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5 Things That Pissed Us Off Last Week: Miss. Lesbian Bars, Liz Cheney, Baptists, and Incest

5 Things That Pissed Us Off Last Week: Miss. Lesbian Bars, Liz Cheney, Baptists, and Incest

Welcome to SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days.


Welcome to SheWired's weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of news from the past seven days. Each week, we'll be providing a retrospective on the most heinous, crazy-making bits of anti-LGBT news that came across our radar last week. Our hope in doing this isn't only to darken the skies, but also to sound the alarm about the kind of idiocy that passes for "legitimate commentary" these days. Expect a healthy dose of snark in the following paragraphs — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day. 

5. No Space for Girl Bars in Shannon, Miss.

A small town in northern Mississippi is getting ready to take its homophobic business practices to court, when the city council of Shannon squares off against a lesbian bar-owner who has been repeatedly denied the appropriate permits to open the bar she owns and has recently renovated. Pat Newton has been trying to open O'Hara's, a cafe and bar for LGBT people in the 1,700-person town of Shannon, Miss., for quite some time, but in June, the city council voted to deny her the necessary zoning permits to reopen the bar she's owned since 2010. 

The council's reasoning for denying the permit? The LGBT bar itself would be "a public health and safety hazard," according to the 4-1 city council vote. 

Newton, herself being a savvy businesswoman, lawyered up with none other than the Southern Poverty Law Center, which will now represent her case in federal court, arguing that Shannon's mayor, Ronnie Hallmark, "led a conspiracy to deny Newton a business license," and pursued others to voice opposition to the bar. 

"Their opposition is rooted in blatant hostility toward a legitimate business, simply because a lesbian would operate it and because it would serve the LGBT community," said SPLC's legal director David Dinielli. "They have discriminated against our client, even relishing the opportunity to discriminate."

We can't wait to see how that eagerness to discriminate — bigotry pride! — holds up in federal court. Go get 'em, Newton. 

4. Liz Cheney Isn't Antigay Enough for Wyoming

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney and sibling to the happily gay-married Mary Cheney, opposes marriage equality. But according to some right-wingnuts, her previously conciliatory remarks that the freedom to marry should be decided by each state, and applauding the federal government for extending benefits to legally married same-sex couples, means that she's secretly a radical pro-gay activist. And that means she's "Wrong for Wyoming," claims a new attack ad. 

Cheney is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming, and has already walked back her 2009 statements tacitly in favor of marriage equality by recycling her father's often-used line, "Freedom means freedom for everyone." This year, Cheney released a statement that said "I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage," prompting her sister (that married lesbian mother) to publicly lambast Liz on Facebook, saying "I love my sister, but she is dead wrong."

That wasn't strong enough condemnation for Cheney's uber-conservative competitors in Wyoming. The attack ad trots out every right-winger's worst nightmare, Rachel Maddow, before claiming that Cheney is all buddy-buddy with "MSNBC, the go-to network for Barack Obama and Washington's liberal elites."

Check out the eerie ad running in The Equality State below. And yes, that's really Wyoming's official state nickname. 

Find even more outrage on the next page…

3. California Baptist University Expels Trans Student For Saying She's a Girl

Domaine Javier, a 24-year-old transgender woman who recently completed her associate's degree at Riverside City College in California was reportedly thrilled when she received her acceptance letter to California Baptist University, located just a few blocks from her home in Riverside, Calif. She was probably even more thrilled when the university offered her a $3,500 dean's scholarship, in recognition of her academic achievements. 

But apparently, according to the university, those academic achievements are now worthless, since CBU claims Javier committed fraud on her original application. The offending information? Javier, who has identified as a girl since childhood and was crowned Homecoming queen at her high school, listed her gender as female on the school's online application. That's tantamount to "committing or attempting to engage in fraud or concealing identity, and presenting false or misleading information during the university's judicial process," the university wrote in a July letter to Javier. The letter informed Javier that she was temporarily expelled for daring to list her accurate gender identity when asked for it — then the school finalized that expulsion on August 30, just a week before classes began. 

