being said, this is always the most entertaining challenge, and while it may not have lived up to previous seasons it was still a scream to watch. Drag Race All Stars 4 episode 10: y’all wanted a twist?

The fact that the big twist was that there was no twist? Genius.

Congrats, Drag Race, you saw off the spoilers and played the fandom— including me —for fools.

We didn’t get a jury as divisive as a referendum with all the accuracy of the Electoral College.

We didn’t leave the previous winners open to years of hate mail by making them choose the victor.

We were done with democracy and skipped straight over geniocracy to go right back to good old fashioned dictatorship.

Ru—sort of—just made a decision. And doesn’t that feel good? “Team Katya” Alaska—unshackled by the burden of having to choose—was free to troll the haters. (World of Wonder/VH1) Drag Race All Stars 4 episode 10: the bottoms

This was hard because these two are probably my favourite queens of all time. Monique Heart: Queen of the glo-up

Monique Heart, my queen. (World of Wonder/VH1) I’ve been #TeamMonique since the off, but—all tea—I didn’t disagree with any of her critiques tonight.

She was lacklustre in the challenge, and the look was on brand but just not that grand.

But—and it’s a big butt—she will always reign supreme in the ho-up.

And I’m not talking about her rise from finishing eighth to coming back a few weeks later as a finalist.

I’m talking about going from a THREE HUNDRED POUND—21 stone—LEADER OF AN EX GAY MINISTRY to queen of queers, America, and my goddamn heart.

Jesus Christ Superstar. Naomi Smalls: Queen that ticks all the boxes

Naomi brings it to you every episode. (World of Wonder/VH1) I mean, first Naomi came for Manila’s legacy. Naomi : it’s not about who wants it, it’s about who deserves its. Also Naomi: #allstars4 pic.twitter.com/TFa1GQdwMC And then the judges exacted their revenge on Luzon’s behalf.

Carson: “I’m still mad she eliminated Manila”—for executing the producers’ wet dreams? Really?

I get it, a lot of you were glad she got her comeuppance.

But let’s not lie, there is no way Naomi does not tick every box.

You can’t just filter her time down to “Prince”—she pissed all over every challenge as well as every runway.

She’s sweet, but psycho, and will ditch the competition to check out trade—that’s what I call perspective. Me trying to do anything with attractive people around tbh. @naomismallsduh #AllStars4 pic.twitter.com/R3ctxvKOCE — RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) February 16, 2019 I have never in my life stanned a queen like this.

All hail. Drag Race All Stars 4 finale: the tops

Lip sync, lip sink, or split lip?

Split lip, bish. Monet is a fighter. (World of Wonder/VH1) Ain’t no amount of editing gonna tell me Trinity came close to Monet there.

While props go to Trinity for not doing an obvious reveal, she didn’t exactly do much else, apart from pull moves we’ve seen a thousand times before.

But Monet gave her best performance since “Pound the Alarm.”

She also included that rarest of gifts—an unexpected, funny and referential Ru-veal which, best of all, was used as the cherry on top of a magnetic performance, rather than being the crux. That result

I’m happy with it.

Yes, Monet really did win the final challenge and lip-sync, but y’all wanted Trinity and y’all got her. And it’s not like she didn’t earn it during the season.

But—on a more serious note—a part of me is relieved Monet wasn’t the sole winner, because I think the fandom could have turned super problematic and made Trinity out to be some white martyr.

We’ve seen some seriously hateful stuff coming from this fandom. No-one should have to deal with that, least of all a champion like Monet.

If it looked like Drag Race was scared to pick a winner, maybe that’s down to the fans’ toxicity—not the show.

It’s a fabulously silly show that I love, but we’d all do well to remember it has more interest in creating great TV than rewarding great talent. Which brings me to… Drag Race All Stars 4 episode 10: edit of the millennia

They didn’t even film a joint ending.

Seriously. They famously filmed a Bianca-Adore win—much to Courtney’s pleasure—in Season 6, but they were clearly were not anticipating one this time. The hastily edited winners of All Stars 4. (World of Wonder/VH1) And that editing was some Chris Grayling level of buffoonery.

