Pulitzer Prize-Winning book censored in Illinois prisons

CHICAGO – On Thursday, attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of historian Heather Thompson, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy” was censored by Illinois prison officials. Attorneys from Uptown People’s Law Center and Sidley Austin LLP filed the lawsuit. It alleges that this censorship is “arbitrarily applied,” as the book was sent to three different prisons and censored only at Pontiac and Logan Correctional Centers. It argues this censorship is a violation of Ms. Thompson’s First Amendment right to communicate with incarcerated people, as such communication should only be restricted when there is a legitimate penological interest. The lawsuit also claims that Ms. Thompson’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process was violated because she did not receive notice of this restriction, and as such was not provided an opportunity to challenge it.

Intersex affirming policy published after California legislation

NEW YORK — interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, Lambda Legal, and Proskauer Rose LLP have released the nation’s first intersex-affirming hospital policy guide, offering concrete steps for medical providers to provide sensitive, non-discriminatory care to intersex patients. “Intersex” describes up to 1.7% of the population born with natural variations in chromosomes, hormones, or genitalia that transcend an outdated understanding of biological sex as a male/female binary. The guide’s release corresponds to the first successful legislation in the United States acknowledging the non-consensual surgeries faced by intersex people, stated a press release from Lambda Legal. Passed in August by the state of California, SCR-110 calls for the creation of clear policy encouraging the delay of cosmetic procedures until an intersex individual is old enough to make an informed decision. Often performed during childhood, the surgeries have been condemned by major human rights groups such as the United Nations, Physicians for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch, as well as every intersex-led organization in the world.

LGBTQ organizations reaction to Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination

CHICAGO — Trump on Monday night nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, to the U.S. Supreme Court. National and state LGBTQ organizations were quick to respond. Equality Illinois sent out a statement almost immediately after the announcement. We at Equality Illinois will work with our state and national partners to analyze Judge Kavanaugh’s record and call our community to action in the coming days. We will fight and resist an anti-LGBTQ nominee who would try to turn back the clock on our civil rights.

Members, staff leave Indy CrossFit location after gym cancels Pride workout

CrossFit’s Chief Knowledge Officer doubles down on denying the Pride event, fired by corporate

INDIANAPOLIS — A CrossFit location in Indianapolis started losing members after cancelling an Pride workout session. And CrossFit’s Chief Knowledge Officer decided to double down. Crossfit Infiltrate in downtown Indianapolis cancelled a Pride themed workout in a recent email to members. In response, according to TV station RTV6, many members and some staff are quitting. From RTV6:
The email in question from ownership came from Brandon Lowe.

Ind. teacher says using trans students’ preferred names violate ‘religious beliefs’

INDIANAPOLIS — A teacher in suburban Indianapolis is saying the school district forced him to resign for refusing to us transgender students’ preferred names. The school district requires teachers to use trans students’ preferred names, instead of those given at birth. John Kluge, the former orchestra teacher at Brownsburg High School near Indianapolis, told the Indianapolis Star that the policy goes against his religious beliefs and violates his First Amendment rights. “I’m being compelled to encourage students in what I believe is something that’s a dangerous lifestyle,” he told the newspaper. “I’m fine to teach students with other beliefs, but the fact that teachers are being compelled to speak a certain way is the scary thing.”

Southern Illinois celebrates their first Pride

CARBONDALE — Carbondale hosted the first Pride celebration in the far southern area of Illinois this past weekend, becoming the latest in the state to celebrate LGBTQ rights. Other Pride parades and festivals take place in Chicago, Springfield, Metro East, Joliet and Peoria. The Southern Illinoisan reported that hundreds turned out for a walk and festival at the Carbondale Pavilion. A local church, Church of the Good Shepherd, hosts an annual Pride Picnic, but this is the first time that a month of activities has been planned for the area. From The Southern Illinosan:

Before the march, Carbondale City Council member Jessica Bradshaw told the crowd that the city’s inclusivity was one of its strengths.

OPINION: Masterpiece Cakeshop – It’s not great, but it’s not a disaster

This article was originally published on Peacock Panache, an LGBTQ news and opinion blog. In a 7-2 decision announced today, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in a case about public accommodation and whether individual religious views should and can supersede a protected group’s right to free market equal access. The actual decision offered no opinion on LGBTQ civil rights, however. In the majority opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the high court noted the case presents “difficult questions as to the proper reconciliation of at least two principles. The first is the authority of a State and its governmental entities to protect the rights and dignity of gay persons who are, or wish to be, married but who face discrimination when they seek goods or services.”

He added, “The second is the right of all persons to exercise fundamental freedoms under the First Amendment, as applied to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.”

While the decision is a narrow victory for the cake shop, it may also be a roadmap forward for progressive activists.

SCOTUS rules for baker in wedding cake case

Decision narrowly focused on specifics, does not set precedent on LGBTQ rights
WASHINGTON — On Monday, the US Supreme Court set aside a lower court ruling against a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. According to NBC Chicago, the court did not rule on whether or not businesses have the right to refuse service to gay and lesbians. From NBC Chicago:

The justices’ limited ruling Monday turns on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The justices voted 7-2 that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment. Justice Anthony Kennedy says in his majority opinion that the issue “must await further elaboration.”

Indiana GOP may remove “marriage between a man and a woman” from state platform

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Republican Party may remove wording declaring support for marriage “between a man and a woman” from their state party platform. From the Indianapolis Star:

The latest draft of the new platform removes language labeling strong families as ones that are “based on marriage between a man and a woman.” The proposed change sets up a fight between state party leadership, now stocked with political advisers close to Gov. Eric Holcomb, and some of the party’s most stalwart social conservatives, including those behind the push for 2015’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Delegates to the Indiana Republican Convention next Saturday in Evansville will vote on the platform in addition to nominating three incumbents for the statewide GOP ticket: Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and Auditor Tera Klutz. The decision also provides more insight on where Gov. Holcomb and other party leaders may stand on social issues.