Oh, and here's the real kicker: It appears the school discovered Javier's trans identity during a background search on the future student, where they uncovered a 2011 episode of MTV's True Life where Javier discusses the stigma and discrimination she experiences a closeted trans woman. So, naturally, CBU saw its opportunity to add its name to the list of douchebags who continue to disrespect Javier's identity. How very Christian of them. 

2. Southern Baptists Shame George H.W. and Barbara Bush for Witnessing Lesbian Wedding

In our next shining example of Christian love, the Baptists again demonstrate their collective inability to comprehend anyone's basic tolerance of their LGBT friends and neighbors. After former president George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush attended the Maine wedding of a lesbian couple last month, the president of the Southern Baptists Theological Seminary publicly shamed the former leaders for daring to witness such a sinful expression of love and commitment. 

It would have been bad enough if the former president had merely attended the sinfully sapphic ceremony, contends Dr. R. Albert Mohler. But — wait for it! — Bush actually signed the marriage certificate as an official witness. Oh, the humanity! 

"Attendance at a wedding is not a neutral act," cried Mohler, who is president of one of the largest seminaries in the world and the self-described "flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention." 

Citing the traditional wedding ceremony language that includes a prompt for anyone who knows why the couple shouldn't be joined in matrimony to "speak now or forever hold his peace," Mohler contends that "Anyone remaining silent at that point is affirming the rightness and validity of the marriage, and all who are present are counted as both witnesses and those who celebrate the union."

You know what, Dr. Mohler? On that point, we actually agree. Especially since it's been proven that one of the most effective ways to change bigoted hearts and minds is by coming out to friends, family, and neighbors, thereby proving that us filthy homosexuals are real people with loving relationships and everyday dramas and joys just like everyone else, I hope you're right that wedding invitations will soon be headed to "Christians who stand on biblical teachings" in the days ahead. It might be just the lovely death-knell we've been waiting for. 

Find the most outrageous story on the next page... 

1. Penn. Gov. Says Marriage Equality Isn't Like Child Marriage, It's Like Incest!

Because that's so much better,  right? 

Responding to a journalist's question about criticism he's rightly received for a federal legal brief filed in defense of the state's marriage-equality ban, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said that the brief's comparison of same-sex marriage to "marriage between 12-year-olds" was "inappropriate." So far, so good. 

"I think a much better analogy would have been brothers and sisters, don't you?" the democratically-elected Republican Governor asked CBS News 21 anchor Sherry Christian on Friday.

We're right there with the Christian in responding to that comparison with an awkward, uncomfortable stammer. Uhm, no. "Better" would not be the word I'd use to describe that comparison, Governor. 

Actually better words to describe the governor's ignorant comments came from Vermont governor Peter Shumlin, who called Corbett's remarks "offensive and demeaning." 

But by far, the best response to that ludicrous statement the governor somehow delivered with a straight face (no pun intended) came from out state rep. Brian Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat who, just a day earlier, introduced a marriage equality bill in the Pennsylvania state legislature. 

"No one, not even his own party, would argue that [Gov. Tom Corbett]’s an intellectual heavyweight or even a particularly thoughtful person," wrote Sims in a Facebook post. "The larger issue is that despite the fact that the majority of Pennsylvanians disagree with him, he continues to be the heaviest hitter in Pennsylvania’s anti-equality crusade. Our job isn’t just to be frustrated with the homophobia coming from the Governor’s Mansion, it’s to do everything we can to ensure that his chapter in Pennsylvania’s political history is as sad and short as his record on schools, economic development and civil rights."

Amen, Rep. Sims. When will we see your name on the ballot for governor? Or, hell, why not president? 

Watch the hideously uncomfortable interview with Corbett below, just for kicks.

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Sunnivie Brydum

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>

<p>Sunnivie is an award-winning journalist and the managing editor at&nbsp;<em>The Advocate</em>. A proud spouse and puppy-parent, Sunnivie strives to queer up the world of reporting while covering the politics of equality daily.</p>