When Ru announced the result it felt like it was coming from another dimension, and there wasn’t one shot of the two winners together.Who were they really planning to crown? Was it Monet before they saw her polling, or was it Trinity until they realised they couldn’t edit her to win that final week?I don’t know. And I don’t care.It’s just another reminder that the main character of RuPaul’s Drag Race isn’t RuPaul, it isn’t even a drag queen—it’s the edit.See you soon— February 28, to be exact.

Indiana lesbian couple turned away by tax-filing business

Indiana lesbian couple turned away by tax-filing business

Samantha and Bailey Brazzel were turned away from filing a joint tax return A lesbian couple in Indiana were turned away from a local tax business, because the Christian owner objected to them filing joint taxes as a married couple.

Samantha and Bailey Brazzel had approached Carver Tax Service in Russiaville, Indiana, to file their first joint tax return since their wedding in 2018.

But the newlywed couple were left stunned when the business owner, who had filed Bailey’s individual taxes for several years, refused to take their custom. Indiana lesbian couple were shaken by discriminatory incident

Speaking to the Kokomo Tribune newspaper , Bailey Brazzel said: “At first we thought she was kidding, but when she started talking about the Bible, we knew she was serious… and I was completely shocked.”

“You hear about it all the time, but nothing like this has happened to us before.

“She had done my taxes with no issues before, but now that we were married and she didn’t agree with my life choices, she wouldn’t.”

Brazzel said that she and her wife were shaken by the incident, adding: “My wife was trying to console me and I was crying.” Indiana business owner: As a Christian I could not prepare their taxes

Nancy Fivecoate of Carter Tax Service told the newspaper: “[Bailey] came with her wife and I declined to prepare the taxes because of my religious beliefs,

“I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. I was very respectful to them. I told them where I thought she might be able to get her taxes prepared.”

Fivecoate said it was not the first time the issue had come up. Stock photo. She said: “A few years ago, I had a couple of gay clients that married.

“When it was time to prepare their taxes they called me and asked if I had a problem since they were married.

“I told them that as a Christian that I could not prepare their taxes. I thanked them for calling and wished them well.”

She added: “The LGBT want respect for their beliefs, which I give them… I did not say anything about their lifestyle. That is their choice. It is not my choice. Where is their respect for my beliefs?”

There is no statewide LGBT+ anti-discrimination law in Indiana, and federal law does not ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, meaning the couple have little recourse over the incident.

The state’s former Governor, Vice President Mike Pence, signed a religious freedom law in 2015 that bolstered ‘freedom to discriminate’ protections for religious business owners in Indiana, though it was subsequently watered down after furious criticismIndiana lesbian couple turned away by tax-filing business.

Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler in Downfall, dies aged 77

Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler in Downfall, dies aged 77

Ganz was well-known in German-language cinema and theatre Bruno Ganz, who played Hitler in the 2004 film Downfall, has died aged 77.

The Swiss actor died at home in Zurich on Friday night, his management said.

Ganz was well-known in German-language cinema and theatre and also had roles in English-language films including The Reader and The Manchurian Candidate.

His most famous role, however, was as Adolf Hitler in Downfall. One particular scene depicting Hitler in apoplectic fury became a meme and spawned thousands of parodies online.

The film, called Der Untergang in German, told the story of Hitler’s final days in his Berlin bunker. It grossed $92m (£71.3m) at box offices around the world when it was released. Inside Hitler’s WW2 bunker office

How the BBC told the world Hitler was dead

Is this 1921 cartoon the first ever meme?

It was named winner of the BBC Four World Cinema Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but since then it has become almost as famous for a wave of internet parodies of its final scene, poking fun at numerous news events.

A New York Times reviewer called Ganz’s performance "intriguing" and "creepily charismatic".

In 2005 Ganz told The Guardian newspaper that he spent four months preparing for the role, studying historical records including a secretly-recorded tape of Hitler and observing people with Parkinson’s disease, which he came to believe the dictator had.

But he said: "I cannot claim to understand Hitler. Even the witnesses who had been in the bunker with him were not really able to describe the essence of the man.

"He had no pity, no compassion, no understanding of what the victims of war suffered."

