Oklahoma Rep. Proposes Dodging Marriage Equality By Outlawing Secular Marriage Licenses

Oklahoma State Rep. Todd Russ (below) has a solution to the pesky problem of gays trying to get married: outlawing secular marriage altogether.

Russ says he wants to “protect” court clerks from doing their jobs and providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which they’ve been legally able to do since October. Under his proposal, marriage certificates could be signed only by a religious official, who would then pass the certificate along to the clerk. Judges could no longer perform legal marriages.

While couples who didn’t have a religious official handy could still qualify for a common law marriage, this still means only church-sanctioned relationships could be legally, formally recognized.

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The Three Words No President Has Ever Said In a State of the Union Address

Last night’s State of the Union address brought a long list of tweetworthy moments, from President Barack Obama‘s wink at the crowd during a recap of the progress his administration has made to a snappy, unscripted comeback about winning his last two campaigns that silenced fussy Republicans.

But the 2015 speech also gave us a few truly pivotal moments, even if they only spanned a few words. Among them: the first time any president has ever used the words “lesbian,” “bisexual” or “transgender” in that address.

Here’s what Obama said (the full speech is available at Medium):

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State in India Announces Government-Sponsored Ex-Gay Therapy Program for Youth

The Indian state of Goa has announced plans for a governmental program to help LGBT youth “get over same-sex feelings.”

The minister of Goa, Ramesh Tawadkar (below), told the New York Times that homosexuality is a “big problem” in India, and that the new program will help young people learn to live a “normal life.” The law would consider LGBT youth as a “problem group” in need of governmental intervention, in line with “drug addicts, dropouts and migrants.”



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Gay Teacher Fired From Catholic School: I Will Not Give My Time, Talent, or Treasure “to a Bigoted Organization”

Another Catholic school teacher has been fired from a job he loved because he married his same-sex partner. Except this person isn’t afraid to dole out the b-word when talking about the church he grew up in.

Lonnie Billard (below), 68, was an English and drama teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School for 13 years and a follower of the Catholic faith for his entire life. He and his boyfriend, Rich Donham, have been together for over a decade. Billard says he had always introduced Donham to colleagues as his partner, and there had never been a problem.



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Kentucky Legislator Quietly Introduces Bill Banning Trans Students From Using Correct Bathrooms

A Kentucky legislator has proposed a bill that would single out, marginalize, and humiliate transgender students who use school bathrooms — and with practically no media fanfare.

On January 9, Republican Senator C.B. Embry Jr. (below) introduced the Kentucky Student Privacy Act (SB 76), which would force transgender students in public schools to use the bathrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

Here’s the bill overview:

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