Ganz, the most famous Swiss actor, had a rich and varied career. He played a vampire in Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) and an angel in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1987) and its sequel Faraway, So Close! (1993).

He appeared in genres including noir – The American Friend (1977) – and science fiction – The Boys from Brazil (1978), which starred Sir Laurence Olivier. In 2008 he had a role in The Baader Meinhof Complex and his last role was in Lars von Trier’s 2018 film The House that Jack Built.

At the time of his death, Ganz was the holder of the Iffland-Ring, an accolade to the German-speaking actor judged "most significant and worthy".

The ring is passed from person to person, and it is not yet clear who Ganz had intended it to transfer to on the occasion of his death.

It has been reported that Ganz had been diagnosed with colon cancer.

LGBT activists upset with loss of Va. anti-discrimination bills turn to November

LGBT activists upset with loss of Va. anti-discrimination bills turn to November

James Parrish, left, with Equality Virginia, and Del. Roxann L. Robinson, R-Chesterfield, right, announced Robinson’s introduction of legislation protecting LGBT Virginians from discrimination in housing and public employment in January. The bills were killed in a subcomittee. (Bob Brown/AP) RICHMOND — Gay and transgender activists, fed up with four consecutive defeats in trying to ban discrimination in housing and government employment, say they will now turn to the ballot box, targeting GOP leaders who have failed to support them.

“No one has taken a more bipartisan approach than we have,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia which has lobbied for the bills, which easily passed the Senate but died in a House subcommittee. . “We have done everything we could do to show this Speaker that this is supported by the people of Virginia and his constituents. The only solution we see now is new leadership.”

Republicans currently hold a two-seat majority in the Senate and a three-seat majority in the House, with one seat open for a special election in a district previously held by a Democrat. A federal court approved new redistricting maps Thursday that is expected to favor Democrats.

Equality Virginia says it will work to unseat Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Rockingham) because they blame those leaders for blocking a full committee hearing of the bills this week.

The bills would have prohibited discrimination in all state and local government jobs on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and barred housing discrimination against people in those same groups, with exceptions for rentals in single-family rental homes, property owned by religious organizations or private clubs.

Advocates thought they had a better-than-average chance for passage this year given the Republicans’ determination to try to win back seats in November and attract suburban swing voters, who are more open to support of gay and transgendered people than some constituencies within the GOP.

“It’s adapt or die,” one GOP strategist said late last year , and several conservative Republican lawmakers signed on in support of the bills.

“We don’t live in 1980 anymore, and it’s time for us to get past this and not discriminate against a community when most people don’t have a problem with this community,” said Del. Roxann L. Robinson (R-Chesterfield), who sponsored the legislation, said earlier this year.

Conservative groups, including the Virginia Catholic Conference and the Family Foundation, opposed the effort.

The Republican House leadership, asked for comment, indicated that discrimination is covered by another bill sponsored by Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) which requires all appointments, promotions and tenure in state government be based on merit. It passed the House 52-47 but has yet to be heard by the Senate.

In addition, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in January signed an executive order shortly after his inauguration banning such discrimination in government employment. One of the bills would have codified that into law.

Equality Virginia’s Parrish said that’s not nearly enough because the state anti-discrimination laws exempt many workplaces, including the governor’s office, the lottery and the Virginia Employee Retirement System. “The joke is it only covers people who work for the DMV,” Parrish said.

LGBT advocates targeted Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach this past year, working with representatives from the business community, members of Congress and local elected officials from the area, all of whom supported the bills, Parrish said.

The activists sent thousands of postcards with personal stories to Cox, and lined up Republican sponsors and co-sponsors to show the bipartisan support for the bills. Equality Virginia commissioned statewide polls of voters in February 2018 and again last month and said both surveys showed a majority of voters who identified as Republicans supported the legislation.

“Once again, the Speaker and Majority Leader said ‘nope, under our watch this is not going to happen’,” Parrish said.

Cox “is only the speaker because his name was drawn out of a bowl,” he said, referring to how state officials broke a tied legislative race and handed control of the House of Delegates to Republicans. “He did not have a mandate … Now we will pivot, look at the new maps. Speaker Cox is in a very different district this year. That will be a priority of ours.”

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